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Linguistics Program

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Below are the graduate-level admissions criteria for the Linguistics Program at South Carolina. Whether you are seeking a master's, doctorate or postgraduate certificate, we make your application process as simple as possible.

Admissions Criteria

Because students interested in Linguistics often come from diverse backgrounds and may not have had the opportunity to major in Linguistics as undergraduates, each applicant is considered on an individual basis.

Prospective students who have the PhD as their goal, but do not have an MA in linguistics should apply for the concurrent MA/PhD track. Applicants should apply for the MA and specify in the personal statement that they wish to be considered for the MA/PhD. Students applying for the concurrent track must otherwise meet the minimum requirements for the PhD. Concurrent admission is determined on a case by case basis by the Admissions Committee; expressing a desire to be considered for it does not guarantee placement in it.

Students admitted to the concurrent track typically earn their MA in Linguistics, although in some cases they may earn it in a cooperating graduate MA program. Currently, the Linguistics Program has such a cooperative agreement with the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures. Applicants for the concurrent track in the Linguistics Program and another program must submit separate applications to each academic unit. The personal statement to each program should specify that they are applying for the concurrent track in both programs. 

Admission Materials and Deadlines

Materials Ph.D. or M.A./Ph.D. Applicants M.A. Applicants TESOL Applicants
An official application, including the application fee, through the Graduate School application portal.   Required Required   Required
Academic transcripts for all prior undergraduate  and graduate study (typical GPA of successful applicants is 3.5)  Required  Required Required 
Letters of recommendation  Three Required  Three Required Two Required 
Personal statement   Required  Required  Required

TOEFL (minimum score 80), or
IELTS (minimum score 6.5), or
Duolingo English Test (minimum score 115)

Required for non-native speakers of English only  Required for non-native speakers of English only  Required for non-native speakers of English only 
Résumé/CV  Required - -
Writing Sample Required  -
Deadlines Priority: December 15th
Final: May 1st
May 1st May 1st

The Duolingo English Test is permitted as alternative evidence of English language proficiency for Summer/Fall 2023 admissions.
In all cases, minimally acceptable scores and grades are no guarantee of admission. At the same time, evidence of high potential from several parts of an applicant's file may occasionally outweigh a low test score or GPA.

Students are normally admitted to the program in the fall semester. To receive full consideration for financial assistance, applications should be completed before the first round of selections (December 15). The absolute deadline for applying is May 1.

Applications submitted outside of the fall admissions cycle are rarely considered, and only possible if the student has taken a graduate survey in linguistics. Graduate assistantships are awarded only to students entering in the fall semester on a highly competitive merit basis.

Prospective students who do not have prior coursework in linguistics, or whose coursework in the discipline is at the undergraduate level only, should apply for admission with a start date in the summer session of respective year.

Funding Opportunities

The Linguistics Program at South Carolina makes financial support for its graduate students a priority. In addition to offering our PhD students graduate assistantships, the program has been particularly successful in securing additional support through the University of South Carolina Presidential Fellowship Program, the College of Arts and Sciences Graduate Assistantship Enhancement Program, and the Bilinksi Fellowship, which supports students during their dissertation research and writing. 

Additional funding is available on competitive basis through the Graduate School and the office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships

Contact Us

Have general questions about our graduate program that cannot be answered on our website? Reach out to the Graduate Director or contact specific faculty members of interest.

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