Frequently Asked Questions

What is the deadline for applications?

The deadline for graduate applications is typically December 15 for the following academic year or, if December 15 falls on a week-end or holiday, the first working day following December 15.  It is important that you begin your application process early so that tests results are submitted in advance of the deadline and enough time is allowed for your recommenders to submit their letters. 

I have transcripts and other materials to send through regular mail. What address should I use?

All application materials, including transcripts, should be uploaded via the online application.  If there are documents that will not upload properly, first contact the Technology Help Desk in ApplyYourself. If your writing sample is too large for an upload, you can send a portion of your writing sample.  See question below about writing samples.

What are the prerequisites for entry into the program?

For the MA program, the applicant must hold a baccalaureate degree or its foreign equivalent.  A minimum grade point average of B (3.0 on a 4-point scale) is the academic requirement for admission to full graduate study.  For the PhD program, evidence of excellent potential for doctoral-level study in linguistics and a good fit between the applicant's scholarly interests and those of relevant faculty is the major substantive criteria for an admission.

You do not need an undergraduate major in Linguistics to apply to Pitt’s Linguistics Graduate Program.  Students who enter our program often have degrees in a variety of modern languages, English, anthropology, psychology or education.

What is the relative importance of disciplinary background, grade point average, GRE score, letters of recommendation, TOEFL scores?

All of these factors are important, but a good score on one of them can compensate for a weak showing on some other factor. We do not issue cut-off scores, but students who are competitive for our programs should have scores at or above approximately 155 on the Verbal, 152 on the Quantitative, and 3.5 on the Analytical sections of the GRE. For students whose native language is not English, we also consult the TOEFL or IELTS score for further information on verbal proficiency.

Do I really have to take the GRE?

Yes, the GRE is required for domestic and international student applicants.  The GRE reporting code for Pitt is 2927.

When should I take the GRE?

You should take the GRE no later than November 1. Please keep in mind that you should register for the GRE weeks ahead of time because the examination rooms may be full before the registration date.  In general, if you take the computer-based GRE, your official scores will be sent to the institutions you designated approximately 10–15 days after your test date. If you take the paper-based test, your official scores will be sent within six weeks after your test date. Please see the GRE website for complete information.

I took the GRE to get into my current MA program. Do I need to retake it to apply for a PhD?

No. Your GRE scores from your MA application are valid. However, please note that ETS only holds scores for five years.

What about financial aid?

View information on financial aid »

I am applying for a degree program. Do I need to apply for funding separately?

All applicants to the graduate program are considered for departmental funding as teaching assistants or for Arts and Sciences fellowships by checking the box under the Financial Aid section on the Apply Yourself application. There is no separate application for funding.

How much is the monthly stipend for TAs and TFs?

Learn more about current stipend and funding info. Students can elect to receive these funds over the course of 8 or 12 months

Can I apply for spring semester admission?

No. Because of our course sequencing we only admit in the fall.

How long does the program take to complete?

Our MA programs usually take 2 years to complete and they have a four year statute of limitation.  The PhD program takes from 5-6 years to complete and has an eight year statute of limitation.

When will I hear what decision has been made about admission?

All applicants will be notified in late February, at the latest. Decisions on financial aid are not made before February.

What program do I check on the online application if I want to apply to the MA/PhD program?

Choose the "PhD program."

I would like to get conditional admission until I improve my English.

We do not offer conditional admissions. English fluency is an important part of our admissions.

I am an international student. What is your requirement for the English language test score?

For admission to graduate study in the Department of Linguistics at the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, a minimum TOEFL score of 90 (with a score of at least 22 in all of the four sections of speaking, listening, reading and writing) is required for all applicants. If taking IELTS instead of TOEFL, the minimum IELTS score of 7.0 (with at least 6.5 in each of its four sections) is required for all applicants.

For admission to graduate study in the MA in Applied Linguistics with TESOL Certificate program, the requirement for the TOEFL is 100 on the IBT (with a score of at least 22 in all of the four sections of speaking, listening, reading and writing) OR 7 on the IELTS (with at least 6.5 in each section).

Contact us

If you have further questions, please contact the Graduate Admissions Administrator, Margaret Bupp, at

Regarding regulations under the student right-to-know and campus security act:

As mandated by federal and state law, the University of Pittsburgh has published a brochure that describes safety and security policies, procedures, and programs, as well as campus crime statistics for the past three years. If you would like a copy of this brochure, write to:

University of Pittsburgh
Campus Safety Information
480 Melwood Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15260