Undergraduate students are invited to pursue a Certificate or an Independent Concentration in Linguistics. Please read below for details, and please contact Marie Basso, Program Manager if you have any questions.


Fall 2020

Spring 2020

Fall 2019

Spring 2019

Fall 2018


Requirements for a Certificate in Linguistics

A. LIN 201/CGS 205 Introduction to Language and Linguistics

LIN 201 is an introduction to the linguistic theory that forms the basis for most of the other courses offered by the Program in Linguistics.  It is also a prerequisite for most advanced courses in Linguistics.

B. 4 additional courses

Any LIN course, 200-level or above, counts for this category.  At least three of the four courses should bear the LIN designation or be cross-listed with Linguistics.  Linguistics related courses in other departments and programs may be counted with the approval of the director.

C. Independent work

Some substantial aspect of linguistics should be incorporated into either junior independent work or into the senior thesis.  If this is not feasible, students should contact the director to discuss alternative arrangements.  A Junior Paper is normally an essay of 20 to 30 double-spaced pages that is clearly focused on one – or several related – questions, problems or issues.  A Senior Thesis is generally about 100 pages and is an in depth examination of a particular topic.

How to Apply

Complete an application online or as a typeable PDF.


Independent Concentration

Requirements for an Independent Concentration in Linguistics

Beginning with the Class of 2019, students who wish to pursue an Independent Concentration in Linguistics must plan their course of study so as to conform to the guidelines below.  As Linguistics is an Independent Concentration, students must file an application with the Office of the Dean of the College by December 15th of their sophomore year; however, the Program in Linguistics will assist with the process. Any student who is interested in pursuing a Linguistics concentration should set up an appointment with the Undergraduate Faculty Representative, currently Professor Byron Ahn (, whose role is described more fully below.

Prerequisite: Students should have taken (or should be taking) LIN 201/CGS 205 (“Introduction to Language and Linguistics”) prior to submitting an application. This prerequisite may be waived with the permission of the Undergraduate Faculty Representative.

Requirements: Independent Concentrators in Linguistics must take eight further courses, produce independent work in their junior and senior years, and complete an oral defense of their senior thesis. The details are as follows.

(i) Core
They must take at least two of the following courses: LIN 301 (“Phonetics and Phonology”); LIN 302 (“Syntax”); and either LIN 303 (“Linguistic Semantics”) or PHI 334/LIN 334 (“Semantics”). Those who are planning to go on to graduate school in Linguistics are strongly encouraged to take courses in all three areas.

(ii) Methodology
They must take LIN 355 (“Field Methods in Linguistics”) — and are strongly encouraged to do so before their senior year.

(iii) Electives
(a) They must take four other LIN courses, at least three of them at the 300 level or above. (The designation LIN need not be first.) Topics that are regularly offered include bilingualism, historical linguistics, and morphology, though this short list is meant to be merely illustrative and students are by no means confined to it.

(b) By the end of their junior year, they must have taken an additional course that does not have the LIN designation but will further their linguistic knowledge and goals, especially for the purposes of producing an excellent senior thesis. Possible course topics include advanced language and literature, computer programming, linguistic anthropology, logic, philosophy of language, psycholinguistics, and statistics. This list is not meant to be exhaustive. Students will make their choice — and have it approved by their advisers and the Undergraduate Faculty Representative — no later than the add/drop deadline in the fall of their junior year.

(iv) Independent Work
They must identify in advance two faculty members to serve as advisers, each of whom will normally supervise some portion of the independent work. At least one adviser must be a member of the regular, permanent faculty, and at least one adviser must be a member of the core Linguistics faculty. They must complete both fall and spring junior papers on linguistic topics; each is due on the respective University deadline for junior independent work. They must also complete an appropriate senior thesis, which is due on April 15th of their senior year (or, if the 15th falls on a weekend, on the Monday thereafter).

(v) Comprehensive Examination
In lieu of a separate examination, students must complete an oral defense of their senior thesis. The defense is conducted by the student’s senior thesis adviser and another faculty member.

General requirements: Independent Concentrators in Linguistics must fulfill all the other requirements detailed on the ODOC website: the University writing, foreign language, and distribution requirements.

Undergraduate Faculty Representative: Unlike other Independent Concentrations, a member of the Linguistics faculty, rather than one of the Residential College Deans, will act as “Departmental Representative.” This designated faculty member is called the Undergraduate Faculty Representative. The UFR will help first-semester sophomores (and freshmen) navigate the application process for an Independent Concentration and will meet with Independent Concentrators at least once per semester, starting in the second semester of their sophomore year, to discuss course selection, progress toward degree, and post-graduation aspirations.

Meet the Concentrators

See a list of our Linguistics Concentrators.




Linguistics provides research grants to Linguistics Certificate and Independent Concentration students who conduct research or scholarly travel related to language and linguistics. Interested students are invited to submit application materials via the Student Activities Funding Engine (SAFE). The application should provide a clear description of the student’s anticipated project, as well as an outline of expenses that will be incurred.  Applications are received and reviewed on a rolling basis.

Senior Thesis Funding

The Program also offers funding to its Certificate and Independent Concentration students who conduct senior thesis research concerning language and linguistics. Interested students are invited to submit application materials via SAFE. The application should provide a clear description of the student’s anticipated project, as well as an outline of expenses that will be incurred. Applications are received and reviewed during the academic year, in early October (for students conducting research during the fall and/or winter break) and from January – March (for students conducting research over spring break and/or the upcoming summer months).


September 30, 2018 for Fall/Winter Recess 2018
March 8, 2019 for Spring Break 2019
April 15, 2019 for Summer 2019

Senior Thesis Prize

The Senior Thesis Prize in Linguistics recognizes the best senior thesis written and defended by a Linguistics Independent Concentrator.  In 2017 we awarded the prize to co-winners Dora Demszky for “StaTIC: A Dataset of Question-Driven Inference Chains” and Yiwei Luo for “The Instrument Subject Construction: A Corpus-Driven Account”.

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