Students entering the PhD program commence in September. The program does not have winter or summer term start dates.  A calendar listing of all Faculty of Graduate Studies programs and requirements is available at:

The PhD program in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics approaches the study of language from a variety of perspectives, with a primary focus on language in its social context. Students may concentrate their research in any number of areas, ranging from core linguistics (phonetics/phonology and syntax), through sociolinguistics (discourse analysis, language contact, language variation and change, and language and law) to applied linguistics (language policy and planning, culture and identity, and language teaching and learning). The different approaches of faculty interests provide students with the opportunity to conduct research that bridges fields within the program. Our vision for the program blurs traditional concepts of what constitutes Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, which have much to learn from and to share with each other.


Faculty in Linguistics work with topics related to the structure and usage of human language. Linguistics focuses on the description and explanation of patterns of phonetic, phonological, morphological and syntactic structure. Sociolinguistics links language structure with its social and cultural context, focusing on the deployment of linguistic resources in discourse, the conditioning of language use by language-internal and social factors, and the role of language contact in initiating and propagating language change. Sociolinguistics also has an interest in the social and political relationships between groups of different linguistic backgrounds and in the manipulation of language to signal social relationships, identities and attitudes.

Applied Linguistics

Faculty in Applied Linguistics examine language in society and as social practice, and research topics related to second and additional language education. These are broadly defined to include matters central to second language education including areas such as instructed second language acquisition, culture and identity, sociocultural theory, language policy and planning, multiliteracies and technology-mediated language teaching and learning. Issues related to English for Academic Purposes (EAP) are reflected in several faculty research agendas, as well as in various graduate courses.

Advisors work with incoming PhD students to structure a program of study that provides them with a grounding in the field they want to work in, but which also ensures their exposure to other perspectives and issues, to broaden their understanding of how their research relates to the larger social and linguistic contexts. Through careful advising, student presentations, workshops, guest speaker series, and informal as well as formal opportunities to hear about the work of other students and faculty in the program, students work to build a broad understanding of Linguistics and Applied Linguistics as they prepare for academic careers and future leadership roles.

The program is structured on a four-year model, as follows:

Year 1: 6 three-credit courses
Year 2: Qualifying examination; dissertation proposal
Year 3: Doctoral research
Year 4: Doctoral research; dissertation completion

Admission Requirements

  • Masters-level degree in linguistics (or equivalent) with a minimum B+ grade point average
  • Statement of Intent of up to 500 words (2 pages, double spaced) outlining your research interest and your proposed area of study
  • Resume or CV
  • A course listing of previously taken linguistics and applied linguistics related courses with a brief course description. When uploading your admissions material, your course listing should be scanned and uploaded with your transcript.
  • Letter of employment confirming a minimum of 2 years teaching experience (Applied Linguistics applicants only). When uploading your admissions material, your letter of employment should be scanned and uploaded with your resume or CV.
  • 2 letters of recommendation from university faculty who are qualified to comment on your suitability for doctoral-level work
  • Sample of written work (maximum 1,500 words or 6 pages, double spaced). The Admissions Committee would like to see a short sample of writing. It should ideally be an excerpt of academic writing from an assignment, journal, or article, or another related document.

Please Note: Applicants need not contact our Faculty members directly regarding supervisions. The supervisory process does not take place during the application process but rather once an applicant starts the program. PhD applicants are asked to review our faculty information to ensure that there are members with similar interests as theirs and to make suggestions on their application as to who they would like to work with. This information can be included with the statement of intent.

PhD Applicants who have studied at a university where English is not the official main language of instruction must, with their application, also produce proof of an English Equivalency score. An unofficial copy of the score can be scanned and uploaded with your transcript.


  • Paper-based: 600
  • Computer-based: 250
  • iBT: 100


  • Overall Band Score: 7.5