Mentoring and Advising Guidelines (Spring 2022)

Welcome message from the department

Welcome to the Graduate Program in Linguistics at Yale!

You are at the start of an exciting phase in your life. As you go through the program you will change from being someone who is interested in linguistics to being a linguist, and our job as faculty is to help you in this transition. The success of the process depends upon many different facets of academic life, and this guide gets you started by introducing you to them. We expect that you will develop a network of relationships within the community of students and faculty here at Yale as well as in the field of Linguistics and will find your own individual ways of navigating this journey. This guide is intended to provide you with a quick and easy reference for issues that may come up for you.

We believe that a successful experience in graduate school depends on academic rigor, a healthy work-life balance as well as on ethical and professional conduct on the part of students and faculty. You are free to contact any member of the faculty for advice and guidance. Perhaps the most important relationship in a graduate student’s career, however, is with their research advisers. Both faculty and students share responsibility for developing a mutually rewarding and productive working relationship, based on a clear understanding of shared goals and plans, and an open line of communication. The material in this guide outlines a framework within which positive mentoring relationships between faculty and students as well as stimulating and supportive relationships among students can be fostered.

This guide has three parts. The first gives an overview of the program structure, requirements and the projected timeline from the start of the PhD to completion of the degree. It also touches upon your relationship with the department as an alum after the PhD. The second part presents a set of advising guidelines, laying out the obligations and expectations of students and faculty and addressing ways of resolving issues that may arise in the course of your graduate career. This part also discusses the Teaching Fellows Program and discusses the parameters within which supervising faculty and graduate student teachers operate, parameters designed to enhance the development of the student’s pedagogical talents, while providing an enriching classroom experience for Yale undergraduates. The third part provides a list of resources within the department as well as outside it, at Yale and in the field more broadly, to ensure your success as a student and as a linguist. Additional guidance on all of these issues can be found in the GSAS “Guide to Advising” and the “Linguistics Graduate Student Handbook”.

This guide was written with input from graduate students in Linguistics, as well as the GSAS Dean’s Office and the Office of Graduate Student Development and Diversity. It has also benefitted from advising guidelines prepared by other departments in FAS. We intend this to be a living document so feedback that would help improve its usefulness to future students in Linguistics would be very welcome.

Good luck in your journey from student to colleague!

–Linguistics Department Faculty

Director of Graduate Studies

Any questions about the graduate program can be directed to the DGS, Jim Wood, at