Ph.D. Degree

For the Ph.D., students must complete all M.A. requirements (for Ph.D. students) as well as additional requirements at the Ph.D. level.

Briefly, the requirements for the Ph.D. degree consist of a total of fifty-seven credit hours, including an M.A. Research Project, responsible scholarship requirement, a research skills requirement, a research presentation requirement, two qualifying papers, a Dissertation Proposal, an Oral Comprehensive Examination, and a Doctoral Dissertation and its oral defense.

M.A. Course Requirements for Ph.D. Student

Thirty-three hours of graduate work consisting of:
Required Courses

LING 794 Proseminar
LING 705 Phonetics I
LING 712 Phonology I
LING 725 Syntax I

One of the following acquisition courses:

LING 709 First Language Acquisition I
LING 715 Second Language Acquisition I

One of the following processing courses:

LING 735 Psycholinguistics I
LING 738 Neurolinguistics I

One of the following research methods courses:

LING 720 Research Methods in Linguistics
LING 741 Field Methods in Linguistic Description
LING 782 Research Methods in Child Language

Two Electives (2 courses - 6 credit hours) to be determined by the student and the student’s advisor. One elective course (3 credit hours) must be taken from the Advanced II-Level course list or Linguistics Seminar course list. Electives are NOT to include LING 850, LING 851, LING 852, or LING 998.                            
                            

Advanced II-Level Courses Linguistics Seminar Courses
LING 707 Phonetics II LING 807 Seminar in Phonetics
LING 714 Phonology II LING 814 Seminar in Phonology
LING 716 Second Language Acquisition II LING 822 Seminar in First Language Acquisition
LING 726 Syntax II LING 826 Seminar in Syntax
LING 727 Morphology LING 831 Seminar in Semantics
LING 731 Semantics LING 837 Seminar in Psycholinguistics
LING 737 Psycholinguistics II  LING 842 Seminar in Neurolinguistics
LING 739 First Language Acquisition II LING 860 Seminar in Second Language Acquisition
LING 742 Neurolinguistics II LING 910 Linguistics Seminar: ______

        
One Research Seminar Course (1 course – 3 credit hours) One of the following Research Seminar courses to be determined by the student and the student’s advisor. The course will include preparation of a written Research Proposal and oral presentations.

                LING 850 Topics in Research in Experimental Linguistics
                LING 851 Research in Language Acquisition and Processing
                LING 852 Research in Field and Formal Linguistics

M.A. Research Project course (1 course – 3 credit hours)

                LING 899 Master’s Research Project

 

M.A. Research Project for Ph.D. Students

The M.A. Research Project should consist of a detailed Research Proposal and include pilot results and preliminary analyses. Students continuing on to the Ph.D. should be able to continue working on the project with the aim of submitting it as a qualifying paper for the Ph.D. program. The minimum length of the Research Project is 20 pages.

When the student is ready to begin writing the Research Project (typically during their third semester of coursework), the student in consultation with their faculty advisor should form a research project committee consisting of two additional members of the faculty. As soon as the committee is formed, the membership should be entered in to the student’s file for the department’s record and the Director of Graduate Studies should be informed. The Research Project committee will approve the project topic, supervise the project, and conduct the M.A. Research Project Oral Examination.

A student who has begun work on a Research Project ideally should take the Oral Examination no later than the semester in which the student is enrolled for their thirty-third hour of course work applicable to the M.A. in Linguistics. Students MUST be enrolled in LING 899 Master's Research Project in the semester (e.g., Spring) in which they defend their Research Project (and they must continue to be enrolled until they have completed their M.A. Research Project).

Three hours of Master’s Research Project credit (LING 899) may be applied toward the minimum of thirty-three hours for the degree. The student must be enrolled in LING 899 in the semester in which they defend their M.A. Research Project.

The Research Project must be defended successfully in an Oral Examination. The oral exam is scheduled when all three committee members have indicated in writing their approval or disapproval of the written Research Project for defense and at least two (including the faculty advisor) have approved scheduling the exam. At least 2 weeks before the exam date, the faculty advisor will request the department Graduate Program Assistant to submit the pre-approval Progress-to-Degree form to the College Office of Graduate Affairs. At this time, the student must deposit a final formatted copy of the M.A. Research Project in the main office. If both the student and advisor agree, the M.A. Research Project Oral Examination will be open to the public. 

Following the Oral Examination, the student's performance will be evaluated by the project committee and reported by a Progress-to-Degree form to the College Office of Graduate Affairs as the outcome of the M.A. Oral Examination.

The committee will evaluate the M.A. Research Project using the M.A. Research Project rubric. A student will pass if all components are rated Outstanding, Very Good, or Acceptable. A student will fail if any of the components are judged "Unacceptable". If a student fails, they are given two weeks to revise the Research Project. If any of the components are again judged "Unacceptable", the student will not receive an M.A. degree.

To determine whether the student can continue into the Ph.D. program, the committee will also evaluate the M.A. Research Project with the following grades: 0=fail, 1=pass but cannot continue to the Ph.D. program, 2=pass and can continue to the Ph.D. program. 

Students must ensure completion of all graduation requirements before and following the Research Project exam. Please see the College Office of Graduate Affairs M.A. Degree Checklist.

 

Ph.D. Course Requirements

Twenty-four hours of graduate work consisting of:
Four Advanced II-Level courses or Linguistics Seminar Courses (12 credit hours) (in addition to those taken at the M.A. level):

Advanced II-Level Courses Linguistics Seminar Courses
LING 707 Phonetics II LING 807 Seminar in Phonetics
LING 714 Phonology II LING 814 Seminar in Phonology
LING 716 Second Language Acquisition II LING 822 Seminar in First Language Acquisition
LING 726 Syntax II LING 826 Seminar in Syntax
LINg 727 Morphology LING 831 Seminar in Semantics
LING 731 Semantics LING 837 Seminar in Psycholinguistics
LING 737 Psycholinguistics II LINg 842 Seminar in Neurolinguistics
LING 739 First Language Acquisition II LING 860 Seminar in Second Language Acquisition
LING 742 Neurolinguistics II LING 910 Linguistics Seminar: _____

Two Elective courses (6 credit hours) May include LING 850, LING 851, LING 852, LING 998, which are repeatable for credit. Select in conjunction with student’s advisor.

Two Research Seminars (6 credit hours) LING 850, LING 851, LING 852 are repeatable for credit

                LING 850 Topics in Research in Experimental Linguistics
                LING 851 Research in Language Acquisition and Processing
                LING 852 Research in Field and Formal Linguistics

Research Skills

The university requires that every doctoral student have training in Research Skills pertinent to the field of research and appropriate to the doctoral level. This requirement must be met before taking the Comprehensive Oral exam. One of the following courses with a grade of B or above fulfills the requirement for Research Skills:

                A graduate-level (500 or above) course in statistics
                LING 720 Research Methods in Linguistics
                LING 741 Field Methods in Linguistic Description
                LING 782 Research Methods in Child Language
                A graduate-level (500 or above) course in a computer programming language

A course taken for the M.A. degree (i.e., a research methods or statistics course) counts towards the Research Skills requirement.

Responsible Scholarship

The university requires that every doctoral student complete a course in Responsible Scholarship, pertinent to the field of research and appropriate to the doctoral level. This requirement must be met before taking the Comprehensive Oral exam.

                LING 794 Proseminar fulfills the requirement of Responsible Scholarship

Research Presentation Requirement

Students must give one research presentation each semester beginning in their second year of the program. For students who are just beginning their independent Research Projects, this presentation may involve a discussion of published research relevant to the student’s research interests or a presentation of the student’s research proposal. This requirement may be satisfied through a presentation in one of the research seminars (LING 850, LING 851, LING 852), a presentation at a local, regional, or international conference, a presentation in the Linguistics colloquy series, or a presentation at any other relevant forum as determined by the faculty advisor. Students must include the titles and dates of these presentations in their annual report each year.

Qualifying Papers

Students need to write two qualifying papers: a Major Paper in their area of specialization with their advisor and a Minor Paper in a different area with a different faculty advisor. Both papers should represent original work and both papers must have different faculty advisors. The Major Paper may be an expanded version of the M.A. Research Project and should be of publishable quality. The minimum length of the Major Paper is 25 pages. The minimum length of the Minor Paper is 15 pages.

Before completion of course work, the student should form an Advisory Committee, whose role is to help the student with the qualifying papers. The student in the Ph.D. program will select a three-member faculty advisory committee appropriate to each of the areas they have selected to write the papers in. The advisory committee approves the topics, helps the student develop and write the papers, and approves the papers. The membership of the committees should be officially entered into the student’s file for the department’s record and the Director of Graduate Studies should be informed.

The Major and Minor Papers are developed in close consultation with the student's committee and the two papers must be supervised by different faculty members. It is the advisory committee’s responsibility to ensure the breadth of the papers’ topics. The topics of the papers (when approved) and the eventual approval of the final papers should be officially entered into the student’s file for the department’s record and the Director of Graduate Studies should be informed. The adequacy of the papers is evaluated on the quality of the literature review, theoretical contribution, and research integration as well on the basis of their logical coherence and organization (see Major paper rubric and Minor paper rubric). The papers are only officially submitted after all committee members have signed the approval form and a copy of the form has been placed in the student's folder. The student should email a final approved copy of each paper to the Department Graduate Program Assistant. The papers should typically be submitted by the time the student has completed the 24 credit hours of Ph.D. coursework. The student does not need to orally defend the Major and Minor qualifying papers.

Dissertation Proposal

When writing the Major and Minor qualifying papers, the student may form a Ph.D. committee (4 Department of Linguistics Graduate Faculty members, 1 Graduate Studies Representative member), which helps the student work on the Dissertation, starting from the Dissertation Proposal. The Dissertation Proposal should clearly identify the research questions that the Dissertation will address, include a comprehensive literature review, lay out the methodology for the research, discuss preliminary data and results, if any, and present a timetable for the dissertation research. The minimum length for the Dissertation Proposal is 15 pages. The topic of the Dissertation (once approved by the Ph.D. committee), and the approved Dissertation Proposal should be filed in the student’s folder.

The Ph.D. committee is composed of at least five voting members. At least three members must consist of tenured/tenure-track faculty holding dissertation graduate faculty status in Linguistics at the University of Kansas.  Additionally, a fifth member is required from outside of the department to represent the Office of Graduate Studies. The outside member must hold dissertation graduate faculty status at the University of Kansas. The student may suggest names for the committee, including the outside member, but the final composition of the committee is determined by the student's advisor in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies. Faculty from other institutions or faculty from KU who do not hold dissertation status can be asked to join the committee as Special Members, after consultation with the advisor and the DGS. The student or a faculty member may request that the committee membership be reviewed by the entire department. The membership of the committee should be entered in to the student’s file for the department’s records and the Director of Graduate Studies should be informed.

Oral Comprehensive Exam

The Oral Comprehensive Exam is the official exam required by Graduate Studies and consists of an oral defense of the Dissertation Proposal and the answering of any questions related to the fields of study of the dissertation research. It must be completed in the spring semester of the 4th year (at the latest).

The student, in consultation with their Ph.D. committee, will propose a date for the Oral Comprehensive exam. At least two weeks before the date of the proposed exam, the Chair of the Committee or the Director of Graduate Studies will submit a request to the Graduate Program Assistant to submit a pre-approval Progress-to-Degree form to the College Office of Graduate Affairs, officially setting the date for the exam and listing the members of the Ph.D. examination committee. The exam is not confirmed as scheduled until the College Office of Graduate Affairs approves the request for examination. Once the exam is approved, the Graduate Program Assistant will announce the exam (date, time, place, & committee) to all Linguistics faculty by email, and post the exam date on the KU and Department calendar. The oral exam will typically last two to three hours.

The exam will be conducted by the student's Ph.D. exam committee. Any member of the Graduate Faculty may attend, and ask questions at the invitation of the chair of the exam. However, only the committee of record, including the outside member, shall vote. The Oral Comprehensive exam is not open to the public.

A secret ballot shall be taken immediately after the student has been excused from the examination room. For this first ballot, the members may write: "Pass” (satisfactory or with honors), "Fail," or "Discuss." If the result is unanimously pass or fail, there may be a short discussion of matters to be brought to the attention of the student, but the student will be recalled as soon as possible and informed of the decision. If the result of the first ballot is not unanimous, there will be discussion. When the chair of the committee feels that there has been sufficient discussion (their decision may be challenged and overruled by a majority vote), he/she will call for a second secret ballot, in which a majority shall decide the outcome. In the second ballot, only "Pass" (satisfactory or with honors) or "Fail" may be written on the ballots.

A student who fails the Oral Comprehensive exam will take it again at a time determined by the Ph.D committee, in consultation with the student. A student will not be permitted to take the Oral Comprehensive exam more than three times.

Upon passing the Oral Comprehensive examination, the student officially becomes a "Ph.D. candidate."

Post-Comprehensive Enrollment

During the semester in which the comprehensive exam is completed and each Fall and Spring semester following, doctoral candidates must enroll in at least 6 credit hours per semester (however, 9 credit hours is recommended) until all requirements for the degree are completed OR until 18 post-comprehensive hours have been completed, whichever comes first.  At least one of these credit hours each semester must be a dissertation hour (LING 999).  Students are strongly advised to closely review the continuous enrollment guidelines of the University Policies & Degree Requirements section of Graduate Student Guide and the Graduate Studies policy for Doctoral Candidacy.

Students should also enroll in either LING 850 Research in Experimental Linguistics, LING 851 Research in Acquisition and Processing, or LING 852 Research in Field and Formal Linguistics at least once following their Oral Comprehensive exam. LING 850, LING 851, and LING 852 are repeatable for credit.

Dissertation Committee

The Dissertation committee is the same committee as the Ph.D. committee. Any changes in committee membership must be reported to the committee chair and the department Director of Graduate Studies. Such changes must be approved in writing by all old and new committee members and by the student. If any one of these people is not satisfied with the changes, the case will be decided by a majority vote of the graduate faculty of the department. After the Dissertation is in substantially final form, no such changes in committee membership will be approved except under extraordinary circumstances. University policy dictates the composition of exam committees. Students may petition for an exception for several committee member situations, with the exception of the Graduate Studies Representative. Therefore, all changes must follow university policy guidelines.

The Dissertation committee shall meet shortly after being constituted (or reconstituted in the case of a change in committee membership) to determine the procedures it wishes to follow. It will be the responsibility of the chair of the dissertation committee to see that the other readers have access to copies of the Dissertation in progress, though the candidate is responsible for preparing and distributing this material. The following guidelines are suggested: The student will submit chapter-length sections to the dissertation faculty advisor and at least a second reader as work progresses, and make revisions according to their comments and discussion. The other readers will be asked to read the first complete draft for general criticism, well in advance of the time proposed for the Dissertation Defense, and the student will make revisions according to their comments.

Dissertation Defense

When at least four members of the Ph.D. committee including the faculty advisor have given approval in writing for defense of the Dissertation (all members must indicate approval or disapproval in writing), a final oral defense of the Dissertation may be scheduled. At least two weeks before the date of the proposed defense of the dissertation, the Chair of the Committee or the Director of Graduate Studies will submit a request to the Graduate Program Assistant to submit a pre-approval Progress-to-Degree form to the College Office of Graduate Affairs, officially setting the date for the oral defense of the dissertation, listing the members of the examination committee, and the title of the Dissertation. The exam is not confirmed as scheduled until the College Office of Graduate Affairs approves the request for the defense. Once the oral defense of the dissertation is approved, the Graduate Program Assistant will announce the defense (date, time, place, & committee) to all Linguistics faculty by email, and post the date on the KU and Department calendar. At this time, a formatted copy of the Dissertation must be deposited by the student in the main office.

The defense will normally last one to two hours. It is open to all members of the Graduate Faculty and to the public. The student will be asked first to summarize their Dissertation, and then will be questioned by the committee. Vote will be by the committee of record and will be taken immediately after the exam by secret ballot (see procedure under Oral Comprehensive Exam section).

Submission of Final Copies

The department will not certify completion of requirements until bound copies of the Dissertation have been received. The Department requires one bound copy, and it is expected that the student will present one bound copy to the dissertation committee chair or co-chairs.

University Requirements

Throughout the course of doctoral study, the student must fulfill all relevant College and University policies such as those concerning doctoral residency, time constraints, continuous post-comprehensive enrollment (Fall and Spring), human subjects review, electronic filing, and graduation. Refer to the University Policies and Degree Requirements section of the Graduate Student Guide for more information.

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