In addition to fulfilling the requirements of theĀ Common Curriculum, students declare an Area of Specialization at the beginning of their 5th semester – a program of study that reflects the student’s specific interests and the general area in which the student expects to ultimately conduct dissertation research. The declaration takes the form of a short statement of purpose describing how the proposed program will further the student’s education and research, including a tentative curricular plan. This statement is developed in consultation with the student’s advisor and other relevant faculty. It is then submitted to the Graduate Program Director, who shares it with the faculty.

Most students choose one of the programs in phonology, syntax, semantics or experimental linguistics described in the links below, which do not require any special approval by the faculty. These programs have been designed to give students both breadth and depth in core topics investigated within the department.

A student may also propose an alternative course of study to satisfy the Area of Specialization requirement, if it is clear that the alternative better suits their specific interests. The alternative program should be similar in size and scope to those listed above. This option has proven useful, for example, for students who want to include an extensive fieldwork component in their program, students who want to supplement their linguistic research with training in a related field, or students whose core interests cross subdisciplinary boundaries within linguistics. Individualized proposals of this sort must be approved by the faculty.

A student’s initial choice of an Area of Specialization is not written in stone, and may be changed in a later semester as the student’s interests and goals develop, with the approval of the faculty. Consult the Graduate Program Director for details.

Much of the additional work required by the student’s Area of Specialization will take place in the third year and later, but students are encouraged to take relevant courses earlier, to the extent that it does not interfere with satisfying the requirements of the Common Curriculum. Relevant advanced seminars taken to satisfy the requirements of the Common Curriculum may be simultaneously counted towards satisfaction of the Area of Specialization requirement as well.