To be admitted to the doctoral program, applicants must satisfy the Institute requirements for admission to the Graduate School, and must be formally accepted by the linguistics faculty of the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy as a candidate for the Ph.D. degree. The Department does not offer a Master's degree.
Applicants to the linguistics program are very strongly urged to send one or more copies of major research papers (term papers, research reports, theses). These papers need not necessarily be about linguistics, but they should demonstrate an applicant's ability to pursue serious scholarly inquiry. Submitting more than one piece of work is especially appropriate for applicants with research experience in multiple relevant areas. At least one of the writing samples should be written in English, but additional writings in another language can sometimes also be reviewed.
The department discourages applications for admission to our graduate program from students with extensive experience in linguistics beyond the Masters level. Applicants who are far advanced in their post-graduate education or who already hold a PhD in linguistics would be better advised to apply as a Visiting Scholar.
Students are only admitted into the program in the fall. The application deadline is January 2nd for the following September. Decisions are communicated to applicants by early March.
GRE scores are not required for admission to the doctoral program.
MIT requires international applicants whose native language is not English to submit the results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).
TOEFL: Minimum score required: 577
(233 for computer-based)
(90 for internet-based)
Department code: 04 (Linguistics)
IELTS: Minimum score required: 6.5
However, the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy does grant waivers. In general, we grant waivers to students who have received a degree from an American or English-speaking university, or who show an extensive background in English. We ask that students who request a TOEFL waiver have their recommenders comment in depth on their English speaking, reading and writing skills as a part of the recommendation. We also strongly suggest that they submit a writing sample in English.