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MIT Linguistics: Department of Linguistics & Philosophy

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Graduate Program

Five Year PhD Program
Specialization in Phonology & Phonetics

Recently there has been growing recognition of the extent to which the phonetic grounding of phonological patterns enriches our understanding of phonological systems. These issues have moved into the forefront of research, raising anew questions about the nature of the phonology/phonetics interface. For this reason it is now impracticable to work in cutting edge phonological theory without a solid background in phonetics. The course of study outlined below is designed to meet this goal by providing students of phonology and phonetics with the tools necessary to integrate phonetic knowledge and techniques into their research. The program combines the resources of the linguistics department (including the study of speech perception in the auditory cortex using MEG) with MIT's internationally renowned speech lab, allowing for a unique synthesis of phonology, psycholinguistics and engineering.


Professor Adam Albright, Dept. of Linguistics and Philosophy

Professor Edward Flemming, Dept. of Linguistics and Philosophy

Professor Michael Kenstowicz, Dept. of Linguistics and Philosophy

Dr. Joseph Perkell, RLE Speech Communication Group

Dr. Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel, RLE Speech Communication Group

Professor Donca Steriade, Dept. of Linguistics and Philosophy

Professor Kenneth Stevens, RLE Speech Communication Group

Professor Morris Halle (emeritus), Dept. of Linguistics and Philosophy

Professor James Harris (emeritus), Dept. of Linguistics and Philosophy

Professor Jay Keyser (emeritus), Dept. of Linguistics and Philosophy


Students enrolled in this program fulfill all the normal requirements of the Linguistics Program. In addition they take five extra courses and write another research paper. Students in the program also attend weekly research group meetings after completing the first two years of the curriculum.

Required Courses

24.963, Linguistic Phonetics
24.964, Topics in Phonology (also satisfies the advanced seminar requirement for the 4 year program)
24.967, Topics in Experimental Phonology

Additional courses

Three advanced courses in phonology, phonetics, morphology or psycholinguistics.

6.542J/24.966J, Laboratory on the Physiology, Acoustics, and Perception of Speech
6.541J/24.968J, Speech Communication
24.945J/9.591J, Language Processing
24.965, Morphology
24.981, Topics in Computational Phonology
Interface Seminars: e.g. Intonation; Psycholinguistic Experimentation and Cognitive Models; Speech Production

Paper Requirement

In addition to the two generals papers already required, students write another research paper during their third year based on original laboratory research.

Phonology Circle

All students in the program who have completed their first two years toward the Ph.D. in Linguistics are expected to attend and to participate actively in the Phonology Circle, a weekly meeting where they present work in progress, read and discuss current literature, and interact with guest speakers.