A Student’s Guide to Obtaining a PhD in Applied Linguistics Online

Applied linguistics studies how the brain processes language as well as the basic fundamentals in languages. They will study word formation, word meanings, sounds and how they are found within sentences, and the difference between language families, language, and how languages change over time.

Required Courses

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Students pursuing a PhD in applied linguistics online will have to take certain classes. They should already be proficient in at least one foreign language, and are encouraged to study another as they pursue their PhD. Popular language choices include Spanish, French, Mandarin, Japanese, and German. It is most beneficial for students to pursue two or more foreign languages as they pursue their PhD in this field, but studying more than two at a time will most often be extremely difficult for most students. Common classes include linguistic analysis, artificial intelligence, sociolinguistics, computational linguistics, historical linguistics, formal semantics, psycholinguistics, and syntactic theory.

Average Completion Time

A PhD in applied linguistics online will take approximately four to five years to complete. Students pursuing this degree on a part-time basis will take longer, and how long depends on how many classes they take per semester. However, many United States' colleges and universities require PhD students to pursue their degree on a full-time basis.

Top Online Schools

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The University of Pittsburgh offers a PhD in applied linguistics online. Students must be competent in a foreign language to be considered. Students who reside in Pennsylvania will pay $13,972.00 per year and students who reside outside of Pennsylvania will pay $25,762.00 per year. This university does accept financial aid for students who need it. Students wishing to pay their tuition with financial aid will need to fill out a FAFSA to see how much financial aid they qualify for. Financial aid can be a mix of federal education loans, federal education grants, and private loans.

Lancaster University in the United Kingdom offers this degree online. Those who wish to attend this university must already possess a Master's degree in applied linguistics or a closely related field. United States students will pay approximately 10,100 (UK currency) per year. Those residing in the United Kingdom will pay 3,900 (UK currency) for taught programs and 3,400 (UK currency) for research programs. Fees and tuition are revised annually. Students (including international students) may also qualify for financial aid, but financial aid and additional fees are completely individual so students seeking this should consult their academic and financial advisor prior to completing their class registration.

Possible Careers

Earning a PhD in applied linguistics opens many doors and allows people to choose between a variety of career paths. These include teaching linguistics at the university level, speech therapists, computational linguists, translators, or clinical linguistic directors. Translation and teaching linguistics at the university level are the most popular career paths for those holding a PhD in this field. Those who choose to work as translators can work in hospitals, for the United States military, for local, state, and federal governments, or for private businesses and corporations.

Career Outlook

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The average annual salary for someone with a PhD in applied linguistics is $50,000.00. This salary is most often given to speech-language pathologists and general linguists. Translators and English as a second language instructors' annual median salary is on the lower end at $40,000.00. The median annual salary is highly dependent on industry and employer. Those working for the federal government often make more. Those working for private businesses and corporations can also earn a higher salary. Many also enjoy higher salaries as they gain more experience.

Why is it Better to Obtain this Degree Online?

Earning a PhD in applied linguistics online allows students to keep their current career while taking the necessary steps to advance it or make a career change. Students will be able to pursue their PhD from home while not having to sacrifice their family, social, and life responsibilities.


Grad Schools. (2009). Linguistics Curriculum. Retrieved on December 16, 2009 from Website: https://www.gradschools.com/Article/linguistics-curriculum/1610.html