PhD program

Regardless of where you are ultimately headed, as a PhD student in Linguistics you will start by acquiring a solid foundation in Formal Linguistics. This will provide you with the tools you need to explore language and linguistics from a wide range of intertwined perspectives.

You can get a sense of the kinds of topics you might work on by scrolling through our recent projects, theses, and dissertations. Our students tackle cutting-edge research questions in many different areas of theoretical linguistics, applied linguistics (language learning and teaching), and Indigenous language documentation and revitalization.


  • Please refer to the Academic Calendar to check the PhD in Linguistics program requirements.


This timeline should serve as a guide to you in completing your PhD, designed to be a 4-5 year program.

  • Year 1, September - April: Complete bulk of coursework (5 courses total = 7.5 units)
  • Year 1, Summer: Start work on Candidacy paper(s)
  • Year 2, September - April: Finish up coursework; work on Candidacy paper(s)
  • Year 2, Summer: work on Candidacy Papers
  • Year 3: Finish Candidacy papers; defend dissertation proposal (ABD status); prepare/submit ethics application (if required)
  • Year 4-5: Get ethics approval (if required); write and defend dissertation

Staying on track

  • Program form: Every September, you should meet with your supervisor to review and update your program form (fillable when downloaded), and then submit it to our graduate secretary ) by Sept. 30. This will let you keep track of your progress as you work through your program of study.
  • CAPP report: You can also always access your CAPP (Curriculum and Program Planning) report through Student Services, under Student Services. Here you will be able to see where you stand with respect to meeting your degree requirements.
  • Checklist: The Faculty of Graduate Studies has a handy checklist for completion of a PhD degree.