The graduate program of the UCSB Department of Linguistics focuses on the discovery of general, theoretically significant explanations for the range of linguistic structures that appear in the world's languages. Special attention is given to how language structures are shaped over time by cognition and use, and how these structures are in turn utilized for interactional, social, and cultural purposes, with a focus on the empirical analysis of language in its natural setting. Students are encouraged to gain breadth and depth in their understanding of language by becoming acquainted with a variety of structures in a wide range of languages. Such a perspective is essential to an appreciation of the deeper characteristics all languages share and the myriad ways they can differ. Graduate courses are offered in all of the core areas of linguistics, with especially rich training and coursework in functional and typological linguistic theory, discourse, corpus linguistics, language and cognition, language documentation and revitalization, sign language linguistics, and sociocultural linguistics. The department has particular strengths in a range of the world’s languages and language varieties. 

Mailing Address

Department of Linguistics
University of California, Santa Barbara
South Hall 3432 (Student Services, Humanities South Admin Service Center)
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9580

Degree icon Degrees Offered

Address iconDeadlines

Fall Only:

  • November 27, 2023 (by 11:59 PM PST)

Requirements Icon


  • Online application:
  • Statement of Purpose, Personal History and Diversity Statement, and Resume or CV (submitted in the online application)
  • Three Letters of Recommendation (submitted online)
  • Unofficial transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended full-time for at least one academic term (or 12 units) (submitted online).
  • English Language Exam Scores (if applicable): TOEFL Internet-Based Test (IBT) total score of 80, or TOEFL Paper-Based Test (PBT) total score of 550, or IELTS Overall Band score of 7, or Duolingo English Test total score of 120, or higher
  • Writing Sample (submitted in the online application). Applicants should submit a copy of a substantive research paper that they have done in linguistics or a closely related field illustrating their ability to analyze language empirically. Writing samples should normally be approximately 10 to 30 pages in length. Theses, publications, and other longer works should be submitted in their entirety.
  • Final/Official transcripts will be required for all applicants who are admitted and have indicated their intent to enroll at UC Santa Barbara by submitting a Statement of Intent to Register (SIR). UC Santa Barbara reserves the right to require official transcripts at any time during the admissions process, and to rescind any offer of admission made if discrepancies between uploaded and official transcript(s) are found.

Applied Linguistics; Black Studies; Cognitive Science; Environment and Society; Feminist Studies; Global Studies; Information Technology and Society; Language, Interaction, and Social Organization; Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences; Translation Studies; Writing Studies (All Ph.D. only)