Department of Linguistics, Graduate Program Handbook

Updated 10/10/23
Links to forms and the Graduate School's examination and graduation deadlines (pdf)

Table of contents

0. Preface

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 13.2 of the Graduate School Handbook: "Publishes and makes readily available to students and faculty in the graduate program an updated (at least every five years) graduate program handbook containing the policies, rules, and procedures relevant to its own graduate programs, including pathways to report concerns."

0.1. Relationship to the "Rules of the Graduate Faculty"

The rules and policies described in this Graduate Program Handbook supplement rather than replace the Rules of the Graduate Faculty described in the Graduate School Handbook. The relationship between the two sets of rules is described (in Section 1.4 of the Graduate School Handbook) as follows:

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.

0.2. Cut-off points for previous versions

Students who entered the program before the most recent revision of this handbook may choose to follow these rules or the ones that were in force when they entered the program.

1. Admission

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 2 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.

1.1. Admission directly into the Ph.D. program

The Department offers an M.A. degree and a Ph.D. degree in Linguistics. However, with certain well-defined exceptions, applicants to the graduate program are normally considered only for the Ph.D., and should check that objective on the application form. Once admitted to the Linguistics Ph.D. program, students can choose to obtain a Master's degree, but they are not required to do so. Financial support is limited to students in the Ph.D. program, and is contingent on reasonable progress toward the Ph.D. degree. Choosing to obtain a Master's degree in Linguistics on the way toward the Ph.D. does not change the determination of reasonable progress toward the Ph.D. degree.

1.2. Admission only once a year

The review procedure for applications to the Ph.D. program involves all regular Graduate Faculty in the Program, and takes place only once a year. Applicants are reviewed in January for admission the following Autumn (or Summer) semester. Because the Department ensures that five years of support are provided to all students admitted into the Ph.D. program, admission is highly competitive.

1.3. Transfer of Graduate Program

Section 2.9 of the Graduate School Handbook states that:

"Current students may transfer from one graduate program to another by completing an Intra-Graduate Transfer (IGT) application with the Office of Graduate and Professional Admissions. This application requires the approval of the Graduate Studies Committee in the receiving 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:

  1. an Intra-Graduate Transfer (IGT) application
  2. a copy of the current advising record
  3. writing sample
  4. three letters of recommendation
  5. a statement of purpose
  6. a brief CV or resume (no more than two pages)
These documents should be received by the Graduate Studies Coordinator for Linguistics by December 1, for transfer into the Linguistics Program in Autumn (or Summer) of the following year. Students requesting transfer are typically notified of the decision in March, at the same time that applicants for first-time admission are notified. If the transfer is approved, the student typically will be asked to take Linguistics 6000 (Teacher Training), in order to be eligible for appointment as a GTA. The funding package typically offered to the successful transfer applicant will be for five years minus the number of years that the student has been in a graduate program at the Ohio State University at the time of the transfer into Linguistics.

2. Course load, registration, and scheduling

Section 3 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.)

2.1. Initial registration

The Linguistics Department's doctoral program is designed for students to enter in the Autumn term of each year. The deadline for registration without incurring late fees is a week before the start of classes.

2.2. Temporary withdrawal

Pre-candidacy students may take a leave of absence from the program for a period of up to one year with the approval of their advisor(s) and the Graduate Studies Committee. Students who withdraw from the program without such approval or remain absent for longer than the approved period must reapply for admission in order to return to the program.

International students should consult with an immigration coordinator in the Office of International Affairs about the regulations that apply for different types of visa.

2.3. Enrollment after admission to candidacy

After completing the Candidacy Examination, students are required to enroll for 3 credit hours each semester. Graduate Faculty rules specify that the student has up to five years after the Candidacy Exams to complete all degree requirements, including the dissertation, as specified in Section 7.7 of the Graduate School Handbook.

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 7.13 of the Graduate School Handbook).

3. Support and Reasonable Progress

Section 9 and Section 10 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 5.4 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 9.2 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.

3.1. The guaranteed five-year package

The Department guarantees financial support to all admitted graduate students for their first five years of graduate study, subject to continued satisfactory progress.

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:

  1. University fellowship
  2. Teaching assistantship in the University
  3. Research assistantship from Departmental funds
  4. Research assistantship from funds external to the Department
  5. External fellowship administered through the University
  6. Research assistantship in another program from funds external to the Department

3.2. The deadline "clock"

In keeping with the above definition of a "year of support", no deadline can be specified to occur in Summer, so that progress relative to the requirement deadlines can be "clocked" in terms of number of semesters of enrollment in Autumn or Spring.

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, and all requirements are shifted forward the same number of terms that the student was on leave.

3.3. Seven year limit

If for some reason a student's support is suspended or deferred, the departmental support commitment will not extend beyond seven years from the time that the student entered the program except under exceptional circumstances worked out in consultation with the department chair.

3.4. Withdrawing support

A Graduate Associate who fails to make satisfactory progress relative to the requirement deadlines can have funding withdrawn. Graduate Faculty rules specify how and when the student should be notified when a reappointment is not made, and also state that a GA appointment may not be terminated prior to the end of a normal period of appointment without the written approval of the Graduate School (see the Termination Criteria clause of Section 9.2 of the Graduate School Handbook).

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.

3.5. Graduate Associates

Section 9 of the Graduate School Handbook is about Graduate Associate (GA) appointments. It specifies university-wide rules and policies about the purpose of a GA appointment, the process of being appointed as a GA, the associated benefits, and so on. Note particularly the introductory paragraph of section 9.1, which states the purpose of a Graduate Associate appointment as follows:

Appointment as a GA contributes to the overall objective of earning a graduate degree by providing an apprenticeship experience along with financial support. This apprenticeship complements formal instruction and gives the student practical and 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 (Section 5.4) toward completion of the graduate degree and may align and support the student’s graduate degree. It is important for the student, the advisor and the academic unit employing the GA, to understand that the student is to work a maximum of 20 hours per week on duties that are not directly related to their graduate degree. The monitoring of these activities will vary by unit.

This section of the Linguistics Program Handbook provides local rules and information related to GA appointments, as mandated in Section 9.3 of the Graduate School Handbook.

3.5.1. Eligibility and selection criteria

In order to be appointed as a Graduate Associate, a student must be eligible for support. The Eligibility clause of Section 9.1 of the Graduate School Handbook states university-wide eligibility criteria. Among these is the requirement that a student must be judged to be maintaining reasonable progress toward a graduate degree. A student is not eligible for support if the Department Chair has decided to withdraw funding for unsatisfactory progress as specified by the doctoral degree requirements (section 3.4).

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.

3.5.2. Reappointment

The criteria and procedures for reappointing GAs are the same as those for selecting GAs; see section 3.5.1.

3.5.3. Period of appointment

The typical GA appointment is for the two semesters of the academic year (Autumn and Spring), where Spring includes the May term. Under certain circumstances, including limits on the availability of funds, specific appointments (e.g. as a GRA on a grant) may be for only one semester.

3.5.4. Summer semester appointments

Summer semester appointments are possible if there are available grant funds or teaching opportunities. In such cases, procedures specified in section 3.5.1 apply. Summer semester funding for Graduate Associates is never guaranteed.

3.5.5. Stipend levels

Stipend levels for Graduate Research Associates and Graduate Teaching Associates are mandated by the College of Arts and Sciences and monitored by the Department.

3.5.6. Time of offer and acceptance

Dates for notifying students of appointments and for receiving acceptances or refusals are typically as follows: Appointments for the coming year are normally made as early as possible in the Spring semester. Acceptances or refusals are required within two weeks of the offers of appointment. When pending extramural funding for a student is uncertain, the department may plan for a GTA appointment with the understanding that it will subsequently be replaced by a GRA appointment if funding becomes available.

3.5.7. Appointment duties and responsibilities

Responsibility for specifying the duties of a GA is determined by the source of funding and the type of appointment.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

3.5.8. Evaluation

Procedures and information for evaluating and reporting performance of Graduate Teaching Associates include information from the Student Evaluation of Instruction (SEI) form and other student evaluations and by class visits by the Department GTA Coordinator. Procedures for evaluating and reporting performance of Graduate Research Associates normally include regularly scheduled meetings or other regular means of communicating progress on the assigned work between the GA and the PI.

3.5.9. Termination criteria

As stated in the Termination Criteria clause of Section 9.2 of the Graduate School Handbook a GA appointment is terminated prior to the end of the appointment period for any of the following reasons:
  1. The GA is registered for fewer than the number of credit hours required for a GA appointment or fewer than three credit hours for a doctoral student who has achieved candidacy status.
  2. Performance or conduct as a GA is determined to be unsatisfactory by the appointing unit; the appointing unit has the discretion to reassign or relocate the GA during the time that the University is investigating or reviewing the GA relating to performance and/or conduct.
  3. Unsatisfactory academic performance.
  4. Breach of the Code of Student Conduct and/or university policies.
  5. The appointing unit has insufficient funds.

3.5.10. Grievance procedures

As stated in Section 9.5 of the Graduate School Handbook, "Regular, clear communication between GAs and their advisors and supervisors is key to establishing and maintaining an effective work environment." Many grievances begin with unintended misunderstandings between the Graduate Associate and the immediate supervisor about the assigned task, the expected work load, or provisions for leave time (see Sections 3.5.12 and 3.5.13). If talking to the advisor or the immediate supervisor does not resolve a problem or potential grievance, Graduate Associates are encouraged to first consult the Department Chair and/or the Graduate Studies Chair. The Department and GSC Chairs may mediate to attempt to correct possible misunderstandings before suggesting alternative resolutions such as reassignment. When concerns arise or persist, the graduate student ombudsperson ( is an impartial resource that can help graduate students explore options in resolving their concerns. Section 9.5 and Appendix D of the Graduate School Handbook gives advice about what to do if problems cannot be resolved at the local level in this way. If the concerns cannot be resolved internally within the department, the graduate student is encouraged to contact the assistant dean for graduate studies within the College of Arts and Sciences. In situations where the student believes the issue has not been resolved within the College, they can request further review from the Graduate School.

3.5.11. Space and facilities

The department will use its best efforts to assign a desk space to every student in the program, with priority given, in the event of scarcity, to Graduate Associates, and then to those who are making reasonable progress through the program.

3.5.12. Time off

The Graduate Associates are not required to work during semester breaks. Nor are they required to work on legal holidays noted in the university calendar. A Graduate Teaching Associate who is teaching a course is expected to conduct classes and hold offices hours and so on throughout the semester of assignment, and should consult with the Chair when planning to be away to attend conferences and the like, just as on-duty faculty do. (n.b. Faculty rule 3335-5-08 requires that absence from campus for more than ten days -- not necessarily ten contiguous days -- during a semester be approved by the dean and provost as well as the chair.) A Graduate Research Associate, by contrast, may arrange directly with the primary supervisor to have some time off during the semester in exchange for working an equivalent amount of time during breaks between semesters.

3.5.13. Short-term absences

As noted in Section 11.2 of the Graduate School Handbook: "The university has formalized a set of practices to be used by academic and administrative units at Ohio State to support GAs, fellows, and trainees during instances of personal and/or family illness, bereavement, childbirth, and adoption. Each situation will be individually addressed according to the specific research, teaching, or administrative context the student is in and the individual's reason for requesting the leave."

Students can find these guidelines in Appendix F of the Graduate School Handbook.

3.6. Graduate Fellowships

Section 10 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 10.4 of the Graduate School Handbook. Currently, this states:

  1. A request for the activation of the dissertation year portion of a DDUF, DUF, DGE, DDGE, or Osmer 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.

  2. 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 cGPA of 3.6 for DDUF and DUF fellows or a minimum cGPA of 3.2 for DGE and DDGE fellows or a minimum cGPA of 3.1 for Osmer fellows; 2) has successfully completed the candidacy examination and is within the five-year time period; 3) completed all doctoral course work. It is expected that enrollments will be limited to research and departmental seminars; however, fellows may register for other degree-related course work with advisor approval. The dissertation year fellowship may not be used to support any course work taken for another degree program; and 4) has received continuous departmental support during the intervening years between the first and dissertation fellowship years.

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.

4. Advising

According to the Graduate School Handbook, Section 13, one of the responsibilities of the Graduate Studies Committee is to establish procedures for assigning and changing advisors. See Section 12 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 H summarizes the duties and responsibilities of an advisor.

4.1. Selection of the advisor(s)

Before entering the program, each incoming graduate student will be assigned one or more temporary first-year advisors from among the regular graduate faculty to assist them in choosing first-year courses. For administrative purposes, one advisor will be designated as the student's initial advisor of record. At the Advising Meeting at the end of the first year, students may also wish to change their advisor(s).

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.

4.2. The First and Second Qualifying Papers reading committees

Each of the committees for the First and Second Qualifying Paper is composed of a coordinator, who must be Category P Linguistics Graduate Faculty, and two other Ph.D.'s with relevant expertise approved by the committee coordinator. The Ph.D. requirement for one of the non-coordinator members can be waived, subject to the approval of the Graduate Studies Committee. The two committees share responsibility for certifying that the two papers together exhibit some breadth of knowledge of linguistics.

4.3. The Candidacy Examination Committee

The composition of the Candidacy Examination Committee is subject to the rules stated in the Graduate School Handbook, Section 7.3:

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.

4.4. The dissertation committee

Section 7.8 of the Graduate School Handbook describes this committee as follows:
The dissertation committee is composed of the advisor who must be a Category P graduate faculty member in the doctoral candidate’s graduate program and at least two other authorized graduate faculty members. Additional graduate faculty members also may serve on the dissertation committee. The advisor serves as chair of the dissertation committee. Selection of the committee members is the responsibility of the advisor and is subject to the rules of the Graduate Studies Committee. Non-graduate faculty members may be appointed to the dissertation committee as additional external members (Section 12) by approval of the Graduate Studies Committee in the doctoral candidate’s home program and by petition to the Graduate School.

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 7.9 of the Graduate School Handbook.

5. Doctoral degree requirements

5.1. Purpose of the requirements

The Graduate Program in Linguistics is dedicated to producing Ph.D. graduates in linguistics who demonstrate expertise in one or more areas within the field and who have proven themselves to be effective and creative researchers. To that end, requirements include a coherent set of courses that prepare the student for independent research, a language requirement that involves primary data, two major research papers (the "First Qualifying Paper" and the "Second Qualifying Paper"), the candidacy examination, and the dissertation.

The rest of this section describes these requirements in more detail.

5.2. Overview of the requirements

The program requirements are as follows:

YearAutumn Semester Spring Semester
  • Advising meeting
  • 2
  • First Qualifying Paper Colloquium
  • First Qualifying Paper accepted
  • 3
  • Second Qualifying Paper Colloquium
  • Second Qualifying Paper accepted
  • Core courses completed
  • Courses complete
  • 4
  • Language Requirement fulfilled
  • Candidacy Examination completed
  • 5
  • Dissertation Proposal approved
  • Dissertation defended and filed
  • The following timeline applies to any students who entered the program prior to Autumn 2021:

    YearAutumn Semester Spring Semester
  • Advising meeting
  • 2  
  • First Qualifying Paper Colloquium
  • 3
  • First Qualifying Paper accepted
  • Core courses completed
  • Second Qualifying Paper Colloquium
  • Courses complete
  • 4
  • Second Qualifying Paper accepted
  • Language Requirement fulfilled
  • Candidacy Examination completed
  • 5
  • Dissertation Proposal approved
  • Dissertation defended and filed
  • 5.3. Preparation for Research

    In the first month of the second semester of graduate study, students meet with a member of the Graduate Studies Committee and a selected group of graduate faculty relevant to the chosen area(s) of specialization. The purpose of this meeting is for the student- with the advice and recommendations of the faculty at their meeting- to develop a plan of study, including a(n) advisor(s), their remaining courses and potential First Qualifying Paper topics and committee membership. No later than two weeks before the meeting, the student should send to the Graduate Studies Chair and the graduate program coordinator a list of faculty that the student wants to attend.

    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.

    5.4. Coursework

    Because the aim of the program is to produce effective and creative researchers, the graduate curriculum in Linguistics is designed to quickly prepare the student to do primary research and then to engage the student directly in doing primary research in the various sub-areas of linguistics that are represented in the Department. Each student develops an individual program of study that includes both a common set of core courses and a coherent set of entry-level and advanced courses in one or more sub-areas within linguistics, as described in the following subsections.

    5.4.1. Core Courses

    There is a set of entry-level courses aimed at providing a basic familiarity with core areas and competencies in the field. These seven courses constitute the basic "core" for all students (although there are procedures for waiving these requirements), and should be completed in the first three years: Proseminar
    One core course that all first-year students take is Linguistics 6001, the proseminar in linguistics. This course meets during the Autumn and Spring semesters. Students are required to take it for two semesters, normally in their first year. In case of conflict with a necessary course in another department, this requirement can be delayed until the second or third year. Class meetings will include a variety of presentations as part of the department colloquium series, the semesterly departmental Conversation on Teaching, and a number of more practically oriented presentations on aspects of academic life.

    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. the core courses
    Students entering the program with substantial training in one or more of the core areas can, in consultation with their advisor(s), petition to have core requirements waived.

    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:

    1. the syllabus from the course(s) previously taken and of the student's transcript
    2. written work from the course(s) previously taken (e.g. homework, exams, term papers, and the like)
    3. an oral examination over the relevant area
    The relevant area faculty member may also specify that the student can substitute a different course, such as a higher-level course that has the core course as a pre-requisite.

    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.

    5.5. The Qualifying Papers

    These two research papers:
    1. together must exhibit some breadth of knowledge of linguistics, either by covering topics from two different areas of specialization or by incorporating methodologies within one paper from two areas of specialization
    2. must exhibit originality in data, analysis, or theory
    3. must be such as to enlighten and inform some professional linguist

    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.

    5.5.1. Colloquium

    Each of the qualifying papers is presented to the department during the last two full teaching weeks of the semester preceding the due date of the written paper. This due date (5.5.2) may be altered at the committee's discretion. If necessary, some Colloquia may be scheduled on the Tuesday preceding final exams. The First QP Colloquium should be no longer than 20 minutes plus a 10-minute question period, and the Second QP Colloquium should be no longer than 30 minutes plus a 15-minute question period. All QP presentations must have, minimally, preliminary data and a preliminary analysis.

    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.

    5.5.2. Review of written version

    The sequence of steps for submitting and reviewing the written version is as follows:

    5.6. Language requirement

    Students must demonstrate a linguistically oriented knowledge of a language other than the student's native language (or dominant language, in the case of a bilingual student). This requirement may be fulfilled by taking 6 hours of linguistically oriented course work on the language in question or by writing a substantive paper that incorporates substantial primary data from the language. This paper may, but need not be, a course paper, seminar paper, or a QP. The satisfaction of this requirement may be based on work done before entering the program. For example, a student who has an M.A. degree from another program or institution might submit the thesis as the paper that incorporates substantial primary data.

    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.

    5.7. The Candidacy Examination

    The Candidacy Examination consists of a single written examination and an oral defense of the written examination. The written examination will be linked as closely as possible to the dissertation proposal, though the two are technically distinct.

    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.

    5.8. The dissertation proposal

    The candidate must propose a dissertation which is a significant original contribution to linguistic knowledge. The proposal is a short document, typically 10-25 pages (but the committee may choose to impose limits of their choice on the length) that specifies the question to be addressed and its broader significance, and describes the methods to be used in addressing the question. After passing the Candidacy Examination, the student revises and optionally extends the draft dissertation proposal to incorporate any new insights and knowledge resulting from the process of writing the exams and to list the proposed dissertation committee members and submits the revised proposal to the proposed committee for acceptance. Once a dissertation proposal is accepted, it should be circulated to the faculty as a whole for comment; however, comments from faculty outside the dissertation committee are considered to be advisory and do not delay the acceptance of the proposal.

    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.

    5.9. The dissertation

    The dissertation is expected to be a significant original contribution to linguistic knowledge. The dissertation is to be written under the direction of an advisor or set of co-advisors, and in consultation with other members of the dissertation committee. Section 7 of the Graduate School Handbook specifies the timetable for submitting a complete draft of the dissertation to the dissertation committee for approval; for filing the "Draft Approval/Notification of Final Oral Examination" form with the Graduate School; and for submitting a complete draft to the Graduate School for format review. There are pdf documents giving Guidelines for Preparing Theses, Dissertations, and D.M.A. Documents) and Sample Pages ... in the "Document Preparation" section of the Graduate School Web Site. When signing the "Draft Approval/Notification of Final Oral Examination" form, the dissertation committee should keep in mind the rules of the Graduate Studies Committee regarding the purpose and typical format of the Final Oral Examination.

    5.9.1. Final Oral Examination

    After the approval of the dissertation draft by the dissertation committee, a final oral examination is held. Sections 7.9 and 7.10 of the Graduate School Handbook describe the general Graduate Faculty rules regarding this exam. The Final Oral Examination Committee consists of the members of the dissertation committee plus a representative of the graduate faculty appointed by the Graduate School.

    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 7.10 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.

    5.9.2. Final copy of the dissertation

    Section 7.11 of the Graduate School Handbook describes the procedures for getting final approval of the dissertation from the dissertation committee and for filing the dissertation. Effective since Autumn Quarter 2002, the Graduate School has required the electronic submission of all doctoral dissertations (see the instructions in the Graduate School's Guidelines for Preparing Theses, Dissertations, and D.M.A. Documents.)

    6. Master's degree requirements

    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.

    6.1. Admission requirements for the MA Degree

    Each MA applicant must provide the following to the department:

    6.1.1. Details

    6.1.2. Deadlines

    Students can apply to be admitted into the M.A. program in any semester.

    6.2. Support for M.A. students

    Financial aid is not offered to M.A. students by the Linguistics Department from departmental funds.

    6.3. M.A. admission versus Ph.D. admission

    M.A. admission and Ph.D. admission are different. M.A. students who decide to try for a Ph.D. in Linguistics will need to apply separately for admission to the Ph.D. program, as described in Section 1 of this handbook.

    6.4 Degree Requirements

    1. Each MA student must meet the same core course requirements. They are: Any two courses from the Ph.D. core courses, plus two more courses from the Ph.D. core courses or disjuncts. (See 5.4.1.)

    2. Students must complete 30 graduate credit hours (in accordance with graduate school requirements). Note that undergraduate linguistics majors can senior petition to receive credit for 9 hours of MA coursework while an undergraduate student.
    3. Students must write an MA thesis presenting publishable original research. The thesis must be formatted according to Graduate School guidelines, and is read and approved by the MA examination committee which includes the advisor and at least one other member of the graduate faculty. The thesis is defended orally during the MA Examination, and submitted to the Graduate School following Section 6.4 of the Graduate School Handbook.

    6.5 Eligibility for the MA examination committee

    According to section 6.2 of the Graduate School Handbook, the requirements for an MA Examination Committee are as follows:
    The master’s 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 master’s examination committee is finally responsible for the conduct and evaluation of the entire examination. The advisor of a master’s student must hold membership at the category M level or higher in the student’s graduate program. Non-Graduate Faculty members may be appointed as additional external members to the master’s examination committee by approval of the Graduate Studies Committee in the student’s home program and by petition to the Graduate School.

    7. Graduate faculty membership

    Section 12 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.

    7.1. Regular Graduate Faculty

    Regular graduate faculty are faculty whose tenure home is the Department of Linguistics and who have been appointed to the university's Graduate Faculty with Graduate Category P status. A member of the regular graduate faculty can serve as the advisor of record for a student in the Linguistics doctoral program, as well be on reading committees and advisory committees.

    Section 12.3 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:

    In addition, the following faculty have Graduate Faculty M status in the Program:

    7.2. Courtesy Graduate Faculty Appointments

    Several faculty in other departments have accepted courtesy appointments in Linguistics, and they can serve on Reading Committees, Candidacy Examination Committees, and Dissertation Committees for doctoral students in linguistics without prior approval of the regular faculty and Graduate Studies Chair. There is also ample precedent for Ohio State University Graduate Faculty with courtesy appointments in Linguistics serving as one of two co-advisors for a student. (University-wide rules state that the first advisor of record must be a member of the department, however.) The home departments and contact information for Ohio State University faculty with courtesy appointments in Linguistics are listed on our web page.

    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.

    7.3. Appointing Other Faculty to Committees

    Because of the highly interdisciplinary nature of research in linguistics, students and their advisors sometimes find it appropriate to appoint to a Reading Committee, the Candidacy Examination Committee, or the Dissertation Committee a member of the Ohio State Graduate Faculty who has neither a regular appointment nor a courtesy appointment in the Linguistics graduate program. The local program rules state that such appointments can be made on a case-by-case basis with the concurrence of the regular graduate faculty. Students and their advisors seek this concurrence by sending a brief rationale for the ad hoc appointment to the Graduate Studies Committee and requesting that the Committee circulate a petition to the regular program faculty. This concurrence should be obtained before asking the non-program faculty member to accept the proposed ad hoc appointment. (A succession of such ad hoc appointments is often part of the rationale for nominating a person for a courtesy appointment.)

    Home Up Back