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Programs / Graduate Program / PhD in Linguistics / Advising Statement

Advising Statement

Department of Linguistics

Guidelines for graduate advising and mentoring

MA in Linguistics and PhD in Linguistics

Approved by Department December 02, 2020

Revised August 16, 2023


The Department of Linguistics is committed to facilitating close collaboration between faculty and students with shared areas of interest. At the outset of their program, students will be advised by the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) about course registration, progress through the program, and other general concerns. Once a student has chosen a thesis topic (or area of concentration), they will ask a faculty member to chair their thesis committee. The DGS and thesis committee chair will then be the major points of contact for program and thesis advice and advising. The advisor/advisee relationship is a critical component of student success, and it is important to recognize that people have different relationship styles and that there is a diversity of models for what this professional relationship should be.


Expectations and relationship with the DGS

The DGS serves as the conduit between graduate students and the larger department and university communities. They will advise graduate students on degree progress, thesis and defense requirements, and will send out regular reminders about all important deadlines (applying for graduation, scheduling thesis defense, thesis submission, etc.) as well as advising emails with details about upcoming courses and course registration. The DGS will keep graduate students informed of events (e.g. speakers, workshops, conferences, etc.) that may be of interest.


The DGS is expected to:

  • Be aware of students' course choices
  • Be mindful of departmental and Graduate School deadlines
  • Monitor GPAs, and other indicators of student performance
  • The DGS performs the following duties related to the completion of the MA thesis:           
  1. Reviews and approve MA thesis submission forms
  2. Reviews and approve MA exam sheets for thesis defenses
  3. Approves all scheduled defenses and committee membership
  4. Writes justifications for and make requests to the Graduate School for any non-UK committee members on MA committees


Students are expected to:

  • Read their UK emails and respond when appropriate
  • Inform the DGS of the courses the student plans to enroll in and keep the DGS informed of progress or problems
  • Learn and comply with departmental and Graduate School deadlines and regulations


Expectations about and relationship with the thesis committee chair

In order to ensure a successful relationship, the department suggests that students discuss the following points when identifying a potential chair:

  • The student's personal timeline and the timing of committee formation and other program milestones
  • The advisor's preferred communication method and frequency
  • The expected supervisory model or style
  • Students might consider asking:
  1. How quickly does your advisor respond to written submissions turned in on time?
  2. How quickly does your advisor respond to requests to schedule meetings or conversations?
  3. How regularly does your advisor like to meet?
  4. How often would your advisor like a written report of your progress along degree milestones? What format should this report take?


Once a thesis committee chair has been chosen, both student and chair should remain mindful of the following.


Thesis chairs are expected to:

  • Maintain regular communication with advisees
  • Ensure that advisees are formally supported in their work (either by themselves or another faculty member) when the advisor is on sabbatical or research leave
  • Provide timely, substantive feedback on work submitted by advisees
  • Encourage and help advisees identify opportunities to participate in the larger professional community, e.g. conference presentations, workshop participation, grant/fellowship funding, publication opportunities, etc.
  • Mentor students about professional norms and provide guidance as they pursue the next stage of their education/training or enter the professional workforce


Students are expected to:

  • Initiate regular communication with their advisor
  • Work with their advisor to create an agreed upon timeline for reaching thesis milestones and maintain timely progress toward completion of the thesis
  • In consultation with advisor, determine and facilitate the meaningful participation of the other thesis committee members to ensure optimal progress in preparation of the thesis
  • Consult with their advisor about how to best prepare their professional future, whether in academia or another sector, by participating in professional meetings or other appropriate forums and networking opportunities


If students have concerns about the advising they are receiving they should arrange to speak confidentially with the Director of Graduate Studies or the Department Chair. The department faculty want to support graduate students and will take their concerns seriously. Students may also seek out the guidance of the Academic Ombud Services ( Any student, after due consideration and consultation with the DGS, and with the agreement of the nominated (identified?) faculty, may change thesis committee chair or committee members at any point prior to their thesis defense.