Program in Linguistics

Academic Unit

Program Information

Linguistics is the study of the distinctive properties of human language and the cognitive capacities of language users, including the rules that govern the patterns of particular languages and universal principles governing all languages. Linguists investigate the grammatical principles and processes that determine the structure of human languages, their evolution over time, and their psychological underpinnings. The basic areas of study include phonology (the study of the sound patterns of language), morphology (the study of the structure and meaning of words), syntax (the study of the structure of sentences), and semantics (the study of linguistic meaning). In addition to these basic areas, the Program in Linguistics offers courses in historical linguistics, language universals, language acquisition, and psycholinguistics. An understanding of these properties of human language provides a valuable analytic framework for students of language and literature, anthropology, computer science, philosophy, and psychology.

Students with a particular interest in language and linguistics can pursue a certificate in linguistics. Participants satisfy the requirements of their chosen departmental major and develop a complementary course of study in linguistics as outlined below. Students may also apply to the University to be an Independent Concentrator in Linguistics.

Admission to the Program

The program is open to undergraduates majoring in any department. Students should meet with the program director, usually during the sophomore year, to apply to the program and plan a course of study. Applicants will be accepted on the basis of interest and a coherent academic plan.

Program of Study

The program of study will be approved by the program director. It will include completion of the following requirements:

1. Satisfactory completion of LIN 201/ENG 213, Introduction to Language and Linguistics.  Permission may be granted by the Director to substitute a different LIN course in place of 201; decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis.

2. Satisfactory completion of four additional courses from the list of linguistics courses and related courses available on the Program in Linguistics website. These four courses must include at least three courses bearing the LIN designation, or cross-listed with LIN. The program director may approve additional courses on an individual basis.

3. Senior independent work. Ideally some aspect of linguistics will be incorporated into the senior thesis. Other arrangements can be made if this is not practical.

Certificate of Proficiency

A student who fulfills the requirements of the program with satisfactory standing receives a certificate of proficiency in linguistics upon graduation.

Other Linguistics and Related Courses. Linguistics related courses in other departments and programs may be counted toward certificate completion with the approval of the program director.