Note: Submission deadline is December 15, 2012.
Applicants for admission to the graduate program in the Department of Linguistics must submit the Graduate Division's on-line Graduate Application for Admission and Fellowships and supporting materials on or before the deadline of December 15, 2012. Please note that there are no exceptions to this; applications submitted after this deadline cannot be considered. Note: only letters of recommendation which are submitted after the December deadline will still be accepted so long as the original on-line application was made on time.
The on-line application will become available beginning in September for the following year's Fall admission cycle at http://www.grad.berkeley.edu/admissions. This year the application for the Fall 2013 admissions cycle will open on approx. September 4, 2012.
Applicants will be required to submit/upload all supporting documents including transcripts and writing sample with their Graduate Application for Admission and Fellowships by the December 15 deadline. Experience has shown that letters of recommendation and/or test scores are the items most likely to still be missing from applications by the time the Graduate Admissions and Fellowships Committee meets to review applications, hence, we highly recommend one take the GRE as early as possible, but no later than November and notify your recommenders as early as possible as well. Note: while the Committee will carefully consider all applications for which an on-line application was submitted by the deadline, applications which are missing items at the time of review will obviously be at a competitive disadvantage.
After submission of your application you will be able to check the status via the "status page" of your on-line application. There you will be able to see if recommenders have submitted their letters, and if not yet submitted you will be able to send a reminder. You will also be able to see if official GRE, and TOEFL if required, scores have been received. The Graduate Admissions and Fellowships Committee will begin its deliberations shortly after the deadline; all admission and fellowship decisions will be made by early-February. Applicants will receive notification via email by mid-February.
Foreign applicants must meet certain additional requirements, and are therefore urged to examine closely the section entitled "International applicants" under Admissions Requirements at http://www.grad.berkeley.edu/admissions/admis_require.shtml . Two subsections are particularly important: (a) the subsection entitled "Required Records", which describes requirements for the certification and translation into English of the academic records, and (b) the subsection entitled "Evidence of English Language Proficiency". Depending on their country and/or amount of experience in English-speaking universities, foreign applicants may have to take a standardized test to demonstrate proficiency in English. There are currently two standardized tests that serve this purpose, the TOEFL-iBT and the IELTS. (The University has established a minimum TOEFL-iBT score of at least 68 for the Internet-based test for admission; no exceptions will be made.) Since standardized test scores can take four to six weeks to be sent to Berkeley after a request has been made to the testing agency, we suggest that foreign applicants take the tests as early as possible, and specifically earlier than November to make the December deadline. Results from standardized tests taken in December may arrive in time for general admissions decisions, but will not arrive in time for specific fellowship (funding) decisions, which must be made earlier.
Criteria Used in Admissions Decisions
Admission to the graduate program is highly competitive. The Graduate Admissions and Fellowships Committee will examine applicants' files for strengths related to success in the graduate program, paying particular attention to grades in challenging college courses, to detailed letters of recommendation from people who show familiarity with the student's academic work, to a well-focussed Statement of Purpose indicating the student's current interests and past accomplishments, and to a carefully considered and composed writing sample, if possible in some area of linguistics or a related field.
It is not necessary to have a B.A. degree in Linguistics or in a language-related field in order to be admitted into the Linguistics program. Knowledge of a foreign language is helpful but not required. There are no specific undergraduate course requirements that must be fulfilled before applying to the graduate program.
All applicants to the UC Berkeley Linguistics graduate program are required to take the GRE general exam. The Department has not established a minimum GRE score, nor for that matter a minimum grade point average (GPA) or a minimum TOEFL-iBT score beyond that already required by the university; however, it is the case that successful applicants tend to have very high numbers in these areas. Domestic applicants recently accepted into the program had an average of 1400 for their combined Verbal and Quantitative GRE scores and an average GPA of 3.8; foreign applicants who were accepted had an average of 1490 for their combined Verbal and Quantitative GRE. An average score for iBT has not yet been determined.
Application Checklist: More Details
Additional instructions for completing the on-line Graduate Division Application for Admission and Fellowships can be found at the Graduate Division website. Note: applicants are responsible for reading and complying with all application guidelines. Below are further details about the last six elements of the checklist.
Statement of Purpose
You should make sure your statement of purpose does the following:
1. Describe any relevant research experience, and note any publications you have authored or co-authored.
2. Include the names of any faculty members in the Department of Linguistics whose research is of interest to you and briefly discuss why, in terms of your overall interests and objectives. (See the faculty pages on our website for more information on each faculty member.) Note: please also provide this information where requested on the on-line application, however, listing in rank order is not necessary. (NOTE: The Personal History Statement is required by the university. For more information as to what is required, please check the link below.)
On-Line Letters of Recommendation
All letters of recommendation must be submitted on-line via the Graduate Application for Admission and Fellowship system. Three letters of recommendation are required. You will be asked to submit the names of your recommenders and valid email addresses as part of the on-line application. Note: you will be able to manage your on-line letters of recommendation prior to submitting your application and for several months after you have submitted your on-line application. Applicants are urged to provide their recommenders with plenty of advanced notification for submitting their letters so that they may be submitted by the deadline. [Applicants: If you wish to provide your recommender with a guide to what we seek in a letter of recommendation, download the following: Guide to Writing a Letter of Recommendation.]
Copies of all relevant official/unofficial transcripts from all university/college level institutions attended (this requirement applies to both domestic and international applicants) must be submitted/uploaded with your on-line Graduate Application for Admission and Fellowships. Transcripts from foreign institutions in a language other than English must be accompanied by official English translations, as described in the "International Applicants" section of http://www.grad.berkeley.edu/admissions/admis_require.shtml#4_2. Note: Submission of official transcripts will only be required if admitted to the program and admission is accepted.
Official GRE Scores
GRE scores must be less than five (5) years old. You need only take the general test; no additional subject tests are required. Plan on taking the test early, preferably before November. You must request that the Educational Testing Service (which administers the GRE) send a score report directly to UC Berkeley. The institution code is 4833, and the Linguistics code is 2903. The GRE is required of all applicants, both native and non-native speakers of English. To obtain more information go to the ETS website at http://www.gre.org.
In looking at GRE scores, the Admissions and Fellowships Committee takes into account the highest score achieved in each category in any of your tests. Thus, for example, if you have retaken the GRE in order to raise your scores, the Committee will take only the higher scores into account (instead of taking an average, or using only the most recent scores). Please advise us if you have retaken an exam so that we will know to expect an update of your scores.
Official TOEFL-iBT or IELTS Scores (if applicable)
Foreign applicants are required (per the criteria in http://www.grad.berkeley.edu/admissions) to take the TOEFL-iBT or IELTS test. If English language proficiency is required you should plan to take the test early, preferably by November, as it can take up to four to six weeks for scores to be reported. Although any GRE score from the last five years can be submitted, the English language proficiency scores must be more recent, no more than two years old. You must request that the testing service send a score report directly to UCB (for the TOEFL-iBT, administered by ETS, the institution code is 4833, and the department code is 04). UC Berkeley requires, if you take the TOEFL-iBT, that your most recent score be at least 68 for admissions eligibility. To obtain more information about the TOEFL, go to the TOEFL Web site at http://www.toefl.org; information about the IELTS test is available at http://www.ielts.org/.
A writing sample is required of all applicants. Ideally, this sample would be a research paper on a linguistic topic, but it should in any event demonstrate the applicant's competence in writing analytic expository prose. The writing sample is to be submitted/uploaded with your on-line application.