Frequently Asked Questions about graduate study

Questions

1. I am interested in [your favorite area]. Can I study this at Maryland?

2. I am interested in Second Language Acquisition (SLA). Can I study this in your program?

3. I am interested in working with [faculty member X]. Is s/he taking new students this year?

4. I am unsure whether my interests are best served by the PhD program in Linguistics or by the PhD program in Neuroscience and Cognitive Science (NACS). Which is more appropriate?

5. I am interested in psycholinguistics or cognitive neuroscience or computational linguistics, but I am concerned that a PhD in Linguistics may impact my future job prospects. Is this true?

6. Can I pursue an MA degree in your department?

7. Can I pursue a part-time PhD in your department?

8. I would like to pursue a degree in Computational Linguistics, but I have limited programming experience. Is this feasible at Maryland?

9. I have submitted an on-line application some days ago, but the Application Supplemental Form (ASF) invitation has not yet reached me.

10. I am scheduled to take the GRE General test, but will not receive scores until after the application deadline. What should I do?

11. I have an MA degree in Linguistics. Can I transfer credits from this degree towards a PhD at Maryland?

12. Do international students have access to the same financial aid possibilities as American students?

13. What are my chances of admission to the PhD program? This depends very much on individual circumstances, and on the availability of funding in the department.

14. I submitted my application materials some time ago, but my online Application Status is still listed as incomplete. What should I do?


Answers

  1. I am interested in [your favorite area]. Can I study this at Maryland?

    The department offers outstanding resources for Ph.D. study in three areas of focus: (i) theoretical linguistics (especially syntax, semantics, and phonology); (ii) psycholinguistics (first language acquisition, language processing, neurolinguistics, cognitive and computational neuroscience, computational modeling); (iii) computational linguistics (natural language processing, machine translation, cognitive computational modeling, etc.). Successful applicants to the graduate program usually have strong interests in one or more of these areas. Prospective students are encouraged to consult faculty and student web pages to determine whether the department provides a good match to their research interests. If in doubt, contact the Graduate Admissions Director, Dr. Jeffrey Lidz.
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  2. I am interested in Second Language Acquisition (SLA). Can I study this in your program?

    The School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at the University of Maryland now offers a strong PhD program in SLA, and students with a primary interest in SLA should look to these programs rather than to Linguistics. Nevertheless, the Department of Linguistics values its cooperation with the School of Languages, and encourages students to consider SLA as a secondary area of research specialization.
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  3. I am interested in working with [faculty member X]. Is s/he taking new students this year?

    Questions of this nature may be directed to individual faculty members.
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  4. I am unsure whether my interests are best served by the PhD program in Linguistics or by the PhD program in Neuroscience and Cognitive Science (NACS). Which is more appropriate?

    Students with interests in psycholinguistics or cognitive neuroscience may pursue either of these programs. Contact the Graduate Admissions Director or a prospective advisor to discuss which program is more suitable to your individual needs. A number of students in the Linguistics PhD program now also pursue the new NACS Certificate program, which provides official recognition for additional coursework in cognitive (neuro-)science. Many students with interests in this area are also attracted by the new interdisciplinary opportunities provided by our NSF-IGERT program in Biological and Computational Foundations of Language Diversity.
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  5. I am interested in psycholinguistics or cognitive neuroscience or computational linguistics, but I am concerned that a PhD in Linguistics may impact my future job prospects.Is this true?

    In recent years close to 90% of the department's graduates have secured jobs in teaching or research after graduation. This includes a number of appointments in Psychology, Computer Science, or Cognitive (Neuro-)Science programs. Although prejudices persist in some quarters, the most vibrant departments are the least prejudiced. We believe that students are most successful when they are in an environment that motivates and excites them, regardless of the title of the department or the name of their degree. It is also worth noting that psycholinguistics and computational linguistics are important current growth areas in Linguistics Departments.
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  6. Can I pursue an MA degree in your department?

    No. The department does not admit students who intend to pursue a terminal MA degree. An MA degree exists officially, but it is used only in cases where students leave the department before completing the PhD.
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  7. Can I pursue a part-time PhD in your department?

    This is very rare, although the department has allowed this under special circumstances. The department does not offer financial aid for part-time students.
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  8. I would like to pursue a degree in Computational Linguistics, but I have limited programming experience. Is this feasible at Maryland?

    Unlikely. Most students with a focus on Computational Linguistics enter the program with significant prior experience in CL or a related area. Students with limited CL experience but strong formal/mathematical skills are encouraged to contact the Graduate Admissions Director or a CL faculty member to discuss their application. Note that experience with computer-assisted language learning (CALL) is not normally useful preparation for CL research at Maryland.
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  9. I have submitted an on-line application some days ago, but the Application Supplemental Form (ASF) invitation has not yet reached me.

    In this case first check whether an email from the University of Maryland was caught by your junk email filter. If this fails, contact Dr. Jeffrey Lidz, who can access a copy of the ASF invitation.
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  10. I am scheduled to take the GRE General test, but will not receive scores until after the application deadline. What should I do?

    Inform the department about the scores as soon as you have them, even if this is after the deadline. Alert the Graduate Admissions Director to this delay, and feel free to submit unofficial scores before you receive the official scores.
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  11. I have an MA degree in Linguistics. Can I transfer credits from this degree towards a PhD at Maryland?

    Very unlikely. The course credit requirements for our PhD program are more flexible than most Linguistics PhD programs.
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  12. Do international students have access to the same financial aid possibilities as American students?

    Yes! The department's financial aid offers are unaffected by a student's national origin.
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  13. What are my chances of admission to the PhD program?

    This depends very much on individual circumstances, and on the availability of funding in the department. In a typical year the department receives a little over 100 applications and is able to make offers of admission to 10-15 students. In recent years most students who have been admitted to the PhD program have chosen to come to Maryland.
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  14. I submitted my application materials some time ago, but my online Application Status is still listed as incomplete. What should I do?

    This does not necessarily mean that your documents have not been received. The Application Status is only marked as complete once the Department of Linguistics has manually confirmed that all materials have been processed in the department. This will not occur until at least a couple of weeks after the application deadline. Contact Dr. Jeffrey Lidz via email if you are concerned about receipt of your application materials.
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