Skip Navigation
search: People | Departments | Penn State | Web
Penn State mark
Penn State mark
University Bulletin
Graduate Degree Programs

Language Science

Program in Linguistics
323 Weaver Building


Degrees Conferred

Students electing this degree program through participating programs earn a degree with a dual-title at the Ph.D. level, i.e., Ph.D. in (graduate program name) and Language Science.
The following graduate programs offer dual degrees in Language Science: German and Psychology.


The Graduate Faculty


Program Objectives of the Dual-Title Degree in Language Science

A dual-title degree program in participating programs and Language Science will prepare students to combine the theoretical and methodological approaches of several disciplines in order to contribute to research in the rapidly growing area of Language Science. This inherently interdisciplinary field draws on linguistics, psychology, speech-language pathology, and cognitive neuroscience, as well as other disciplines, to address both basic and applied research questions in such areas as first and second language acquisition, developmental and acquired language disorders, literacy, and language pedagogy. Dual-title degree students will receive interdisciplinary training that will enable them to communicate and collaborate productively with a wide range of colleagues across traditional discipline boundaries. Such training will open up new employment opportunities for students and give them the tools to foster a thriving interdisciplinary culture in their own future students. The dual-title program will facilitate the formation of a cross-disciplinary network of peers for participating students as part of their professional development.

The dual-title degree program will not duplicate other degree programs in the University.

Admission Requirements

To pursue a dual-title degree under this program, the student must first apply to the Graduate School and be admitted through one of the participating graduate degree programs (see Appendix E for admissions requirements of potential participating programs). Upon admission to one of the above programs and with a recommendation from a Language Science program faculty member in that department, the student's application will be forwarded to a committee that will include the Director of the Linguistics Program, one of the Co-Directors of the Center for Language Science, and a third elected faculty member within the Center for Language Science. All three committee members will be affiliated with the Program in Linguistics. Upon the recommendation of this committee, the student will be admitted to the dual-title degree program in Language Science.

Doctoral Degree Requirements

The dual-title Ph.D. degree in Language Science will have the following requirements.

Course work (21 credits of 500-level courses)
6 credits, Proseminar in the Language Science of Bilingualism (LING 521), Proseminar in Professional Issues in Language Science (LING 522)
3 credits, Research methods/statistics in Language Science (such as LING 525, PSY 507, PSY 508)
3 credits in theoretical linguistics (students will choose between LING 500 or LING 504)
3 credits, Cognitive Neuroscience or Psycholinguistics (such as PSY/LING 520, PSY 511)
6 credits, Research internships (students will choose one course among the following: CSD 596, GER 596, LING 596, PSY 596, SPAN 596)

Language Science Research Meetings

Students must participate in weekly Language Science Research meetings each semester in residence.

Foreign Language and English Competency Requirements

The student will fulfill the language requirement specified by the participating department through which the student is admitted to the dual-title degree program.

Candidacy Examination

In order to be admitted to doctoral candidacy in the dual-title degree program, students will take a candidacy examination that is administered by the primary program. However, the dual-title degree student may require an additional semester or more to fulfill requirements for the primary program and dual-title program; therefore, the candidacy examination may be delayed. In addition, the student will be required to present a portfolio of work in Language Science to their committee. Such a portfolio would include a statement of the student's interdisciplinary research interests, a plan of future study, and samples of writing that indicate the student's work in Language Science. The candidacy examination committee will be composed of faculty from the primary program, as well as at least one faculty member affiliated with Language Science. The designated Language Science faculty member may be appointed in the student's primary program, but he or she may also hold a formal appointment with Linguistics. The Language Science member will participate in constructing and grading candidacy examination questions in the area of Language Science.

Doctoral Committee Composition

A doctoral committee consisting of at least four members of the Graduate Faculty must be appointed and will include a representative of the Language Science dual-title program. In addition, an official "outside member" must be appointed as one of the four members. The student's doctoral committee will include faculty from the primary program as well as faculty from Language Science. Faculty members who hold appointments in both the primary program and Language Science may serve in a combined role.

Comprehensive Examination

The student's doctoral committee will include faculty from the primary program as well as faculty from Language Science. Faculty members who hold appointments in both the primary program and Language Science may serve in a combined role. The Language Science representative(s) will help to insure that the field of Language Science is integrated into the comprehensive examination.


A dissertation on a topic related to Language Science is required for a dual-title Ph.D. degree in Language Science.

Linguistics Minor

The doctoral minor provides interested students with an opportunity to complete a program of scientific study focused on the nature, structure, and use of human language. The minor is designed to cover the foundations of the discipline of linguistics by reviewing fundamental core areas such as phonology and syntax. Course work is also available in many additional areas of linguistics such as semantics, morphology, language variation, historical linguistics, and discourse analysis.

The minor requires a minimum of 15 credits, 6 of which must be at the 500 level. Nine credits are prescribed in syntax (LING 402), phonology (LING 404), and a general introduction to linguistics (LING 401), although a linguistics course at the 500 level may be substituted for LING 401 with the approval of the director of the program in Linguistics.

Student Aid

Most students will be funded through their primary departments, and will be considered for graduate assistantships according to the procedures of those departments. The Center for Language Science currently has two graduate assistantships for which dual-title degree students will be eligible.


Last Revised by the Department: Fall Semester 2009

Blue Sheet Item #: 37-07-033

Review Date: 6/16/09

Faculty linked: 6/27/14


Look up course abbreviations

Course descriptions are stored in LionPATH, the University-wide student information system. Please visit the LionPATH Course Catalog to access current course descriptions. At that point, you will be leaving the University Bulletin website.

Skip Popular Searches
  1. Graduate Course Descriptions
  2. Graduate Programs
  3. Doctoral Degree Requirements
  4. Master's Degree Requirements
  5. Application and Admission Procedures
  6. Credit Certificate Programs
  7. General Information
  8. Tuition and Cost
  9. Intercollege
  10. Academic Information and Procedures