Who We Are
News & Stories
Mar 29, 2023
Mar 28, 2023
June 24, 2023
June 29, 2023
August 20, 2023
University Wide Events
No Communication Compromises
Areas of Study
Changing the world
Community & Innovation
Research Experiences & Services
Our Global Presence
Global at Home
Global Learning For All
Your Journey Starts Here
Tools and Resources
Explore Our Campus
Dec 9, 2022
Faculty and Staff
Ph.D. in Linguistics
Students who enter the Ph.D. program in linguistics with an M.A. in linguistics from Gallaudet University are required to earn an additional 33 credits to complete the Ph.D. in linguistics, followed by dissertation proposal development and dissertation research among other program requirements.
Students who have earned an M.A. degree from another program or university are also eligible for admission to the Ph.D. program in linguistics. These students are required to earn 59 credits to complete the LIN Ph.D., followed by dissertation proposal development and dissertation research among other program requirements. Although these students are not typically awarded an incidental M.A. on the way to the Ph.D. degree, this option is available upon successful completion of the entire MA in linguistics program of study, which includes 5 additional (3-credit) elective courses.
Program of Study
Students who enter the LIN Ph.D. program with a Gallaudet LIN M.A. are required to have a minimum of 36 credits to complete the LIN Ph.D. followed by dissertation research. For these students, the doctoral curriculum consists of a total of 77 credits of coursework plus dissertation research. This means that those who have taken the 41 credits required by the M.A. curriculum must complete another 36 credits of advanced linguistics courses.
Students who enter the LIN Ph.D. program without a Gallaudet LIN M.A. are required to have a minimum of 62 credits to complete the LIN Ph.D., followed by dissertation research. This includes 22 credits of core courses to be taken in the first year, plus 4 credits to be taken in the second year. These students must also successfully complete the Qualifying Exam and Compendium, in addition to other Ph.D. program requirements.
All students must complete the following advanced courses, totaling 24 credit hours: Sociolinguistics in Deaf Communities (LIN 741), Guided Research Project (LIN 880, taken twice), Phonology III (LIN 801), Generative Linguistics III (LIN 802), Cognitive Linguistics III (LIN 827), Concept Paper (LIN 883) and Dissertation Proposal Development (LIN 890). An additional 12 credits of elective courses must also be completed, to be chosen by the student in consultation with the student’s advisor. These courses should focus on aspects of linguistic theory, application, or research related to the student’s professional or academic goals. Some electives may also be taken through the Consortium of Colleges and Universities.
Guided Research Project (LIN 883) and GRP Presentation
Guided Research Project (GRP) LIN 880, 2 semesters. Students design and conduct an independent research project under the guidance of their dissertation advisor. Course requirements include a final paper and the following components, as applicable: development of an appropriate research plan, completion of the IRB human subjects review, and collection and analysis of data. The GRP typically is related to the student’s dissertation topic, but is not required to be. The work done in the GRP is intended to lead to the independence necessary to complete dissertation research. Successful completion of LIN 880 is a prerequisite for LIN 883: Concept Paper. LIN 880 is typically taken during the first and second semesters of the first year.
Students are required to give a presentation on their GRP research. This is a formal presentation, similar to what would be given at a professional conference. It is to be 20 minutes in length with 10 minutes for discussion and/or Q/A. Faculty evaluate the presentation in areas of content, presentation, and language use. Students will receive feedback from the faculty. This is one of three presentations required. Successful completion of the GRP presentation is required to continue in the Ph.D. program.
Concept Paper (LIN 883), Field Exam, and Concept Paper Presentation
LIN 883: Concept Paper serves as a transition from students’ preparatory coursework to their dissertation proposal. Students will complete a concept paper on their proposed dissertation topic. This paper will include a statement of the research question(s) and a review of relevant literature, while it will focus primarily on (a) defining the key concepts relevant to the student’s anticipated research plans and (b) making explicit any underlying theoretical assumptions.
LIN 883 is typically taken during the first semester of the second year. The concept paper must be completed in the first 10 weeks of the semester in order to provide time for the Field Exam and Concept Paper Presentation to occur. Students may register for a second semester of LIN 883 at the discretion of the Linguistics faculty (e.g. in cases where the student has selected a particularly complex topic and is making steady progress, or scores an Unsatisfactory on their Field Exam and is required to revisit and strengthen their Concept Paper).
The Field Exam is administered after the first 10 weeks of LIN 883 and prior to the end of the semester. Content of the exam will be determined by the student’s Concept Paper. Three examiners (the LIN dissertation advisor who led the student’s Concept Paper, a second LIN faculty member with expertise in some area relevant to the student’s Concept Paper, and a third LIN faculty member who does not work in the area of the student’s Concept Paper) will conduct in-depth questioning in areas pertinent to the student’s Concept Paper topic. Student responses will be evaluated by all three examiners together as a Pass with Distinction, Pass, Unsatisfactory or Fail. Students who receive an Unsatisfactory score on the Field Exam will be required to retake the exam; students who Fail the Field Exam will be terminated from the program. Students who retake the Field Exam and receive either a score of Unsatisfactory or Fail will be terminated from the program.
After successful completion of the Field Exam the student will give a presentation on their Concept Paper. This is a formal presentation, similar to what would be given at a professional conference. It is to be 20 minutes in length with 10 minutes for discussion and/or Q/A. Faculty evaluate the presentation in areas of content, presentation, and language use. Students will receive feedback from the faculty. This is one of three presentations required. Successful completion of the Concept Paper Presentation is required to continue in the Ph.D. program. Students must successfully complete the Field Exam and Concept Paper Presentation before taking in LIN 890 Dissertation Proposal Development.
Dissertation Proposal Development (LIN 890) and Proposal Defense
Each student seeking a Ph.D. will be required to complete a research-based dissertation on a topic acceptable to his or her doctoral committee. Students are expected to complete their dissertation proposal in one semester (LIN 890 Dissertation Proposal Development). However, those who fail to do so will be permitted to register for additional semesters of LIN 890 Dissertation Proposal Development, provided they maintain a passing grade each semester.
LIN 890 is the course in which students will develop their dissertation proposal, producing a research plan for answering the research questions posed in their Concept Paper. Emphasis will be on defining a project of appropriate scope, extending the literature review and selecting an appropriate research design and methodology. Students will meet regularly with their dissertation advisor for guidance and discussion, but are expected to pursue the bulk of the work independently. They may receive input from doctoral committee members. Once the full committee deems the proposal defendable, a defense date is set. The dissertation proposal defense is expected to happen at the end of the semester in which LIN 890 is taken. Students may not register for LIN 900: Dissertation Research until the proposal is successfully defended. All Ph.D. coursework must be completed or be on track to be completed by the semester the proposal defense occurs.
Successful defense of one’s dissertation proposal is the candidacy examination for the LIN PhD program.
Dissertation (LIN 900) and Dissertation Defense
Once students have successfully completed and defended their dissertation proposal, they advance to LIN 900 Dissertation Research. LIN 900 may be taken multiple times, provided students earn a passing grade each semester.
Each Ph.D. student is required to prepare a research-based dissertation in an area acceptable to their Doctoral Committee. The dissertation is based on the proposal accepted by the committee, typically in the spring of the second year of Ph.D. study, and work on the dissertation proper typically begins in the fall of the third year. The dissertation is expected to be a research project designed to provide new understanding of the topic, and must include a thorough and thoughtful review of the relevant literature, description of methodology, analysis, and discussion and conclusion elucidating the significance of the findings. The dissertation process is discussed in detail in the Gallaudet University Dissertation and Thesis Handbook (on the intranet GU website and the LIN website). Students will also receive this handbook when they take LIN 890 Dissertation Proposal Development. The maximum time allowed for completion of the dissertation is seven years from the start of the LIN M.A. degree or six years from entrance into the Ph.D. program for those without a LIN M.A. degree. Any extension beyond this deadline will require the approval of the doctoral committee, the Graduate Program Coordinator, the Department Chair, and the Dean of the Graduate School.
Summary of Requirements
For students who completed the Gallaudet M.A. in Linguistics
An examination of the theories and principles of sociolinguistics with specific reference to sign languages and Deaf communities around the world. Topics include multilingualism, bilingualism, and language contact, variation, discourse analysis, language policy and planning and language attitudes.
This course is an advanced seminar focusing on phonological theory, building on foundational material presented in Phonology I and Phonology II. Topics will vary depending upon current developments in phonological theory, focusing on both spoken and signed languages.
This course is an advanced seminar focusing on generative approaches to syntactic theory, building on foundational material presented in Generative Syntax I and Generative Syntax II. Topics will vary depending upon current developments in syntactic theory, focusing on both spoken and signed languages.
This seminar is the third course in the Cognitive Linguistic sequence of courses in the graduate linguistics program (the first two being LIN 721 and LIN 732). Possible major topics include cognitive grammar, cognitive semantics, conceptual blending, constructional grammar, embodiment, depiction, mental spaces, metaphor, metonymy, and the usage-based approach to language.
This course is required to be taken twice, typically beginning in the fall semester of students' first year in the Ph.D. program and continuing into the following spring semester. Students will design and conduct a research project under the supervision of a faculty member. Course requirements include a final paper by the end of the second semester with the following components, as applicable: development of an appropriate research plan, completion of the IRB human subjects review, and collection and analysis of data. LIN 880 may be repeated a third semester at the discretion of the instructor if requirements cannot be successfully completed in the usual two semesters.
This course serves as a transition from students' preparatory coursework to their dissertation proposal. Under supervision of a faculty member, students will complete a Concept Paper that identifies their research question(s) and defines key concepts that underlie those research questions. The Concept Paper also specifies the theoretical framework(s) to be adopted for research and discusses previous literature assumed as background information. Upon approval of a student's completed Concept Paper by the instructor, the student will then give a Concept Paper Presentation to the full faculty and take the field exam, both of which are developed on the basis of the student's completed Concept Paper. LIN 883 may be repeated one time.
In this course, students will develop their dissertation proposal, producing a research plan for answering the research questions posed in their Concept Paper. Emphasis will be on defining a project of appropriate scope for a dissertation, extending the literature review and selecting an appropriate research design and methodology. Students will meet regularly with their dissertation advisor for guidance and discussion, but are expected to pursue the bulk of the work independently. LIN 890 may be repeated one time.
Elective Courses in Linguistics (selected sample)
Core Courses in Statistics: Ph.D.
Core Courses in Statistics: These courses are required for students whose Ph.D. specialization requires statistical work. If taken, they replace two elective courses.
This introductory course sequence develops the primary statistical concepts and techniques needed to conduct research. This course presumes no previous statistical background other than college-level algebra or its equivalent. The course goal is to develop many of the basic conceptual theories underlying statistical applications, while
also developing a critical perspective toward statistics. Students will develop skills in descriptive statistical analysis, simple correlation procedures, and hypothesis testing. Computer-assisted analysis will complement course work.
The purpose of this second course in statistics is to develop specific concepts and techniques to conduct basic inferential statistical analysis. The course emphasizes application skills, i.e., the ability to fit the appropriate analysis to a particular data set. Students will learn to conduct and interpret the most often used inferential tests for research and evaluation projects. Computer software will be used to complement course work and analysis.
This course introduces students to the acquisition of a native language by young children (L1 acquisition) and acquisition of a second language after childhood (L2 acquisition), with a focus on sign languages. The first part of the course covers the important milestones of normal L1 development in phonology, morphology, syntax and pragmatics for both spoken and signed languages. The course also explores how delays in exposure affect the acquisition process, related to the main topics of the second part of the course: critical period effects and L2 acquisition. Readings and discussion throughout the course will reflect the perspective that acquisition studies on a broad variety of languages, both signed and spoken, are crucial for developing accurate theories of language structure and use. Application of concepts from lectures and discussion is developed through student analysis of L1 and L2 data.
Students are introduced to a descriptive framework with which to identify and analyze iconicity and depiction in ASL and other signed languages and spoken languages as well. The course focuses on depiction typology, examining the structure of role-shifting, constructed action and dialogue, classifier constructions/depicting verbs, aspectual constructions, abstract/metaphorical depictions, and other imagistic uses of space, including different types of gesture.
This course explores bilingualism, with a special emphasis on bilingualism in the Gallaudet community. We will examine the place of bilingualism and multilingualism in the world, both historically and currently; the linguistic structure and features of bilingualism; social constructions of bilingualism; the acquisition of bilinguality, from the perspectives of both first- and second language acquisition; and we will explore the functions and meanings of bilingualism in communities. For each topic, we will examine the current state of the field, first from the perspective of spoken language bilingualism and then from the perspective of signed language (mixed modality) bilingualism, with special emphasis on the situation at Gallaudet University.
This course introduces students to the theories and methods of analyzing prosody in signed and spoken languages. These prosodic features play a critical role in human communication and have a wide range of functions, including expression at linguistic, attitudinal, affective and personal levels.
This course explores the relationships between language and culture from an anthropological and sociolinguistic point of view. Students are introduced to various approaches to qualitative analysis as research tools for understanding the interplay between language and culture in the Deaf community in which they participate.
This course examines general issues in first language acquisition, focusing on the period from birth to five years. It includes critical review of literature on phonological, lexical, morphological and syntactic development for both signed and spoken first languages, from both nativist and usage-based theoretical perspectives.
This course will review current theory and research in second language acquisition (SLA) from linguistic and psychological perspectives, focusing on the influences of various theoretical models. Students will be introduced to the principal areas of SLA research and the major methodologies available for their study. Course material will focus on acquisition of a spoken second language, but also discuss recent studies and analyze data related to second language acquisition of a sign language.
The focus of this course is a comparison among six dominant approaches to the analysis of discourse: pragmatics, speech act theory, conversational analysis, interactional sociolinguistics, ethnography of communication, and variation analysis, with close examination of different kinds of sign language discourse.
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to theories and methods of discourse analysis. This is a companion course, not a sequel, to Discourse Analysis: Narrative. Whereas Discourse Analysis: Narrative is concerned with discourse produced primarily by one speaker. Discourse Analysis: Conversation is concerned with dialogic or multi-party discourse.
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to theories and methods of discourse analysis. Narrative is chosen for study because it is primarily monologic (at least in U.S. culture) as distinct from dialogic or multi-party discourse which is covered in Discourse Analysis: Conversation. This course will focus on the analysis of ASL narratives.
An examination of analytical methods used in the study of variation and change in language structure and use, with a focus on sign language variation. Practice in the exploratory analysis and interpretation of sociolinguistics and discourse data, and introduction to quantitative tools, including the Varbrul program.
For students who did not complete the Gallaudet M.A. in Linguistics
This course will provide students with experience in gathering and analyzing data from a sign language other than ASL. The particular language selected will vary from year to year, with preference given to under-investigated sign languages. Students will study the lexicon, phonology, morphology, and syntax of this language; each student will focus on one topic for an in-depth research project.
An introduction to the principles of linguistic study, with a concentrated focus on phonology and phonological theory as applied to English and ASL. Topics will include: phonetics, phonemics, phonological processes, syllables and syllabification, distinctive features, phonological rules, and an overview of current phonological theory.
This course provides an introduction to generative linguistics and principles of syntactic argumentation within the generative tradition. Topics include Parts of Speech, Phrase Structure rules, X-bar rules, the role of the Lexicon, and various types of syntactic movement related to verbal morphology, questions and passive constructions. The course focuses initially on English and other spoken languages, but also includes application to ASL towards the end of the course.
This course will introduce students to the profession of linguistics, its history and subfields, as well as the research specializations of department faculty. Students will also receive general training in a variety of skills relevant to graduate studies in linguistics, such as technical writing, using library resources to locate literature, using computer and editing techniques needed for carrying out sign linguistics projects, and applying for research grants and IRB approval for student research projects.
This is the first of a three-course sequence focusing on a cognitive linguistics approach to ASL. Examination of semiotic diversity in ASL from the perspective of Cognitive Grammar, with an emphasis on analysis of data. The primary focus of the course is on depiction, establishing a typology of depiction that includes many imagistic phenomena in ASL and other spoken and signed languages, such as enactments, manual depictive forms, and ideophones. Notions in Cognitive Grammar benefiting depiction analysis, such as constructions and construal, are also introduced.
This course builds on foundational material presented in Phonology I. Students will investigate the phonological structure of signs in American Sign Language. Part one (I) presents a comparison of notation systems for signs and provides extensive training in sign notation. Part two (II) deals with phonological contrast. Part three (III) is concerned with the phonotactic properties of lexical signs. Part four (IV) deals with phonological processes and historical change.
This course is a continuation of LIN 721, with discussion of the tenets of cognitive linguistics, particularly the view that lexicon and grammar are a continuum of form-meaning pairings with varying degrees of abstraction and complexity. This discussion provides the theoretical background with which to investigate grammatical structures in ASL, English, and other languages, including metaphor, grammatical classes (e.g., noun and verb categories), and complex expressions (e.g., morphology, compounding, grammatical relations, and grammatical constructions).
This course builds on foundational material presented in Generative Linguistics I and extends them to the study of ASL and other sign languages. Lectures include continued opportunity for hands-on practice in deriving various syntactic structures, and also develop students' abilities to independently read and understand articles in generative linguistics.
Year III - Fall
Year III - Spring
Present Guided Research Project:Pre-requisite to LIN 883
Complete Qualifying Paper and Present Qualifying Paper:may occur earlier or later; pre-requisite to LIN 890
Year IV - Fall
Field Exam andConcept Paper Presentation:pre-requisite to LIN 890
Year IV - Spring
Year V - Fall
This course is for ABD students conducting any aspect of their dissertation research and writing.
Year V - Spring (and onward)
Year I - Fall
Year I - Spring
Year II - Fall
Year II - Spring
Present Guided Research Project: Pre-requisite to LIN 883
Complete Qualifying Paper and Present Qualifying Paper: may occur earlier or later; pre-requisite to LIN 890
Field Exam and Concept Paper Presentation: pre-requisite to LIN 890
Year IV - Spring (and onward)
1. Specialized knowledge:
Completed application form. See Application Instructions to learn how. A non-refundable application fee of $75. Official transcripts of all graduate study. See Application Guidelines and FAQ for more information. All international applicants from non-English speaking countries must demonstrate English language competence via the Degrees of...
The employment of Elementary and Middle School Teachers is expected to grow by a 12% rate from 2019-2029, with an average annual salary of $60,660.
Learn more about career opportunities in teaching.
The employment of Speech-Language Pathologists is expected to grow by a 25% rate from 2019-2029, with an average annual salary of $80,480.
Learn more about career opportunities in Speech-Language Pathology.
The employment of Interpreters and Translators is expected to grow by a 46% rate from 2019-2029, with an average annual salary of $51,830.
Learn more about career opportunities in interpreting.
Fill out our inquiry form for an Admissions Counselor to contact you.
Create an account to start Your Applications.
Already Started an Application? Log in to Submit your completed Application or Check your application status here.
Deborah C. Pichler
Gallaudet University, chartered in 1864, is a private university for deaf and hard of hearing students.
Copyright © 2023 Gallaudet University. All rights reserved.
800 Florida Avenue NE, Washington, D.C. 20002