Major in Linguistics

The baccalaureate program in the UC Davis Department of Linguistics focuses on theories of language structure, variation and use, description of contemporary languages, and the examination of language change through time.

Because of the pervasive influence of language in our everyday lives, work in linguistics interacts in important ways with studies carried out in many other fields, including psychology, anthropology, neuroscience, philosophy, computer science, sociology, literature, language teaching, communication, and education. Consequently, the linguistics major has been designed to integrate studies in numerous related subject areas.

The Program

After completion of an introductory lower-division course that presents basic concepts and some of the methods needed to analyze language in a systematic way, students take a sequence of in-depth upper division courses. These classes probe more deeply into specific aspects of language structure, language use, and the relationship of language to other realms of human activity. The curriculum allows considerable latitude in subject matter choices.

Learning Objectives

Students graduating with a bachelor's degree in linguistics should be able to:

  • express, assess, and defend analyses of linguistic data or societal concerns related to language use, with clarity and rigor in standard written academic English;
  • effectively analyze the structure of languages, as manifested in their phonological, morphological, syntactic, and/or semantic systems; and 
  • effectively utilize a standard scientific research methodology appropriate to linguistic analysis.

Major Requirements

The course sequence for the Linguistics major encompasses 48 to 68 units.

The abbreviation "LIN" designates courses in the Department of Linguistics.

Preparatory subject matter (4-24 units)
LIN 1, Introduction to Linguistics (4 units)
Foreign language, one course beyond the 15-unit requirement of the College of Letters and Science in the same language used to fulfill the college requirement (0–20 units)

Depth subject matter (44 units)
All four of the following courses: 
LIN 103A (4 units)
LIN 103B (4 units)
LIN 111 (4 units)
LIN 131 (4 units)
Any three Linguistics courses from among those numbered from 110 to 159 (12 units combined)
One Linguistics course from among those numbered from 160 to 169 (4 units)
One Linguistics course from among those numbered from 170 to 189 (4 units)
At least 8 upper-division units from the following courses:
African American and African Studies 156
Anthropology 110, 117, 119, 120
Communication 105
Education 151
English 105, 106
French 109, 160, 161, 162
German 105
Human Development 101
Native American Studies 107
Philosophy 137A, 137B, 137C
Psychology 132
Spanish 111N, 112N, 113, 114N, 115, 115S, 116, 117, 118

Consult the UC Davis General Catalog for descriptions of Department of Linguistics courses.
The online General Catalog also has course content information for other major degree programs.