What is Linguistics? All humans use language, and yet many of them have never heard of Linguistics as a field until college. Linguistics deals both with the study of particular languages and the search for general properties that are common to all languages.
Because the study of human language intersects with cognition and culture, Linguistics is necessarily interdisciplinary, and our students can also take courses in related fields, such as Anthropology, Classics, Cognitive Science, Computer Science, English, Philosophy, Psychology, or foreign languages. Some parts of linguistics are more like humanities subjects, involving qualitative or introspective analysis, while others are quantitative, experimental, or computational.
Students in our classes develop valuable skills that are applicable to many jobs. A student with an interest in linguistics can choose among different career paths.
There are several 100-level courses each year which are designed for students who are interested in learning about linguistics but who have no background in it. We recommend that students interested in majoring in Linguistics also begin with an introductory course. Most linguistics courses offer a Social Sciences distributional credit, and some courses may offer additional credits, such as Writing or Quantitative Reasoning. A few offer Humanities credits.
The linguistics major itself is fairly flexible. Students take 12 credits in Linguistics and must gain a broad knowledge of the various subfields as well as deep knowledge in one subfield that interests them more. Majors also complete a senior essay in their final year. Senior essays from previous years are listed under Research on our website.
Regardless of your level, there are many research opportunities for Linguistics students, both within our own department and at other institutions.