When deciding to do graduate studies in linguistics and even when one is in the midst of a graduate program, a number of questions can arise. Below are some answers to frequently asked questions. For further information on admission and degree requirements, you can consult:

What graduate programs are offered by UVic?

We have three MA programs and one PhD program. The MA programs are in Linguistics, Applied Linguistics and Indigenous Language Revitalization

Does UVic offer a PhD in Applied Linguistics?

Unlike at the MA level, we offer a single PhD, in Linguistics. This means that all PhD students, including those interested in Applied Linguistics, must take core courses in formal linguistics (phonology and syntax).

We do have several faculty members who have active research programs in Applied Linguistics and regularly supervise doctoral students doing research on these topics in Applied Linguistics.

Do I need to find a supervisor before I apply?

You do not need to know who your supervisor will be before you apply. If you are accepted to one of our graduate programs, you will be assigned a supervisor (though your supervisor might change once you are actually here). However, at the PhD level in particular, it is a good idea to reach out to a prospective supervisor before applying to the program. We have a very small PhD program, due to limitations in funding and supervisory capacity. For this reason, we look for outstanding students who also have a very good fit with one of our faculty members, and with our department more generally. If you have the support of a potential supervisor at the time of applying, this will help your application.

Do I need a degree in linguistics to apply for grad studies at UVic?

All of our graduate students must take Linguistics courses as part of their program: two of phonology, morphology, syntax, at the MA level; phonology and syntax at the PhD level. Therefore, some undergraduate courses in theoretical linguistics is generally preferred. However, it is not crucial, especially for the MA in Applied Linguistics program. For example, we do sometimes accept people into this program with a strong background in language teaching and with experience learning a second language, but very little formal linguistics training.

Students who are admitted to our programs and who do not have a background in Linguistics normally have to take undergraduate-level phonology and syntax courses before taking the required graduate level courses in these areas.

Do I need to speak another language for any of your graduate programs?

You do not need to speak a second language in order to apply to any of our graduate programs. However, applicants whose native language is not English must consult the Faculty of Graduate Studies regulations concerning the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) under “English Language Proficiency”.

The MA in Applied Linguistics does require some experience in studying, learning or speaking a second language, as this provides the best insight into how people learn languages.

There are also language requirements to complete prior to graduation: one additional language for MA in Linguistics and MA and Applied Linguistics and two for the PhD. You can read about how to satisfy those requirements in the UVic calendar.

Do I need to take an English proficiency test before I apply?

The regulations surrounding English proficiency are set at the university level, not at the department level - see the Graduate Studies English language proficiency regulations for details. If your first language is not English, you will most likely have to show proof of sufficient English proficiency along with your application, normally in the form of TOEFL or IELTS test scores. Note that the requirements of the Linguistics department are stricter than the general UVic requirements. Here are the minimum required scores to be admitted to one of our graduate programs:

  • TOEFL: the minimum score is 600 on the standard paper-based test, 250 on the computer-based test, or 100 on the internet-based test
  • IELTS: the minimum score is 7 on all components of the test

What is the deadline for application to your graduate programs?

The deadlines are the same for all Linguistics graduate programs, and for all applicants (domestic and international): January 15.

When are decisions made about admission into your program?

The Linguistics graduate admissions committee usually meets at the beginning of February, once all the applications have been received and sent to us from the UVic administration. We aim to send out initial offers in the middle of February.

What counts as "full time status"?

To have full time student status, you must be registered in all three terms: Fall, Winter, and Summer. In each term, you must be enrolled in one of the following:

  • Courses totalling a minimum of 3 units (equivalent to 2 courses; each is worth 1.5 units)
  • A Candidacy Exam (LING 693)
  • A PhD dissertation (LING 699)
  • An MA thesis (LING 599)
  • A major research project (LING 598)

Full time status is required for UVic fellowships, and for other kinds of funding and financial aid.

When should I register for courses, and how do I decide what to take?

You can register in:

  • June for Fall and Winter courses
  • March for Summer courses

Your supervisor will guide you in terms of what courses to take during your graduate program. If you are an incoming student, you can contact your (interim) supervisor in the summer time for help; if you are a continuing student, you should meet with your supervisor at the end of the academic year to plan your coursework for the following year (if needed).