Friday December 2, 2011 :: Pre-Finals Laser Tag De-stress Sesh

Laser Tag Flier

Pick up a voucher for a free game in the Linguistics department mailroom!



With Thanksgiving break on the horizon, finals will be here before you know it. In order to prevent finals-induced stress overload, come socialize and get your hearts pumping with a free game of laser tag at Equinox Laser Tag‘s grand opening on Friday, December 2, 2011. The LSA will be meeting there at 7pm to enjoy a free first game (with voucher, which will be made available in the Linguistics department mailroom, EBA-332). It’s up to you if you want to stay and play more at cost.

Equinox Laser Tag is located at:
3131 School Ln.
Lemon Grove, CA 91945

MA Exam Info Session

Attendees: 8

This MA Exam information session is from the point-of-view of former grad student Andrew McGladdery, who finished his MA in our Applied Linguistics program last year.

Reasons to choose the exam over thesis:

  • You are interested in many areas of linguistics, not just one specialized area.
  • Time and money are an important factor–generally takes less time to complete the MA exam (two 24-hour period writing prompts and one larger 7-day period writing prompt, with revision periods if necessary).
  • You are in the Applied program and want to finish your program to go teach (although, taking the exam doesn’t ruin your chances into getting into a Ph.D. program if you decide you want to do that later).
  • It allows you to reinforce what you learned in your classes by revisiting those subjects.
  • Flexible time selections (window of dates you can choose from to best fit your schedule).

The process:

  • Commit to Exam option
  • Select three areas in which you have previously taken courses (one focus area, which will be your big 7-day writing period, and 2 sub-areas, which will be your shorter 24-hour writing periods)
  • You are assigned professors for each area, who will prepare your writing prompt
  • Meet with professors and discuss how you should prepare
  • Eight week preparation period, during which you should review notes and texts from related coursework
  • First 24-hour prompt received by e-mail; work on paper and submit within 24-hour time period.
  • Second 24-hour prompt received by e-mail; work on paper and submit within 24-hour time period.
  • If non-passing grades are received, you are allowed a revision. Meet with professor who gave the non-passing grade and discuss what needs to be changed in order to receive a pass.
  • Seven-day prompt received by e-mail; work on paper and submit by 7-day deadline.
  • Begin literature review
  • Apply what you’ve learned from literature review


  • Make sure you communicate well with your professors; some will be more clear than others.
  • Go to office hours and discuss what that professor expects out of the paper.
  • Don’t be devastated if you receive a “no pass” after your initial submission; the revision period is meant to be a time when professors can give you  in depth feedback about your papers, which should set you on track for a passing mark.
  • For your third, “big,” topic, make sure you pick a subject with a supervising professor who will work with you in terms of tailoring a prompt that will speak to your future goals.
  • If, early on, you know you will select the Exam option, you can start choosing what subjects you might want to focus on and begin preparing as early as possible.
  • As soon as you choose the Exam option, organize your life (even simple things like meals) and understand that you will not have much time for other things.
  • Don’t try to be overly creative or go off on tangents about concepts superfluous to what is on the prompt. Stick to the point; answer what’s asked.
  • Don’t feel locked-in. Sometimes life can get in the way of completing your thesis. In such a circumstance, you may wish to change to the exam option.


  • Taking the exam will make you a less attractive job candidate.
    Not necessarily true. For Andrew, an Applied student whose goal was to teach ESL, the exam reinforced what he’d learned in the program and his 7-day prompt allowed him to invest time and thought into related activities such as syllabus creation. He was able to get a job right out of graduate school.
  • Taking the exam will ruin your chances to get into a Ph.D. program.
    Not necessarily true, especially if it is your goal to work in the field first before you decide to return to school for a Ph.D. You should meet with the graduate advisor (currently Dr. Gregory Keating) to discuss what is the best path to take for your specific goals.

Friday November 18, 2011 :: MA Exam Q&A Session

MA Exam flier

Interested in taking the MA Exam? This meeting is for you!



Interested in the MA Exam? Wondering how it compares to the thesis option? We have invited MA alumnus Andrew McGladdery to give his account of his experience with the MA exam. He will also be available to answer any related questions you may have. If you are unable to make it, don’t feel left out! You can catch-up on the important points by reading the meeting minutes.