major photo

Have you ever wondered how the brain recognizes and processes language? Or how computers could be programmed to 'listen' and 'speak' or even 'sign'? Or wondered why people in the rural south sound so different from people in the urban northeast? Have you ever wished that the endangered languages of the world could be saved? Or wondered why cuss words are considered taboo? Or why humans developed language in the first place?

If so, then you should be studying linguistics.

Linguistics is the scientific and humanistic study of languages. Linguists analyze very specific aspects of language to determine why languages are structured the way they are-syntactically, phonetically, biologically and culturally.

Declare This Major

Undergraduates currently enrolled at UT who wish to declare a linguistics major must first meet with the linguistics undergraduate coordinator. There is no formal application process. For more information, visit the student affairs page on how to declare a major.

Prospective University of Texas at Austin students should visit to learn about the application process and how to declare a major.

Required Courses

Visit the Linguistics degree plan to see all required courses for the Linguistics major in the College of Liberal Arts. For additional information, view Linguistics' major requirements and course descriptions.


Students that like problem solving will enjoy the inherent puzzle-like nature of reconstructing dead languages. Students that enjoy creative endeavors will be thrilled to learn how a finite set of words and rules can beget the infinite array of ideas, expressions and word play. Students that spend most of their free time socializing, will learn to appreciate the dialectal differences in their friends' speech as well as the different registers friends use when speaking to a professor compared to chatting online. The only thing necessary to excel in linguistics is that you must find communication interesting as biological, social, historical, and/or philosophical phenomenon.


The study of linguistics can prepare students to teach a foreign language, become a speech therapist, work in the field of computer science and artificial intelligence, or work with native peoples or with immigrant groups. As with all liberal arts degrees, the analytical skills used in the study of linguistics will prepare students to problem solve and to think critically in a wide range of career choices. For those students interested in graduate school, the linguistics program here at the University of Texas offers a variety of research opportunities. Working closely with professors and graduate students will give students the experience they need to prepare for graduate programs.

A small sample of directly related careers

Travel Agent
Foreign Service Officer
Museum Curator
Community Service Manager
Cultural Anthropologist
Human Resources Manager
Nonprofit Manager

Remember: Your major does not (necessarily) equal your career. View a list of career ideas for any major.