Overview of The Second Year

Just as in your first year, you will be signing up for at least 12 units, typically three courses, per quarter.

For many of you, one of those courses will be something to give you credit for the work you are doing as part of your support package, as a TA (Ling. 375) or RA (Ling. 596). For half-time work, you get four units.

The second course each quarter should be set aside for working on your M.A. thesis: first, finding a topic, and then starting the work. You’ll take the M.A. thesis prep course (Ling. 444) together as a class; this class is offered all three quarters. As part of your work in this course, you will work with your M.A. thesis adviser outside of class. It is important that you keep working on your thesis all year and complete it by the end of your second year. The official requirements of Ling. 444 are somewhat minimal, and sometimes students coast through thinking they are making progress when really they are not. If you would like to make extra time for your M.A. thesis this year, in the hopes of making quicker progress, you can enroll for additional thesis units, in the form of Ling. 598, with your adviser.

That leaves at most one slot per quarter for a regular course for most second year students. You may use 2 quarters of that for Field Methods (Ling. 210AB). However, you may need to delay taking Field Methods until third year for a number of reasons: if you have too many M.A. elective courses still to take, or some other sort of courses outside our department for your M.A. research. Or maybe the particular pro-seminars offered will be irresistable to you, and you feel they will help you progress on your thesis.  Consult the relevant faculty for advice.

Any proseminars or other regular courses for 4 units should be fit into your 3 courses per quarter. That would include any courses outside the department that you choose to take (after consulting your adviser, of course). Activities for 2 units (proseminars without final papers, mini-courses, spectrogram reading, technology training, research seminars, whatever) could be on top of the 12 units, just as your 411 orientation sessions were extra units in first year, but do not count towards the MA requirements. In particular, you are especially encouraged to attend the weekly research seminar (Ling. 260, 261, etc.) in the area of your M.A. thesis, so that you become familiar with related work being done by your colleagues in the department. You may even be in a position to present some preliminary results from your thesis work in Winter or Spring.

Study lists in the second year

In your second year your study list is signed by your academic adviser, who you have chosen based on your interest in a possible M.A. thesis area/topic. This adviser approves your study list so that you can be directed to courses that will aid your progress in your chosen area of specialization (e.g. additional M.A. courses, proseminars, courses outside the department).  If you haven’t chosen your academic adviser or if your adviser is not available, the DGS can sign your study list.

A problem can arise, though, because your adviser may not know all the M.A. requirements and probably will not check your file to see if you’ve met them. It is very unlikely that your thesis adviser will make sure that you have met the departmental requirements for the M.A. degree. Nasty surprises can result. Therefore it really is up to you to use the checklists provided on this page to monitor your own progress towards the degree after your first year. If you have any questions about the requirements for the degree, it is recommended that you discuss them with the DGS or the Graduate SAO.

Finalizing your M.A. committee

Second year students must nominate the members of their M.A. committee by the end of the 4th quarter (fall quarter of the second year).