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Richard P. Meier, Chair CLA 4.304, Mailcode B5100, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-1701

Frequently asked questions about the Major in Linguistics


What is the career potential for a major in linguistics?

An undergraduate major in linguistics provides training that can be extremely helpful in a variety of careers. For example, if combined with mastery of a foreign language, a linguistics B.A. can be of great use to those planning careers in translating or in the teaching of foreign languages.

Likewise, the linguistics major at UT provides a strong foundation for those students who intend to seek a master's degree in other language-related fields, such as speech pathology, deaf education, audiology, or the teaching of English as a second language.

Finally, a linguistics major, if combined with training in computer science, can be useful to those pursuing careers in the computer industry, which is grappling with many technical problems related to natural language processing, such as automatic speech recognition, speech synthesis, and machine translation.

Highly-motivated students in linguistics may choose to enter graduate programs in linguistics. In recent years, the doctoral students from our own department have been following two career paths: they have either gone on to teaching positions in universities or they have elected to pursue careers in the computer industry.


Are the courses required for the major offered every Fall and Spring Semester?

It depends on the course, so students are advised to plan carefully the timing and sequence of these courses. Note that both 345 and 372K are offered in both Fall and Spring and have 344K as prerequisite.

        LIN 306:        Both Fall and Spring
LIN 344K: Both Fall and Spring
LIN 345: Spring semester ONLY
LIN 372K: Both Fall and Spring
LIN 372L: Both Fall and Spring

What linguistics courses are generally offered over the summer?

LIN 306: Introduction to the Study of Language. Linguistic majors may wish to use the summer term to take courses in a minor area or a foreign language.


How long does it take to complete a linguistics major?

Typically four semesters. Let's suppose you decide to be a linguistics major at the beginning of your junior year and that, up until that point, you have taken no linguistics courses. An optimal plan for completing the required linguistics courses is as follows:

  • Junior Year
    • Fall: LIN 306
    • Spring: LIN 344K
  • Senior Year
    • Fall: LIN 372L
      (and 344K, if you have not yet taken it),
      plus an additional upper-division Linguistics course
    • Spring: LIN 345 (Prerequisite LIN 344K) and
      LIN 372K (Prerequisite LIN 344K),
      plus an additional upper-division Linguistics course


Can my minor be a foreign language?

The Linguistics degree plan does allow you to choose a foreign language as your minor. In place of the 12 hours of minor subject, 6 of which must be upper-division, you can fulfill the minor requirement by taking 506, 507, 312K, and 312L (or their equivalents) of the foreign language in which you wish to minor.

It is also possible to have the foreign language you took for your foreign language requirement count toward your minor. In this situation, the 506 and 507 of the foreign language will also be applied to the first six hours of the minor requirement; you must then also take 2 upper-division courses in the foreign language to complete the minor requirement.

Students who plan to do graduate work in linguistics are encouraged to enrich their knowledge of language structures by studying a language which is different from the more commonly taught European languages (e.g. Germanic, Romance, and Slavic languages).

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