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Major in Linguistics

Linguistics majors

The undergraduate major stresses the study of language both as a fundamental human faculty and as a changing social institution.  At the core of the program is a set of departmental courses on the nature of human language; in addition, the major draws on courses offered by other departments and programs. 

Required Gateway and Capstone Courses 

1-unit Gateway course, 196, to be taken in autumn of junior year.

2-3 unit Capstone course, 197A, to be taken in winter of senior year.

Core Courses

Students must take at least one course each from two of the following three areas below:

  • Phonetics and Phonology: 105/205A, 110
  • Morphology and Syntax: 120, 121A, 121B, 222A
  • Semantics and Pragmatics: 130A/230A, 130B, 230B, 232A

Breadth Courses

Students must take at least one course each from two of the following four areas:

  • Historical Linguistics and Language Change: 160, 260A, 260B
  • Sociolinguistics: 150, 156, 157/257, 250
  • Psycholinguistics: 35, 140, 145
  • Computational Linguistics: 180/280, 188/288, 278, 284

Depth Courses

Students must take at least two 200-level Linguistics courses. See ExploreCourses for current options.  If the courses are cross-listed at the 100 and 200 levels, be sure to enroll at the 200 level if you wish the course to count for this requirement.  The requirement is designed to introduce students to advanced work in the area of concentration.  In planning their courses, majors should think of the requirement as offering an opportunity for another capstone experience, in many cases including an opportunity to read original articles by leading linguists, and ideally providing a way of synthesizing the various courses taken.

Other Course Requirements

(**Please note:  Unit requirement has changed as of Autumn 2016-17.  If you declared before Autumn 2016-17, you may follow the old requirements.)

Requirements for the BA include at least 55 units of course work; at least 28 of these units must be in Linguistics.  The remaining units may be in Linguistics or in related fields, with approval from the Undergraduate Adviser.  Of the 55 units required for the major, no more than 12 may be below the 100 level.  All required courses must be taken for a letter grade of C- or better.  No more than two other courses used towards the 55 units of course work may be taken on a credit/no credit basis (CR/NC).

Of the courses that fulfill the 55 units, one should be Linguistics 196, Introduction to Research for Undergraduates, taken in Autumn Quarter of the Junior year.  This course introduces students to research being conducted within the department by graduate students and faculty.  It also introduces students to other opportunities such as honors work, and independent research in the senior year.

The following courses fullfill the requirements of Writing in the Major (WIM): Linguist 121A, 121B, 130A, 140. 

Language Requirement

Majors must have competence in at least one language other than English as part of their understanding of the field of linguistics and its study.  This requirement is fulfilled by completion of six quarters of study of a language or the equivalent.  The requirement may be fulfilled by coursework at Stanford or at a community college, or by certification of proficiency through the Language Center (see University requirements).  The Language Center is responsible for certifying whether a student has achieved the requisite proficiency in a foreign language.  Majors may petition to be exempted from the language requirement if they have grown up speaking a language other than English and can use it for everyday purposes and for linguistic analysis.  Language course units do not count towards the major. 

Wherever possible, students should seek to use data from the language in coursework or in research.

Course Planning Guide

The Course Planning Guide will help you plan the requirements for the Linguistics major. It should be completed at the first meeting with the Undergraduate Studies Advisor and updated Annually.

Additionally, please review Sample Program Scenarios to see typical course plans.