Students pursuing the Ph.D. in Linguistics are required to complete a minimum of 60 units of course work beyond the baccalaureate. Students are also required to take three 600-level seminars in Linguistics and a minimum of 4 units of 794 Doctoral Dissertation.
Students should also enroll in two or three additional courses selected in consultation with the Graduate Studies Committee or the faculty advisor.
Semesters two through six
The following three courses must be completed by the end of a student's sixth semester of graduate study:
Before a doctoral guidance committee can be established for applicants to the Ph.D. program, a student must pass a screening procedure. This procedure consists of a review of the student's graduate work at USC by the Linguistics department faculty.
The review will be based on the following criteria: course work completed, including grades and papers; faculty recommendations; and evaluation of both the M.A. research paper and a Ph.D. screening paper.
The M.A. research and Ph.D. screening papers must be in two different sub areas of linguistics, for example: syntax and psycholinguistics; or phonology and semantics; or sociolinguistics and typology.
The M.A. research paper must be completed and defended prior to the end of the fourth semester of graduate study, and the Ph.D. screening paper must be completed and defended prior to the end of the fifth semester. The set of courses leading to the M.A. research paper and the Ph.D. screening paper are determined through recommendation of the screening committee and approval of the Graduate Studies Committee.
Foreign Language/Research Tool Requirement
The foreign language/research tool requirement may be satisfied by choosing from the following options:
A. Demonstrate a working knowledge of a second language:
1. Passing a department internal written translation examination administered by a qualified faculty member,
2. Passing a USC foreign language Ph.D. reading course or equivalent,
3. Demonstrating native speaker competence in a language other than English.
B. Demonstrate a working knowledge of statistics and experimental design by passing, with a grade of B or higher, LING 501a (or its equivalent) and a second course, such as LING 501b or LING 578 or its equivalent, where this knowledge is applied to a linguistic research problem. The prior approval of the Graduate Studies Committee will be required to complete courses other than those listed above.
C. Demonstrate the ability to use the computer as a research tool by passing, with a grade of B or higher, LING 585 (or its equivalent) or by completing a programming project related to Lnguistics; this should be equivalent in scope to a term project for a semester course.
The prior approval of the Graduate Studies Committee will be required to complete a course other than the one listed above.
The examination qualifying a student for candidacy for the Ph.D. degree is comprehensive in nature, partly written and partly oral. The successful completion of the qualifying procedure is represented by the approval by the guidance committee of the student's dissertation prospectus, original research paper, written examination, and oral defense. The oral defense has to take place by the end of the 8th semester.
The final stage of the program is the submission and defense of a dissertation that makes an original and substantial contribution to its field of study. Refer to the Graduate School for the policies and procedures governing the submission of a dissertation.
Students interested in East Asian linguistics take the Doctor of Philosophy in Linguistics with a specialization in East Asian linguistics. In addition to all requirements for the Ph.D. in linguistics, the following courses are required: four courses or 15 units related to East Asian linguistics that are approved by the Graduate Studies Committee (GSC), which may be chosen from the following list: EALC 537, EALC 547, EALC 557, EALC 558, EALC 560, EALC 561, EALC 580, EALC 620 and LING 539. Upon approval by the GSC, other courses may be substituted. In addition, one of the two screening papers, the research paper associated with the qualifying examination and the doctoral dissertation must deal with at least one East Asian language. Students must also take LING 794ab Doctoral Dissertation. Students must pass the reading examination in one East Asian language.
Students interested in Slavic Linguistics take the Doctor of Philosophy in Linguistics with a specialization in Slavic Linguistics. In addition to all requirements for the M.A. in Linguistics, the following courses are required: LING 542; SLL 510, SLL 512, SLL 514 and SLL 516; three LING 600-level seminars; and 794ab Doctoral Dissertation. Students must pass reading examinations in one Slavic language and either French or German.