Language Proficiency: students must take the Portuguese or Spanish diagnostic (or English, if applicable) exam by the end of September at the latest. In the case of Portuguese, Spanish speakers with no knowledge of Portuguese are strongly recommended to take Port 115-1 and 115-2 during the Winter and Spring quarters, unless they plan to take intensive Portuguese during the following Summer elsewhere. These classes must be taken as a fourth class. In the case students have the necessary proficiency, it is recommended that they take a 300-level literature class in the target language that has been approved for graduate credit.
All students whose primary language is not English will be required to take the Versant English Test upon arriving at Northwestern. See “Specific Requirements for Teaching Assistants.”
In addition, the following will suffice for meeting the English language proficiency requirement:
TOEFL Speaking Section sub-score. A score of 26 or higher (out of a possible 30) on the Speaking Section of the TOEFL internet-based test will now fulfill TGS’s English proficiency requirement. Students who submit a score in this range will not be required to take the Versant test upon arrival at Northwestern, and can consider their proficiency requirement to be met.
Two Versant test scores of 63 or 64. Students who score within the two-point margin of error for passing the Versant test on two separate occasions will fulfill the English proficiency requirement. The tests need not be consecutive.
Teaching demonstration in LING 480. During summer quarter 2016, English Language Programs will re-introduce Linguistics 480, The Language of Teaching and Teachers. This course will be co-taught with the Searle Center for Teaching Excellence, and will include a teaching demonstration as a capstone project at the course’s conclusion. This demonstration will allow students to demonstrate their English proficiency in a live, face-to-face context, as they directly address the skills they will need to be effective teachers and TA’s. Students who demonstrate the required level of English proficiency during their teaching demonstration will fulfill the English proficiency requirement. More information about the course and teaching demonstration (including pre-requisites for enrollment) will become available later in AY2015-16.
ESL Classes - Northwestern University offers a variety of ESL classes and workshops to assist in your mastery of the English language, including Pronunciation and Intonation (beginning and advanced), Conversation and Fluency, Culture and Fluency, American Academic Culture, Academic Writing, and Academic Presentations. Free Test of Spoken English preparation workshops are also offered on a non-credit basis. In addition to these classes, you are welcome to participate in free weekly tutoring sessions aimed at refining your speaking and writing abilities. Please visit the ESL website for more information about these and other English language services.
Coursework: During the first year, students will explore and delineate the theoretical, geographical and historical foundations for their work. Independent Studies are not recommended during the first year. Students are expected to attend department events and are strongly encouraged to attend events in other departments as well. Students are also expected to become familiar with scholarly journals and other publications in the field, as well as with professional debates published in the MLA’s Profession and the ADFL Newsletter.
Students will not teach during the first year.
Summer: the first Summer of the graduate career is crucial for students’ language training and preliminary or exploratory research for the dissertation. Research and/or study abroad are highly recommended.
Advising: During their first year in the graduate program, all students are advised by the Director of Graduate Studies. The DGS guides students in selecting courses based on each student's preparation in the field and his or her proposed areas of specialization, oversees the student's plan for meeting language requirement/s, monitors the student’s progress through the program’s milestones and advises on the choice of dissertation advisor.
Language Proficiency: Before the beginning of their second year, the student must demonstrate proficiency in their 2nd language (refer to the Languages section of the handbook).
Coursework: During the second year students are expected to define their dissertation projects. The dissertation proposal is due at the end of the Spring quarter. The summer between the second and the third year should be devoted to the writing of the prospectus and the final preparation for the qualifying exams, to be taken at the beginning of the third year.
Teaching: Normally during each quarter of the second year students will be appointed as a T.A. for a graduate faculty member in the department.
During two quarters students will assist one or more professors in literature courses with grading and advising during their own office hours. They are expected to collaborate with the professor on a variety of tasks, such as setting up the classroom, equipment, materials on Blackboard, etc. Students will be expected to teach one or two classes during the quarter, and will be observed by the professor, who will give them feedback. At the end of each quarter, the professor will write a brief report assessing the TA’s experience in the classroom. Courses in literature will be assigned according to the needs of the department. In some cases, depending on availability, students may work as Research Assistant instead of as TAs.
In one of the quarters of the second year students will visit a variety of 100- and 200-level language classes once every two weeks. They will receive an observation form, which they will fill out and turn in to their academic advisor. Their observation report will not be an evaluation of the instructor, but rather a description of the teaching techniques that they have observed. They will also attend general meetings of the language program and meetings of language coordinators, where they will learn about planning syllabi and preparing exams, among other things.
At the end of the quarter, students will produce a mini-lesson plan for one of the courses they have observed, preferably anticipating the language course they will teach in the first quarter of year three. The lesson plan should cover one week of teaching and include the strategies they have observed throughout the quarter.
In addition, students will attend talks and workshops at the Searle Center, as well as Professional Development workshops offered by the Spanish and Portuguese language programs in the department. At the end of the quarter they will turn in a report to their advisor.
Advising: By the beginning of the second year in the program, the student will have identified a faculty member willing to serve as a dissertation advisor. This advisor will also be responsible for overseeing and reporting to the DGS about the student’s progress after the first year.
Proposal: See previous description. Oral defense takes place in a meeting with the exam committee.
Research: Completion of all requirements to advance to candidacy. Candidates seek external funding (if appropriate) to support study abroad in the fourth year; conduct research toward the dissertation; draft chapters; participate in professional activities (as appropriate)
Prospectus: Maximum of 10 pages, (12 point font, double-spaced), excluding bibliography.
Teaching: Normally, students will teach their own section of an introductory, intermediate and/or advanced language course. They will work with faculty language instructors and attend meetings with the language coordinators. They will report directly to their advisor, who will observe their teaching once each year. It is highly recommended that all students complete the Searle Center Teaching Certificate.
Research: During this year students will focus on research and writing. If appropriate, they may also travel abroad to conduct research.
Teaching: During this year students will normally teach SPAN 220, one survey course (250, 251, 260, 261) and/ or one general (Span or Port) 200-level course. In these courses students may include materials from their field of specialization or dissertation project. By the end of year four, each student should have compiled a teaching portfolio.
Research: Writing and defense of the dissertation.
Fellowship year: no teaching.
NB: all, or part of the fifth-year fellowship may be used at an earlier time, depending on the student’s research needs.
**** Graduate students who are TAs or instructors may arrange to have their teaching observed by a Searle Graduate Teaching Fellow. The goal of this service is to provide constructive feedback about TA’s teaching. All observations are strictly confidential, though participants may wish to inform their departments or potential employers of the efforts they have undertaken to improve their teaching. Visit the Searle Center website to request an observation.Back to top