Carnegie Mellon University

Admission and Application Information

Applicants are generally expected to have an M.A. in a related field (e.g., foreign language, teaching, cognitive science, linguistics, etc.). However, in the past, students have been accepted without a master's degree provided they have a strong undergraduate education.

To be considered for fall 2024 admission, please complete an online application by January 5, 2024.

All applications must include the following:

  • Current GRE scores (within two years)
  • If you speak English as an additional language:
    • Current TOEFL or IELTS score, or
    • Duolingo English Test (DET) and TOEFL or IELTS score
  • Official transcripts from undergraduate and previous graduate study. Mail transcripts to:

    Postal address:

    Ms. Vera Lampley

    Senior Departmental Administrator

    Carnegie Mellon University

    Department of Modern Languages

    Posner Hall 341

    Pittsburgh PA 15213

    Electronic address:

  • Three letters of recommendation from people familiar with your academic and professional work
  • Language Proficiency Assessment Form. Evidence of proficiency in a second language, sufficient enough to be able to teach one of the languages offered in the department (Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Spanish). The Language Proficiency Assessment Form is sent through the online application to the professor of your choosing.  The Professor must be qualified to assess your second language skills.
  • A statement of research area interest and career goals
    • Prepare a brief electronic statement (one or two pages in length, 500-1000 words) in which you describe your reasons for wanting to pursue graduate studies in our program, your educational and professional objectives, and any other information that you believe will aid the Ph.D. Graduate Committee in arriving at an admissions decision. Please be as specific as possible. Your statement is an important part of evaluating your candidacy for our program.
  • A sample of thoughtful analytic work or a research paper
  • Application Fee: The application fee for the Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics & Second Language Acquisition program is $50.00. You may pay the fee by credit card, check, or money order. Credit card instructions will be given when you submit your application. If you do not want to pay by credit card, you may pay by a check or money order drawn on a U.S. bank and made payable to Carnegie Mellon University. Please include your User ID on the check or money order and mail to Vera Lampley, Senior Departmental Administrator, at this address. Do NOT send cash. Your application is not considered complete until the fee has been received.

After submitting the application, those candidates who make it past the first round will be interviewed via telephone by a program faculty member.

Admission is based on evaluation of qualifications and on the interview with a program faculty member. Since the program is organized around an apprentice model, the fit between student and faculty research interests is important.

Graduate Assistantships

Applicants accepted into the program will receive a partial to full tuition scholarship and a modest living stipend.  During the summer, students have the opportunity to teach or to serve as research assistants for additional remuneration.

Prospective students should review information on Graduate Tuition & Fees, financial aidstudent health insurance, and campus dining.