Linguistics Requirements

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Language is both a means of social communication and a unique property of the human mind. As such, linguistics - the scientific study of language - has a broad appeal to students who are interested in the social sciences, the humanities, computer science, or the life sciences. The undergraduate program in linguistics helps students understand the diversity of human modes of communication, the social and psychological origins of language, and the processes by which languages are learned and lost. A major in linguistics thus provides students with a focused but broad-based education in the liberal arts. In addition, the way linguists think about their subject has greatly influenced the development of other disciplines such as anthropology, computer science, language teaching, philosophy, psychology, and sociology. A degree in linguistics will thus be of great value to students intending to pursue careers in these fields.

Graduates of the linguistics program who enter the work force immediately after graduating find employment in a wide variety of settings as teachers, writers, translators, editors, civil servants, community developers, policy makers, analysts, etc. Graduates who go on to advanced study find themselves well prepared for professional careers in fields such as linguistics, language teaching, educational administration, development of educational and assessment materials, language planning, language research, speech pathology, lexicography, publishing, and foreign service.

Two tracks are available in the B.A. degree in Linguistics. The first track (Theoretical Linguistics) provides students with a solid grounding in linguistic theory and application; the second track (ESL/Bilingual Education/English as a new language [ENL]) focuses primarily on teaching English to new speakers of the language in an ESL, EFL, or bilingual setting. Majors in both tracks are required to obtain a grade of C or better in each of the required courses.

Because the study of theoretical linguistics involves analysis of languages other than one’s native language, the theoretical linguistics track requires either one year of an uncommon or non-Western language or two years of any other foreign language. The ESL/Bilingual Education/ENL track requires one year of study of any foreign language, to allow time for additional coursework that these students may choose to take in order to obtain an endorsement to a Professional Educator License. Either course of study satisfies the foreign language requirement of the College of Liberal Arts.

The theoretical linguistics track of the major consists of a minimum of 33 semester hours. This includes 12 hours of required foundation courses and 21 hours chosen from linguistics electives covering a broad range of subfields within the discipline.  This flexibility allows linguistics students to double-major in a variety of other fields.

Required courses for the theoretical linguistics track: (12 semester hours)

  • LING 200 Language, Society, and the Mind
  • LING 300 Introduction to Descriptive Linguistics
  • LING 405 Introduction to Phonological Theories
  • LING 408 Introduction to Syntactic Theory

The 21 hours of electives may include (but are not limited to) courses on the following list. They must include 15 hours at the 400-level including a linguistics course designated Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC). Up to six hours may be drawn from other departments such as English, Psychology, Anthropology, and Languages, Cultures, and International Trade, subject to approval of the Linguistics faculty.

Sampling of acceptable electives (21 semester hours)

  • LING 320I Language, Gender, and Power
  • LING 340 Second Language Acquisition
  • LING 400 Formal Semantics
  • LING 402 Phonetics
  • LING 406 Introduction to Historical Linguistics (WAC)
  • LING 415 Sociolinguistics
  • LING 426 Gender, Culture, and Language
  • LING 440 Topics in Linguistics (may be repeated)
  • LING 443 Bilingualism
  • LING 445 Psycholinguistics
  • LING 452 Field Methods in Linguistics (WAC; may be repeated)

The ESL/Bilingual Education/ENL track of the major consists of a minimum of 33 semester hours. These courses comprise a core of basic courses in the structure of the English language and pedagogical methods. 

Required courses for ESL/Bilingual Education/ENL track:

  • LING 200 Language, Society, and the Mind OR 201 Language Diversity in the USA
  • LING 300 Introduction to Descriptive Linguistics
  • LING 340 Second Language Acquisition
  • LING 341 Introduction to Intercultural Communication
  • LING 353 Methods and Materials of TESOL
  • LING 470 Theoretical Foundations of Teaching ESL and Bilingual Students (WAC)
  • LING 472 Assessment of ESL and Bilingual Students
In addition to these core courses, twelve semester hours of Linguistics electives are also required. Up to six hours may be drawn from other departments such as English, Psychology, Anthropology, and Languages, Cultures, and International Trade, subject to approval of the Linguistics faculty.

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Linguistics Degree Requirements

Degree RequirementsCredit Hours
University Core Curriculum Requirements 39
College of Liberal Arts Academic Requirements 14
Requirements for Major in Linguistics 33
Core courses: LING 200, LING 300, LING 405, and LING 408 each with a grade of C or better 12
Electives: 21 credit hours, 15 of which must be at the 400 level. The remainder may be at the 300 or 400 level. Six of the 21 hours may be taken outside of the linguistics department with the permission of the department's undergraduate advisor. 21
Foreign Language Requirements (satisfies the College foreign language requirement) 6-16
Electives 16-28
Total 120

B.A. Linguistics - English as a New Language Specialization Degree Requirements

Degree RequirementsCredit Hours
University Core Curriculum Requirements 39
College of Liberal Arts Requirements (See courses required for COLA) 14
Requirements for Major in Linguistics, ESL/Bilingual Education/ENL 33
Core courses: LING 200 or LING 201, LING 300, LING 340, LING 341, LING 353, LING 470, LING 472, each with a grade of C or better. 21
Electives: Choose twelve hours of linguistics courses at the 300- or 400-level. This may include LING 440 taken up to three times with different topics. 12
Foreign Language Requirements (satisfies the College foreign language requirement) 6
Electives 16-26
Total 120

Linguistics Minor

The minor in linguistics is 18 hours of study and draws upon core courses from the Department of Linguistics. It introduces students to the science of language and to aspects of linguistic structure and language use. A minor in linguistics may be of special interest to students in anthropology, computer science, education, English, foreign languages and literatures, mathematics, philosophy, psychology, sociology, communication studies, and communication disorders and sciences.

Course requirements for the minor in linguistics are LING 200 and LING 300, plus at least four additional LING courses (12 semester hours) including two (six semester hours) at the 400-level. LING 480A does not count toward the minor in linguistics.