College of Arts & Sciences

Linguistics - Graduate (Ph.D)

Restart your search

The Linguistics Graduate Program fosters graduate student research, networking, and collaboration with scholars from across the country and the globe. Faculty members act as mentors and advocates for our students, often engaging in joint research projects. The Linguistics Graduate Student Association (LGSA) hosts the annual Central Kentucky Linguistics Conference (CKLiC) under Department sponsorship. CKLiC provides a place for graduate students in linguistics to engage in professional development with eminent scholars, as well as showcase their own work in a full conference environment. The Department also hosts a number of activities and events, such as multiple reading groups in areas of student interest, an invited speaker series, and various multimedia and gaming initiatives that bring linguistics to a broader audience.

Doctoral Program Description

About the program

Our Doctoral program in Linguistics emphasizes the systematic investigation of language as it relates to social and cultural life.

Departmental specialties include

  • Sociolinguistics
  • Computational Linguistics
  • Historical Linguistics

Additional department strengths include: Phonetics, Sociophonetics, Perceptual Dialectology, Dialect Geography, Historical Sociolinguistics, Constructed Languages, and Linguistic Anthropology


  • Rusty Barrett
  • Anna Bosch
  • Allison Burkette, Chair
  • Andrew Byrd, Director of Undergraduate Studies
  • Jennifer Cramer
  • Josef Fruehwald
  • Mark Lauersdorf
  • Kevin McGowan, Director of Graduate Studies
  • Dennis Preston

Our linguistics faculty demonstrate a remarkable breadth and depth of expertise in the areas of sociolinguistics, computational linguistics, and historical linguistics. Our dynamic, growing department and focused on becoming a hub for the study of sociolinguistics in the United States.

Department resources include computational, corpus linguistics lab, and phonetics labs; as well as access to the Collaboratory for Research in Computing for Humanities (RCH) through the department’s engagement with that unit. The Department is also home to the Linguistic Atlas Project (LAP) and other ongoing research projects such as the Young Appalachians’ Living Language (YALL) corpus. Department of Linguistics faculty have been awarded research grants and fellowships by prominent public and private funding agencies, including the American Philosophical Society, Fulbright, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

Doctoral (PhD) Degree - Application Requirements

  1. CV
    • Please include any kind of teaching experience.
  2. Personal Statement
    • ​Please include your scholarly interests, any research directions you would like to pursue, and experience with languages other than English. How would your interests fit with Linguistics at UK?
  3. Writing Sample
    • ​At least 8 pages double-spaced, preferably on an aspect of linguistics.
  4. International applicants:
    • arrange for a telephone/Skype interview. Please contact the Graduate Studies assistant for Linguistics at
    • TOEFL scores
  5. Three letters of recommendation
  6. Transcripts

Applicants must meet the Graduate School admission requirements.

The GRE is not required for admission to this program.


Application Deadlines
  • Fall: December 13