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Major in Linguistics – Program Planning Reference

Sample Programs

Students who enter the program as freshmen can take the required coursework over four years. This allows for a great deal of flexibility in planning so that the student can take advantage of options to pursue a second major, a minor, additional language study, study abroad, etc.

Students should note that during the regular academic year the following required courses are only taught once:

Fall:  Morphology and Syntax (LING 435); Phonetics (LING 411)
Winter: Functional Syntax I (LING 451); Phonology (LING 450)
Spring:  Functional Syntax II (LING 452); Historical and Comparative Linguistics (LING 460)

However, a few elective courses in linguistics are taught during Summer Session so that students have the option of additional flexibility in planning their programs.

A sample four-year program would be as follows:

Year 1 Year 2
Fall or Winter – Elective
Spring –  LING 301 Introduction to Linguistics
Summer – Intensive Language
Fall – LING 411 Phonetics
Winter – LING 450 Phonology
Winter – LING 491, Sociolinguistics
Spring – LING 460 Historical Linguistics
Summer – Intensive Language
Year 3 Year 4
Fall – LING 435 Morphology and Syntax
Winter – LING 451 Functional Syntax I
Spring – LING 452 Functional Syntax II
Fall – Elective: LING 407 Proseminar
Winter or Spring – Elective
Spring – Open

(1) Take a year abroad: combine years 3 and 4 into your senior year.
(2) Add the SLAT certificate. Note that the required courses for the certificate will count as the two non-seminar electives for major.

Transfer students and students changing their major to linguistics can complete the degree in linguistics within two years. Since a number of courses are taught only on an annual basis, care must be taken in planning a course of study so that the most efficient sequencing of courses is selected. Planning the program with the help of the undergraduate advisor is essential.  Take LING 301 summer term, then take either LING 411 or LING 435 fall term. A sample program follows:

Summer prior
to Year 3
Year 3 Year 4
LING 301 Introduction to Linguistic Analysis Fall –

  • LING 411 Phonetics
Fall –

  • LING 407 Proseminar
  • LING 435 Morphoology & Syntax

  • LING 450 Phonology
  • LING 491 Sociolinguistics
Winter –

  • LING 451 Functional Syntax I
Spring –

  • LING 460 Historical Linguistics
  • Elective
Spring –

  • LING 452 Functional Syntax II
  • Elective

Summer Prior to Year 4

–Intensive Language (101-102-103) or (201-202-203)


Note: LING 301 is a pre-requisite for LING 411 and LING 435.  If LING 301 cannot be taken the Summer term prior to beginning the major, special arrangements with the instructor of LING 411 CAN BE made on a case by case basis for concurrent enrollment.

Note 2: The perceptive reader will observe that we have consistently avoided recommending a program in which a student takes both required sequences, Ling 411-450-460 and Ling 534-451-452, during the same year.  It is certainly possible to take all six classes in one year, and in fact quite a few late-declaring majors do this every year.  However, these classes all have a high workload, which is concentrated into weekend problem sets and take-home exams — having two classes that each expect to dominate your weekend work hours can (and usually does) put a real strain on the students who double up like this.  If you have to do it in order to graduate on time, or in order to free up a year for that study abroad experience, then go ahead and do it.  But if you don’t have to, why make yourself suffer?

The above sample programs assume that the student will fit these courses to the language requirement of the department and the B.A. requirements of the University. A few elective courses in linguistics are also offered during Summer Session so that students have the option of further flexibility.