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 those 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, etc. Graduates who go on to advanced study find themselves well prepared for professional careers in fields such as linguistics, language teaching, educational administration, 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 provides students with a solid grounding in linguistic theory and application; the second track focuses primarily on teaching English to new speakers of the language in an ESL or bilingual setting. Majors in both tracks are required to obtain a grade of C or better in each of the core courses.

Since the study of theoretical linguistics involves analysis of languages other than one’s native language, the 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 ESL/ENL 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 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 linguistic 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: (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 major in linguistics with specialization in English as a Second Language (ESL)/Bilingual Education, also known as English as a New Language (ENL), consists of 33 semester hours comprising a core of basic courses in the structure of the English language and pedagogical methods. 

Required Courses for ESL/ENL BA:

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 431 Pedagogical Grammar

LING 470 Theoretical Foundations of Teaching ESL and Bilingual Students

LING 472 Assessment of ESL and Bilingual Students

In addition to these core courses, nine semester hours of Linguistics electives are also required.

Bachelor of Arts Degree in Linguistics 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, nine of which must be at the 400 level. The remainder may be at the 300- or 400-level. Three of the 12 hours may be taken outside 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 16-26
Total 120

Bachelor of Arts Degree in Linguistics Requirements

Specialization in ESL/Bilingual Education/ENL, College of Liberal Arts

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 431, LING 470, LING 472, each with a grade of C or better.
Electives: Choose nine hours of linguistics courses at the 300- or 400-level. This may include LING 440 taken up to three times with different topics.
Foreign Language Requirements (satisfies the College foreign language requirement) 6-16
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, 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.