Lal Zimman (he/him/his) (FAQ)
[lɑɫ ˈzimn̩]

zimman at ucsb dot edu

Assistant Professor of Linguistics
Affiliated Faculty in Feminist Studies
South Hall 3518
University of California, Santa Barbara
Lal Zimman

Below are some Frequently Asked Questions from prospective graduate students. If your question isn't answered here, feel free to email me.

Are you currently accepting PhD students...?
Admissions to the doctoral program in linguistics at UCSB doesn't operate on a professor-by-professor basis, so, while I do have a say in the admission of students who would work with me, I don't have a specific number of dedicated slots for students. We expect that students will work with a number of different faculty during their time in our graduate program. Incidentally, this means that your application must appeal not just to me, but to the faculty as a whole. If you are considering applying to our program

What kinds of projects are you interested in supporting?
I am especially excited about prospective students who are interested in the topics like: singular 'they', experimental approaches to gender-related phenomena, sociophonetics of trans/non-binary voices, corpus analysis, and queer/trans communities of color. (I also welcome those who are thinking of exciting topics related to trans/non-binary/gender non-conforming language that haven't occurred to me!)

How good of a chance do I have of being admitted to your program?
There are a lot of factors that influence admissions decisions, including the particular group of people who happen to apply in any given year, so this is difficult to assess. However, there are some basic characteristics that the strongest applications we receive tend to share:

  1. A record of strong performance in linguistic coursework, including in structural linguistic areas (i.e. not only sociocultural linguistics courses);
  2. Experience doing linguistic research; even if a project was only for the final paper in a linguistics course, carrying out a well-designed study and being able to describe its significance is a strength;
  3. Specific ideas for future research. We don't expect you to have a fully-articulated dissertation project, but if you can list one or more specific studies you hope to carry out, it will demonstrate your ability to conceptualize interesting and realistic projects in your areas of interest;
  4. Strong fit with our department demonstrated by, e.g., common interests with multiple faculty members, engagement with discourse/usage-based/functionalist frameworks, an interest in less commonly studied and/or under-documented languages, etc.

When students don't have a background in linguistics, we often recommend that they obtain a Master's in the field before (re)applying.