MA/PhD Program

Grad student Farrah Neumann

The MA/PhD program is a combined program designed for students entering with a BA with the intention of earning a PhD. The program consists of core course work, requirements for specific Areas of Concentration (ARCOs), preliminary exams, comprehensive exams, and dissertation work. The ARCOs available are:

  • Applied Linguistics
  • Hispanic Linguistics
  • Sociolinguistics

If none of the above ARCOs is chosen, then the student will be enrolled in the General and Descriptive Linguistics Program.

Pictured above: Grad student Farrah Neumann [second from right] led students on a Study Abroad trip in the summer of 2017 to Alcala de Henares, Spain, where she also conducted research on the effect of immersion on L1 and L2 speech perception.

Alumni Profile: Noriyasu Li

Noriyasu Harada Li (pictured on the right) is a Product Manager for Alexa Experience at Amazon. He currently works on ads and monetization for Alexa devices. Previously, he directed spoken language understanding (ASR, NLU, and TTS) improvement efforts for Alexa in Japanese, and was a language engineer for the Japanese NLU team when it launched in 2018.

Nori writes:

"I've been fortunate to have many different experiences and opportunities since joining Amazon. No matter what role or project I've taken, I still apply many of the knowledge and skills I acquired in my graduate studies to my work on a daily basis. In particular, Amazon is a 'writing culture,' and writing all of those abstracts, summaries, and research proposals during grad school are translating well when writing PR-FAQs, Business Requirement Documents, and other project documents at Amazon. I never thought I'd be in a product role coming out of graduate school, but you never know where may end up."

Nori writes: 

"I apply many of the knowledge and skills I acquired in my graduate studies to my work on a daily basis. I develop novel methods of analyzing user utterance data through Python and Pandas (computational linguistics), quality control of Japanese NLU artifacts and models (syntax and semantics), guidance and feedback on automated speech recognition in Japanese (phonology), and performing deep dives and reporting results to management (data analysis)."

Alumni Profile: Adrienne Washington

Adrienne Washington recieved her PhD in 2016 and is now Assistant professor of interdisciplinary studies at Norfolk State University. She teaches several courses on Language & Society, where students explore language use at its intersections with different aspects of social life, including thought, mass news media, politics, race and ethnicity, gender and sex.  Her research specializes in sociocultural linguistics with a particular focus on the use of language within education, for identity work, and for meaning making within black communities of the U.S. and Brazil. She was just quoted in this NYT article discussing pandemic nicknaming

Adrienne writes:

"The linguistics program at Pitt encourages and often even requires students to complete their coursework and training with professors whose work explores distinct dimensions of language. Thus, while the program provides students with a strong foundation in the principal areas of linguistics, my training has also equipped me to comprehensively study language as a historical, anthropological, sociological, sociocultural, and educational phenomenon and to understand the value of an integrative education. My diverse linguistics graduate training has furthermore empowered me to explore the complex and intersectional themes, such as language use vis-à -vis race, nationhood, gender, inequality, and education, fields that I currently research and teach."