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Program Learning Goals

The Graduate Center, CUNY
Linguistics Ph.D. / M.A. Program

Statement of Program Level Student Learning Goals


The goal of the Ph.D Program in Linguistics is to train students for careers in research and teaching in theoretical or applied linguistics.  Upon successful completion of the Program, students must demonstrate in-depth knowledge of at least one core area of linguistics centered in phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax or semantics and the ability to perform advanced linguistic analyses, based in current theoretical models in one of these areas.  In addition they must show ability to conduct theory-based empirical studies of any human language and/or ability to apply core area knowledge in an ancillary subfield such as language acquisition, language processing, computational linguistics and sociolinguistics.  Students must be able to conceptualize, design and carry out research projects and, in the case of experimental and large-scale data analysis studies, demonstrate mastery of a range of methods and analytical procedures.  They should demonstrate the ability to construct linguistic arguments in line with scientific principles of hypothesis testing, present original research to an audience at professional conferences and write research papers for submission to peer-reviewed journals.
Three assessments are designed to evaluate the above goals:

  • 1. The Program’s First Exam consists of a written Qualifying Paper and is designed to evaluate students’ proficiency in a core area and/or the application of a core area in an ancillary subfield.

  • 2. The Program’s Second Exam consists of a written Qualifying Paper and critically includes an oral defense. It is designed to evaluate students’ ability to conceptualize and conduct original research and empirical studies in theoretical or applied linguistics and to present and defend their research to an audience including non-specialists in the area of research chosen by the student. 

  • 3. The Third Exam or Dissertation Defense, students must have submitted and/or presented original research to professional venues such as conferences and colloquia.  The Dissertation Defense demonstrates the ability to conduct research and write original scholarly work in an area of linguistics selected by the student.  This may include theoretical, experimental or descriptive work.