The tutorial program is designed to allow students to work individually or in small groups with faculty members and graduate students, to supplement the material covered in the required introductory courses, and to allow concentrators to investigate linguistic topics of particular interest to them. During the second year and the fall of the third year, concentrators take two small-group tutorials, each counting as a half course (Linguistics 97r and 98a). Each half-course tutorial consists of two six-week units on a linguistic topic that complements the regular course offerings in the department; several such units are available at any given time. In the spring of the junior year, students take a half-course tutorial (Linguistics 98b) in which they meet with an individual faculty member to explore possible thesis topics or other areas of interest. The senior tutorial is usually restricted to honors candidates, who are expected to write a thesis demonstrating their ability to do sustained independent research in linguistics.

Junior Year Spring Term Tutorial

Linguistics 98b is a one-semester individual tutorial, typically conducted by a faculty member in the department and meeting two hours per week. The purpose of Linguistics 98b, for honors candidates, is to carry out reading and research in areas related to their likely thesis topic; non-honors candidates focus on areas of special interest as well. At their meeting with the Head Tutor and Assistant Head Tutor immediately before the spring term of their junior year, concentrators are asked to specify the area(s) they would like to work in, and are invited to propose the name of a faculty member to serve as their tutorial supervisor. Such suggestions are accommodated whenever possible, although final responsibility for assigning a supervisor rests with the Head Tutor’s Office. Sometimes a student’s area of interest calls for a Harvard faculty member outside the Linguistics Department to serve as the tutor for Linguistics 98b; under exceptional circumstances it may even be desirable to enlist the services of a faculty member outside Harvard. The Head Tutor’s Office will try to make such arrangements when appropriate.

Students should note that tutorial arrangements for Linguistics 98b must be approved by the Head Tutor, who nominally serves as course head. Grades for Linguistics 98b must be received by the Head Tutor before the end of the first week of the Spring Term Exam Period; all work must therefore be completed well before that date.