Language Science

Graduate Program HeadMichael Travis Putnam
Program CodeLNGSC
Campus(es)University Park
Degrees ConferredDual-Title
The Graduate Faculty


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-title Ph.D. degrees in Language Science:

  • Communication Sciences and Disorders
  • German
  • Psychology
  • Spanish

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.

Admission Requirements

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in GCAC-208 Dual-Title Graduate Degree Programs.

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. Upon admission to one of the those 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 students must be admitted into the dual-title degree program in Language Science prior to taking the qualifying examination in their primary graduate program.

Degree Requirements

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in GCAC-208 Dual-Title Graduate Degree Programs.

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

Course work (21 credits of 500-level courses):

Required Courses
LNGSC 521Proseminar in the Language Science of Bilingualism3
LNGSC 522Proseminar in Professional Issues in Language Science3
LING 500Syntax II3
or LING 504 Phonology II
3 credits, Research methods/statistics in Language Science (such as LING 525, PSY 507, PSY 508)3
3 credits, Cognitive Neuroscience or Psycholinguistics (such as PSY 520/LING 520, PSY 511)3
6 credits, Research internships (students will choose one course among the following: CSD 596, GER 596, LING 596, PSY 596, SPAN 596)6
Total Credits21

Where these courses also satisfy requirements in the major program, they may be counted as satisfying the requirements of both programs (subject to any limits imposed by the major program), because the requirements of the dual-title degree ensure that students’ training will meet the cross-disciplinary goals of the dual-title.

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.

Qualifying Examination

Students will take a qualifying 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, and the qualifying exam integrates material from both the primary and the dual-title fields (minimally, through the portfolio described in this paragraph); therefore, the qualifying examination may be delayed one semester beyond the normal period allowable. 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 qualifying 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 qualifying examination questions in the area of Language Science.

Ph.D. committee Composition

In addition to the general Graduate Council requirements for Ph.D. committees, the Ph.D. committee of a Language Science dual-title Ph.D. student will include a representative of the Language Science dual-title program. The student's Ph.D. 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. If the chair of the Ph.D. committee is not also a member of the Graduate Faculty in Language Science, the member of the committee representing Language Science must be appointed as co-chair.

Comprehensive Examination

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. Upon completion of the doctoral dissertation, the candidate must pass a final oral examination (the dissertation defense) to earn the Ph.D. degree. The dissertation must be accepted by the Ph.D. committee, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School.


Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements for minors in Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-600 Research Degree Policies and GCAC-700 Professional Degree Policies.

Student Aid

Graduate assistantships available to students in this program and other forms of student aid are described in the Tuition & Funding section of The Graduate School’s website. Students on graduate assistantships must adhere to the course load limits set by The Graduate School.

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.


Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 699 and 800 to 899. Advanced undergraduate courses numbered between 400 and 499 may be used to meet some graduate degree requirements when taken by graduate students. Courses below the 400 level may not. A graduate student may register for or audit these courses in order to make up deficiencies or to fill in gaps in previous education but not to meet requirements for an advanced degree.

Linguistics (LING) Course List

Learning Outcomes

  1. KNOW: Develop in-depth scholarly knowledge across multiple disciplines of Language Science.
  2. THINK: Demonstrate analytical and critical thinking by exploring the different perspectives or interpretations that are offered by different disciplines in Language Science to approach related issues or questions. 
  3. APPLY/CREATE: Select from and apply techniques from multiple disciplines, as appropriate, for the creation of new knowledge. 
  4. COMMUNICATE: Present research to audiences from multiple disciplinary backgrounds, explain the relevance of their research to different disciplines, and field questions. 
  5. PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE: Know, practice, and uphold standards of academic, professional, and ethical integrity as appropriate to the various disciplines in Language Science. 


Campus University Park
Graduate Program Head Michael Travis Putnam
Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) or Professor-in-Charge (PIC) Michael Travis Putnam
Program Contact

Heather Rutten
442 Burrowes Bldg.
University Park PA 16802
(814) 863-0997