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Applied Linguistics PhD Degree Program Information

Applied linguistics focuses on the way individuals learn and use language. Explore the PhD program requirements, common courses and career options available.

Essential Information

Ph.D. programs in applied linguistics typically require between 84-90 credit hours. Though a broad field with many potential areas of specialization, most applied linguistics programs begin with foundational courses in linguistics theory, phonology and syntax. Specializations can include culture and language or semantics and the relationship between culture and language. Students will likely be required to attend seminars and colloquia, as well as complete papers for presentation and publication. Some of these requirements will aid students in the development and defense of their dissertation. Students also spend time teaching at the university.

Applicants need a master's degree in linguistics or related field, as well as transcripts. They may also need a sample of work in linguistics, and previous exposure to research methods used in field is helpful. Competency in a second language may also be required.


Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics

Graduates from a Ph.D. program in applied linguistics can become proficient in skills such as speech therapy, language interpreting and working with other cultures. Furthermore, graduates will have the opportunity to gain skills in information technology and in publishing.

Students will engage in courses designed to teach them literacy and language skills. By exploring theories and philosophies, language style and processes, relationships between language and cultural identity, and research and analysis, students may prepare themselves for their dissertations, examinations, internships and future careers. Students may participate in courses reflecting many aspects of linguistics and research, including:

  • Language acquisition
  • Phonetics
  • Morphology
  • Developmental phonology
  • Linguistic theory
  • Methods of empirical research

Popular Career Options

With an abundance of skills, graduates will find jobs in industries such as the government, education, the arts or media, commerce, advertising, public relations or academia. Graduates may find opportunities working as:

  • Historians
  • Criminologists
  • Journalists
  • Interpreters and translators
  • Professors

Students interested in studying culture, language and literacy can earn a Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics to work as professors, historians, interpreters and more.

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