Top Linguistics Schools

Get information about top schools offering linguistics programs and available degree levels. Learn about specialization options and research facilities at these schools. Schools offering Communications degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

How to Choose a Top Linguistic Schools?

Look for schools that can support your career objectives with student publication and internship opportunities, distinguished faculty, reading groups, learning communities and quality laboratory facilities. They may also offer opportunities for funding. Each of the following schools provides funding for 100% of admitted first-year Ph.D. candidates. You may also want to check out schools with low student-to-faculty ratios and high Ph.D. graduate placement rates.

What are Three Top Linguistics Schools?

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge

MIT placed fourth in the Academic Ranking of World Universities for 2018 (www.arwu.org) and tied for third in U.S. News & World Report's 2019 rankings of national universities (www.usnews.com). Almost all recent doctoral program graduates have found positions in research or academia. As an undergraduate, you can join the MIT Linguistics Society, which hosts guest speakers and movie screenings. Undergraduate and graduate students also have access to linguistic databases and a specialized linguistics bibliographer through MIT's libraries. You may also participate in colloquia, reading and discussion groups such as Ling-Lunch, Phonology Circle and Syntax Square.

Graduate students may cross-register in Harvard courses or participate in an Indigenous Language Initiative that trains native speakers of near-extinct languages to maintain and revive language fluency. The MIT Working Papers in Linguistics is a student-run initiative that publishes department research reports, conference proceedings and dissertations. They have these degrees available:

  • Bachelor of Science in Linguistics
  • Ph.D. in Linguistics - Phonology and Phonetics
  • Ph.D. in Linguistics - Semantics
  • Ph.D. in Linguistics - Syntax
  • Ph.D. in Linguistics - Experimental Linguistics

Ohio State University (OSU) in Columbus

OSU was a 94th-ranked world university, according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities in 2018, and tied for 56th in U.S. News & World Report's 2019 ranking of national universities. The department encourages undergraduate research internships with faculty and non-research internships with businesses. Students in the honors program can enroll in additional upper-level coursework. You can also participate in linguistics discussions through Underlings, an undergraduate linguistics club. Groups available to both undergraduate and graduate students include the Phonies, a phonetics discussion group, and the Changelings, a forum for historical and sociolinguistics.

The graduate research program is geared toward students solely interested in linguistic research. OSU has laboratory facilities for the study of speech recognition, language processing, speed production and dialect. OSU faculty publishes an introductory linguistics textbook and edits the Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages. Students and faculty publish the OSU Working Papers in Linguistics and distribute OSU linguistics dissertations. You could earn these degrees:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics
  • Master of Arts in Linguistics
  • Ph.D. in Linguistics

University of Maryland (UM) - College Park

UM ranked 51st by the Academic Ranking of World Universities in 2018 and was tied for 63rd place among U.S. News & World Report's 2019 national universities. Language study at the university is undertaken with the cooperation of students and faculty from ten departments, including linguistics. Its Center for Advanced Study of Language focuses on language research to enhance national security. UM is also home to the National Foreign Language Center.

Research opportunities for undergraduates are available through honors programs and the Baggett Summer Scholarships. You can also participate in the Association of Student Linguists. The President's Promise Initiative offers study abroad programs, undergraduate internships and service-learning experiences. UM's graduate students have authored journal articles, book chapters and proceedings papers over a span of three years.

Research facilities include the Cognitive Neuroscience of Language Laboratory, which houses eye-tracking, psycholinguistics and speech analysis labs. You can also conduct research at the Center for Young Children, a kindergarten with language acquisition labs. Students interested in computational linguistics may use the Institute for Advanced Computer Studies' (UMIACS) laboratories for Computational Linguistics and Information Processing and Language and Media Processing. Degree programs include:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics
  • Ph.D. in Linguistics

Ten More Top Linguistics Schools

College/University Institution Type LocationEstimated Graduate In-State Tuition (2018-2019)*
Harvard University 4-year, Private Cambridge, MA$47,000
Yale University 4-year, Private New Haven, CT$42,000
Stanford University 4-year, Private Stanford, CA$51,000
Duke University 4-year, Private Durham, NC$55,000
University of Pennsylvania 4-year, Private Philadelphia, PA$39,000
Swarthmore College 4-year, Private Swarthmore, PAN/A
University of Chicago 4-year, Private Chicago, IL$59,000
Rice University 4-year, Private Houston, TX$38,000
Dartmouth College 4-year, Private Hanover, NH$54,000
Cornell University 4-year, Private Ithaca, NY$30,000

*Source: NCES, U.S. Department of Education

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