Undergraduate Research

The Ohio State University and the Department of Linguistics are dedicated to advancing undergraduate research. We feel that engaging in research not only complements course work, but also helps prepare students for the future, whether they go on to graduate school or a career in the private sector. There are three primary ways in which students have an opportunity to learn more about research.

Linguistics Outside the Classroom:

Students enrolled in Linguistics 2000, 2051, and 3701 are required to participate in the LOC program. Students in other courses may also participate. Check with your instructor if you're unsure. By participating in LOC experiments and talks, you will learn more about research performed here in the OSU Linguistics Department. Specific information about how to fulfill this requirement will be given to you by your instructor in the first week of classes. You may attend talks and/or participate in experiments to fulfill the requirement.

LOC Talks:

LOC Talks will be scheduled every couple of weeks at varying times to try to accommodate a range of schedules. Each talk will be about some facet of research. Some speakers present information about a completed experiment, while others discuss general research methodology. You do not need to sign up to attend a talk. Simply arrive on time, and answer questions about the content of the talk on the questionnaire that you receive upon arrival. The speaker will collect the questionnaires at the end of the talk and deliver them to your instructor.

LOC Experiments:

LOC Experiments are ongoing throughout the semester. Many of the experiments are located in Oxley Hall, 1712 Neil Ave. (on the corner of Neil and 12th, across from Jennings and Pomerene). Find an experiment that interests you and an open time slot that fits your schedule. When you sign up for the experiment include your name, your instructor's name, your class number (2000, etc.), and a phone number at which you can be reached in the unlikely event of cancellation. If you find that you can not make it to the experiment, email the experimenter so that they may open the slot to someone else. At the end of the experiment, you will receive a questionnaire about the experiment that you must fill out and give to your instructor.


Faculty and graduate students have a number of research projects that are suitable for interns to work on and learn about the research topic. You can learn about internship opportunities by attending LOC talks, asking your favorite linguistics instructor, or talking to your advisor. Most intern positions have some pre-requisite, depending on the level of work expected. You may get academic credit for doing an internship. One credit hour of 4193 amounts to 3 hours/week for a 14-week semester. Internships may be repeated. Non-research internships may also be available. Talk to the linguistics undergraduate advisor if you are interested in interning in the private sector.

Here is a checklist you may follow if you are interested in an internship:

Step 1

Think about what your interests are, what kinds of experiences you are looking for, and what you think would benefit you most in an internship. You may want to meet with the linguistics undergraduate advisor (currently Julie McGory, jmcgory@ling.ohio-state.edu) to discuss this. Some things to consider:

  • What are your plans for the future and how can an internship help? What types of experiences will enhance your graduate school application or your resume given your plans? For example, if you want to go to graduate school, research experience may be best. If you plan to travel abroad and teach English, experience in ESL classrooms would be beneficial. If you hope to work as an editor, experience in a publishing company would be useful.
  • What are your skills and abilities? Maybe you know several programming languages. Maybe you have had previous experience as a tutor. Maybe you really like working with people.
  • Are you willing to volunteer or do you need a paid internship? Do you need/want course credit?

Step 2

If you are interested in a research internship, contact the linguistics undergraduate advisor, or directly contact the faculty or graduate student that you wish to work with.

If you are interested in an internship outside of the Department of Linguistics, Contact OSU's Career Services at 292-7055 to find an internship. A counselor will help you evaluate what kind of position is right for you given your interests and abilities and what is available. Be sure to tell them if you are majoring in linguistics.

Step 3

If you would like to receive course credit, contact the linguistics undergraduate advisor for approval and to make the necessary arrangements.

Step 4

For those receiving course credit, register for LING 4193 with your faculty mentor during the relevant quarter. You will need a signature to register.

Step 5

Once you have been placed in an internship, be sure to keep the Linguistics Department and your Undergraduate Advisor informed of your progress (whether or not you will be receiving credit!). We would love to hear from you about how the internship is going.

Independent Study

If you have an interesting idea for a research project, you may want to approach a linguistics faculty member to help you set it into action. To sign up for 4998 or 4999 (thesis research), you need the permission of the faculty member involved.

Undergraduate Research Seminar

Once a year, 4780 is offered. Students pair up with a faculty member and develop and execute a plan of research over the course of the semester.

Denman Undergraduate Research Forum

The Denman Undergraduate Research Forum is an annual research forum for undergraduates. Cash prizes are given to winners in each area. All OSU undergraduates are eligible to apply to the Denman. Read more about the Denman forum.

NSF Research

The NSF funds undergraduate research through the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program supports active research participation by undergraduate students in any of the areas of research funded by the National Science Foundation. REU projects involve students in meaningful ways in ongoing research programs or in research projects specifically designed for the REU program. Search for a program.

Research Groups:

Under the 7890 course numbers, there are a number of weekly discussion meetings for many sub-fields in linguistics. Advanced undergraduates may attend research groups relevant to your specialization to find out more about the kinds of research being done in that area of linguistics.

  • CaCL: Research group for computational and cognitive approaches to linguistics
  • Changelings: Research group for language change, historical, sociolinguistics, and contact linguistics
  • Clippers: Research group for computational linguistics
  • Lacqueys: Research group for language acquisition
  • Pragmatics Working Group: Research group for pragmatics
  • Psycholinguistics Lab: Research group for psycholinguistics
  • Phonies: Research group for phonetics and phonology
  • SoMean: Research group for social meaning, sociolinguistics, anthropology, and semiology
  • Synners: Research group for syntax and semantics