The Department of Linguistics offers programs of study leading to the:

The M.S. and Ph.D. programs each offer concentrations in applied linguistics, computational linguistics, sociolinguistics, theoretical linguistics, and general linguistics. The M.A. degree program offers a concentration in language and communication.

The Applied Linguistics concentration focuses on theory and practice in second language pedagogy; second language acquisition; bilingualism and bilingual education; language assessment; endangered languages; language policy; and cognitive linguistics.

Computational Linguistics is an interdisciplinary field that draws on linguistic theory and computer science to create formal models of language structure as well as practical applications such as machine translation, speech processing and computer-assisted language learning.

Sociolinguistics is the study of language in social context. Research in this concentration currently includes areas such as language and social interaction; language contact and change; sociolinguistic variation; discourse analysis; cross-cultural communication; narrative and oral history; language and identity; language and aging; endangered and minority dialects; language and health care; and forensic linguistics.

Students in Theoretical Linguistics may concentrate in phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, language acquisition or historical linguistics. There are ample opportunities for research that connects these areas and links them to other fields such as computational linguistics, sociolinguistics and language acquisition. Faculty and students within the theoretical linguistics concentration have close collaborations with colleagues in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and the Department of Philosophy.

The M.A. degree program in Language and Communication (MLC) is a career-oriented program with core specialization in Sociolinguistics that allows for additional subspecialization in Applied and Computational linguistics. The MLC offers intensive professional development training to prepare graduates for careers using linguistics in business, government, academic and nonprofit sectors.

Concentration in Cognitive Science
Furthermore, Ph.D. applicants can choose to apply for a secondary concentration in Cognitive Science in addition to one of the aforementioned concentrations. Cognitive Science is the interdisciplinary study of the mind and deals with the nature of perception, motor organization, memory, language, thinking, consciousness, and learning and development.  It investigates these topics from a number of methodological perspectives, including behavioral evidence for how these systems operate and formal, symbolic, and biological evidence on the computational and neural machinery that underlies them. Research on these topics comes centrally from several traditionally distinct fields: psychology, computer science, linguistics, philosophy, and neuroscience. Other relevant disciplines – biology, anthropology, economics, and decision sciences – are also part of this burgeoning field. Linguistics students in the Cognitive Science concentration at Georgetown will obtain their Ph.D. in Linguistics and will also develop an individualized interdisciplinary program of study, with a supervisory committee of faculty who come from their fields of interest.

For more information, please see the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Concentration in Cognitive Science (ICCS) page at:

Degrees Offered

  • M.S.
  • Ph.D.
  • M.A.
  • B.A./M.S.
  • B.A./M.A.

Application Deadlines

M.A. and M.S. Programs

Fall 2020

January 1, 2020

Ph.D. Programs

Fall 2020

December 1, 2019

Application Requirements

Please be sure to review the Graduate School Admissions How to Apply page.


Please review the Linguistics program website for additional information on M.S. and Ph.D. program admissions requirements and the online Linguistics Graduate Student Handbook located at:  (new window)   For the M.A. program in Language and Communications (MLC) program  admission requirements, please refer to the MLC website.

Application Materials required:

  • Application Form
  • Non-refundable Application Fee
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Writing sample
  • Transcripts – Applicants are required to upload to the application system copies of official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions attended. Visit our How to Apply (new window) page for additional details and FAQs.
  • Official Recommendations (3)
  • GRE Score (see below)
  • TOEFL/IELTS (see below)


Results of the General Test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) are required for all applicants. There is no minimum required score on the GRE. Test scores must be received by the application deadline date. Applicants should allow six to eight weeks from the test date for the reporting of scores to the institution. Applications will not be considered without GRE scores. Information on registering to take the GRE can be found at:


All applicants are required to demonstrate a level of proficiency in the English language sufficient to meet the admission requirement of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Proficiency can be demonstrated by the receipt of a bachelor’s or advanced degree from an accredited institution of higher education in the United States or from a university where English is the primary language of instruction (please note that applicants receiving degrees at universities in U.S. territories, such as Puerto Rico, are required to submit the TOEFL or IELTS unless the primary language of instruction at the institution is English). All other applicants not holding a degree from the U.S. or from an English-language institution must achieve at least a minimum score on either the TOEFL or IELTS test. Test scores must be received by the application deadline date. Applicants should allow six to eight weeks from the test date for the reporting of scores to the institution. Applications will not be considered without TOEFL/IELTS scores.

  • TOEFL: A minimum score of 100 (iBT test) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). TOEFL information:
  • IELTS: A minimum score of 7.0 from the International English Language Testing System. IELTS Information:

Additional Info:

Students applying to the M.S. or Ph.D. programs should indicate on their application form (and written statement of purpose) the concentration that best matches their interests (choose one only):

  • Applied Linguistics
  • Computational Linguistics
  • Sociolinguistics
  • Theoretical Linguistics
  • General (Students whose interests cross concentration boundaries may also, in consultation with their faculty advisors, plan individualized courses of study. Applicants who wish to pursue this option should indicate the “General” concentration on their application, and describe how their interests correspond to those of particular faculty in their statement of purpose.)

Degree Requirements

Master’s Programs

     -Master of Arts in Linguistics (MLC) with a concentration in Language and Communication

  • Twenty-four credit hours and a Master’s thesis or 30 credit hours without a Master’s thesis
  • A 3.0 grade point average

     -Master of Science in Linguistics

  • Thirty-six credit hours
  • Master’s research paper
  • A 3.0 grade point average
  • Proficiency in one foreign language
Ph.D. Program
  • Proficiency in a foreign language
  • Successful completion of the qualifying review
  • Submission of a second qualifying paper
  • Oral examination
  • Doctoral dissertation