2015 Linguistics Majors

Undergraduate Linguistics MAJOR

To declare a major in Linguistics, please go to
To be accepted as a Major you must pass 615:201 Introduction to Linguistic Theory with a grade of C or better.

A Major in Linguistics consists of 12 courses of 3 credits each for a total of 36 credits.
A grade of C or better must be earned in all course work that is to be applied to the major.
The distribution of these courses falls into four main categories, as specified below. Majors may also participate in the Departmental Honors Program in their senior year. See requirements at the bottom of this page. These requirements apply to those who have declared the Major in Fall 2015 or later.  The capstone requirement does NOT apply to those who declared the Major prior to Fall 2015.
Requirement R1: Introduction
(A)       201      Introduction to Linguistic Theory  (1 course, 3 credits)
This course is required for Linguistics Majors and Minors.
It is a prerequisite for all courses in (B) and many (but not all) in (C) and (D): it must be taken before them. 
Requirement R2: Theoretical Subfields
(B)       Exactly 4 of the following courses  (4 courses, 12 credits total)
305      Syntax (taught every semester)
315      Phonology (taught every semester)
325      Semantics (taught every semester)
350      Pragmatics   (taught every semester)
Requirement R3: Linguistics Electives (6 courses, 18 credits total)
At least three (C) Courses (at least 9 credits)
Courses in this list not used for (C) may be counted towards (D)! (For example, you can fulfill R3 with 3 C 3 D, 4 C 2 D, 5 C 1 D, or all C!)
330      Historical linguistics (cross-listed with Classics department)
381      Sociolinguistics (online) (taught every fall)
411      Morphology (taught at least every other year)
421      Language Typology
425      Romance Linguistics (taught at least every other year)
440      Language Development (taught every spring)
441      Linguistics and Cognitive Science (taught every fall)
451      Phonetics (taught at least one semester a year, typically fall)
455      Computational Linguistics (taught every year)
461      Linguistics of Signed Languages (taught at least every other year)
471      Selected Topics in Linguistics (topics vary)
481      Language and Law (online) (taught every fall)
493/4   Independent Study (by SPN only, reserved for students with pre-arranged independent research with faculty)
495/6   Senior Honors Thesis (by SPN only, reserved for students with pre-arranged faculty advisors,
one applies to (C), second applies to (E))

(C) or (D) Elective courses (at most 3 courses, 9 credits from D courses or Approved outside courses) 
Three ways to fulfill:
-Courses from (C) that have not already been used for (C) For example, you can fulfill R3 with 3 C 3 D, 4 C 2 D, 5 C 1 D, or all C!)
-No more than 3 courses from the list of (D) electives below
-Courses from the list of Approved Outside Courses

215      Language of Advertising (online) (taught every spring)
391      Anatomy and Physiology of the Speech Mechanism (online) (taught every spring)  (best for students pursuing Speech and Hearing Sciences)
392      Introduction to Communication Disorders (online) (taught every fall)  (best for students pursuing Speech and Hearing Sciences)
393      Audiology (online) (taught every fall) (best for students pursuing Speech and Hearing Sciences)
445      Language and Cognition (taught at least every other year)
491      Practicum in Linguistics (by SPN only; reserved for students doing research with faculty as research assistants)
            See the Approved Outside Courses.
Requirement R4: Capstone
Applicable to students who declared their Linguistics Major in Fall 2015 or later
(E)      Capstone Requirement (1 course, 3 credits total - Choose one option!)
495/496 Senior Honors Thesis (first applies to (C), second applies to (E); MUST have faculty advisor permission and submit a proposal in May of your Junior year)
497 Advanced Undergraduate Seminar (taught every semester)

Departmental Honors Designation

All students graduating with at least a 3.4 GPA in the Linguistics Major are designated as graduating with Departmental Honors.
Only those students completing a Senior Honors Thesis are eligible for High or Highest Honors. See below. 

Senior Honors Thesis and High/Highest Honors

To be considered for an Honors Thesis, a student must have a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or better and a grade-point average of 3.4 or better in courses counting toward the Linguistics major. Students selected to participate in the program enroll in 01:615:495/496 and spend two semesters researching and writing an honors thesis under the supervision of a faculty member from the Linguistics department.

Linguistics Majors interested in pursuing an honors thesis MUST make contact with a faculty member in their Junior year to determine that faculty member's interest and willingness in serving as a thesis advisor. Students may not just identify a faculty advisor on their own. The thesis is a significant year+-long undertaking for both student and advisor!

Linguistics Majors intending to write a senior honors thesis who have an agreed-upon faculty advisor must then submit a written proposal to the Undergraduate Program Director and cc their faculty advisor no later than May 31 of their Junior year. This proposal should clearly indicate the proposed thesis topic, the faculty advisor, and a general plan for working together with the advisor over the summer (optional) and into the next academic year. These details may be rather general, and precisified at a later time. 

The thesis must be submitted by March 31 of the senior year.

An oral examination on the thesis is given by a thesis evaluation committee consisting of at least two Linguistics department faculty members in the first two weeks of April. The committee does not include the student's thesis supervisor.

On the basis of the thesis committee's report and if necessary, in consultation with the Undergraduate Director and the faculty advisor, the department determines whether the student is to be recommended for High or Highest departmental honors. 

All Honors Thesis students are designated as Paul Robeson Scholars. Only those earning Highest honors are nominated for the Henry Rutgers Scholar Award, evaluation of which is conducted outside of the department.