Applications for the Department of Linguistics doctoral and master's degree programs are accepted from September until December 15.


We applaud your interest in an advanced degree in linguistics, and welcome your application. The admission application process is conducted entirely online, through the Office of Graduate Studies website. The window for submission is from early September until the DEADLINE of December 15. Applications are accepted for fall quarter only.




Download and study the Degree Requirements in detail.

Your application must be accompanied by these supporting materials:

  • Three "Letters of Recommendation," preferably from instructors with whom you have taken courses. Your letter writers must upload their statements through the online application system; no paper letters will be accepted. Your recommenders will receive instructions for submitting their recommendations online.
  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) scores if you have not studied at an institution and received a degree where the language of instruction is English. These scores must be current (taken within the past two years). TOEFL should be sent electronically directly from ETS to UC Davis. IELTS scores should be sent to the Graduate Studies Office. More information, including alternatives if neither test is available to an applicant, can be found here:
  • A writing sample, such as a term paper or academic essay, must be submitted electronically as part of the online application for the Ph.D. program.
  • Statement of purpose, describing your academic preparation and motivation; interests, specializations and career goals; and rationale for choosing UC Davis for graduate study. The statement should identify your academic and research experiences that prepare you for this graduate program; your research interests and intended area(s) of specialization; and the ways in which your preparation, experiences and interests match the specific resources and characteristics of the graduate program in the UC Davis Department of Linguistics. Consider indicating specific faculty members with whom you would like to work, and explain how their interests match yours.
  • Personal history and diversity statement, in which you describe how your personal background informs your decision to pursue a graduate degree. You may refer to any educational, familial, cultural, economic or social experiences, challenges, community service, outreach activities, residency and citizenship, first-generation college status, or opportunities relevant to your academic journey; how your life experiences contribute to the social, intellectual or cultural diversity within a campus community and your chosen field; or how you might serve educationally underrepresented and underserved segments of society with your graduate education.
  • Transcripts, as PDF files, for all institutions of higher learning that you have attended. Paper transcripts are not acceptable. Consult the Graduate Studies website for instructions about uploading transcripts.

GRE scores are not required.

International Applicants

International applicants must submit scores from an approved test of English as a foreign language, unless their native language or their language of instruction is English. One of the following minimum scores is required:

To be eligible for all funding opportunities, applicants must file a FAFSA and a fellowship application available from the Office of Graduate Studies.

Because of the increased costs associated with supporting international students, the Graduate Group in Linguistics encourages international applicants to apply for independent funding before submitting an application. Note that funding alone does not guarantee admission. Please consider these facts carefully before you commit to the application process.

For more information, contact the Graduate Coordinator.

Application fee

The application fee must be paid by credit card or e-check before the application will be considered as complete, and the fee must be paid for each application submitted. Consult the Graduate Studies website for fee information.

Department Fee Waiver

The Department of Linguistics at UC Davis offers a very limited number of application fee waivers for students who wish to apply for the Department’s Ph.D. and / or MA program and who meet certain eligibility criteria, described in detail below. The UC Davis Graduate Studies office also offers a separate fee waiver program, please click here for more information. Any applicant may apply for both fee waiver programs, but an applicant may only receive one fee waiver.

If you meet the eligibility requirements for a Department fee waiver, please follow the application instructions listed below. Applications must be received by 5:00 pm Pacific time on December 1, 2023 in order to receive consideration. The Department has a limited number of fee waivers and will prioritize financial need if it receives more applications than available fee waivers. If there are any remaining fee waivers after considering applicants' financial need, the Department will allocate them to eligible applicants by a random lottery.


To receive a fee waiver from the Department, you must be a U.S. citizen, current permanent resident, international student, an AB540 student or a DACA student. You must also demonstrate either: (1) financial need, and /or (2) served in the US military. 

Criterion #1: Financial Need

You can demonstrate financial need in one of the following ways:

  1. You are currently receiving need-based financial aid from your undergraduate or graduate institution. This includes (but is not limited to) being eligible for a federal Pell grant or a Cal Grant A or B as an undergraduate.
  2. You have completed the FAFSA form and your Student Aid Report (SAR) has an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of $3,069 or below. 
  3. Your personal situation makes it financially difficult to pay the graduate application fee. This could include heavy child or elder care responsibilities, current unemployment or a recent emergency that depleted your financial resources.
  4. Your family’s 2022 tax return lists an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) less than or equal to an amount from the table below:
Total Family Size Adjusted Gross Income (AGI)
1 $23, 828
2 $32, 227
3 $40, 626
4 $49, 025
5 $57, 424

For each additional family member, add $8,399 to the highest amount listed above.

Criterion #2: Service in the U.S. Military

If you have served in the U.S. military, you can apply for a Department fee waiver.


  1. Complete the Department’s online fee waiver application.
  2. The Department will notify you whether your Departmental fee waiver request was granted by December 11, 2023.

You must complete the application by 5:00 pm Pacific U.S. time on December 1, 2023.

Note: if you apply for a Department fee waiver, please do not pay the application fee until you have received a notice of your fee waiver status. You will receive notification on or before December 11, 2023.

Additional information

Questions about admissions to the Linguistics Graduate Program at UC Davis should be directed to Stephanie Fallas, graduate coordinator (

Any of the faculty members of the Linguistics Graduate Program (including Linguistics Department faculty members and affiliated faculty members) can serve as major professors for incoming graduate students. For the 2024-2025 academic year, the following faculty members will not be taking new students: Julia Menard-Warwick, Vaidehi Ramanathan.