Graduate Admission

Applicants must have completed a bachelor's degree for

For the MATESL program, an undergraduate major in linguistics, English, a foreign language, or education is generally recommended, though other majors are also acceptable. Applicants must present a grade point average of at least 3.0 (A = 4.0) for the last 60 hours of undergraduate work. Two years of coursework in a foreign language or the equivalent are also required. TOEFL score of 103 or above is required for full-status dmission; students with TOEFL scores below 103 may be considered for limited-status admission, please see the requirements page. GRE scores are also required (no minimum score required). For further guidance on applying to the MATESL program, see MATESL Program Application.

For the PhD program in Linguistics, undergraduate preparation should include the study of at least one foreign language; a course equivalent to LING 400 (Introduction to Linguistic Structure) on this campus; and a broad background in the humanities, social sciences, and/or mathematics. Please note that applicants for a graduate degree in Linguistics are considered only for admission to the PhD; beginning in August 2019, there is no admission to the MA in Linguistics. Students in the PhD program in Linguistics may obtain the MA in Linguistics upon completing the requirements for Stage 1 of the PhD.

The graduate admission process to the MATESL program and the PhD program in Linguistics is handled jointly by the Graduate College, the Department of Linguistics, and the SLCL Graduate Student Services office.  Applications are accepted for fall admission only.

Please go to this link to start your graduate application.

The Graduate College web site contains links to information for applicants as well as application instructions and the link to the application itself.  The application fee ($70 domestic applicant/$90 international applicant) can be paid online by credit card (Visa or Mastercard) and the application will then be made available to the department.


The online application will accept uploads of the following required application materials for all graduate degrees in the Department of Linguistics.  Please do not send them to the department or Graduate College:

  • Personal Statement, 1-2 pages
  • Resume or CV
  • Scanned transcripts, Certificates of Degree and/or Diplomas for all post-secondary schools attended (undergraduate and graduate) with English translations when applicable.  Official documents (originals or “attested” copies) will be required if you are admitted.
  • Three (3) Letters of Recommendation submitted online by your letter writers (preferably professors who have had you in class)
  • Writing Sample (such as a research paper) of 10-20 pages (MA and PhD in Linguistics only). MATESL applicants should also submit a writing sample, but there is no length requirement.

Also required:

  • GRE score report (taken within the last five (5) years) should be sent by ETS to institution code #1836, dept. #00.  There is no minimum score requirement.
  • Non-native English speakers must also ask ETS to supply their TOEFL iBT score report (103 total or higher preferred with a minimum score of 24 in the speaking subsection; please see for the details) or upload their IELTS score report to the online application.  The test provided must be taken within two (2) years of the term of entry.  This requirement may be waived if within five years of the term of enrollment, you have completed at least two academic years of full-time study or completed a graduate degree in a country where English is the primary language of instruction.  Please note, however, that this waiver is for admission purposes only and does not provide an exemption from the English Proficiency Requirement below for non-native English speaking teaching assistants.

All applicants whose native language is not English must pass the speaking section of the TOEFL iBT with a minimum score of 24, or the speaking section of the IELTS with a minimum score of 8, or pass the English Proficiency Interview, to be awarded financial aid in the form of a Teaching Assistantship.  This requirement is NOT waived and no TAship will be awarded prior to passing one of these exams.  

Please refer to English Proficiency Requirement for Admission for more detailed information, taking special notice of the link to the English Proficiency Requirement for International Teaching Assistants (see also for more information about oral English assessment for International TAs).

Your application for fall 2022 must be complete (with all of the required elements on file) no later than January 4, 2022 at 11:00 PM Central Time.  All admitted applicants are considered for financial aid based on their application materials and funds available.  Financial aid may be awarded in the form of fellowships, assistantships, or a combination of the two.

There are many opportunities for financial aid at the University of Illinois other than those provided by the department.  The Graduate College Fellowship Office has a website Financial Assistance which describes various kinds of financial assistance available for graduate students.  It also has a database, accessible for various fellowship opportunities potentially available to you.  In addition, there are fellowship opportunities available to graduate students studying specific languages through the FLAS Fellowships program.

If you are interested in second language acquisition, it is important that you know about the SLATE (Second Language Acquisition and Teacher Education) advanced certificate program.  Another option is the Language and Speech Processing certificate program.  Students enrolled in our Ph.D. program can simultaneously earn either of these certificates.

Alternative forms of admission are also available.  Domestic students may apply for non-degree graduate student status and previous graduate students of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign may apply for re-entry.  Please contact SLCL Graduate Student Services for information on how to do so.

For detailed program information, please see the University’s Programs of Study Guide. 

Contacts for Graduate Admission:

  • Should you need assistance with the application process itself, please address your questions to SLCL Graduate Student Services at
  • If you have questions about the graduate programs in Linguistics, please direct them to our Director of Graduate Admissions, Prof. Tania Ionin.