The School of Social Sciences
The Rice Linguistics Department is the home of an active community of scholars with a wide range of interests. Broadly defined, the department adopts a functional, usage-based approach to language and linguistic theory. A number of recurrent themes emerge in faculty research and the degree programs offered: in-depth investigation of languages, coupled with the search for cross-linguistic generalization; the effects of semantics, language-in-use, sociocultural factors, and other functional influences that motivate and constrain linguistic form; grounding of theories in solid empirical data of many sorts; an interest in the relation between language and mind; and interest in discourse and social/communicative interaction more generally. These interests lead to intensive research activity in empirically well-supported theoretical and descriptive linguistics:
Upon completing the BA degree, a student majoring in Linguistics will be able to:
For general university requirements, see Graduation Requirements. Students pursuing the BA degree with a major in Linguistics (LING) must complete:
Because human language is a multifaceted object of study, linguistics is, by its nature, an interdisciplinary field. The undergraduate major provides both an in-depth grounding in the field as well as cross-disciplinary breadth. Students interested in careers in medically-oriented fields or speech technology are encouraged to meet with the undergraduate advisor to discuss the course most appropriate to their future plans.
CORE REQUIREMENTS Students must complete a total of 8 courses (24 credit hours) as listed below to satisfy the Linguistics major's Core Requirements.
Core Courses Students must complete a total of 6 courses (18 credit hours) as listed below.
Language RequirementStudents must complete 2 courses (6 credit hours) in a foreign language at the 200-level or above or, for non-European languages, at the 100-level or above.
European Languages If students choose to complete the language requirement in European Languages, 2 courses (6 credit hours) must be completed at the 200-level or above from the following departmental course offerings:
Non-European Languages If students choose to complete the language requirement in the Non-European Languages, 2 courses (6 credit hours) must be completed at the 100-level or above from the following departmental course offerings:
ELECTIVESTo fulfill the remaining Linguistics major requirements, students must complete a total of 4 additional courses (12 credit hours) from departmental (LING) course offerings at the 300-level or above. Courses listed in the Core Requirements that were not applied toward the Core Requirements may be applied towards the Elective requirement. No more than one Independent Study course may be applied toward the Linguistics major requirements.
The Linguistics Honors Program provides selected undergraduate majors with the opportunity to conduct supervised research. Majors planning to pursue graduate training in Linguistics or a related field are strongly encouraged to apply, as well as others who wish to add the experience of an intensive, individualized research project to their undergraduate education.
Application to the Honors Program should be made in person to the undergraduate major advisor before the end of the student’s junior year. In support of the application, the student should prepare a brief description of the proposed project signed by the faculty member who is to supervise the work (the project supervisor). Acceptance into the program is by agreement of the linguistics faculty. On acceptance, the student will enroll in LING 482 Honors Project, with the supervising faculty member named as instructor.
The Honors Program framework is designed to facilitate the development of a mentoring relationship between student and faculty member. Students are thus expected to meet regularly with their project supervisor regarding their progress; the supervisor is responsible for providing research guidance and general support.
With the appropriate completion of major requirements and the honors project or thesis, the student will graduate with departmental honors.
Note: Internally, the university uses the following abbreviations (4-digit codes) to identify the Linguistics undergraduate degree and major. The following is a quick reference:
Course Catalog/Schedule - Course offerings/subject code: LING Department Description and Code - Linguistics: LING Degree Description and Code - Bachelor of Arts degree: BA Major Description and Code - Major in Linguistics: LING
The Linguistics Department is not accepting new students into the graduate program for Fall 2016.
The doctoral linguistics program at Rice emphasizes the study of language use and functional/cognitive approaches to linguistic theory. Rice faculty engage in a broad range of research specializations, all of which play an important role for in-depth graduate training. These interrelated areas include cognitive linguistics, language change, sociolinguistics, discourse analysis, language documentation and description, phonetics, laboratory phonology, and typology. Other faculty research interests include phonological theory, acoustic phonetics, speech sciences and technology, syntax, language revitalization, neurolinguistics, and forensic linguistics. The program only admits students planning to study for the PhD degree full time. Undergraduate preparation ideally should include language study and course work in linguistics or disciplines related to linguistics, such as anthropology, applied linguistics, speech and hearing sciences, psychology, sociology, or studies of particular languages, although an advanced degree is not required. Students will earn a master's degree upon advancement to candidacy. Students admitted to the program are generally offered financial support in the form of tuition scholarships and/or stipends for living expenses.
During the first year of residence, each entering student works closely with the graduate advisor to choose a plan of study congruent with the demands of the program and the student’s interests. Emphasis throughout the program is on a close working relationship with faculty. Students should select areas of specialization that fit well with faculty research interests and activities.
Students will, in general, take five years to progress through the degree program. With no prior linguistics background, course work in the first three years will include:
Prior preparation in linguistics will be assessed with regard to its equivalence to particular Rice courses. Graduate students are required to register for at least 12 hours credit per semester before advancing to candidacy. The department requires a minimum semester GPA of 3.0 to avoid probationary status. Students are expected to serve as teaching assistants for one course per year for four of the five years during the time they are receiving departmental support and this service is included in the normal course load.
Before advancing to candidacy, students must prepare two in-depth research papers. Each paper must represent a different area in the field of linguistics (as determined by the linguistics faculty); a separate committee of two members of the faculty reads and referees each paper. The committees are chosen by the student and approved by the student’s faculty mentor. The first publishable paper must be approved no later than the end of the fifth semester. Students who fail to meet this deadline will be dismissed from the program. The second publishable paper must be approved by the beginning of the eighth semester In addition, one of the papers must be presented in the departmental colloquium, and it is expected that students submit their work for presentation at relevant professional meetings and publish their work in venues such as conference proceedings and/or journals when possible.
Finally, students must fulfill the departmental language requirement of competency in at least one language other than English. See the department web page and Linguistics Graduate Student Handbook for specific details.
In the course of the first three years in the program, the student should work toward establishing a close working relationship with various members of the faculty such that multiple faculty members are familiar with the student’s work. During the first year, the graduate advisor serves as the student’s advisor, but after the first year, the student selects a faculty mentor to provide more personalized advising in addition to the general advice of the graduate advisor. After the student’s second paper is accepted, a dissertation advisor is selected and a doctoral committee is formed, by mutual agreement of the student and the anticipated committee members. During the fourth year, students present to their committee members a third research paper, called the dissertation prospectus, consisting of a substantial dissertation proposal and a comprehensive bibliography. It may be based on a grant proposal to an external funding agency, particulary in the case of proposed fieldwork. Upon completion of the prospectus, students will submit to an oral qualifying exam to be administered by the dissertation committee. The exam will consist of two parts, a general exam demonstrating the student’s knowledge of the field and a dissertation prospectus hearing. Upon completion of this qualifying examination, the student will advance to candidacy.
Following advancement to candidacy, the student works full time toward the completion of the dissertation. The student is expected to consult regularly with the committee members during the data collection and writing process. Upon completion of a complete and acceptable draft of the dissertation, the student will then, in consultation with all members of the dissertation committee, schedule a public defense of the work. When the final version of the dissertation is accepted by the doctoral committee and filed with the university and all other requirements are certified as fulfilled, the degree is then granted.
For more in-depth information about the linguistics graduate program requirements, consult the official Linguistics Graduate Student Handbook and the departmental web page at linguistics.rice.edu.
MA Program. Although students are not normally admitted to study for an MA, graduate students may earn the MA after obtaining approval of their candidacy for the PhD. After all the requirements necessary to advance to candidacy have been met, the student may apply for a candidacy master's degree.
The official course offerings, including course descriptions, for Linguistics can be found in Rice's Course Catalog.
To view the most recent course schedule for the 2016-2017 academic year, see Rice's Course Schedule.
For additional information regarding Linguistics, see the department's website: https://linguistics.rice.edu/.