Exam Rules and Regulations
Please consult the Student Handbook for the information on En Route M.A., Advancement to Doctoral Candidacy, Dissertation Proposal, Dissertation Committee, and the Third Examination (Oral Defense)
First Examination / Qualifying Paper 1 (QP1)
Each student writes a QP1 that demonstrates that the candidate controls the literature in one or more core area (s) of linguistics relevant to the topic of the QP1 (i.e., Phonology or Phonetics; Morphology; Syntax; Semantics). The research question may be in any area of linguistics, but the analysis applied to it must be informed by knowledge of a core area commensurate with 30-45 credits of study.
A QP1 should be written with a linguistically informed audience in mind, including readers not specialized in the topic area. It must conform to a consistent style accepted by some standard journal, it must be in 12-point Times New Roman or Arial font, double spaced with one-inch margins. The body of the paper, excluding the bibliography or appendices, must be between 6,000 and 10,000 words.
The student shall secure the participation of two faculty advisors, one of whom shall be the main advisor. Both will be selected by the student and approved by the Executive Officer. It is strongly recommended that, at the outset of preparing for the QP1, the student meet with each advisor to establish a reasonable working plan.
Students must pass theQP1 before registering for the 46th credit. Students are advised to start the writing process around the time they have 30 credits (approximately 10 courses).
Students preparing to submit their QP1 are required to enroll in the QP1 Workshop. The QP1 Workshop will be offered every Fall semester as a regular three credit course. The purpose of the QP1 Workshop is to enhance students’ research, argumentation and writing skills. For the content of the QP1, students should consult with their advisors and other faculty members specializing in the chosen topic.
Procedures and Evaluation of the QP1:
QP1’s will be evaluated twice yearly. The Qualifying Paper Coordinator (QPC) and Faculty Readers will meet twice a year, within two weeks of the submission deadline. Final submission deadlines are: December 15th and May 15th. Students who anticipate not being able to meet the deadline should be sure to consult with their advisors and Executive Officer at least 1 month prior to submission date.
The student will submit an abstract approved by both advisors, including a brief description of the topic (150 words or less) and at most one page of examples, diagrams and references. The core area should be clearly specified, along with the names of the two advisors. The Executive Officer shall pass it on to the QPC. The QPC will offer advice or request clarification if it is not clear that the chosen topic is able to fulfill the content requirements.
Abstracts are due no later thanFebruary 1st for the December 15th final submission,and no later thanJuly 1st for the next May 15th final submission.
Every year the Executive Officer (EO) appoints a QP1 Coordinator (QPC), who will then select two other Faculty Readers for each submitted QP1.Each QP1 is evaluated by the QPC and the two Faculty Readers.Each Faculty Reader will give the QP1s they are reading a grade of Pass, Pass with revisions, or Fail. Comments are required in case of a Fail or Pass with revisions. The QPC will collect the grades and may call on the advice of a third reader in case of a disagreement.
The QPC and the two Faculty Readers will decide whether the QP1 constitutes a Pass, Pass with Revision, or a Fail. In the case of a Pass with Revision, the student must follow the readers' comments to revise the QP1 under the supervision of the main advisor. In the case of a Fail, the student will be allowed to re-take the QP1 once, within one year of having submitted it initially. For the re-take, the student may change advisors, topic or core area(s). In the case of a Fail the student will receive written feedback from the QPC, detailing the reasons for the Fail. Students may not continue in the Program following a second failed submission.
Second Examination / Qualifying Paper 2 (QP2)
Students write a Second Examination, which is a Qualifying Paper (QP2) in any area within Linguistics. The QP2 is an in-depth examination of a topic that provides both theoretical background for the problem being addressed as well as original research that advances our knowledge of the topic. The paper topic may overlap with that of the First Exam if it is a substantial advance (as determined by the student's Advisory Committee) on the First Exam. As part of the exam, the student will orally present and defend the QP2.
The subject matter of the QP2 may be the subject matter of the student's dissertation but the two need not overlap, nor need the QP2 Advisory Committee overlap with the dissertation committee. The QP2 is nevertheless an opportunity for the student to acquire the knowledge and skills that will prepare him or her for the larger project of the dissertation.
The QP2 is evaluated by a three member Advisory Committee which consists of a primary advisor from the Linguistics Program, who serves as chair of the committee, and two other faculty members who are also usually from the Linguistics Program. The student chooses the primary advisor, and, generally in consultation with the primary advisor, requests the participation of the other two (who need not be an expert on the topic of the QP2) faculty members. The Advisory Committee's composition must be approved by the Executive Officer. The Advisory Committee decides whether the QP2 constitutes a Pass or Fail of the Second Exam. In the case of a Fail, the student will be allowed to re-take the Second Exam once, within one year of having taken the exam for the first time. For the re-take, the student may ask the Executive Officer for permission to form a new committee or choose a new area or topic. Graduate Center regulations require that students successfully complete the Second Exam by no later than the end of their fifth year (tenth semester).
Statement of Objectives:
The student writes a statement of the problem he or she will address and outlines the basic approach that the QP2 will take in attempting to resolve it. The statement should be between 1 and 2 single-spaced pages in 12-point type with one-inch margins. The statement must be approved by the Advisory Committee. The due date for the Statement of Objectives is 5 weeks after the last day of classes of the semester following satisfactory completion of the First Exam. Students should thus begin developing ideas for their QP2 topic in advance. An independent study with a faculty member may be an appropriate way to develop an approach to the Second Exam. The topic can also develop from a paper that the student has written for a course.
QP2 Content and Process:
There are no limitations on the topic of the QP2, as long as it is a topic in linguistics for which the student can assemble a three-person Advisory Committee. The QP2 identifies a problem or question and proposes a solution or answer to the question. It involves a thorough review of the relevant background to the problem and original research to address the problem. The student should meet at least monthly with the primary advisor. Students and their primary advisors should establish their expectations for the content, form, and length of the QP2 at the beginning of their work together. The student and the Advisory Committee will work together to set realistic goals so that the QP2 can be completed in a timely fashion. The QP2 should be in the style and approximate length of a published journal article, typically between 35-50 double-spaced pages in 12-point type with one-inch margins. Students must submit a final draft of the QP2 to all members at least three weeks prior to the date of the defense.
Defense of the Second Exam:
Students will set a date for the presentation and defense of the Second Exam, generally scheduled for a two-hour period. The student's presentation is expected to take thirty to forty-five minutes, to be followed by questions from the Advisory Committee.
The Advisory Committee will decide whether the QP2 constitutes a Pass or a Fail of the Second Exam. In case of a Fail, the student will be allowed to resubmit the QP2 once, within one year of having submitted the QP2 for the first time. The student may choose a new Advisory Committee, a new topic, both, or neither for the resubmission.
Students may put the Second Exam into perspective by considering their desired progress through the Program. Full-time funded students should aim for a degree within ten to twelve semesters. Since three to five semesters are commonly required for the dissertation, full-time students should aim to defend their QP2 within the first six to eight semesters. The Graduate Center requires that students take the Second Exam no later than the end of their tenth semester, but that requirement, if taken as normative, would lead to failure to graduate within a reasonable time period. Prospective employers assessing likely future productivity attend to the length of time a student has taken to complete their degree. Part-time and unfunded students may of necessity require the longer time span permitted by the Graduate Center regulations provide. All students should discuss their time line with their Advisory Committee to establish a workable plan.
1. Develop ideas for QP2.
2. Select primary advisor.
3. Consult with primary advisor to select other Advisory Committee members and have Executive Officer approve Advisory Committee.
4. Write draft of Statement of Objectives.
5. Get Statement of Objectives approved by Advisory Committee.
6. Submit Statement to Executive Officer 5 weeks after the last day of classes of the semester following satisfactory completion of QP1.
7. Meet with primary advisor on a monthly basis.
8. Recommended: Meet at least once with full Advisory Committee.
9. Schedule QP2 defense and submit final draft to Advisory Committee at least 3 weeks before defense.
Timeline of Statement of Objectives
(Semester After Passing QP1)