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NRC Assessment of Research-Doctorate Programs ranks UD's Linguistics PhD program as one of the top 20 programs in the US

The National Research Council released new measures which place the University of Delaware's PhD program in Linguistics (run by the Department of Linguistics and Cognitive Science) among the top 20 graduate programs in Linguistics in the United States. The 2010 NRC survey does not present a full and complete ranking of programs. It instead uses statistical sampling methods to present ranges of rankings (90% confidence intervals) over several variables, reflecting information gathered in 2006.

Delaware's Linguistics and Cognitive Science Department received especially high ratings in faculty research activity and the 'S-ranking', which is a composite measure of program features that raters judge to be important in linguistics. The department's 5th percentile of the S-ranking was 8 and the 95th percentile was 22. Thus, the department may be ranked as high as 8th but no lower than 22nd vis a vis other departments nationwide. A conservative interpretation of these results puts UD's Department of Linguistics and Cognitive Science well within the top 20 graduate research programs in linguistics in the United States. The department also scored high in faculty research activity and faculty diversity.

The department performed less well in the 'R-ranking', which was designed to correlate with reputation ratings, and with student support and outcomes. The lower R-ranking likely reflects the normal lag between achievement and recognition/reputation.

In general, the NRC data reveals that the program at UD is comparable with the programs at MIT, Stanford, Ohio State, and the University of Illinois. The top programs in the country appear to be at Johns Hopkins University, the University of California, Los Angeles, the University of Massachusetts, and the University of Maryland.

In terms of the important 'S-ranking', only two other Ph.D. programs at the University of Delaware perform as well as, or better than, the Linguistics and Cognitive Science Department: Kinesiology (Biomechanics and Movement Science) and Chemical Engineering.

The last NRC ranking in 1995 rated UD's Linguistics department as 37th in the nation, so the new data indicates a dramatic improvement in the quality of the department over the last fifteen years.

Since the late 1990s, the Linguistics Department at UD has made the study of endangered languages a centerpiece of its program. In 2006, when the department officially became the Department of Linguistics and Cognitive Science, the department expanded its portfolio to include not only specializations in theoretical linguistics, but also in psycholinguistics, computational linguistics, theories of mind, and philosophy of language.

More information about the project is available at