Description and Requirements of the Major

Description of the Major


Director of undergraduate studies: Raffaella Zanuttini, Rm. 209, 370 Temple St., 432-2452,;


Professors Claire Bowem, Robert Frank (Chair), Roberta Frank, Frank Keil, Zoltán Szabó, Raffaella Zanuttini

Associate Professors Maria Piñango

Assistant Professor Jason Shaw, Jim Wood

Lecturers and Post-Docs  Dustin Bowers, Jonathan Manker, Jason Zentz

Linguistics is the scientific study of language. The major in Linguistics offers a program of study leading toward an understanding of phonological, grammatical, and semantic structure and of various approaches to descriptive, experimental, and historical linguistics. Majors may concentrate on theoretical, experimental, or computational linguistics, on various aspects of comparative grammar, or on a particular family of languages. Interested students should consult the director of undergraduate studies.

Students with no previous background in linguistics are encouraged to approach the field by taking a freshman seminar or a 100-level course.

The major requires twelve term courses in linguistics and related areas, distributed as follows:

1. Breadth requirement (four courses). All majors must take a course in each of the core areas of phonology (LING 232) and syntax (LING 253). In addition, at least one course must be taken in any two of the six remaining core areas of linguistics: phonetics, morphology, semantics/pragmatics, computational linguistics, language and mind/brain, and historical linguistics.

2. Depth requirement (two courses). In one of the eight core areas of linguistics, students must take two additional courses beyond the introductory level.

3. Electives (four courses). Four additional courses relating to linguistics are required, at least one of which must be at the 200 level or above. Electives may be chosen from courses offered by the Linguistics department or, with approval of the director of undergraduate studies, from related courses in programs such as Anthropology, Classics, Cognitive Science, Computer Science, English, Philosophy, Psychology, or foreign languages.

4. Research requirement (one course). LING 490, Research Methods in Linguistics, is required and is usually taken in the fall term of the senior year.

5. Senior requirement (one course). Students attend a research colloquium and write a senior essay in LING 491 during the spring term of the senior year.

Combined B.A./M.A. degree program  Exceptionally able and well-prepared students may complete a course of study leading to the simultaneous award of the B.A. and M.A. degrees after eight terms of enrollment. See “Simultaneous Award of the Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees” under “Special Arrangements” in the Academic Regulations. Interested students should consult the director of undergraduate studies prior to the sixth term of enrollment for specific requirements in Linguistics.

Requirements of the Major

Prerequisites None

Number of courses 12 term courses (incl senior req)

Specific courses required LING 232, 253, 490

Distribution of courses 1 course each in 2 additional core areas, as specified; 2 additional courses beyond intro level in 1 core area; 4 electives, at least 1 at the 200 level or above

Senior requirement LING 491