The Department of Linguistic's graduate program in linguistics has a strongly theoretical orientation, which is to say that our research is largely concerned with the development of a general theory of human language as well as detailed accounts of the structure, development and variation of individual languages.
The character of the Ohio State linguistics program is also that of a "pure science" rather than an "applied science": linguistic phenenomena are studied primarily for their own sake and as an aspect of human cognition, rather than being examined for their practical application in fields such as second language education. Experimental laboratory research in speech production, speech perception, the mental processes of sentence understanding, etc., are an important feature of many areas of study in our program. The department also has a rapidly growing focus in computational linguistics.
The PhD program provides the opportunity for both a broad grounding in linguistics and considerable specialization. Most degree programs constructed by individual students and their advisory committees focus on one or more areas of study. The programs also may include courses or research projects in bordering disciplines such as psychology, computer science or philosophy, or in the history or structure of a specific language or languages.