College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Linguistics, BA

University Catalog Page (Click here to see major requirements)

62 credits


Linguistics, the science of language, is an interdisciplinary field which relates to the diversity of the cultures and languages of the world. It is an integral part of most serious pursuits dealing with aspects of language study and analysis. As the boundaries of the world change, an understanding of individual languages and cultures becomes increasingly important. Communication in this complex society requires knowledge of the workings of languages, as well as their interrelationship with their respective cultures.

Why Consider a Linguistics Major?

All Linguistics majors are expected to acquire knowledge of the functions of language at various levels and knowledge of the techniques and methods used in language analysis. A student of Linguistics will thereby significantly advance his or her appreciation of linguistic and cultural diversity. Students who major in linguistics acquire valuable intellectual skills, including analytic reasoning and argumentation, and learn how to study language scientifically. This means making insightful observations, formulating and testing clear hypotheses, making arguments and drawing conclusions, and communicating findings to a wider community. Linguistics majors are therefore well equipped for a variety of jobs and graduate-level programs.

Sample Careers

Higher Education research and teaching: linguistics, philosophy, psychology, speech sciences, anthropology, computer science, English, modern and classical languages | K-12 Teaching (World Languages, ESL, literacy) | Computer Industry (speech recognition, natural language processing, AI) | Translating and Interpreting | Language documentation and fieldwork | Publishing (editing, writing) | Lexicography (dictionary research and editing) | Law (forensic linguistics)

Major/Career Resources

How to Declare (Admission and Declaration Process):

To declare, a student must have completed the following requirements:

LING 201 or ENGL 370 or TESL 401 or ANTH 247 or HNRS 217 with a grade of “B-” or better

Minimum cumulative GPA of at least 2.5.

When ready to declare, students should meet with the Department Chair or Manager to fill out a declaration card and review the Major Checklist.

Completed degree declaration cards must be submitted to the Registrar's Office in Old Main 230.

Major Evaluation Form should be completed by the student and signed by the Linguistics Chair at least two quarters before graduation.

Grade Requirements

A grade of C- or better is required for a student’s major or minor courses, and supporting courses for majors and minors.

Language Requirement for Linguistics majors (not a requirement for minors)

Students must have two years of college study of an Indo-European language like FrenchSpanish, or German, -OR- one year of college study of a non-Indo-European language, such as ChineseJapaneseAmerican Sign Language, or Arabic.

If you are bilingual/multilingual but do not have college credits in another language, you can have the requirement waived in consultation with the Program Director Kristin Denham (, and you can make up the additional credits with other upper division coursework.