Frequently Asked Questions

Please review the following frequently asked questions. If you need further clarification or have a specific question not listed below, email

You may also find the Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs FAQ page helpful in answering broader questions related to graduate programs and admissions.

The University of Rochester recognizes the significant impacts COVID-19 has had on the spring and fall 2020 terms. As they review applications, our admissions committee is aware of the variety of grading policies implemented and the impacts these policies have on a student’s GPA. We continue to evaluate applicants holistically recognizing the context of each individual's application. As always, candidates may use their personal statements or recommendation letters to highlight special circumstances or achievements that may not be apparent due to alterations in grading policies at their school.

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 admission 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?

Online curriculum is currently available due to COVID-19; however, all of our programs are normally in-person programs.

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. You are therefore strongly encouraged to choose an allied field, but it is not a strict requirement.

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 modest 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.

International Applicants

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

An English Proficiency Exam (EPE) is required by the University for all international applicants. There are two exceptions to this policy:

  • The applicant’s previous degree was earned at an institution in one of countries listed below.
  • The applicant’s previous degree program was taught in English.

If an applicant’s previous degree program was not earned at an institution in one of the countries listed below but was taught in English, appropriate documentation is required.

Universities in the following countries are exempt from language proficiency exams:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Ireland
  • New Zealand
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
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.