Graduate Admissions

We welcome your application to our department, and hope you can join our community of scholars!

How to Apply

To be considered for admission to the graduate program, applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent and have an academic record that suggests the applicant can successfully complete graduate work in linguistics. In determining qualifications for admission, attention is paid to academic achievements, potential for research, and intellectual interest as indicated by the statement of purpose, transcripts of past academic work, and letters of recommendation.

All applications to graduate tracks must be made online. Buttons below will direct you to create an account and start an application.

Application Deadlines

December 15: applications are due for all prospective PhD students
wishing to be considered for funding.

Prospective PhD students wishing to be considered for funding are
encouraged to consult the faculty listing to see which faculty have
research interests that overlap with theirs and to contact them before
applying to get feedback on their plans to pursue a PhD in the
Department of Linguistics.

Please see here for information regarding funding changes during the 2019-2020 application cycle (which is for candidates seeking admission in 2020-2021).

March 1: applications are due for all international MA/MS applicants
and international PhD applicants with external funding.

Review of other graduate program applications will continue until
processing in time for Fall admission becomes unfeasible.

Required Application Documents:

  1. Copies of all B.A. and Graduate Transcripts (and certified English translations, if applicable)
  2. GRE Scores (please request ETS to forward your GRE scores to SUNY University at Buffalo, institution code 2925, and attach a copy of your GRE score sheet to your application)
  3. Personal Statement
  4. Three Letters of Recommendation (requests will automatically be sent to the professors listed in the recommendation section)
  5.  Writing Sample (recommended, but not required; a writing sample can influence the admission decision both positively and negatively)
  6. C.V. (required for Ph.D. program and Computational Linguistics M.S. program; recommended for M.A. programs)
  7. TOEFL or IELTS Scores (applies to international applicants only; please request ETS to forward your TOEFL or IELTS scores to SUNY University at Buffalo, institution code 2925 and attach a copy of your TOEFL/IELTS scores to your application. Please note that all international applicants must also take the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE test within two years of the date they plan to enroll at U.B. except for those who are citizens of:  Australia, Canada (except Quebec), Ireland, New Zealand and the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland).  International applicants who have obtained a U.S. degree or have studied in the U.S. for 2 years or more, had a minimum GPA of 2.0, and have had a break of less than 3 years from obtaining their U.S. degree are also automatically exempt from having to take the TOEFL/IELTS/PTE test. 
  8. $75 Application Fee

*Typically, only our PhD applicants will be considered for departmental financial support. MA/MS applicants are encouraged to seek funding through UB's Office of Financial Aid

GRE Test and Scores

All applicants are required to take the GRE exam.

MA Admissions: The Admissions Committee prefers a combined quantitative and verbal GRE score of at least 300 and an analytical writing score of at least 3.0.*

PhD Admissions: The Admissions Committee prefers a combined quantitative and verbal GRE score of at least 315 and an analytical writing score of at least 4.0.*

*In exceptional cases, evidence from other areas of the application may compensate for lower GRE scores.

TOEFL or IELTS Test and Scores

All international applicants must also provide TOEFL or IELTS scores.

The minimum TOEFL score set by UB for admission is 550 paper-based, 79 internet-based, or 6.5 IELTS. However, the Linguistics Department Admissions Committee prefers a TOEFL score of 600 paper-based, 100 internet-based, or an IELTS score of at least 7.5.

The TOEFL or IELTS test must be taken within two years of the date a student plans to enroll at UB. The two-year limit is waived for those who are currently studying at a U.S. university, providing the minimum score of 79 iBT, 6.5 IELTS (with no sub-score below 6.0) was obtained when admitted to the U.S. university, and the applicant has a copy of the original score sheet which must be attached to the online application.

Application Fee

The graduate application fee is $75 U.S. (payable online or by check or money order made payable to the University at Buffalo). Applicants to MA or MS tracks who reside in New York State are eligible to apply for an application fee waiver, provided they have an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 and meet the admissions deadlines.

Accepted and Transfer Students

Accepted MA students who are interested in one of the departement's four areas of specialization have up to four years to complete their coursework and take the comprehensive exam. The majority of students complete the MA track within two years.

The PhD track consists of an MA phase and a PhD phase. Advancement to the PhD phase is conditional on satisfying the set MA requirements and performing adequately in the MA phase. Students who are admitted to the PhD phase but leave after satisfying the requirements of the MA phase will receive an MA degree. Students who decide to leave with the MA have the option of doing a set of comprehensive exams instead of the MA project/qualifying paper.

Linguistics MA degrees from other institutions are not equivalent to the MA at the University at Buffalo. However, applicants with graduate courses in linguistics from another institution can apply for transfer credit. All requirements of the MA phase at UB must be completed before advancing to the PhD phase. Students can obtain transfer credit of up to 36 credit hours, substantially reducing the amount of required course work.

With questions about the graduate application process, please contact the Director of Graduate Admissions.