The Department of Linguistics enjoys a national and international reputation for excellence. For nearly three decades its faculty has made fundamental contributions to the study of language, publishing results in major journals and with major presses. Members of the faculty are regularly invited to conferences and seminars in the U.S. and abroad, and their work has been funded by major granting agencies, including the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institute of Health (NIH), and the Spencer Foundation.

The graduate program in Linguistics is a five-year program devoted to training a small number of doctoral candidates to become university researchers and teachers. The department admits six to nine new doctoral students each year. The research community in Linguistics at USC is marked by a concentration in a number of highly focused subgroups. Within these, there is a high degree of student-teacher interaction, manifest in regular collaboration and joint publication among students and faculty. This research environment fosters in students a rapid progress towards work at the cutting edge. Our students regularly present papers at national and international conferences and publish their work in professional journals. Our graduates have gone on to accept positions in renowned institutions in the U.S. and abroad, including Cambridge University, Georgetown University, Smith College, McGill University, University College London, University of Ottawa, the Ohio State University, Rutgers University, University of Stuttgart, University of Illinois, Carnegie-Mellon University, University of Durham, Yale University, Victoria University, the University of California at Los Angeles and USC itself.