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, law, educational administration, speech pathology, development of educational and assessment materials, language planning, publishing, language research, lexicography, and foreign service.

Students working toward a BA degree in Linguistics can choose from three options: The Generalist track allows students to focus on the courses that are of greatest interest to them. The Theoretical Linguistics track provides students with a grounding in linguistic theory and application. The Specialization in English as a New Language (ENL) focuses primarily on teaching English to speakers of other languages in an English as a Second Language (ESL), English as a Foreign Language (EFL), or bilingual setting.

All students pursuing a BA degree in Linguistics are required to take two introductory courses in Linguistics regardless of their chosen track or specialization and must obtain a grade of C or better in both courses. These two courses should be taken early in the student’s degree program.

Required courses for all students pursuing a BA in Linguistics (6 credit hours)

  • LING 200 Language, Society and the Mind  --OR--  LING 201 Language Diversity in the USA
  • LING 300 Introduction to Descriptive Linguistics

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Linguistics

Generalist Track

This track is the best option for students who wish to combine elements of theoretical linguistics and teaching ESL/EFL in their degree program or who are preparing for further coursework in a related field such as Law, Speech Pathology, Sociology, Psychology, etc. Students pursuing this track are encouraged to work closely with the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Linguistics to identify the courses that will best serve their needs.

Additional requirements for the generalist track:

In addition to the two courses required of all Linguistics majors (LING 200 or 201 and LING 300, students choose 27 credit hours of coursework in Linguistics (courses with a LING prefix). At least 12 credit hours must be at the 400-level, the remaining 15 credit hours may be at the 300- or 400-level. Six of the 27 credit hours may be taken outside of the Linguistics Program with the prior approval of the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Linguistics.

B.A. Linguistics - Generalist Track Degree Requirements

Degree RequirementsCredit Hours
University Core Curriculum Requirements 39
College of Liberal Arts Academic Requirements (includes one year of a language) 18
Requirements for Major in Linguistics 33
Core courses: LING 200 or LING 201, LING 300 each with a grade of C or better 6
Electives: 27 credit hours, 12 of which must be at the 400 level. The remainder may be at the 300 or 400 level. Six of the 27 credit hours may be taken outside of Linguistics with approval of the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Linguistics. 27
University Electives 30
Total 120

Theoretical Track

This track is the best option for those students who wish to move on to graduate work in Linguistics. The focus in this track is on providing a solid theoretical foundation in several subfields within Linguistics that will serve as the base for more advanced work at the graduate level.

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. One year of an uncommon or non-Western language also satisfies the foreign language requirement of the College of Liberal Arts. Students who choose to study a common, Western language satisfy the College of Liberal Arts requirement by taking the first year of that language and satisfy the Theoretical Linguistics language requirement by taking a second year of that language.

In addition to the two courses required of all BA Linguistics majors (LING 200 or 201 and LING 300), students pursuing the Theoretical Linguistics track must also take the following courses:

Core Subfields (6 credit hours with a grade of C or better):

  • LING 405 Introduction to Phonological Theories
  • LING 408 Introduction to Syntactic Theory

Theoretical Breadth (12 credit hours):

The Theoretical Linguistics track expects students to concentrate their coursework in areas that cover the most common sub-specializations pursued at the graduate level. To that end, students in this track choose four courses from the list of theoretically-oriented courses below with at least two of those courses coming from the sub-specializations list.

Sub-specializations (6 credit hours):

  • LING 400 Introduction to Formal Semantics
  • LING 402 Phonetics
  • LING 406 Introduction to Historical Linguistics
  • LING 415 Sociolinguistics
  • LING 420 Introduction to Morphology

The remaining courses in the Theoretical Breadth category can come either from additional sub-specialization courses (above) or from other theoretically-oriented courses (below).

Additional Theoretical Breadth courses (6 credit hours):

  • LING 302 Invented Languages
  • LING 320i Language, Gender, Power
  • LING 328 Language and Law
  • LING 404 American Dialects
  • LING 410 Philosophy of Language
  • LING 412 The Linguistic Structure of Japanese
  • LING 416 Spanish in the USA
  • LING 417 Language Contact
  • LING 426 Gender, Culture & Language
  • LING 430 Grammatical Structures
  • LING 440 Topics in Linguistics (where appropriate)
  • LING 445 Psycholinguistics
  • LING 450 Language Families
  • LING 452 Introduction to Linguistic Field Methods

Electives (9 credit hours):

The remaining 9 credit hours (3 courses) are chosen from any of the 300- or 400-level courses offered with a LING prefix. Up to six credit hours may be drawn from other programs with the prior approval of the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Linguistics. 

Students who are interested in entering the Accelerated MA Program in Linguistics are encouraged to work with the Undergraduate and Graduate Advisors in Linguistics in planning their program of study. The Theoretical Linguistics track automatically provides the required coursework for entry into this Program, which reduces the required MA Linguistics coursework to 27 credit hours. Students working toward their BA degree on the Generalist track can also choose appropriate coursework for entry into this Program under the guidance of the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Linguistics.

B.A. Linguistics - Theoretical Track Degree Requirements

Degree RequirementsCredit Hours
University Core Curriculum 39
College of Liberal Arts Academic Requirements (includes one year of a language) 18
Requirements for Major in Linguistics 33-39
Core Courses: LING 200 or LING 201, LING 300, LING 405, and LING 408 each with a grade of C or better. 12
Theoretical Breadth: At least two of LING 400, LING 402, LING 406, LING 415 and LING 420 plus two additional Theoretical Breadth courses listed above. 12
Electives: 9 credit hours, chosen from any of the 300- or 400-level courses offered with a LING prefix. Six of the 9 credit hours may be taken outside of Linguistics with the approval of the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Linguistics. 9
Foreign Language Requirement (if chosen language is a common, Western language) (0-6)
University Electives 24-30
Total 120

English as a New Language (ENL) Specialization

The Specialization in ENL is the best option for students who wish to work in the field of ESL education after graduation or continue with graduate-level work in ESL or TESOL. This Specialization provides coursework in the structure of the English language and pedagogical methods appropriate for teaching English to speakers of other languages, both adults and children, in ESL, EFL, and bilingual settings.

In addition to the two courses required of all BA Linguistics majors (LING 200 or 201 and LING 300), students pursuing the Specialization in ENL must also take the following courses:

Core Courses (6 credit hours with a grade of C or better):

  • LING 407 Theory, Methods, and Materials of TESOL
  • LING 472 Assessment of ESL and Bilingual Students

Teaching Specialization (12 credit hours):
The ENL Specialization requires that students focus most of their coursework in areas that directly relate to the teaching of English. Students in this Specialization choose four courses from the categories listed below with at least one course focused on Language Skills.
 
Language Skills (3 credit hours):

  • LING 431 Teaching Writing and Grammar in a Second Language
  • LING 485 Teaching Listening and Speaking in a Second Language
  • LING 487 Teaching Reading and Vocabulary in a Second Language

The remaining courses in the Teaching Specialization category can come either from additional Language Skills (above) or from other TESOL Focus courses (below).

TESOL Focus (9 credit hours):

  • LING 341 Introduction to Intercultural Communication
  • LING 415 Sociolinguistics
  • LING 440 Topics in Linguistics (where appropriate)
  • LING 442 Language Planning
  • LING 443 Bilingualism
  • LING 444 Second Language Acquisition
  • LING 454 Observation and Practice in TESOL
  • LING 470 Theoretical Foundations of Teaching ESL and Bilingual Students
  • LING 471 Bilingual Education Methods and Materials
  • LING 473 Introduction to Computer-Assisted Language Learning
  • LING 482 Course Design for TESOL
  • LING 490A TESOL K-12 Internship
  • LING 490B TESOL International Internship

Electives (9 credit hours):

The remaining 9 credit hours (3 courses) are chosen from any of the 300- or 400-level courses offered with a LING prefix. Up to six credit hours may be drawn from other programs with the prior approval of the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Linguistics.

Students who are interested in obtaining an ESL Endorsement to a Professional Educator License should speak with the Linguistics K-12 Advisor for a specific list of courses that will satisfy this endorsement. The ESL Endorsement coursework can be completed while working toward the ENL Specialization or on the Generalist track with the guidance of the Linguistics K-12 Advisor.

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

Degree RequirementsCredit Hours
University Core Curriculum Requirements 39
College of Liberal Arts Academic Requirements (includes one year of a language) 18
Requirements for Major in Linguistics, ESL/Bilingual Education/ENL 33
Core Courses: LING 200 or LING 201, LING 300, LING 407, and LING 472, each with a grade of C or better. 12
Teaching Specialization: At least one of LING 431, LING 485, and LING 487 plus three additional Teaching Specialization courses listed above. 12
Electives: 9 credit hours, chosen from any of the 300- or 400-level courses offered with a LING prefix. Six of the 9 credit hours may be taken outside of Linguistics with the approval of the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Linguistics. 9
University Electives 30
Total 120

Linguistics Minor

The Minor in Linguistics requires 18 credit hours of study and draws upon core courses in Linguistics. It introduces students to the scientific study of language and to aspects of linguistic structure and language use. A Minor in Linguistics may be of interest to students majoring in a variety of fields including but not limited to Anthropology, Communication Disorders and Sciences, Communication Studies, Computer Science, Education, English, Languages and Literatures, Mathematics, Philosophy, Psychology, and Sociology.

Course requirements for the Minor in Linguistics are LING 200 or LING 201 and LING 300, plus at least four additional LING courses (12 credit hours) including at least two LING courses (6 credit hours) at the 400-level. The remaining two courses (6 credit hours) may be at the 300- or 400-level.