The Ph.D. requires a minimum of 36 hours beyond the master's; 12 hours of these consist of one upper-level syntax course, one upper-level phonology course, and two seminars. An 18-hour specialty area is also required, which should be agreed upon with the committee and approved by the faculty. In addition, students must achieve proficiency in a foreign language; pass the Ph.D. comprehensive examinations in phonological theory, syntactic theory, theory of language change, and the specialty area; and write and defend a dissertation. Three years of residence are required, as is supervised experience in teaching and research.
Students must develop scholarly expertise in a language or language family that is of relevance to the student’s research program. The language requirement must be satisfied prior to conducting the dissertation research. The student and advisor should choose a language and develop a plan for demonstrating proficiency.
To pass the comprehensive examination for the Ph.D., a student must submit two papers of publishable quality and present each orally as part of the departmental colloquium. One of the papers must be in phonology or syntax and the other in an area of the student's choosing, which may be the proposed dissertation area but must be distinct from the area of the first paper.
In the semester following the comprehensive examination, but no later than the sixth semester of enrollment in the Ph.D. program, a student presents a dissertation prospectus to the dissertation committee. The dissertation prospectus consists of a formal statement of the dissertation topic and proposed research program which is defended by the student before the dissertation committee; the dissertation committee must approve the prospectus in order for the student to proceed with the dissertation.
The dissertation is a major research work on a topic chosen by the student and approved by the dissertation committee. After the dissertation committee reads and approves the dissertation it is orally defended by the student in a public defense. A copy of the dissertation must be available to the faculty at least two weeks prior to the defense.