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College of Arts & Sciences
Linguistics Program


Suggested Timetable to Degree Completion (M.A. thesis option)

This is a suggested timetable for students wanting to finish their M.A. degree in two years, starting in the fall semester.

Taking courses

Students entering the Program normally take LING 600 Survey of Linguistics (or other choice) in the Fall, and LING 710 Introduction to Phonology in the Spring of their first year. Students who already have some background in linguistics are encouraged to also take LING 720 Introduction to Syntax in their first (Fall) semester. Alternatively, LING 720 Introduction to Syntax may be taken in the third (Fall) semester.

It is advisable for students to try to get at least one course (and preferably two courses) in their special field in their first two semesters, so that they are able to competently move toward the conceptualization of a thesis project at the end of that year.

If a student wishes to include a non-LING in their program of study, a permission form  must be filled out, signed by the student's advisor, and filed with the program office.

After 12-18 hours of coursework, by the end of his/her first summer at USC

  • Student decides on the topic area in which they want to write their M.A. thesis and prepares a brief statement on why they want to work in that area, including how they are prepared to do work in that area, such as a list of relevant coursework. Student can also begin doing early bibliographic searches and readings in the area to facilitate discussions about possible topics for the thesis. This prepared statement should be shown to or discussed with potential thesis committee members.
  • Student finds a thesis director and reader to form their thesis committee.
  • In consultation with thesis director, student chooses a specific topic and prepares an appropriate reading list. (This may be done at the start of the third, regular semester)

 

Beginning of the third, regular semester (usually Fall, second year)

  • Student files a thesis proposal form . Student articulates a short (one to two paragraph) proposal which must be acceptable to the thesis committee members. The student files the completed thesis proposal form in the Linguistics Program office.
  • During the third, regular semester student develops a reading list and a formal thesis proposal which will be defended during the oral exam. The specific requirements of the formal thesis proposal are determined by the thesis advisor, so students must consult with their advisor as often as necessary to understand what is expected. Students must submit a prepared reading list to their advisor for final approval.
  • Student submits a draft of the thesis proposal to the director for comments and approval. As soon as the advisor/director approves, student, in consultation with the advisor and reader, sets a date for the oral (comprehensive) exam and gives a copy of the approved proposal and reading list to the reader. Student must give the approved proposal and reading list to the reader and advisor at least one week in advance of the scheduled exam.

 

By the end of the third, regular semester:

  • Student completes (oral) M.A. Comprehensive Exam.
  • Upon successful completion of the M.A. Exam, student may register for LING 799 Thesis Preparation, for the fourth, final semester.
  • Completion of the M.A. thesis: The student should consult early in the semester with the Graduate School concerning deadlines for submitting the thesis in order to graduate at the desired time. Students must give committee members two weeks to read an entire draft of the thesis and should expect to have to make revisions on early drafts. In other words, students who risk giving their committee a first draft of their thesis two weeks before the Graduate School deadline for submission must understand that they may not graduate during that semester because of required revisions.

 THESIS

For students with linguistics background 

For students without linguistics background 

1st semester (Fall)

LING 720
+2 other LING courses

LING 600
+2 other LING courses

2nd semester (Spring)

LING 710
+ 2 other LING courses

LING 710
+ 2 other LING courses

Summer

Select thesis director and reader, and determine thesis topic.

Select thesis director and reader, and determine thesis topic.

3rd semester (Fall)

File thesis proposal form.
Develop thesis proposal.
Defend thesis proposal in oral comprehensive exam.
3 LING courses

File thesis proposal form.
Develop thesis proposal.
Defend thesis proposal in oral comprehensive exam.
LING 720
+ 2 other LING courses

4th semester (Spring)

 Write thesis.

Write thesis.