Although we do not expect every applicant to have a substantial background in theoretical linguistics, we look for evidence that the decision to pursue a Ph.D. in this field is a thoughtful one, based on reading and consultation with advisers. Please keep in mind that this is a very competitive program, receiving over 130 applications per year from the best students from around the world, many of whom do have a strong background in theoretical Linguistics.
No single factor (transcripts, recommendations, or writing sample) will exclude anyone from admission, nor will any single factor ensure admission. There are no quotas or formulas. In making our decisions, we look for evidence from any source of the potential to make a contribution in theoretical linguistics.
Master Thesis Theoretical Background
S/he already knows the answer (or one of the answers), not to mention the background, the literature, the assumptions and theories and the strengths and weaknesses of them.