The PhD is offered in Language Science.

The Language Science PhD provides interdisciplinary training across a broad range of topics relating to the scientific study of language that spans fields such as linguistics, cognitive science, psychology, computer science, philosophy, logic, neuroscience, speech, hearing, education, and engineering. This integrative approach to the science of language explores interfaces between traditional frameworks, fostering a more complete understanding of the human communication system. Emphasis is placed on contemporary techniques of theory construction and empirical investigation, and students are prepared for research and teaching careers in academia, industry, and government. Special attention is given to providing intensive hands-on research experience and equipping students with sophisticated quantitative methods and technical communication skills. 


How to Apply

Who should apply

While undergraduate training in linguistics is desirable, applications are also welcomed from students with backgrounds in other areas, including cognitive science, psychology, computer science, neuroscience, logic, philosophy, mathematics, engineering, hearing, speech, language studies, education, and anthropology. 

Interested in applying to our graduate program? Applications must be submitted using UCI's Online Application for Graduate Admissions

The UCI campus uses a fully-online graduate application program, Slate. All applications and supplemental application materials are to be sent through Slate, by the applicant. Letters of recommendation will be submitted by recommenders through the application portal.

The deadline to apply is DECEMBER 1. Admission decisions for our program are made in March. Please note that we do not make mid-year (winter or spring) admission offers. Admission is for the beginning of fall only.

The Graduate Admissions Committee will meet in December to review applicant files and to determine who will receive an invitation to join us during our annual Graduate Recruitment Visit. This year's recruitment will take place on late February or early March. This visit is by invitation only. Invitations will be sent out in late December-early January.



For the Fall 2020 application cycle, the GRE test scores are not required for students planning to apply to our program. Note that applicants are still welcome to submit their GRE scores as part of their application if they choose. (For instance, this may be helpful if applicants feel the GRE scores showcase something that the rest of their application does not.)

 Please note that:

  • We do not require applicant file scores from any of the various GRE (subject) tests available.

  • GRE test results are not valid for more than five years.

For further information about the GRE as part of the application, please see:


Sample of Technical Writing

To assess both the potential for academic research and the current technical communication skills of applicants, a sample of technical writing is required as part of the application. This should be a paper on a scientific topic written solely or primarily by the applicant. (For example, an honors thesis or term paper is a good technical writing sample, but a manuscript where the applicant isn’t the first author is not.)


English-Language Proficiency Requirement (for International Applicants)

The internet-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL-ibT) is required by the School of Social Sciences for all international applicants whose primary language is not English. (This requirement does not apply to citizens of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.)

International applicants are required to submit language test scores with the application for admission. US citizens are not required to provide TOEFL scores. The School's TOEFL policy for US permanent residents and international applicants is here.

We cannot waive this requirement for admission and financial support consideration even for those who hold or are completing an undergraduate or advanced degree in the United States. However, an exception can be made for applicants who graduated high school in the United States after four full years of attendance. In such cases, an official copy of the applicant's high school transcript must be submitted.

For a listing of countries where English is considered the primary or dominant language and for further information about this requirement, please see

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) 

The TOEFL is administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS).

Important Reminders:

  • Select institution code 4859 to have your official score sent to UCI.

  • Test results that are two years old or older are not acceptable.

  • Results of institutional (non-ETS) administrations of the TOEFL are not acceptable.

The minimum TOEFL scores required to be eligible for admissions and financial support consideration are

bullet TOEFL Score Requirement for Admissions Consideration: 80

bullet TOEFL Speaking Sub-Score Requirement for Financial Support Consideration: 26/30

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

As an alternative to the TOEFL, you may submit scores from the Academic Modules of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

Important Reminders:

  • UC Irvine's Graduate Division only accepts scores submitted electronically by the IELTS test center.

  • No paper Test Report Forms will be accepted.

  • An institutional code is NOT required.

Contact the test center directly where you took the IELTS test and request that your test scores be sent electronically using the IELTS system. All IELTS test centers worldwide are able to send scores electronically to our institution.

The minimum IELTS scores required to be eligible for admissions and financial support consideration are

bullet IELTS Score Requirement for Admissions Consideration: 7 (overall for admission); no less than 6 (on any individual module)

bullet IELTS Speaking Sub-Score Requirement for Financial Support Consideration: 8/9


Costs and Financial Support

The current financial support package offered to students admitted into our program is for five years - fifteen quarters - of enrollment contingent on satisfactory academic standing and progress. Satisfactory progress in the department is evaluated based on acceptable completion of course work, timely completion of program examination requirements, acceptable progress in research and teaching as determined by your program faculty, and adherence to UCI's student conduct code.

This guaranteed support takes the form of a teaching assistantship, a research assistantship, or a fellowship (internal or extramural). Tuition, most associated educational fees, and graduate student health insurance (UC-SHIP) are covered as a benefit of employment for students holding teaching assistantships or research assistantships, and paid by the School during fellowship quarters.

An additional fee ("local fees") is assessed on all students each quarter. It covers on-campus, student-funded services - i.e., Associate Graduate Students, Student Center, Bren Events Center, Recreation Center - and is a quarterly out-of-pocket expense for the student. For 2018-19, this fee is approximately $257.88 per quarter. See: 


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