The Department of Linguistics is looking for students interested in empirical approaches to language and who have the background training, talent, and eagerness to participate actively in the research life of our department. 

General information about admission to the University of Alberta can be found at the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research.

Admission Requirements

The Department's minimum admission requirements are as follows:

  • a degree in linguistics, or a closely related discipline, with a grade point average of 3.3 in the last two years of undergraduate or graduate work, from a recognized institution.
  • evidence of separate undergraduate-level or graduate-level courses in at least 4 of the following 6 core areas:
    • General linguistics
    • Phonetics
    • Phonology
    • Morphology
    • Syntax
    • Semantics

The Department does not normally consider courses in TESOL or courses taken as part of an English-language or English Linguistics degree as meeting these requirements.

Candidates for the MSc must have completed 4 of the 6 core courses in linguistics, or their equivalents, at the undergraduate level. Candidates who lack this preparation may be required to undertake a year of qualifying studies before being admitted to the degree program.

Candidates for the PhD must have completed 4 of the 6 core courses in linguistics, or their equivalents, at the undergraduate or graduate level. Candidates would normally hold the equivalent of the MSc in Linguistics at the University of Alberta.  

Formal Applications

ALL APPLICATION DOCUMENTS ARE TO BE UPLOADED INTO THE UNIVERSITY'S ON-LINE APPLICATION SYSTEM (including reference letters) - no hard copies or electronic copies of documents should be sent to the Department of Linguistics.

The required application documents that need to be uploaded to your graduate application are (Please also read the "Application Requirements for Academic Documents"):

  • Up-to-date official copies of your transcripts for all previous post-secondary schooling showing marks obtained (submitted in the original language, accompanied by a certified English translation)
  • Curriculum Vitae (use the form provided as part of the online application or upload your own)
  • Three letters of reference (referees submit their letters directly to your online application)
  • Statement of research interests (see below for details)
  • Proof of English Language proficiency 
  • A sample of academic writing (a short report or paper)

You will be able to check on the progress of your application by returning to the on-line system, which will provide a listing of documents required and whether or not they have been received by the Department. Incomplete applications may not receive full consideration.

Candidates should read faculty profiles and determine one or two potential supervisors and enter the names  on their application.  

Statement of Interest

One of the most important parts of your application package is the statement of research interests. This statement gives us an idea of what you are interested in studying, how these interests fit with ongoing departmental research, the  expertise of particular faculty members, and whether or not we are the right place for you to pursue your academic goals. The statement is also used to match you with a potential supervisor. A good statement of interest should include:

  • A clear description of the topic and subdisciplinary area you wish to pursue in your studies 
    • topics can be a specific language, speaker population, linguistic structure or theoretical debate, for example.
    • subdisciplines include phonology, morphosyntax, language acquisition or psycholinguistics, for example. 
  • A discussion of the research you intend to pursue on this topic or within this subdiscipline.  This discussion can include the following:  
    • research questions and some relevant literature to frame them
    • the methodology you wish to pursue
    • an indication of the existing academic background you have for undertaking research in this area, including titles of your most relevant courses and a sketch of other experience relevant to your research
  • The reasons why you think that our Department is the right place for you to do this work
  • What faculty member(s) would be your preferred supervisor

A good statement of interest should be about 2 pages long and is the Department's first real introduction to prospective students. A well thought-out statement is often the key element of a successful application package. Generally, research statements for applications to the PhD program are expected to be more specific and show a deeper level of background preparation than for the MSc program. The statement does not bind you in terms of your eventual Master's or doctoral research project. 

Test Scores

Proof of English Language Proficiency

English is the primary language of instruction and communication at the University of Alberta (except for Campus Saint-Jean).The minimum acceptable scores for commonly used English proficiency tests can be found at the Faculty of Graduates Studies and Research website.

All applicants who are required to write an English language proficiency (ELP) test are advised to do so at an early date because ELP scores are used in the departmental selection process and because a satisfactory score is required before the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research will issue an official admission approval letter.

Please note that all applicants who make it to the final round of the selection process will be interviewed by members of the Department of Linguistics. For non-native speakers of English, this interview will become a part of the assessment of the applicant's English-language proficiency, in addition to the requirements specified by the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research.  


Completed Formal Applications and all supporting documentation must be received by January 15 in order for candidates to be considered for admission in September of the same year. Applications arriving after this deadline may be accepted but may not receive full consideration for Departmental Funding.

For further information about admission to our program, contact: