Ph.D. in
Language Science


group of individuals
  UCI language scientist Judith Kroll finds that a diverse linguistic environment boosts brain sensitivity to new learning, and exposure alone may confer some benefits of bilinguality on single-language speakers.




Language is everywhere. Think about how much of what you know, what you do, and who you are has been the result of things you have heard, said, written, or read. And yet despite the vast importance of language for everything we do, we still don't have a full understanding of how human language works from a scientific perspective. We're like fish in water: surrounded by language, but only starting to become aware of its rich complexity. How do children and adults learn language? How is language used strategically in social situations? How do the multiple languages spoken by a multilingual person interact in their brain? What explains the huge variety of languages we see in the world? How does the brain manage to coordinate the complex processes involved in speaking and hearing in real time, and how could we design computer systems to do the same thing? Here at the UC Irvine Department of Language Science, we're actively investigating these exciting questions, pushing the frontiers of scientific knowledge about human language. We invite you to join us in this pursuit.



Our PhD program offers an integrative approach to the scientific study of language, exploring interfaces between traditional frameworks while fostering a more complete understanding of the human communication system. Our aim is to train self-directed, successful researchers capable of innovative thinking at the forefront of language science. This training emphasizes empirical grounding, state-of-the-art methods for hypothesis generation and testing, and effective scientific communication. Our program also incorporates curricular flexibility and prioritization of research early in the graduate career.

Over the course of graduate training, special attention is given to providing hands-on research experience and equipping students with sophisticated quantitative methods and technical communication skills. These skills allow students to target a broad range of careers, both within academia (as research professors, research scientists, and teaching professors) and in industry (as language engineers, knowledge engineers, language analysts, social media analysts, computational linguists, speech scientists, and educational technologists). Expertise in languages other than English makes graduates even more competitive for industry and government positions.

All PhD admission offers guarantee a five-year financial support package. Our faculty and graduate students also have a track record of earning competitive research and fellowship funding from national agencies such as the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.






Full-time, on-campus with housing.




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  • Bilingualism & cognition
  • Computational linguistics / Natural language processing
  • Experimental approaches
  • Language development
  • Language structure
  • Neurolinguistics
  • Psycholinguistics
  • Quantitative approaches
  • Semantics & pragmatics
  • Speech perception



Our program provides a new, integrative approach to the science of language, drawing methods broadly from all fields of science and exploring connections between traditional and contemporary methods, results, and theories. This synthesis enables exciting opportunities for collaboration and cross-fertilization.
Students work with faculty advisors using innovative technologies in quantitative, neuroscientific, and behavioral approaches to scientific inquiry. Training incorporates curricular flexibility, technical communication skills development, and prioritization of research early in the graduate career.



If an integrative approach to the scientific study of language, full funding, opportunities to publish, and a proven track record of excellence in the field is what you’re looking for, contact us today to learn more about UCI’s PhD program in Language Science.



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