Studying linguistics in the USA will equip you with profound knowledge and understanding of language and communication. You will learn about language and its structure as well as analyze language form, meaning, and context. Studying linguistics in the USA will provide you with knowledge of different components of language such as phonetics, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics. Additionally, you will have the opportunity to study language’s historical and cultural aspects and the social and psychological factors that influence language use.

Most professionals consider acquiring a linguistics degree in the USA because the USA boasts a wealth of top-tier universities renowned for academic excellence. However, these universities have strict admission requirements for admitting students.

In this piece, I will guide you through the requirements and qualifications that are needed for studying linguistics in the USA.

Requirements for Studying Linguistics in the USA

  1. Complete your Secondary Education

    You must have completed your secondary education before you can study linguistics in the USA. Additionally, you must have a high school diploma and completed your education to Grade 12 before you can study linguistics in the USA.

  2. Transcripts and GPA

    You must provide official transcripts from your high school. This transcript should include grades from all classes taken. Additionally, you should submit your transcript in English.

  3. Standardized Test Scores

    Most universities in the USA require students to take either the SAT or ACT exam when applying for a bachelor’s in linguistics in the USA. These exams are used by universities to determine a student’s eligibility for admission. However, this may not be compulsory in all universities. But it can boost your application.

  4. English language proficiency

    You will be required to write an English Language proficiency test if English is not your first language. Additionally, you must show proof of your English proficiency test. The minimum score for the IELTS is 7.0 with no sub-band lower than 6.5. Additionally, the minimum score for TOEFL iBT is 80 to 100.

  5. Letters of Recommendation

    You must submit at least two to three recommendation letters while making your application. Some universities may require one or more letters of recommendation from professionals such as teachers, guidance counselors, or other individuals who can attest to your academic ability and potential. Therefore, you should not use a recommendation letter from a friend or family.

  6. Personal Statement

    Some universities might require you to write a personal statement. This personal statement or essay will explain why you want to study linguistics and how your academic and personal background has prepared you for this field of study. Additionally, each school will have a required number of words that you should write in your essay. Therefore, you need to verify from the school’s website before you apply.

Requirements to Obtain a Masters Degree in Linguistics in the USA

  1. Bachelor’s Degree

    You must have a bachelor’s degree in linguistics or a related field from an accredited institution. Additionally, some universities may also accept applicants with degrees in other fields.

  2. Transcripts

    You must submit official academic transcripts of your bachelor’s degree. This transcript must contain all your courses and grades that you have studied. Additionally, this transcript must be an official one and it must be written in English. Furthermore, most universities require a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher, but the requirements may vary depending on the specific university and program.

  3. Standardized Test Scores

    As part of their application, some universities may ask applicants to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). This test is used by universities to determine a student’s eligibility for admission and to assess a student’s readiness for graduate-level study. Therefore, your score must be 300-310 or higher to qualify you to study linguistics in the USA.

  4. Letters of Recommendation

    You need to have at least three recommendation letters. It should consist of 2 academic and 1 professional letter. These letters must be obtained from an employer or a previous lecturer. Therefore, you should not use a recommendation letter from a friend or family.

  5. Statement of Purpose

    You must submit a statement of purpose or essay outlining why you want to pursue graduate studies in linguistics. Additionally, you should explain what your career aspirations are, and how your academic and personal history has prepared them for this field of study.

  6. English Language Proficiency

    You need to write an English Language proficiency test if English is not your first language. Additionally, you must show proof of your English proficiency test. You can use tests such as IELTS or TOEFL. The minimum score for the IELTS is 6.0 while the minimum score for TOEFL is 80.

  7. CV/Resume

    You need to submit an updated resume or curriculum vitae showcasing your work experience. Additionally, you can add your professional certifications if you have any.

How to Apply

You can apply to the school of your choice through the school’s website. Most schools in the US will require you to pay an application fee before submitting your application. The application fee varies between 50 -100USD. You can apply for an undergraduate program as well as a postgraduate program. Additionally, you need to verify each school’s requirements before filling out the application form.


The duration for studying linguistics in the USA varies based on the type of program and the University. A bachelor’s degree in linguistics lasts for four years. However, a master’s degree lasts for two years.

Tuition Fee

The tuition fee for studying linguistics varies for international students as well as the particular university. International students pay higher tuition fees in the USA. Generally, the average amount for an undergraduate degree ranges from $30,000 to $50,000 annually. Additionally, the average amount for a master’s degree ranges from $20,000 to $70,000.

Universities in the USA that offer Linguistics

  1. Stanford University, California
  2. Harvard University, Massachusetts
  3. University of California – Berkeley, California
  4. University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, Michigan
  5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Massachusetts
  6. University of Washington – Seattle, Washington
  7. Cornell University, New York State
  8. University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign, Illinois
  9. University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania
  10. Columbia University, New York State
  11. University of California – Los Angeles, California
  12. Carnegie Mellon University, Pennsylvania
  13. University of Wisconsin – Madison, Wisconsin
  14. Johns Hopkins University, Maryland
  15. Yale University, Connecticut
  16. University of California-San Diego, California
  17. New York University, New York State
  18. Pennsylvania State University, Pennsylvania
  19. University of Southern California, California
  20. University of Texas at Austin, Texas
  21. Ohio State University, Ohio
  22. University of Chicago, Illinois
  23. Princeton University, New Jersey
  24. University of Maryland – College Park, Maryland
  25. University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, Minnesota
  26. Northwestern University, Illinois
  27. University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  28. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  29. Rutgers University-New Brunswick, New Jersey
  30. University of California – San Francisco, California
  31. University of Arizona, Arizona
  32. Michigan State University, Michigan
  33. Arizona State University – Tempe, Arizona
  34. Boston University, Massachusetts
  35. University of Iowa, Iowa State
  36. University of California – Davis, California
  37. University of Florida, Florida
  38. Washington University in St Louis, Missouri
  39. Duke University, North Carolina
  40. University of California – Irvine, California

In Conclusion, you should also know that these universities mentioned can have their unique admission requirements for each year. Therefore, before you make an application to any of them, you need to make sure that you visit the school’s website and verify the entry requirements. Additionally, you should also be aware of the application deadline and endeavour to submit your applications before the deadline. You can contact us for further inquiries and assistance.

Good luck!

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