The Twelve Commandments of Registration

The Twelve Commandments of Registration were propounded by Prof. Timothy Stowell during his tenure as Linguistics Department chair. I don’t know whether he brought them down from a mountaintop on stone tablets or not, but they appear to be very authoritative. If you keep these Commandments, you will avoid bureaucratic hassles, advance your career swiftly, and help the financial situation (i.e. graduate support) for the department as a whole.

The Commandments are:


Thou shalt enroll before the University deadline every quarter.

This Commandment costs you money (~ $50) if you violate it. If you violate it during Fall Quarter, it costs the department thousands of dollars that could have been used to support graduate students.

Keeping this Commandment is not easy. The University can get very picky about financial details, and they are perfectly happy to deregister you on very short notice. Therefore, please monitor your registration status during the fall until the deadline (and the financial danger) has passed.



Thou shalt consult with thine adviser about thy course selections each quarter, have him/her sign your study list, and file it with the Department SAO in timely fashion.

If you are a first-year student, your adviser is The Director of Graduate Studies. If you are a second-year student and have not picked an adviser, your adviser is The Director of Graduate Studies.



Thou shalt always sign up for 12 units or more.

Even though the university only requires you to be enrolled for 8 units, we only get full credit for you if you are enrolled for 12 units. (This also has financial implications for graduate student support.) If you are concerned about having too much to do, talk with your adviser or another faculty member about enrolling for units of independent study, MA thesis preparation, or dissertation preparation to bring you up to 12 units. It’s really very easy to reach 12, given the options available. See the related posting on this site, How To Sign Up For Many Units.


(4) TA’s: SIGN UP FOR LING 375

If thou workest as a TA this quarter, thou shalt sign up for Ling. 375.

The sign-up works as follows: If you are a regular TA (50% time, 20 hrs/week) sign up for 4 units; If you are a “half TA” (25% time, 10 hrs/week) sign up for 2 units. We cannot pay you for your TA work if you fail to sign up for 375.


If thou workest as an RA this quarter, thou shalt sign up for units of Independent Study with the faculty member who superviseth thee, in proportion to the hours thou workest.

This works analogously to (4) above; this works out to 1 unit of independent study for each 5 hours per week of RA work.



Thou shalt sign up for a minimum of 0 units of colloquium.

Even if you are not making a presentation in the colloquium, you should still sign up for 0 units of colloquium, so that we have enough people on the books to guarantee a large room. There are two different numbers for colloquium enrollment: Ling 275 and Ling 276. Sign up for 4 S/U units of Ling 275 if you plan to give a colloquium talk. Otherwise sign up for 0 units of Ling 276.





Thou shalt satisfy MA course requirements before thou satisfyest thy craving for higher-level intellectual fulfilment, at least for the most part.
This mainly applies to first-year students (and second-year students who didn’t follow this advice in their first year). If you choose your courses carefully in your first year, you should be able to have all (or almost all) of your MA course requirements completed by the end of your first year. Note also that first year students should enroll in Linguistics 411 (Research Orientation) for 2 units on an S/U grading basis.



Thou shalt enroll in Ling 444 this fall, and show up at the meetings of the group.

You will make presentations based on your MA work in this, and engage in discussions with other class members about your research. You will also need to set up an MA thesis committee to advise you in your thesis preparation, and you should try to complete the MA thesis, as well as other MA requirements, as soon as possible, preferably by the end of the winter quarter of this year, but in no case later than the first quarter of your third year.



Starting by at least thy third year, thou shalt take action to develop thy professional career.

This is the best year to take advanced courses in your chosen area, to build up your CV with conference papers and (especially) publications. Start thinking about a dissertation topic, set up a guidance committee, and maybe even schedule your orals.  If you can be advanced to candidacy by the end of this year, you will have 2 full years to actually write it, and you will have already progressed well by the time you start applying for jobs in the fall of your fifth year.



Thou shalt continue to build up thy CV; thou shalt schedule thy orals before the end of the Winter quarter at the absolute latest (sooner if possible), and fulfill any remaining requirements.

Bear in mind that you must have completed your orals before the end of the winter quarter if you wish to apply for a Dissertation Year Fellowship (deadline:  early Spring).  The department has passed a new policy that financial support will not be provided to fifth year students if  they have not applied for a Dissertation Year Fellowship.  (Leaves of absence, and time spent taking undergraduate courses are taken into account in enforcing this.)  For information on taking orals, click here.


(12) 5th-year STUDENTS:

Thou shalt finish thy dissertation before the end of this year if possible, since funding in the 6th year and beyond cannot, in general, be assured.

(Of course there are sometimes special circumstances, but this is the general rule.) This Fall will probably be a bit crazy, since you may be applying for jobs and trying to have at least some of your dissertation chapters ready to show potential employers. Applying for a job can be very distracting and disruptive of the dissertation writing process, so beware!  Click here for advice on job-hunting.