Watch a recording of the webinar below or on Youtube.

LSA Webinar: How to Be a Successful Grad School Applicant


Are you an undergraduate thinking of applying to a graduate program? A graduate student thinking of applying to a different school? Then this webinar is for you! Representatives from five major linguistics departments' admission committees, along with a recently successful applicant to a graduate degree program, discuss their experiences and then take questions on this critical decision point in one's academic career.

The panel was moderated by Mary Bucholtz (University of California, Santa Barbara) with student panelist Jamaal Muwwakkil (University of California, Santa Barbara) and faculty panelists Marlyse Baptista (University of Michigan), Ashwini Deo (The Ohio State University), Ruth Kramer (Georgetown University), David Pesetsky (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and Christopher Potts (Stanford University).  After brief introductions, the panelists provided their perspectives on some of the major FAQs about applying to graduate school. 

ASL interpretation will be provided for LSA webinars if at least one week’s advance notice is provided.  This notice is required in order to secure the services of qualified interpreters.   If less advance notice is provided, the LSA will attempt to secure interpreters but cannot guarantee availability. Please provide advance notice by contacting David Robinson, the LSA’s Director of Membership and Meetings.

The panel took place on Friday, October 5, 2018, from 1:00 - 2:30 PM US Eastern Time.   

Participant Bios

Mary Bucholtz (Moderator) is Professor and Department Chair of the Department of Linguistics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, specializing in sociocultural linguistics with a focus on language, gender, and race among youth in the United States. She has served as the graduate advisor for UCSB’s linguistics program for six year and is currently the interim graduate advisor; she also serves on the department’s graduate admissions committee annually. 

Jamaal Muwwakkil (Student Panelist) is a 3rd year doctoral student in the Linguistics department at the University of California, Santa Barbara.  A first-generation college student originally from Compton, California, Jamaal transferred from Los Angeles City College to UCLA, where he majored in Applied Linguistics.  He was honored to have been chosen as the Ivan Sag Fellow to attend the LSA Linguistic Institute during the summer of 2017 and is looking forward to attending the 2019 institute at UC Davis.  Jamaal is excited to speak about his experience applying to graduate school.

Marlyse Baptista (Faculty Panelist) is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Michigan.  She has just stepped down from the graduate admissions committee for the Linguistics Department after chairing it for five years.  Before that, she was a regular member of the committee. 

Ashwini Deo (Faculty Panelist) is Associate Professor of Linguistics at The Ohio State University.  Her work spans several subfields, between which she tries to see connections and build bridges.  Her work is  located at the intersection of  Semantics/Pragmatics and Historical Linguistics with a focus on Indo-Aryan languages.

Ruth Kramer (Faculty Panelist) is Associate Professor of Linguistics at Georgetown University. Her research concerns syntax, morphology, and the relationship between them, including topics like gender, number, syncretisms, clitic doubling, and agreement. She conducts research almost entirely on languages from the Afroasiatic language family, with a special focus on Amharic (Ethiosemitic).  She published a monograph The Morphosyntax of Gender in 2015 with Oxford University Press, and her publications have appeared in such journals as Natural Language and Linguistic Theory, Linguistic Inquiry, Syntax, Language and Linguistics Compass, and The Journal of Afroasiatic Languages. She received her PhD in 2009 from the University of California, Santa Cruz.  At Georgetown University, she has read and evaluated graduate student applications since 2010, and she has served as the director of graduate admissions for the Theoretical Linguistics concentration since 2016.

David Pesetsky (Faculty Panelist) is the Ferrari P. Ward Professor of Modern Languages and Linguistics and Head of the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Christopher Potts (Faculty Panlist) is Professor of Linguistics and, by courtesy, of Computer Science, at Stanford, and Director of the Center for the Study of Language and Information (CSLI) at Stanford. In his research, he uses computational methods to explore how emotion is expressed in language and how linguistic production and interpretation are influenced by the context of utterance. He is the author of the 2005 book The Logic of Conventional Implicatures as well as numerous scholarly papers in computational and theoretical linguistics. He has served on graduate admissions committees in Linguistics, Symbolic Systems (Stanford's technical cognitive science program), and Computer Science. He is also co-director, with Michael C. Frank, of Stanford's CSLI Summer Internship Program, which enrolls external undergraduates and Stanford undergraduates and places them in on-campus labs for eight weeks of mentored research, with the goal of helping to ensure that students from  diverse backgrounds receive the training they need to enter cognitive science and related fields.