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Independent Concentration

Chinese Linguistics Project brings scholars together

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 (bta@princeton.edu), 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 346/LIN 346 (“Introduction to Formal 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 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.