General Program Questions

Do I need to have a background in linguistics to be considered for your program?

Masters applicants—Not necessarily. While a background in linguistics is beneficial, students without a linguistics undergraduate degree and with an interest and drive for linguistics should still consider applying for our MA/MS program(s). Our admissions committee reviews all applications equally and welcomes applications from those with backgrounds in other areas of discipline. Be sure to review the requirements for the program you're interested in to be sure you’ve met the listed prerequisite coursework.

PhD applicants—The strongest applicants are those with previous experience in linguistics, though all applications are reviewed and considered fully and equally.

Do you offer conditional admission to your MA/MS programs?

Because admission to our graduate programs is competitive, conditional offers of admission are extremely rare.

Do you offer an online program?

All of our programs are in-person and don't offer any online alternatives.

I have completed some of the pre-requisite coursework for the Computational Linguistics Program, but not all of it. Can I still apply for the program?

Yes, if you have completed some of the prerequisite coursework, we encourage you to apply. Applications are considered in their entirety.

Are research opportunities available to graduate students?

Yes. As a Tier 1 research facility, the University of Rochester and our department encourage students to seek these opportunities.

Am I required to declare an allied field?

Interdisciplinary research is encouraged at the University of Rochester. Many of our students have benefited from engaging in interdisciplinary work with other departments at the University of Rochester. These departments include computer science, philosophy, biomedical engineering, and brain and cognitive sciences, and might include diverse fields such as anthropology or music theory at the Eastman School of Music.

Funding Availability Questions

Do you offer any funding, teaching or research assistantships for graduate students?

Our PhD program is fully funded. PhD students receive a tuition scholarship and a stipend to cover living expenses. The Department of Linguistics does not offer similar funding to MA/MS students. While a limited number of TA/RA positions are available to graduate students, these positions are not guaranteed to all students.

Are paid teaching and research assistantships provided for all incoming students?

These are program aspects that are required for PhD students. Because both teaching assistance and research are both required by the program, a PhD student may find additional research funding through grants. TA and RA positions can only be paid after the program requirements have been completed.

Where can I find the approximate salary range both for teaching and research assistant?

Research and teaching assistantship pay varies between program requirements, available and types of research and teaching assistantship positions, active projects, and individual student responsibility. Paid RA and TA positions are not guaranteed and depend on these factors.

Are graduate students responsible for health insurance costs or it is covered by the university?

All graduate students are required to have health insurance. If a student is covered by a spouse’s, parent’s, or other health insurance plan, they may waive the requirement by providing proof of insurance to the University. This would be done before matriculation.

If a student is not covered by an external health insurance plan, they must enroll in University health insurance and are typically responsible for that expense. PhD students, however, receive health insurance in their funding package.

International Applicants

Are all international applicants required to take an English Proficiency Exam? Do you accept international applicants who have not?

All international students whose native language is not English are required to provide proof of English language proficiency through the submission of official test scores.

The English proficiency test requirement is waived for citizens of the following countries whose native language is English:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Commonwealth Caribbean Nations
  • Ghana
  • Ireland
  • Kenya
  • Liberia
  • New Zealand
  • Nigeria
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • Uganda
  • United Kingdom
  • Virgin Islands

The requirement may also be waived if a student has completed at least three years of full time and in-person postsecondary study in one of the countries listed above or the United States. We reserve the right to require further demonstration of English proficiency, even if you have received your degree from one of the above mentioned countries.

If you would like to be granted a waiver for these exams, please email

What is the appropriate documentation to prove my program was taught in English?

Applicants whose previous program was taught in English may submit an official letter from their previous institution confirming that the program’s teaching language is English. This should be emailed to and submitted with your application materials.

What is the minimum required TOEFL/IELTS/GRE score?

The minimum recommended score for each exam is:

  • TOEFL: 95+
  • IELTS: 7+
  • Duolingo: 120
  • GRE: No minimum score
My score does not meet the recommended minimum EPE score. Will I be admitted/Should I still apply?

While the EPE scores have historically been a strong indicator of a successful program, we encourage prospective students to apply even if language proficiency exam scores do not meet the recommended minimum. Supplemental English language courses are available through the University of Rochester to help students improve their communication and writing skills.

Where can I find more information about visa requirements and international admissions?

See the International Services Office website for more information about becoming an international student at the University of Rochester.