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This is one of the oldest and most distinguished linguistics programs in the United States, and one of the last remaining linguistics departments that continues to focus on both the theoretical and historical components of linguistics.

You will experience a unique range and depth of Harvard’s offerings in related fields, especially ancient and modern languages and the growing Mind Brain Behavior Initiative.

You will have the flexibility to customize your program to prepare you for post-graduate success in an academic or non-academic role. You can access a wide range of Harvard resources including the Widener Library, which contains a matchless linguistic and philological collection supplemented by a special non-circulating collection accessible only to linguistics students and faculty.

Examples of theses and dissertations by graduates include “An Experimental Pragmatic Investigation of Depictive Co-Speech Gestures,” “Interpreting Questions with Non-Exhaustive Answers,” “Nominal Arguments and Language Variation,” and “Phrasing is Key: The Syntax and Prosody of Focus in Georgian.”

Graduates of the program have secured academic positions at Rutgers University; University of California, Berkeley; University of Vienna; and the University of Hawaii. Others hold jobs with companies such as Amazon, Google, and Grammarly.

Additional information on the graduate program is available from the Department of Linguistics and requirements for the degree are detailed in Policies.

Areas of Study

Historical Linguistics | Linguistic Theory | Unspecified

Admissions Requirements

Please review admissions requirements and other information before applying. You can find degree program-specific admissions requirements below and access additional guidance on applying from the Department of Linguistics.

Academic Background

Applicants typically have a previous background in linguistics, a mature interest in the field, and a strong language background.

Writing Sample

A writing sample is required as part of the application and should be no more than 100 pages.

Standardized Tests

GRE General: Optional

Theses & Dissertations

Theses & Dissertations for Linguistics


See list of Linguistics faculty


Degrees Offered


Questions about the Program?

Helen Lewis
Graduate Student and Undergraduate Programs Coordinator