The Department of Linguistics is known internationally for its strength in the areas of second language acquisition, applied linguistics, TESOL, and American Indian languages. Like many linguistics programs in the United States, the department is centrally concerned with core areas of linguistic theory. It also emphasizes the importance of the applied and descriptive endeavors. The areas of expertise of the faculty are theoretical and descriptive linguistics, Hispanic linguistics, sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, and second language acquisition. The department prides itself on its collegial atmosphere and close cooperation between faculty and students.
A major in linguistics gives students a solid foundation in the central areas of linguistic theory and analysis. The structure of human language (its sounds, word structures, and syntax) is the focus of the linguistics courses required for the major. Additionally, the major’s language requirement ensures that students acquire a perspective on linguistic structures outside of their native language, and that they receive some exposure to at least one language that is structurally unlike English. Students considering a major in linguistics should take LING 1000 - INTRODUCTION TO LINGUISTICS at their earliest opportunity to gauge if the major is right for them.
In addition to formal instruction provided by the department, students are encouraged to take courses in related departments such as anthropology and psychology. Students who wish to combine their work in linguistics with training in a specific cultural area may simultaneously earn a certificate in Asian, Latin American, Russian and East European, West European, or European Union Studies through the University Center for International Studies (UCIS). The department is also home to the English Language Institute, the Robert Henderson Language Media Center, and the Less-Commonly-Taught Languages Center.
Careers in linguistics include teaching English as a second language and teaching other languages including American Sign Language; computational linguistics research in industry and public agencies; field research on endangered languages and cultures; research and teaching at the university level; careers in publishing and advertising; speech pathology and rehabilitation; translation and interpreting; law; and governmental consulting on language policies. Most careers in linguistics require graduate training.
The major in Linguistics requires 30 credits of coursework, distributed as follows.