Funding and Aid in the First 5 Years

Under the University of Chicago Graduate Aid Initiative (GAI), all students in the program receive 5 years of financial support. This includes a yearly stipend and teaching remuneration, up to 4 summer stipends, full tuition aid, and health insurance. Renewal of this award is contingent on satisfactory academic progress.

For doctoral students starting the program in 2017–18, the stipend and teaching remuneration is $25,000 over 9 months. Students are eligible to receive up to 4 summer stipends of $3,000. In order to receive the fourth summer stipend, they must be in candidacy by the end of spring quarter of their fourth year.

Teaching Requirements

Practical pedagogical experience is a requirement under the GAI, and forms a central component of graduate training in the Department of Linguistics. During their five years of GAI support, students must fulfill a “5 unit” teaching obligation, calculated as follows: Language Assistant/Drill Instructor = .5 units; Course Assistant (CA)/College Core Writing Intern = 1 unit; Graduate Student Lecturer = 2 units. In practice, only the second two categories are relevant for students in Linguistics, who rarely serve as Language Assistants or Drill Instructors.

The default graduate student teaching schedule for graduate students in the Department of Linguistics, over the course of their five years of GAI support, is as follows (where a “1 position” means serving in the relevant role for one quarter):

·       Year 1: none

·       Year 2: none

·       Year 3: 1 CA position (1 unit)

·       Year 4: 2 CA/Intern positions (2 units)

·       Year 5: 1 Graduate Lecturer position (2 units)

CAs are assigned each year to the core undergraduate major courses (Introduction to Linguistics, Introduction to Syntax, Introduction to Phonetics and Phonology, Introduction to Semantics and Pragmatics), and, depending on enrollment levels, to other courses covering central topics in linguistics, such as Historical Linguistics, Morphology, Psycholinguistics, and Languages of the World. Individual students are assigned to particular CAships based on Department needs, but whenever possible, we try to assign students as CAs to courses that complement their particular areas of research and interest.

The default courses for graduate lecturers are Introduction to Linguistics, which is taught every quarter, and Languages of the World, which is usually taught in the spring. Students who wish to serve as lecturers for these courses are expected to serve as CAs for them in advance. Students may also propose their own courses during the spring quarter of the fourth year of GAI funding, which must be approved by the faculty. Finally, all lecturers are assigned faculty mentors who serve as advisors and monitor their teaching.

As mentioned earlier, the schedule outlined above is a default, and there is a certain amount of flexibility in the scheduling of graduate teaching, to accommodate the needs of students and instructors, to allow for interactions with other Departments and units, and to keep in line with other Departmental requirements. In particular:

·       Second year graduate students may occasionally serve as CAs, if there is a need and only if they have relevant experience (e.g., a MA degree and prior advanced work in the relevant area) and are making good progress through the program, as measured by performance in the first year and the status of their first qualifying research paper. For example, in the past few years, we have assigned one student with a MA degree in phonology as a CA for the undergraduate phonology course; a second student with a MA degree in philosophy served as a CA for Introduction to Logic (run by the Philosophy Department).     

·       Some students serve as Writing Interns in the College Core, typically in “Language and the Human”, the Core Course run by the Department of Linguistics. This option provides teaching experience of a different sort from what students get in a typical linguistics course (i.e., a more generalized liberal arts/humanities sort of experience), which can be both gratifying and professionally useful. Students interested in this opportunity must first be accepted into a training course run by the University Writing Program. Note, however, that service as a Writing Intern counts towards the GAI teaching requirements in the same way as service as a CA, so a student who chooses to pursue this opportunity will generally serve as a CA for fewer linguistics courses. Students interested in this option should discuss it with the Chair or Director of Graduate Studies before submitting an application to the Writing Program.                 

·       Lectureships are not guaranteed. Department policy is that students must defend their dissertation proposal before serving as a Lecturer, and otherwise be making good progress through the program. In addition, if the faculty determine that a student is not yet ready to teach an independent course by Year 5, the student will be assigned two additional CA positions rather than a Lectureship, in order to provide additional pedagogical training under the direct supervision of a faculty instructor.

In addition to direct feedback from faculty in the courses for which students serve as CAs, students receive training for their roles as course assistants and lecturers in a Linguistics Pedagogy course (LING 48001) that is offered by the Department at least every other year, so that all students have the opportunity to take it before they begin teaching in their third years of GAI funding.

Research and dissertation funds

University of Chicago internal fellowships and grants

The following are internal fellowships that students may apply for. Additional information is available at the Division of the Humanities’ website.

Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships: Available for Ph.D. students in their first five years who must study certain languages for their programs. In 2017-2018, the University will be accepting applications for languages in five world areas: East Europe, Latin America, Middle East, South Asia and East Asia. The FLAS program provides funding for study on campus during the academic year and on campus or elsewhere (domestic or abroad) during the summer. Students receiving a stipend/teaching remuneration combination in the fellowship year will receive, in addition to their University of Chicago fellowship, a $3,000 stipend and student life fee coverage. Eligibility: Graduate students who are U.S. citizens, nationals, or permanent residents. Deadline for applications to be announced (usually February).

The following internal fellowships require nomination by the department.

Dolores Zohrab Liebmann Fellowships: The fellowships cover the cost of tuition and will provide a stipend of $18,000 in 2017-2018. Awards are renewable and can fund students for a maximum of three years, although fellows must request renewal funds for each subsequent year. Eligibility: Graduate students who have outstanding undergraduate records, can demonstrate financial need, and are U.S. citizens. The department-internal deadline for applications will be in late November or early December.

Stuart Tave Teaching Fellowships: Each year, the College provides up to five Stuart Tave Teaching Fellowships. Each department in the Humanities Division may sponsor up to two advanced graduate students who then compete for these fellowships across the Humanities Division. Teaching Fellows will receive the standard College lectureship rate ($5,000) for the individual undergraduate course they will teach in the College.  This fellowship is for one quarter only. Graduate students must be ABD by January 31 of the academic year prior to the year in which their course is offered. Department-internal deadline to be announced (usually January).

Hanna Holborn Gray Fellowship: One fellowship will be awarded each year in the Humanities Division. Each department may nominate one student who is currently in the fourth year of study. Applicants do not have to be admitted to candidacy at the time of nomination; however, admission to candidacy is a requirement to start the award. To hold the award, a nominee must be admitted to candidacy by the end of Summer Quarter of the fourth year.  The term of the fellowship will be for two years, pending satisfactory progress. Department-internal deadline for applications to be announced (usually March).

Humanities Division Dissertation Completion Fellowships: The Division of the Humanities makes available dissertation completion fellowships (commonly referred to as DYFs) to doctoral students who are sufficiently advanced in the writing of their dissertation that they will complete the dissertation in the year they hold such fellowship. Recipients of DYFs in a given academic year who do not graduate by the end of winter quarter of the following year are ineligible for further internal University funding from any source, with the single exception of conference travel reimbursement. These fellowships are typically awarded to students in their sixth year (though not exclusively; see the Division’s guidelines on this for details). Students must have been admitted to candidacy before they can apply for these fellowships. Department-internal deadline for applications to be announced (usually March).

In addition, the following internal Dissertation Research Travel Awards are available for students who have been advanced to candidacy. Deadline for applications: Spring 2018.

o   Overseas Dissertation Research Grants (ODRG) provide support to Humanities PhD students who will be financing dissertation research abroad through loans, personal savings, and/or other small grants. The grants are not renewable. Applications will be judged on the necessity to go abroad to do research, the quality and feasibility of the project, and financial need.

o   Humanities Travel Grant for Dissertation Research (Hum Travel) awards support short-term, research-related travel by Humanities PhD students. The grants are not renewable. It is expected that these awards will be sufficient to defray the costs of travel for students who have a specific research goal (e.g., examination of archives, travel to collections) that can be achieved within a limited period of time. The awards are not to be used to supplement grants from other sources, excepting the ODRG.

Linguistics Department funds

The following are funds internal to the Linguistics Department that graduate students can apply for.

Research fund in honor of Rella Cohn:

The Department of Linguistics offers an annual fund for graduate student research, made available thanks to a generous endowment from the family of  Rella I. Cohn.  This fund provides financial support for a small number of graduate student research projects annually.  Funds may be used to support any aspects of student research, including (but not limited to) purchase of materials or equipment, fieldwork expenses, research-related travel, and payment of conference registration fees.  We will consider requests for reimbursement of past conference travel, or travel to a future conference to which the student has been accepted; we cannot consider requests for travel to conferences if the student has not yet been accepted to present at the conference.

A call for proposals is generally held in early spring quarter. The deadline for proposal submission will be in the spring quarter. Students interested in applying for funding from this endowment submit a proposal of up to 2 pages in length that explains the research project and its significance and provides a detailed budget and justification of expenses. The application should also identify the name of a faculty member who can serve as a reference for the project. Proposals are evaluated by a committee of Linguistics faculty members, and awards are made based on merit and availability of funding.  Students may request up to $750 in research funds, though actual awards may be smaller.

Rella Cohn received her Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Chicago in 1995, with a dissertation on Yiddish names. This work, published in 2008 as Yiddish Given Names: A Lexicon by Scarecrow Press, provides both a linguistic history of Yiddish first names and insights into the structure and history of Yiddish more generally.

Graduate Research Aid Initiative in Linguistics (GRAIL):

The Department of Linguistics offers GRAIL funds for graduate student research, including attendance at workshops, conferences, summer schools and training, funds needed for fieldwork, lab work, equipment, access to collections or archives, etc. In years when the LSA Linguistics Summer Institute is held, we give priority to funding students to attend the Institute.

Applications for GRAIL funds will be accepted every quarter (including the summer), in order to fund future activities (typically carried out on the following quarter). Application materials include a one-paragraph description of the project, an itemized budget (including discussion of what you could do with partial funding), a current CV, and a list of current and pending support for this project.

Although there is no limit to the amount that can be requested, the funds available are limited.

Conference Funding

The Division provides up to $400 in reimbursement to PhD students who present their work at a conference. More information can be found on the Division website.

In addition, the Graduate Council Travel Fund provides one-time grants of $350-600.

CLS also offers funds for conference travel. Each grad student is entitled to reimbursements of up to $500 per academic year for conference-related expenses (travel, hotel, registration, etc.). There is no limit on the number of conferences that can make up this $500, but left-over funds from previous years do not roll over into the new academic year. Requests for reimbursements for a given year must be made by the start of the fall quarter of the following year at the latest. Requests for reimbursements made after that will count towards the funds available for the new academic year. For more information, you can contact current CLS officers.