Policies and Prodedures Manual for the Linguistics Graduate Program

M.A. in Applied Linguistics

Policies and Procedures

(Last revised: 09/04/2007)

Introduction and General Information

This guide is intended to provide graduate students of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks (UAF) with an understanding of the structure of the existing Master of Arts Program in Applied Linguistics. We intend it to assist students in completing their work as expeditiously and meaningfully as possible, while still complying with general UAF regulations. Students are to be guided by the rules in existence at the time they enter the MA. When changes in program rules or requirements occur, the student has the option of completing the program under the new set of rules rather than remaining with the rules of entry. In this case, the student must obtain approval from 1) each member of the Advisory Committee, 2) the Program chair, 3) the Dean of the college of Liberal Arts. These approvals must be recorded with the Dean of the Graduate School.

Some of the information in this guide replicates information for graduate students available in the most current General Catalog of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, which sets forth the official Board of Regents' Policies and University Regulations on admission procedures, completion of requirements, etc. Additional and specific information relevant to the MA Program in Applied Linguistics is provided in this manual.

Students themselves are ultimately responsible for ensuring that they meet the requirements for their degree as set forth in this Graduate Student Manual, that the completion of each formal requirement is properly recorded, and that their departmental and Graduate School files are complete and up-to-date. Program faculty are ready to assist whenever the student feels that there is some uncertainty or problem.

Introduction to the M.A. in Applied Linguistics

The UAF MA Program in Applied Linguistics provides students with training in applied linguistics, broadly defined to include second language teaching, curriculum and materials development, documentary linguistics, and language policy and planning. The Linguistics Program is highly interdisciplinary in nature, drawing on faculty expertise in the Alaska Native Language Program, the Department of Anthropology, the Department of English, the School of Education, and the Department of Foreign Languages. Students in the Linguistics Program work closely with faculty engaged in primary research to develop linguistic applications relevant to Alaska and beyond.

Degrees Offered

Graduate students in applied linguistics may pursue a general program or develop a concentration in either language documentation or second language acquisition and teacher education.  Students are expected either to have or to develop proficiency in at least one language other than English, as demonstrated by a proficiency exam or a comparable measure determined by the student's graduate committee.  Students pursuing certification in Second Language Acquisition and Teacher Education must demonstrate proficiency in the language they intend to teach.

The general program provides students with a practical foundation in linguistics but remains broad enough to allow exploration of a variety of possible thesis topics.

Language documentation is designed to provide practical foundations in linguistics, techniques of fieldwork and documentation, with special focus on Alaska Native languages.

Second Language Acquisition and Teacher Education is designed for students interested in teaching English as a second language, a foreign or Alaska Native language.  It is designed to provide theoretical and practical foundations in second language acquisition, language teaching, materials development and language assessment.

Application Requirements and Procedures

Students applying to the MA Program in Applied Linguistics must have a bachelor's degree with a 3.0 average or better. They should have at least two years at college level of a second language. They should also have demonstrated interest in a field of applied linguistics that is served by UAF. The application consists of:

  • Students should apply to the Linguistics Program via the website and send all materials to Graduate Admissions. However, students are encouraged to send a copy of the completed application directly to the linguistics program for tracking purposes.

    Applications are due March 15. It is the responsibility of the student to make sure that the application is complete.

Financial assistance: Teaching assistantships, Research assistantships, and other student funding

The Linguistics Program offers a small number of competitive financial aid packages in the form of teaching assistantships (including stipend, tuition waiver, and health insurance), first year scholarships ($5,000 - $10,000), and research assistanships on projects funded from grants awarded to individual faculty members.  Research assistants are appointed at the discretion of the faculty investigator on the project, based on the needs of the project and the availability of funding.  Provision of any form of financial aid to students continuing beyond first semester of the graduate program is conditional on satisfactory progress toward the degree, and, where relevant, satisfactory fulfillment of teaching and research responsibilities.

The program encourages all graduate students to apply for sources of support from outside the program.  Many of our graduate students have been successful in competitions for school and university-wide grants and external fellowships.  Competitive external fellowships and grants awarded to students not only provide a mark of excellence for the student's CV, they are also critical in the program's overall financial aid plan.

Students applying for a Teaching Assistantship should complete the TA/RA Application form.

Size: 19.7K bytes Modified: 4 November 2016, 14:22

First Year Scholorships:

Dependent upon funding availability, the Program hopes to offer up to two First Year Scholarships to newly admitted MA candidates.  These scholarships will range in value from $5,000 - $10,000.  Students receiving a scholarship will be eligible to apply for TA and RA positions within the program.

Students applying for a First Year Scholarship should submit a formal letter of application.   The letter should:

  • Describe in some detail the student's personal research interests and goals.
  • Name the faculty member(s) the student hopes to work with.
  • Connect the student's research interests to those of the named faculty member(s).

Letters of application should be sent to:

Linguistics Scholarship Committee, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 400 Brooks Building, PO Box 756280, Fairbanks, AK  99712-6280, pemarlow@alaska.edu

Application for Grant-funded Positions

Students may apply for grant-funded positions when funds are received by the University for the grant. The first three months of a research assistant position are probationary, and either the student or the student's supervisor may initiate termination.

Research assistantships are not awarded on the basis of financial need. They are awarded to students who show promise in the area of research being undertaken. Naturally, students are encouraged to supplement any support we provide through their own efforts. We cannot promise continuing support to any student.

Notices of positions available to current students will be posted on the Linguistics and ANLC websites. An application period of two weeks will be stated. Students must return application forms (also available on the websites) to the Linguistics Administrator by the posted deadline.

Form of the application:

  • Brief statement of student goals in the program
  • Names of committee members
  • Statement of interest in position being applied for, including supporting information
  • Hours available for current semester
  • Information on other support being received OR other jobs student is working

Major Advisor (Committee Chair)

Students will be assigned an interim advisor with whom they will meet during the first semester. A permanent advisor should be chosen as soon as possible, but no later than the end of the second semester. This person will serve as the Chair of the Advisory Committee.


Graduate Advisory Committee

Graduate Advisory Committees set requirements and guide students through their programs of study and research. Students are responsible for arranging meetings and consultations with their Advisory Chair and other committee members, and for arranging periodic meetings of the Advisory Committee. The student should set a meeting with the committee by the end of the second semester at the latest. Students may wish to change their Advisory Committee Chair or a member of their committee during the course of their studies. To do so a student must first notify his/her Chair and then file a Graduate Advisory Committee form, showing the change with required signatures (see UAF Graduate School Forms Pamphlet.)


Graduate Study Plan

The student must meet with the Advisory Committee during the first year to develop a Graduate Study Plan. Later meetings are held to update the study plan. The student must file the Graduate Study Plan in the Graduate School by the end of the first academic year. A copy must also be placed in the student's file in the Program. Students should consult sections of the General Catalog on Graduate Advisory Committees and Graduate Study Plans for further details.


Student's File

The UAF Graduate School website (http://www.uaf.edu/gradsch/forms/) contains the forms that constitute the body of official documents for the student's file. Two copies of the student's file are maintained, one in the office of the Dean of the Graduate School and one in the Program office. The student is responsible for ensuring that copies of all documents are provided in order to keep the file up-to-date. The Graduate Advisor and the student's Major Advisor will assist students in this matter.

According to federal law, students have a right to see any materials maintained in their file. The file may be examined and a copy made in the Program office. Nothing may be removed from the file by the student.


Annual Evaluation

Graduate School regulations require that a student's performance be evaluated by the faculty at the end of each academic year. Such evaluations are completed by the Advisory Committee Chair in consultation with the other committee members. The evaluation (Annual Report of Graduate Advisory Committee) is signed by all members of the Advisory Committee and by the student. The original is filed with the Office of the Graduate School, with a copy in the student's Program file. The evaluation is based on the student's overall performance in coursework, research, and as a teaching or research assistant (when this consideration applies.) It may read 'satisfactory,' 'conditional,' or 'unsatisfactory.' It is the responsibility of the chair of a student's Advisory Committee to promptly inform the student of the results of their annual evaluation.

Upon receipt of the completed evaluation form from the Advisory Committee Chair, the student must sign and return it to the department office. If a student receives a 'conditional' evaluation, the Advisory Committee will specify the conditions to be met and a timeline for completion. Failure to meet the specified conditions will result in an unsatisfactory rating on the next evaluation. Two consecutive unsatisfactory reports will result in dismissal from the program.



Program Duration

Full-time students (9 credits each semester) can normally complete the program in 2 years. However, depending on the student's progress on their project/thesis, the program might take longer to complete for some students.

Part-time students are encouraged to enter the program, but their completion time will depend on the amount of course work they can complete each year and how much time they can allocate to completing their project/thesis. Please note that part-time students need to enroll for at least 6 credits during each academic year (fall, spring and summer). Also keep in mind Linguistics courses are generally NOT offered in the summer.

Students who will not be taking classes need to formally request a leave of absence for a maximum of one year. The leave of absence form needs to be submitted to both the Linguistics Department and to the Graduate School.

A student failing to take a minimum of 6 credits per academic year is no longer considered to be in good standing and will receive an unsatisfactory annual report. An unsatisfactory annual report will lead to official dismissal of a student from the program and the university if the conditions specified on the student's annual evaluation are not met within on semester.

Students changing programs need to inform the Linguistics Department and the Graduate School in writing of their decision to withdraw from the program in writing.

In order to be reinstated into a program the student needs to file a reinstatement form requiring signatures from the department chair and the Dean, along with a $50.00 fee.


Progress with "Good Standing"

All students must be in good standing to remain in the M.A. Program. A student in good standing must: 

  • be enrolled in at least 6 credits per academic year (fall, spring, summer). Keep in mind Linguistics courses are generally NOT offered in the summer.
  • have no grade below a B- in any Linguistics course which is to be counted toward the degree. Any course in which the student receives a C or lower must be retaken in order to be counted toward the student's degree, as specified in the Graduate Study Plan. Any student receiving a C in a course appearing on the Graduate Study Plan will receive an unsatisfactory annual progress report.

While a B average is the minimum requirement for completing the M.A. in Applied Linguistics, students wishing to compete for merit-based funding or to pursue a Ph.D., whether at UAF or elsewhere, should strive for an A average.

Graduate Advisory Committee Composition

Each student must form a Graduate Advisory Committee no later than the end of his or her first year in the program. Each Graduate Advisory Committee consists of at least 3 UAF faculty members who hold at least an M.A., M.S., or M.Ed. degree. Additional committee members from outside the university can be added upon approval by the advisory committee, the Linguistics Department and the Dean of CLA.

Furthermore, the Chair of the advisory committee must be a current/active faculty member in the Linguistics Program. Retired or emeritus faculty may not serve as the chair of a Graduate Advisory Committee.



Minimum Requirements for Degree: 30 credits

All students complete a set of shared core requirements (LING 600 and LING 601). Students then have the option to pursue either: a) a general degree in Applied Linguistics, b) a specialization in Native Language Description and Documentation, or c) a specialization in Second Language Acquisition and Teacher Education. All students complete either a project or a thesis.

  1. Complete the following core courses:

LING 600—Research Methods --3 credits
LING 601—Principles of Linguistic Analysis*--3 credits

  1. Complete one of the following concentrations
      1. General

i. Complete the following:
LING 602—Second Language Acquisition--3 cr.
LING 603—Phonetics and Phonology--3 cr.
LING 604—Morphology and Syntax--3 cr.

ii. Complete 3 of the following:
LING 627—Description and Documentation--3 cr.
LING 631—Field Methods I--3 cr.
LING 634—Field Methods II--3 cr.
LING 610—Theory & Methods of 2nd Lg. Teaching--3 cr.
LING 611—Curriculum & Materials Develop.--3 cr.
LING 612—Language Assessment--3 cr.
LING 650—Language Policy and Planning--3 cr.
LING 620—Semantics--3 credits
LING 630—Historical Linguistics--3 cr.

iii. Complete two electives approved by graduate committee. (6 cr.)

      1. Language Description and Documentation

i. Complete the following:
LING 603—Phonetics and Phonology--3 cr.
LING 604—Morphology and Syntax--3 cr.
LING 627—Description and Documentation--3 cr.
LING 631—Field Methods I--3 cr.
LING 634—Field Methods II--3 cr.

ii. Complete one elective approved by graduate committee. (3 cr.)

      1. Second Language Acquisition Teacher Education

i. Complete the following:
LING 602—Second Language Acquisition--3 cr.
LING 610—Theory & Methods of 2nd Lg. Teaching--3 cr.

ii. Complete three of the following
LING 611—Curriculum & Materials Develop.--3 cr.
LING 612—Language Assessment--3 cr.
LING 650—Language Policy and Planning--3 cr.
LING 660—Internship--3 cr.

iii. Complete one elective approved by graduate committee. (3 cr.)

  1. Complete one of the following:
             LING 698--Project (6)
        or LING 699--Thesis (6)--6 credits
  1. Minimum credits required--30

Thesis or Project Proposal

Each students needs to complete either a thesis or a project. A thesis involves empirical research of a theoretical question, and results in a theoretical contribution.  Examples of a thesis might be the investigation of whether or not mood markers are actually markers of time in a particular language, or an investigation of the effect a particular instructional or assessment strategy has on students’ learning, attitudes or participation.  A project is of a more applied nature and generally leads to a product which, though based on a particular theoretical approach, does not add to theory but rather to the materials available for use.  Examples of projects might be the production of instructional materials for language learning, or the production of a lexicon.

Students who are considering pursuing a Ph.D. after completion of their M.A. are strongly encouraged to conduct a thesis research rather than completing a project.

By the end of their first academic year in the program, each student must prepare a thesis or project proposal to submit to his or her advisory committee. This document serves as a starting point for the student and committee to work towards completing the thesis/project. Any proposed member of the advisory committee should request to review the thesis/project proposal prior to agreeing to serve on a student’s advisory committee.

The proposal should be no more than 5 pages in length and consists of:

  • Introduction to the research/project (problem to be addressed and rationale)
  • Short synthesis of related literature (consisting of a review and analysis of at least 5 pieces of published scholarly work that is directly relevant to the thesis/project.
  • Proposed research questions including a one paragraph explanation of each (for thesis option ONLY)
  • Proposed methodology for conducting the thesis/project
  • Tentative timeline for completing the thesis/project
Native Language Documentation Second Language Acquisition and Teacher Education
Question A

LING603, LING604

LING603, LING604

LING602, LING610
Question B

Depending on students’ courses

LING627, 631, 634

LING611, LING612, LING650

Question C Student’s area of research/project Student’s area of research/project Student’s area of research/project


Comprehensive Exam

Each student is required to pass a comprehensive exam in order to advance to candidacy.   In order to take the comprehensive exam, students must have finished the core courses (required by all specializations), as well as the major courses within their area of specialization.   Furthermore, students must have selected an area/topic of interest within their specialization and done the necessary readings in this area, as it is the foundation for the third exam question.   Students who have not read or worked extensively in their area of interest during their first year of study cannot take the comprehensive exams in May of their first year in the program. Ideally, the comprehensive exam will be administered during a student’s third semester in the program.  

Comprehensive exams are taken over the course of three days; they will be administered twice a year, in May and in October.   May exams will be administered immediately after the end of the final exam period, but before faculty go off contract (usually around the third week in May.)   October exams will be administered during the week immediately following October 15.   Students wishing to take the comprehensive exams must indicate their intention to their advisor and to the program chair by the following deadlines: April 1 for an exam in May, and September 15 for an exam in October.  

All students wishing to take the comprehensive exams must have completed the required forms for constituting a graduate committee before April 1 or September 15; in addition, an annual report with progress judged satisfactory by the committee for the most recently completed academic year (due by May) should be filed before the administration of the comprehensive exams.

Comprehensive exams consist of 3 questions. The questions will be administered, proctored by members of the student's committee, with one question to answer per day, and the student will be given 4 hours to complete each question. All three questions must be completed within one week; days and times within that week are to be negotiated with the student's committee.   Students may use any resources they need to answer the questions, however, exam questions and answers must not be discussed with any other person.    All sources are to be appropriately cited, consistent with the UAF Code of Student Conduct (http://www.uaf.edu/catalog/catalog_09-10/academics/regs3.html).   Any student who is found in violation of these policies will automatically be given a failing grade for all three questions. A paper copy thereof will constitute the answer to the exam question. All paper copies must be handed in to the proctoring committee member at the close of the 4-hour testing period.   

The exam questions test core linguistic knowledge for a given area of emphasis (Question A), knowledge of the chosen area of emphasis (Question B), and the student's special area of research or work (Question C), as schematized in the table below:


Responses are evaluated by the committee members. Each individual response will be graded as either pass or fail.  A student failing one of the questions will be given an opportunity to rewrite his or her response to that particular question during the same semester in which the comprehensive exam was taken.  A student failing two or more questions, must attempt the comprehensive exam in a later semester. The student will then be responding to different questions. Students who fail 2 or more questions in their second attempt will be dismissed from the program.


Advancement to Candidacy

A student advances to candidacy once each of the following elements has been satisfied:

  • A research proposal has been submitted to and accepted by the Graduate Advisory Committee
  • Successful completion of the comprehensive exam (i.e. passing grade on all three questions)
  • Satisfactory evaluation on the most recent annual progress report
  • Advancement to candidacy form filled out, signed, and submitted to the Graduate School (this is the final version of the Graduate Study Plan – discrepancies need to be petitioned)

Thesis/Project and Defense

All theses and projects culminate in a defense, which is a public, oral presentation by the student describing and discussing his or her research or project. The presentation is generally from 30 to 40 minutes long and is followed by a question and answer period by members of the student’s Graduate Advisory Committee. Finally, the audience may be given a chance to ask questions as well. After a private discussion by the Graduate Advisory Committee (during which the audience and the candidate will be asked to leave the room) the candidate will be informed of the Committee’s decision. It is the student’s responsibility to prepare and provide the signature form which is signed by the Committee upon completion of the oral defense. In most cases the student will be asked to make changes to his or her thesis or project before submitting the final manuscript to the Graduate school for a formal check.

Please note the following firm deadlines for submitting a thesis/project before the end of the semester in which the student wishes to graduate:

  • 9 weeks before the end of the semester in which the student wishes to graduate: a public announcement of the thesis/project defense should take place; this is 2 weeks prior to the defense date.
  • 8 weeks before...: the student must prepare a blank signature page before the oral defense.  This document must be taken to the Graduate School for a format check at least 3 days before the defense.
  • 7 weeks before...: the thesis/project defense must take place.  This is 2 weeks before the 'deposit date,' the date the final version of the thesis/project musst be submited to the Graduate School. 
  • 5 weeks before...:  the final version of the thesis must be submitted to the Graduate School (this is known as the deposit date).
  • 3 weeks before...:  projects must be submitted to the Graduate School.

Recommended Course Sequencing

Recommended Course Sequencing for the M.A. in Applied Linguistics for each area of emphasis:



Fall 1 Spring 2
(LING610*, 620*, 630*, 627*)
Submit research/project proposal
Select advisory committee
Fall 3 Spring 4
2 courses
(LING611*, 631*, 650*, other approved elective)
Comprehensive exam

LING698/699 (6 credits)

*offered alternate years

Language Documentation and Description


Fall 1 Spring 2
elective course
Submit research/project proposal
Select advisory committee
Fall 3 Spring 4
(689/699) 3 credits
Comprehensive exam
LING 698/699 (3-6 credits)

*offered alternate years



Fall 1 Spring 2
LING611*, 650*, other approved elective) 
(LING612*, other approved elective)
Submit research/project proposal
Select advisory committee
Fall 3 Spring 4
2 courses
(LING611*, 650* 660*, other approved elective)
Comprehensive exam
LING698/699 (6 credits)

*offered alternate years


Grievance Procedures

Students may feel, as individuals or as a group, that they have a grievance against another student, a faculty member, the department, or the school.   Relatively informal, within-program solutions to such problems are far preferable to others.   However, more formal procedures exist if these do not resolve the problem.  ALL substantive disputes must be documented carefully, in case it is necessary to resort to formal procedures.

If such circumstances arise, it is suggested that the matter be openly and frankly discussed in consultations with faculty members and the Program Chair.  Depending on the nature of the problem, one or the other may be able to mediate the matter and resolve the grievance.  If the matter is not resolved, the student has a right to bring up the matter officially in a faculty meeting, before the faculty as a whole.  Students may also request a meeting with individual faculty members, or faculty members and other students.  If departmental policy is implicated, the faculty as a whole may need to arrive at a decision.  If a grievance is not satisfactorily resolved within the department, students are referred to the appropriate University policies, as listed with web references below.

The university has established procedures for reviewing various types of student complaints, grievances and appeals. For a complete guide to these procedures, please refer to regents policy and regulation as described below. Copies of these procedures are available on the university web pagehttp://www.alaska.edu/bor/policy/09-03.doc. If you are unsure about how to proceed with your concern, please contact the Student and Enrollment Services office, Gruening 514, or call 474-7317.

ACADEMIC: See regents policy and regulation 09.03, Student Dispute Resolution.

EMPLOYMENT: See regents policy and regulation 09.05, Student Employment; 09.03, Student Dispute Resolution; and 04.08, Dispute Resolution (in human resources section).

DISCIPLINARY: See regents policy and regulation 09.02, Student Rights and Responsibilities.

ADMINISTRATIVE: See regents policy and regulation 09.03, Student Dispute Resolution.

SERVICES FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES: See regents policy and regulation 09.06, Services for Students with Disabilities.

FAMILY EDUCATIONAL RIGHTS TO PRIVACY ACT: See regents policy and regulation 09.04, Educational Records.

Appeal of academic decisions is handled as stated in the UAF Catalog, and students are directed to the sections on “Academic standards” and “Students’ Rights and Responsibilities” on pp. 76-77.

Students may find that they have conflicts with the committee regarding their perceived progress in the pursuit of the M.A. degree.   If such circumstances arise, the student and committee should meet to discuss the conflicts directly as soon as they arise and the results of the discussion should be documented by the Committee Chair.


Student-Faculty Interaction

In our department, faculty work closely with graduate students and faculty members keep regular office hours and see students by appointment. From time to time students request individual faculty members to write recommendations either for study elsewhere or in applying for a job, research or training grant, summer institute, language school, and so on. Normally the faculty respond promptly to such requests. However, to facilitate the process, it is desirable that the student provide the faculty member with curriculum vitae, a stamped and addressed envelope, information about the institution or job for which the recommendation is needed, and any required forms well in advance of deadlines. Faculty who provide students with recommendations would appreciate hearing the results of the student's applications. Copies of letters of recommendation are placed in the student's departmental file.

The student’s file is kept by the student’s major advisor. It contains copies of all documents relating to the student’s progress in the program, including the Graduate Study Plan and forms signed by committee members. These copies are kept only for reference purposes, and the student is responsible for keeping track of his or her own documents and progress toward academic goals.


Harassment and Other Unacceptable Behavior

Graduate students and faculty work closely together in graduate programs, but the relationship is asymmetrical, since faculty make decisions about students’ futures.  For this reason the MA Program in Linguistics believes it is essential for students to understand the Program’s and the University’s positions with respect to harassment, including sexual harassment.  As with other possible conflicts between students and faculty, we trust that most of the time there will be no need to go outside the Program for a resolution, but if there should be a need, the University has provided procedures for students to follow.

Sexual harassment as defined by University of Alaska Board of Regents policy is "unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors by a member of the campus community when the assailant uses, threatens to use or implies that submission to or rejection of such conduct will have an impact on employment or academic decisions affecting the victim."  Members of the campus community include faculty, staff and students.

More broadly, sexual harassment refers to any behavior that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.   These behaviors can include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, when submission to or rejection of this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual's employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual's work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.  (http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/vii.html) 

Harassment, sexual harassment, assault, sexual assault, stalking and hate crimes are of critical concern to the university community. If you believe that you are a victim of any of these prohibited behaviors, or want to report knowledge of such conduct, you may contact any of the following resources:

University Resources (area code 907)

  • Associate Vice Chancellor of Student and Enrollment Services 474-7317
  • Police Department 474-7721
  • Residence Hall Director 474-7247
  • Director of Human Resources 474-7700
  • University EEO Officer 474-6600
  • Center for Health and Counseling 474-7043

For more information about the University’s policies regarding harassment, consult the Schedule of Classes, on paper or on the web at http://www.uaf.edu/schedule/conduct/.

Back to Top