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College of Liberal Arts


The Linguistics program introduces the student to linguistics, the scientific understanding of language as the essential human tool with an ambitious goal of gaining insight into the way the mind works. The central core of the program consists of a small number of courses that deal systematically with various levels of linguistic structure — sound, sign, word, sentence and meaning. The desired learning outcomes are critical thinking, problem-solving ability, analytical creativity, excellent communication and professional and personal ethics.

The undergraduate major consists of a total of 33 credits. There are four courses in the core (LING 20100, 31100, 31500 and 32100). Beyond the core, those majoring in Linguistics will take two courses in the linguistics of a specific language, two courses in a less-commonly taught language and a three-course elective component.

Students working for a minor in Linguistics will take one elective course beyond the core. The 50000-level courses that follow are available to undergraduate or graduate students, and they may be substituted for the undergraduate course in a specific area of linguistics.

The Linguistics program encourages students to become directly involved in faculty research, to get hands-on experience in the research process and to take courses from among Purdue's excellent offerings that provide skills, knowledge and experience to distinguish them from the crowd when interviewing for a job. Opportunities with Linguistics faculty exist in the areas of endangered languages, sign-language linguistics, baby's acquisition of language, second-language acquisition in adults, language disorders, neurolinguistics, computational linguistics, sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, English as a second language, second-language writing and language-teaching technology (among others).

Plan of Study for Linguistics