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I know a student in a linguistics master's program (in East Asia). He told me that in his country, most master's programs require students to publish a certain number of papers in academic journals in order to graduate. I want to study a linguistics-related degree in the US. Is such a requirement common there as well?

  • In the US, does "thesis-option" generally imply that one "must publish a thesis to graduate" or does it just mean "must write a thesis"?
  • Are such publishing requirements common enough in graduate programs in the US that it should be a question I ask schools when I apply?
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Not sure what you're trying to assess here, as answers can really only be either a "yes" or a "no", and will only reflect the experience/knowledge of the answerer. I'm tempted to close this question as "not a real question", but I want to see if the community agrees with my take. – eykanal Dec 24 '12 at 15:04
I think it's a reasonable question. Unlike many questions here, this one has a correct, factual answer, which can be defended with data. An ideal answer should have the form "Out of the top twenty linguistics programs in the US, only five have such a requirement: (list with links)." – JeffE Dec 24 '12 at 18:42
Some clarification should also be provided on what is meant by"publishing the thesis." if the original document is meant, the answer is almost always "no." – aeismail Dec 24 '12 at 21:53
up vote 8 down vote accepted

I've never heard of a publication requirement for a masters degree in the USA or UK. There is not even a novelty requirement for a masters dissertation, that's what makes it different from a PhD. Obviously publishing is a good idea if you want to continue on to a PhD, it makes your CV look much stronger and shows your promise as a researcher. But frankly, in the UK at least there is no time to publish before you finish your dissertation (Masters degrees are very compressed one year degrees) and most publications follow the formal completion of the degree.

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It probably depends on the school. I don't remember seeing this as a requirement for any of the US schools I looked at.

At my school in the US, our Master's thesis must be published by the university and presented at a graduate forum held twice a year. We are also encouraged to present at conferences or submit to technical journals, but that is optional.

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In my experience it varies by discipline and institution. I know of some MS programs where a student might graduate without publishing, but this would be viewed as a very poor performance. I know of others where publishing or even presenting at a conference would set you apart as a very successful student. If you want to go on for a PhD, then I would encourage you to make publishing at the MS level a goal. It will help in moving on to a HD program.

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Which kind of program requires publishing? In all the programs I have seen there is just no time for a publication. You can produce an article, but it will not go through peer review before you have to graduate. – Davidmh May 16 '14 at 23:33
In the US, many MS programs take two years (or more) to complete. In disciplines with small publishable units, publishing a paper (typically with the advisor and other coauthors) based on work done during the first year isn't too hard. In my experience it's more typical for the paper to appear after the student completes the degree- I'd still consider that to be a case of the MS student completing a paper during the MS. I also know of programs where most MS theses never result in a publication. – Brian Borchers May 16 '14 at 23:40

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