Prospective and Incoming Students

What is Linguistics?

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/or analysis. As the boundaries of the world change, an understanding of individual languages and cultures becomes increasingly more important. Communication in this complex society requires knowledge of the workings of languages as well as their interrelationship with their respective cultures. All linguistics majors are expected to acquire a rudimentary knowledge of the functions of language at various levels and knowledge of the techniques/methods used in language analysis. A student of linguistics will thereby significantly advance their appreciation of linguistic and cultural diversity.

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 their 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.

More Reasons to Study Linguistics

Applying for Admission to Western

For information about applying for admission to Western, contact the Admissions Office. If you're thinking about transferring to Western and you're wondering what courses will apply toward the major in Linguistics, contact the Linguistics Department Manager Sara Helms, helmss@wwu.edu, or see our section for Transfer Students. For advice about General University Requirements (GURs), contact the Academic Advising Center.

How to Declare the Major

To declare, a student should 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 
    • If there are extenuating circumstances, we are happy to discuss this with you. Don’t let a GPA below 2.5 stop you from talking with a linguistics advisor about the major.

If you have not yet completed LING 201 but are very interested in a Linguistics major or minor, you may contact Sara or Kristin about the possibility of enrolling in LING 310.

When you are ready to declare, fill out this form Major Declaration and Change Web Form, and email it to linguistics@wwu.edu.

We will work with you through email to complete a linguistics Major Checklist.

How to Declare the Minor

When you are ready to declare, fill out this form Minor Declaration and Change Web Form, and email it to linguistics@wwu.edu.

We will work with you through email to complete a linguistics Minor Checklist.