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Degree AwardedBA
Hours To Complete35 - 40
Courses Required11
Department Contact


This major is designed to introduce students to fundamental aspects of the study of human language, emphasizing how an interdisciplinary approach to language better informs a global understanding of language use, structure, acquisition, variation, and change. Specifically the program aims to show how structural, cognitive, and sociocultural approaches to the study of language compare, contrast, and complement.

The major is designed so that students first acquire a solid introductory base in the study of linguistics. They then must take a series of courses to ensure more intense study in (a) language and cognition, (b) language structure and meaning, and (c) language, society, and culture. Following this exposure to different fields and approaches, students will take elective courses to deepen their understanding of one or more of the approaches to the study of language. Majors are also normally required to demonstrate competence at the intermediate level or above in a language other than English, but may petition to satisfy the Linguistics language requirement through other combinations. Completion of the major requires a minimum of a C average in the major. The S/U option may be exercised only in the elective component of the major, for a maximum of four credit hours. A maximum combined total of four hours of courses at the 490-499 level (Directed Study, Directed Research, Honors) may be applied toward the major. Courses completed in approved Linguistics study abroad programs may also be used to fulfill major requirements (with approval of the program director or designated faculty adviser).

Course Requirements

I. Students are required to take three basic courses in the study of linguistics:

101: History of the American Languages
201: Foundations of Linguistics
401: Language, Mind and Society

II. Students will also take three breadth courses on key approaches to the study of linguistics:
(1) One of the following courses in Structural Approaches to Human Language:

Linguistics 210: Sounds of Human Language (Phonetics and Phonology)
Linguistics 212: Structure of Human Language (Morphology and Syntax)
Linguistics 214: Meaning in Human Language (Semantics and Pragmatics)

(2) One course in Cognitive Approaches to Human Language, including but not limited to:

Linguistics 309: Brain and Language
Linguistics 316: Language Acquisition
Linguistics 318: Second Language Acquisition
Linguistics 385R: Special Topics Courses (e.g., Words and the World: How Words Capture Human Experience, Language and Human Nature)

(3) One course in Sociocultural Approaches to Human Language, including but not limited to:

Linguistics 327: Language and Symbols of Media
Linguistics 330: Language and Culture
Linguistics 333: Language, Gender, and Sexuality
Linguistics 326: History of the Judaic Languages
Linguistics 340R: Topics in Sociolinguistics (e.g., Discourse Analysis, Language and Social Interaction, Ethnography of Communication, Intercultural Communication)
Linguistics 344: Bilingualism and Multilingualism
Linguistics 361: American English
Linguistics 335: South Asia: Language Politics and Identity
Linguistics 385R Special Topics Courses (e.g., Speech Genres; Sociolinguistics of the Spanish-speaking World)

III. Students must take three electives, including any breadth course or courses such as:

Linguistics 505: Problems in Foreign Language Teaching
Linguistics 495A and Linguistics 495B: Honors
Linguistics 497R: Directed Reading-comprehensive theoretical reading
Linguistics 499R: Directed Research-research and analysis based on original data collection or analysis

(NOTE: Students may receive a maximum of four credits (one course) toward the major for courses at the 495-499 levels.)

IV. Students must take one course with a designated focus on research methods (min. 3 credit hrs.), including but not limited to:

LING-340W Language Variation and Change
LING-497 or LING-499 with DUS approval

Note: This course may also be counted toward the breadth (II) or elective (III) requirement for the major.

V. Students must take two foreign language courses.
a. Two courses in one foreign language at the 200-level or above OR
b. Two courses in two different foreign languages at any level, with approval from the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
(NOTE: Students participating in the Amsterdam Study Abroad Program may use introductory Dutch to satisfy one semester of this requirement.)