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Transfer Credit and Course waivers

Transfer Credit

Students who come into our graduate program in Linguistics having taken graduate courses previously at another institution may ask to have certain credits transferred to UB. The procedure for transferring credits involves submitting a letter specifying which courses they wish to have credits transferred for. Usually a syllabus and transcript is also required. The number of credits which can be transferred is determined by a departmental committee whose chair is currently Dr. Dryer and the DGS. Once each year, Dr. Dryer will circulate a memo asking students to submit materials for consideration as transfer credit. Students should observe this request at the first opportunity after entering our program, ideally in the first semester.

Course waivers

Students who come into our graduate program in Linguistics having taken graduate courses previously at another institution may ask to have some of the   Core Courses waived. Students should request to have core courses waived as soon as possible after entering our program, ideally in the first semester. In order to waive a core course, a student must consult the faculty member teaching the equivalent course at UB that semester, or if the course is not being offered that semester, the faculty who most recently taught the course. The instructor may ask the student for a syllabus of the previous course in order to determine what topics were covered, the textbooks and readings required, how the student was evaluated, and discuss some of the topics covered with the student. Once a student has consulted with the relevant faculty, the student should ask the faculty to sign the Course Waiver Form. Then the student should return the signed form to the Director of Graduate Studies, who will also sign it and place it in the student’s file in the main office.

Areas of specialization

Ph.D. students are required to take 4 courses in their main specialty aside from the relevant core courses and are expected to choose their two methods courses in accordance with their specialization. Students need not choose their area of specialization early in their graduate career. The faculty only expects students to have taken these four additional courses by the time students finish their course work (i.e., complete their 72 credit hours). Below is a list of specializations and current courses that fall within each area. Note that this list of courses is intended only as guidelines, and additional classes may be added to these lists upon approval by the DGS. Note also that some courses are more frequently taught than others. Students should ask the DGS when courses can be expected to be taught next.

Phonetics and Phonology

  • LIN502 Phonology practicum
  • LIN531 Phonetics
  • LIN532 Phonology 1
  • LIN533 Phonology 2
  • LIN539 Historical Linguistics
  • LIN556 Acquisition of Phonology
  • LIN558 Prosodic analysis of natural discourse
  • LIN612 Advanced seminar in Phonology
  • LIN670 Advanced Phonetics


  • LIN510 Morphology
  • LIN515 Syntax 1
  • LIN525 Typology and Universals
  • LIN535 Syntax 2
  • LIN537 The Syntax of Romance
  • LIN604 Discourse and Syntax
  • LIN608 Approaches to the Lexicon
  • LIN614 Current syntactic theory
  • LIN616 Advanced Morphology
  • LIN625 Role and Reference grammar
  • LIN626 Functional morphosyntax
  • LIN630 Structure of a non-Indo-european language
  • LIN631-633 Linguistic description of an American language

Semantics and Pragmatics

  • LIN504 Discourse pragmatics
  • LIN506 Meaning and communicative behaviors
  • LIN507 Conversational analysis
  • LIN521 Linguistic Anthropology
  • LIN538 Semantics 1
  • LIN543 Semantics 2
  • LIN548 Formal semantics
  • LIN580 Introduction to cognitive linguistics
  • LIN581 Cognitive foundations of language
  • LIN582 Language and cognition
  • LIN606 Empirical semantics
  • LIN636 Semantics of space, time, and force
  • LIN637 Cognitive structure of language
  • LIN723 Advanced discourse analysis

The last two areas of specialization are interdisciplinary and may involve substantial work in other departments.


  • LIN514 Corpus linguistics
  • LIN517 Psycholinguistics
  • LIN555 Language acquisition
  • LIN592 Neurolinguistics
  • LIN603 Cross-linguistic study of language development
  • LIN641 Topics in psycholinguistics

A student who is admitted to the Ph.D. program may decide, some time during the first or second year, that they do not wish to get a Ph.D., in which case they can complete the course requirements of the M.A. specialization they choose and take the M.A. exam.