Graduate Division

Language Science Ph.D.

Section 1


  • The Department of Language Science offers the first Ph.D. in Language Science in the country.
  • Students are trained to be innovative thinkers at the forefront of language science, equipped for research and teaching careers in academia, industry, and government.
  • Training emphasizes empirical grounding, state-of-the-art methods for hypothesis generation and testing, and effective scientific communication.
  • Our research is highly interdisciplinary, with links to linguistics, cognitive science, psychology, computer science, neuroscience, logic, philosophy, mathematics, engineering, hearing, speech, language studies, education, and anthropology.
  • Special attention is given to curricular flexibility and providing hands-on research experience early in the graduate career.

What Sets Us Apart?

  • As the first of its kind in the country, our program provides a new, integrative approach to the science of language that enables exciting opportunities for deep collaboration and cross-fertilization.
  • We prepare students to be at the forefront of change in the field, empowering them to be the future leaders driving innovation.
  • Our approach draws on methods broadly from all fields of science, and explores connections between traditional and contemporary methods, results, and theories.
  • Our faculty are experts in innovative technologies for quantitative, neuroscientific, and behavioral approaches to language science.
  • Graduate training incorporates curricular flexibility, development of technical communication skills, and prioritization of research early in the graduate career.
  • Graduates are equipped for a broad range of careers, both within academia (as research professors, research scientists, and teaching professors) and in industry (as language engineers, knowledge engineers, language analysts, social media analysts, computational linguists, speech scientists, and educational technologists).
  • Expertise in languages other than English makes graduates even more competitive for industry and government positions.

Quick Facts

Program Type

Doctoral Program

Normative Time to Degree

5 years

Capstone Type


Accordion Section

Admissions Requirements

Applications must be submitted using UCI's Online Application for Graduate Admissions

The deadline to apply is DECEMBER 1. Admission decisions for our program are made in March.

 The following items are required as part of the application:

  • Application Fee (subject to change) - Current fee is $120 for U.S. Citizens and lawful U.S. Permanent Residents, and $140 for all other applicants beginning for the Fall '17 quarter of admission.
    • NOTE: Application fee waivers are available to qualifying US citizens and permanent residents. Fee waivers are not available to international applicants.
  • GRE scores - please choose institution code 4859.
  • TOEFL or IELTS - please choose institution code 4859.
  • Three (3) Letters of Recommendation
  • Sample of technical writing
  • Transcripts

For further information about these requirements, please visit UCI's Graduate Division website at:

 In addition to meeting the above requirements, we strongly encourage applicants to have the following:

  • Advanced coursework in some of the following fields: linguistics, cognitive science, psychology, computer science, neuroscience, logic, philosophy, mathematics, engineering, hearing, speech, language studies, education, anthropology

 If you have further questions, please visit our FAQ page or contact the Graduate Admissions Office at or (949) 824-7352.

 Graduate Record Exam (GREs)

The GRE test scores are required for students planning to apply to our program. We cannot waive this requirement even when the applicant has completed an advanced degree at another college or university in the United States.

Please note that:

  • We cannot accept GMAT, LSAT, or MCAT scores in place of the GREs.
  • 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 this requirement, 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) and International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

Applicants whose primary language is not English are required to demonstrate proficiency in English for admission consideration. A student may receive a waiver to the requirement for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) Internet-based Test (iBT) or a paper-based test (PBT) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) if they completed all the requirements for their high school diploma, bachelor's degree, or an advanced degree in a country where the primary and/or dominant language is English and English was the language of instruction of the school where the requirements were completed.

 For a list of countries where English is considered the primary or dominant language, as approved by the UC Irvine Graduate Council, please visit:

 Note: For financial support consideration, the following minimum scores are required:

  • 26/30 on the speaking component of the TOEFL-ibT; or
  • 8/9 on the Speaking module of the IELTS exam.

Financial Support

All applications for PhD admission are considered also for financial support, and all admission offers to Language Science currently include five years of funding. Applicants are not required to apply separately for admission and financial support.

Our competitive, merit-based funding packages include annual registration fees and comprehensive student health insurance; a combination of TA or Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) appointment with individual members of faculty, and fellowship quarters in lieu of employment. Summer support and, in limited amounts, graduate student research and travel funding are also available.

All offers to non-residents of California, including non-US citizen international students, include nonresident tuition in the first year or two of study.

Financial assistance based on need (loans, primarily) is available to qualifying student applicants, through UCI Financial Aid & Scholarships:

All students applying for need-based financial aid are required to file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA):

International students who are not US citizens or permanent residents are not eligible to apply for federal need-based financial aid aid.

Further information on assistantships and funding resources can be found at

Tuition & Fees

Graduate/Credential Student Fees 2019-20

  Fall 2019 Winter 2020 Spring 2020 Annual
Student Services Fee 376.00 376.00 376.00 1,128.00
Tuition 3,814.00 3,814.00 3,814.00 11,442.00
Assoc. Grad Students Fee 9.00 9.00 9.00 27.00
Student Center Fee 139.69 139.69 139.68 419.06
Bren Events Center Fee 23.00 23.00 23.00 69.00
Recreation Center Fee 88.00 88.00 88.00 264.00
Document Fee * 80.00 0.00 0.00 80.00
Student Health Insurance 1,459.18 1,459.18 1,459.18 4,377.54
Total California Resident $ 5,908.87 $ 5,908.87 $ 5,908.86 $ 17,726.60
Nonresident Supplemental Tuition 5,034.00 5,034.00 5,034.00 15,102.00
Total Nonresident $ 10,942.87 $ 10,942.87 $ 10,942.86 $ 32,828.60


Posted 12 July 2019 at

The tuition, fees, and charges posted to your billing statement or account are estimates based on currently approved amounts. These figures may not be final. Actual tuition, fees, and charges are subject to change by the Regents of the University of California and could be affected by increases or reductions in State funding, or other developments. Accordingly, final approved levels (and thus your final balance due) may differ from the amounts shown.

* The Document Fee provides lifetime access to official transcripts and academic verifications without a fee for in-person pickup or delivery by USPS. In addition, there is no fee for mailing the initial diploma. Effective Fall 2018, new undergraduate, professional, and graduate students are assessed the one-time document fee. Eligible students are able to use financial aid to cover the Document Fee.

Core Faculty

Richard Futrell: linguistics, natural language processing, Bayesian modeling


Gregory Hickok: neuroanatomy of language, neural plasticity, neuroimaging, cognitive neuroscience


Judith Kroll: bilingualism, cognition, language processing, cognitive neuroscience 


Virginia Mann: reading ability, speech perception


Lisa Pearl: language development, linguistics, computational sociolinguistics, cognitive modeling


Gregory Scontras: formal semantics, computational and experimental studies of meaning, heritage languages


Emeritus Faculty

Bernard Tranel: linguistic theory, phonology, phonetics, morphology, Optimality Theory, Romance languages, French linguistics, tone languages, Margi, Mixtec


Affiliated Faculty

Alyssa Brewer: neuroimaging of visual perception, visual deficits, neurological disorders


Carol Connor: reading comprehension, executive function, behavioral regulation development, technology & assessment


Brandy Gatlin: language, reading, writing, cultural and linguistic diversity, measurement and assessment, instruction


Glenn Levine: applied linguistics, theoretical linguistics, foreign language pedagogy, German-Jewish literature, Yiddish language and literature


Elizabeth Peña: bilingualism, language impairment, language development, assessment bias and measurement


Sameer Singh: large-scale machine learning, information extraction, natural language processing, probabilistic programming, interactive machine learning, distributed & parallel inference, semi-supervised learning


Julio Torres: heritage and second language acquisition, bilingualism, cognition, task-based language learning, curriculum & instruction


Kai Wehmeier: logic, philosophy of logic and language, early analytic philosophy, philosophy of mathematics