This Graduate Program Handbook is the definitive statement of the rules, policies and procedures of the Graduate Program in Linguistics, as well a general guide for students and faculty in the program. It is maintained by the Linguistics Graduate Studies Committee in consultation with the regular graduate faculty in the department, to fulfill the following responsibility listed in Section XIV.1 of the Graduate School Handbook: "Publishes and makes available to students and faculty in the graduate program a graduate program handbook containing the policies, rules, and procedures relevant to its own graduate programs."
Local Graduate Studies Committees are charged with the responsibility for conducting specific graduate programs within the context of the policies and rules established by the Graduate School. The Graduate School's rules and policies are the minimum standards within which local Graduate Studies Committees formulate, publish, and enforce their own graduate program policies, rules, and procedures.
See the Graduate School Handbook for the general requirements for the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Linguistics. Note especially the rules governing examinations and theses. The Graduate Studies Committee conducts the graduate program in the department and serves as the liaison between the Graduate School and the graduate faculty of the department.
The admission of students to the Graduate Program in Linguistics is the joint responsibility of the Department's Graduate Studies Committee and of the Graduate School. The specifics of the process of Admission to the Linguistics Doctoral Program are described on the Linguistics Department website. Section II of the Graduate School Handbook describes general policies and requirements that apply to applicants to all graduate programs at the Ohio State University. The rest of this section of this Graduate Program Handbook describes rules and policies that are specific to the Graduate Program in Linguistics.
"Students may transfer from one graduate program to another by completing the Request for Transfer of Graduate Program form available from the Graduate School. This form requires the approval of the Graduate Studies Committee in the receiving program and the written acknowledgment of the Graduate Studies Committee in the current program."
Applicants for admission into the PhD program who are transferring from other graduate programs are subject to the same procedures as other applicants. An Ohio State University graduate student requesting transfer into the Linguistics doctoral program must submit the following documents:
Section III of the Graduate School Handbook describes the Graduate Faculty rules about course load, registration, schedule adjustment, and related matters. Information about courseload for graduate associates can also be found here. It is the student's responsibility to be aware of these rules, and to comply with the deadlines for registering, and adding or dropping courses. (The University Registrar keeps an online running calendar of relevant dates for each semester.)
International students should consult with an immigration coordinator in the Office of International Affairs about the regulations that apply for different types of visa.
Linguistics graduate students who earn a Master's Degree in Linguistics on the basis of satisfactorily completing the Candidacy Examination also should note the Graduate School requirement of "completion of a minimum of 80 graduate credit hours, at least 50 of which must be completed beyond the master's degree". In normal circumstances, the student will have completed more than 80 graduate credit hours before taking the candidacy exam, and the Graduate School "transfers" 50 of these credit hours to make up this required "minimum of 50 credit hours beyond the master's degree" (see Section VII.14 of the Graduate School Handbook).
Section IX and Section X of the Graduate School Handbook specify the eligibility requirements for a student to hold an appointment as a Graduate Associate or to receive a Fellowship from the Graduate School or from other University or external sources. Among these is the requirement that the student "must maintain reasonable progress toward a graduate degree" as determined by the Graduate Studies Committee. The Graduate Faculty rules in Linguistics define reasonable progress in terms of a set of "requirement deadlines" -- dates by when each of the Ph.D. degree requirements must be fulfilled. The same definition is used to establish whether a student is in good standing in the Graduate School, as specified in Section V.4 of the Graduate School Handbook.
A student who does not maintain reasonable progress toward a degree or who does not fulfill other graduate program requirements, including those regarding professional standards and misconduct, may be denied further registration in that program by the Graduate School on the recommendation of the Graduate Studies Committee chair.
No student may be denied further registration in a graduate program without first being warned by the Graduate School that such action may take place. The Graduate School specifies the conditions the student must satisfy in order to demonstrate reasonable progress and to continue enrollment in the graduate program. Conditions consist of completion of course work or other requirements as approved by the graduate studies committee.
A student who has been warned that further registration in the graduate program may be denied and who then satisfies the specified conditions is placed in good standing by the Graduate School.
Each student's progress relative to the deadlines for his or her cohort is reviewed twice a year, in closed meetings of the regular Graduate Faculty in the Program in Autumn and Spring Semesters. The Autumn student progress review meeting takes place the last Monday of October, and takes into consideration (among other things) the assessments of completed or under-revision Qualifying Papers due that Autumn by their respective reading committees. The Spring student progress review meeting takes place the Monday of exam week (last week of April or first week of May), and takes into consideration the assessments of the Qualifying Paper colloquia by their respective reading committees. The Spring review is also criterial for reappointment as a GA, as described in the Reappointments clause of Section IX.2 of the Graduate School Handbook. The rest of this section specifies how normal progress relative to the requirement deadlines is determined for this purpose.
To facilitate progress review meetings, students beyond the first year are required to submit a current CV along with a brief summary of progress and plans to the graduate program coordinator and their advisor in advance of the Spring review meeting. Students are also encouraged to keep their CV up-to-date and make it accessible on their web page. To help with CV creation, an LCC tutorial on CVs will normally be offered on an annual basis.
A year of support is defined as receiving a GA or Fellowship stipend in two semesters of enrollment in Autumn and Spring. Summer enrollment and support are not counted in determining student progress and the amount of support that a student has received.
Support is defined as any of the following types of appointment as a Graduate Associate or Fellow:
If a student is enrolled in a semester, the deadline clock does not stop.
Inability to complete a requirement because a required course was not offered at a particular time does not count as missing a deadline, and a note to that effect will be entered in the record at the next review. Additionally, in some very exceptional circumstances, a student may petition to count an enrolled semester as equivalent to a leave of absence. Petitions are submitted via the student's advisor(s) to the department chair and Graduate Studies Committee.
A leave of absence stops the clock. For example, taking a leave of absence in Spring semester of a student's first year (normally y1s2) shifts all deadlines by one semester so that the student's advising meeting needs to be scheduled in Autumn of the student's second year (now y1s2).
Decisions to withdraw funding from a student who is behind in the requirement deadlines are made by the Chair only after discussion in a closed faculty meeting, where the student's advisors are present if at all possible, or if not, represented by proxy.
The aforementioned meeting is in conjunction with the regularly scheduled meetings to discuss students' progress. These meetings are typically scheduled to take place during the second half of the Autumn and Spring terms.
This section of the Linguistics Program Handbook provides local rules and information related to GA appointments, as mandated in Section IX.3 of the Graduate School Handbook.
A graduate student's principal objective is to earn a graduate degree. Appointment as a GA contributes to that objective by providing an apprenticeship experience along with financial support. This apprenticeship complements formal instruction and gives the student practical, personal experience that can be gained only by performing instructional, research, or administrative activities. It is expected that GA responsibilities will not interfere with a student's reasonable progress toward completion of the graduate degree.
Primary responsibility for appointing GAs is determined by the funding source.
External funding: Graduate Research Associates supported by an external grant are appointed by the PI of the grant in consultation with the department chair. A necessary condition for such an appointment is that the student be capable of carrying out the work required by the terms of the grant.
A Graduate Administrative Associate or a GRA who is hired in a GAA-like capacity (e.g., to act as an editorial assistant to a faculty member who is an editor of a journal or to act as a systems administrator on a consortium of grants) similarly is appointed by the recipient of the funds to support the Graduate Associate, in consultation with the department chair. A necessary condition for such an appointment is that the student be capable of carrying out the specified work.
Department internal funding: Graduate Research Associates who are supported by department funds and Graduate Teaching Associates are appointed by the department chair in consultation with the faculty. A necessary condition for an appointment as a Graduate Teaching Associate is that the student be capable of teaching a course, as determined by performance in Linguistics 830 and prior teaching evaluations.
Externally funded GA: A Graduate Associate supported on external funds is expected to carry out research or other work, as specified by the supervising recipient of the funds (i.e., the PI in the case of an externally funded research grant, the journal editor in the case of a funded editorial assistantship, etc.). The supervisor should state in writing what the expected duties will be and provide this statement to the Department Chair and Fiscal Officer to include in the "Primary Duties" section on page 2 of the Graduate Associate Appointment Document that will be used in offering the appointment to the student.
In specifying duties on a research grant, the PI should take into account the following distinction noted in the GA Appointment Document (clause 3, on p. 4, emphasis added):
Graduate Research Associate (GRA) appointments fall into two broad categories:
- GRAs on 50 percent appointments should spend approximately 20 hours per week on their appointment duties when they are supporting faculty research that is not directly related to their dissertations or theses.
- For many GRAs, their appointment duties overlap with research for their own dissertations or master's theses. In these cases, it is difficult to separate the number of hours devoted specifically to the associateship. It is the responsibility of the faculty member to clarify expectations, including policies related to publication and intellectual ownership.
Department funded GTA: Most Graduate Teaching Associates in our program have full responsibility for teaching a course as the primary instructor. A Graduate Teaching Associate who is teaching a course is expected to prepare the syllabus and lectures and other in-class didactic instruments for the course, to deliver all lectures, to prepare and grade homework and exams, assign grades, and hold office hours to meet with students. A Graduate Teaching Associate who is assisting a faculty member in a course is expected to carry out the duties as specified by the faculty member, typically a subset of what is listed here for a GTA who is the primary instructor for a course. If the duties fall outside of these typical ones in a significant and substantial way, the faculty member should consult with the Department Chair so that these atypical duties will be specified in writing directly in the "Primary Duties" section on page 2 of the Graduate Associate Appointment Document or as an attachment added to the document at the time that the student is assigned to the faculty member.
Department funded GRA: The Department Chair assigns duties to department-funded GRAs. In cases where the GRA is assigned to assist a faculty member other than the Chair, the same procedure for specifying the primary duties is used in specifying the duties of a department-funded Graduate Research Associate, with the same distinction between appointments with duties that do not or that do overlap with the student's own research. That is, the faculty member who will be the immediate supervisor should state in writing what the expected duties will be and provide this statement to the Department Chair and Fiscal Officer to include as a addendum to the "Primary Duties" section on page 2 of the Graduate Associate Appointment Document that was used in offering the appointment to the student.
Section X of the Graduate School Handbook is about Graduate Fellowships. It specifies Graduate School policies and procedures regarding fellowships that are administered through the Graduate School, as well as responsibilities of Graduate Programs in regards to fellowships and traineeships that are funded from other sources.
Recipients of multi-year fellowships should review the section specifying the process for activation of the dissertation year portion of the fellowship, which can be found in section X.1 of the Graduate School Handbook. Currently, this states:
- A request for the activation of the dissertation year portion of a Dean's Graduate Enrichment, Susan Huntington Dean's Distinguished University Fellowship, or Distinguished University Fellowship is made with the strong expectation that the fellow will complete all degree requirements and graduate within the dissertation year. The dissertation year must be activated by the student's sixth year of graduate study. The graduate program is under no obligation to provide funding to the student after the dissertation year if the student does not complete their dissertation and graduate at the end of the dissertation year, or if the student has received a total of six years of support.
- Requests to activate the dissertation year portion must be made by the fellow's Graduate Studies Committee Chair to the Graduate School. The request must provide assurance that the fellow 1) has met the minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.6 for Dean's Distinguished University and Distinguished University fellows or a cumulative grade point average of 3.3 for Dean's Graduate Enrichment fellows; 2) has successfully completed the candidacy examination and is within the five-year time period; 3) It is expected that enrollments will be limited to research and departmental seminars; however, fellows may register for other degree-related coursework with advisor approval. The dissertation year fellowship may not be used to support any coursework taken for another degree program; and 4) has received continuous departmental support during the intervening years between fellowship periods.
In keeping with the expectation stated in the first clause of this process, the Graduate Faculty in Linguistics have adopted the policy that the Dissertation Year cannot be activated until the Fellow has fulfilled the requirement that the dissertation proposal be approved by a valid dissertation committee established in accordance with graduate school rules.
According to the Graduate School Handbook, Section XIV.1, one of the responsibilities of the Graduate Studies Committee is to establish procedures for assigning and changing advisors. See Section XV of the Graduate School Handbook and the description of the two categories of graduate faculty membership in the Linguistics Program for rules concerning who can serve as an advisor and who can serve on the committees that are mandated by the Graduate School (n.b. not the reading committees for the two qualifying papers, which are Program-internal requirements). The Graduate School Handbook Appendix F.IV summarizes the duties and responsibilities of an advisor.
Students should seek out the best match for their interests, and are free to change advisors at any time, with the permission of the new advisor(s). The student must also notify the old advisor(s) and the Graduate Studies Committee of the change.
The candidacy examination committee is composed of at least four authorized Graduate Faculty members and may include the student's advisor consistent with Graduate Studies Committee policy. The advisor of a doctoral student must hold membership at the Category P level in the graduate program of the student. A Graduate Faculty Representative may be assigned to an initial candidacy exam at the request of the student and advisor.
Each Graduate Studies Committee decides whether the advisor or another member of the Graduate Faculty serves as the chair of the candidacy examination committee and whether the advisor is a member of the committee. Once a policy on this point is established, it must be applied uniformly to all candidacy examinations administered by the graduate program until a change is reported to the Graduate School. The chair of the candidacy examination committee is responsible for coordinating the preparation and conduct of both the written and oral portions of the candidacy examination.
The responsibility for the written and oral portion of the candidacy examination and responsibility for evaluating the entire candidacy examination rest with the candidacy examination committee. Within the rules of the Graduate Studies Committee, other Graduate Faculty members may participate in generating, administering, or scoring parts of the written portion of the candidacy examination. Non-Graduate Faculty members may be appointed to the candidacy examination committee by approval of the Graduate Studies Committee in the student's home program and by petition to the Graduate School. Non-Graduate Faculty are in addition to the required four, current Ohio State Graduate Faculty members.
It is the policy of the Linguistics Graduate Studies Committee that the student's advisor(s) of record must be (a) member(s) of the Candidacy Examination Committee, and serve(s) as (co-)Chair(s) of the committee, and that only the members of Candidacy Examination Committee participate in generating, administering, and evaluating the written portion of the exam. In particular, the non-(co)chair members are not required to be Category P Graduate Faculty. nor are they required to be Linguistics Graduate Faculty. Once the proposed members of the committee have been fixed, the student's advisor(s) should notifiy the Graduate Studies Committee of the proposed membership, so that the Graduate Studies Committee Chair can verify that at least four of the members are Graduate Faculty in the program, and to approve the appointment of any non-Graduate Faculty members and submit the required petitions to the Graduate School.
The Dissertation Committee is composed of the adviser who must be a Category P Graduate Faculty member and at least two other authorized Graduate Faculty members (ref. IV.3.5). Additional Graduate Faculty members also may serve on the Dissertation Committee. The adviser serves as chairperson of the Dissertation Committee. Selection of the committee members is the responsibility of the adviser and is subject to the rules of the Graduate Studies Committee. Non-Graduate Faculty members may be appointed to the dissertation committee by approval of the Graduate Studies Committee in the student's home program and by petition to the Graduate School. Non-Graduate Faculty members are in addition to the required three, current Ohio State Graduate Faculty members.
The dissertation committee and the Graduate Faculty Representative assigned by the Graduate School then constitute the student's Final Oral Examination Committee, as specified in Section VII.10 of the Graduate School Handbook.
The rest of this section describes these requirements in more detail.
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The following timeline applies to any students who entered the program prior to Autumn 2021:
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In the week after the meeting, the student and advisor should constitute the review committee for their first qualifying paper, and notify the graduate program coordinator. All committee members must receive a paragraph-length description of the general area of the project.
The proseminar is the only core course that cannot be waived. It differs from the other core courses in that it is designed to help students acquire basic skills and attitudes that are not specific to linguistics and that will be useful whether the student is preparing for a career in academia or industry or government or some other area of endeavor. These skills include, for example, the ability to present results and ideas to an audience of non-specialists in a variety of venues. A graduate who applies to a position in academia needs to be able to present a compelling job talk, a graduate who is hired in a research lab in industry or by an NGO needs to be able to present a compelling project proposal, and so on.
Waivers must be approved by the relevant area faculty member, based on their evaluation of the student's previous work in that area. Such evaluations are based on consideration of one or more of the following:
The relevant area faculty member is the current member of the Linguistics Graduate Faculty who will next teach the course (or who most recently taught the course if this is not yet known at the time of the petition). The petition should describe the rationale for the appeal. The faculty member petitioned can request supporting material (as described above) and then will consult with other faculty as relevant and respond to the petition. The Graduate Studies Committee should be notified of the results of the petition, and the student's progress page updated accordingly.
Each paper has a reading committee, with at least three members chosen by the student in consultation with his or her advisor(s) from eligible faculty. Students should work closely with all members of the committee in developing the paper. One of the committee is designated as the coordinator, who takes responsibility for getting feedback to the student after the colloquium and making sure that the committee's decision about the acceptability of the colloquium presentation is communicated to the program coordinator, who records the decision in the student's Progress Page. The coordinator of the QP committee is also responsible for keeping the program coordinator informed about negotiated deadlines and for notifying the Graduate Studies Committee of the reading committee's assessment of the final submitted paper. The composition of the committee may be changed, by agreement of the student and the proposed new member; the GSC and any members being removed from the committee must be informed of all changes.
Both QPs require well-presented data and well-constructed arguments to a conclusion. Additionally, we expect that QP2 will reflect the student’s experience in having done the QP1, and will therefore show an increase in proficiency in both presentation and construction of the written paper.
Typically, these presentations are scheduled during the regular Department colloquium time. Students who are planning to present Qualifying Paper Colloquia in a given semester must submit talk titles to the program coordinator, the QP reading committee, and the Speakers Committee by Monday of the first full week of classes.
The QP reading committees will assess the QP colloquia as soon after they are presented as possible, and in advance of the Spring student progress review meeting.
Satisfaction of the language requirement is adjudicated by the student's advisor(s) in consultation with the faculty involved in the work which is presented for satisfaction of the requirement.
The student works with the exam committee to specify the form of the written part of the exam and the exact relationship between the exam proper and the draft of the dissertation proposal. For example, in some areas, the dissertation proposal draft must be submitted to the exam committee before the exam is designed, so that the draft proposal can serve as a partial basis for the exam itself. In other areas, the student devises a first draft set of questions and submits them together with the draft dissertation proposal to the exam committee.
Candidacy exams should be completed before the end of Spring Semester of Year 4.
Final-version dissertation proposals should be accepted by the beginning of the August before Autumn semester of year 5 for students who will be activating a dissertation-year DUF or DDUF; otherwise, they should be accepted by the first Friday of Spring semester of year 5. According to Graduate School rules, a student is considered to be advanced to candidacy upon passing the candidacy exam. In this Program, a student must also have the dissertation proposal accepted by their committee in order to be eligible to begin a dissertation year fellowship.
In 1996 and again in 2004, the graduate faculty in linguistics voted to establish the following local rules. Except for the closed deliberation period at the end, a Final Oral Examination in the Linguistics Program is an open defense of the candidate's dissertation and larger research program; anyone may attend, and all faculty and students in the OSU linguistics community are encouraged to attend. In the typical case, no more than 10 minutes at the beginning of the exam will be used for a question from the Committee as a whole, asking the candidate to succinctly state the primary question addressed in the dissertation, to summarize the main results as they bear on the question, and to explain their significance in the broader context of the field. This first short question and response interval will be followed by about 20-25 minutes of questioning by each member of the Examination Committee. About 15 minutes will be allowed for closed deliberations by the Examination Committee at the end. Any time that remains of the approximately two hours that the Graduate School specifies as the length of the usual exam can be given over to questions from others in attendance (students and faculty members alike).
In academic year 2002-2003, the Graduate Faculty rules were changed so that a unanimously affirmative vote of the Examination Committee is now required before a result of "satisfactory" can be reported (see Section VII.11 of the Graduate School Handbook). This change replaces an older Linguistics Program policy that permitted a student to pass this examination with one negative vote from a committee member.
As noted in section 1 above, the graduate program in linguistics is primarily a doctoral program. However, doctoral students in Linguistics can earn an MA degree in one of two ways:
The second option is also available to other qualified applicants. This section of the handbook describes the requirements for this second option.
Each MA applicant must provide the following to the department:
The MA examination committee is composed of at least two Graduate Faculty members including the student's advisor. Other graduate faculty members may participate in generating, administering, or scoring parts of the examination, but the MA examination committee is finally responsible for the conduct and evaluation of the entire examination. The advisor of an MA student must hold membership at the category M level or higher in the student's graduate program. Non-graduate faculty members may be appointed to the MA examination committee by approval of the Graduate Studies Committee in the student's home program and by petition to the Graduate School. Non-graduate faculty members are in addition to the required two current Ohio State graduate faculty members.
Section XV of the Graduate School Handbook records the university-wide rules about who can serve on committees that are specified at the Graduate School level, such as the Candidacy Exam Committee and Dissertation Reading Committee. (See that document for the distinction between Graduate Faculty Category M and Graduate Faculty Category M.) This section of our own Program Handbook explains the local requirements for appointment to Graduate Faculty Category P in the Linguistics Program, and records department practice and decisions made over the years since 1993 about who can serve on various sorts of committees. These decisions, which are archived in departmental meeting minutes, distinguish between regular graduate faculty in the program and courtesy or "adjunct" faculty.
Section XV.3 of the Graduate School Handbook specifies rules and procedures relevant to appointments to the Graduate Faculty at the Ohio State University. The rules on file with the Graduate School for nominating someone for an appointment to the Graduate Faculty in Linguistics are as follows:
Criteria for Graduate Category P Status Department of Linguistics
In order to maximize the benefits to our Ph.D. students that careful advising can bring them in their pursuit of the degree, and in recognition of the importance of having faculty doctoral advisors who are themselves active researchers as well as skilled advisors, the Department of Linguistics establishes the following criteria for Graduate Faculty P status:
1. The faculty member must demonstrate an active engagement with advanced research, as shown by a significant publishing and/or grant record beyond and/or independent of his or her own Ph.D. work. This demonstration will come in the form of at least one book in addition to the dissertation or at least four major publications that build on, extend, or go beyond the work in the dissertation; a significant outside grant will also count toward fulfilling this criterion.
2. The faculty member must demonstrate an ability to advise students in research at an appropriately high level. Since our Ph.D. program is not predicated upon the successful completion of an M.A. thesis, evidence of sufficient advising experience at OSU will consist of playing a primary role in at least four student research papers, such as the second-year and third-year "Pre-Generals Papers" that Ph.D. students must turn in as part of the departmental requirements for advancement through the Ph.D. program. Advising on an undergraduate honors thesis, a B.A/M.A. thesis, or an M.A. thesis, will also count towards fulfilling this requirement, as will advising of a comparable sort done at other institutions.
The regular graduate faculty in the program are all those faculty who have regular appointments in the Linguistics Department, with Graduate Faculty P status. The current regular Graduate Faculty in the Program are:
Descisions to offer a courtesy appointment are made in a three-step process whereby two members of the Regular Graduate Faculty nominate a candidate by circulating a brief description of the rationale for the appointment to the Regular Faculty as a whole, who then discuss and vote on the nomination in a closed meeting (typically at the regular annual review of faculty performance). If the vote is favorable, the Department Chair is then charged with obtaining the concurrence of the College of Humanities (typically via the Associate Dean for Faculty and Research) for sending a letter inviting the candidate to accept the courtesy appointment. By University rules, courtesy appointments are reviewed and renewed annually.