Introduction to the Major
Our undergraduate curriculum introduces students to the systematic study of language structure, how people acquire language and use it in social contexts, how language varies and how it changes over time. Although Linguistics is not the same as the study of many languages, our coursework exposes students data from many languages and offers students many opportunities to make use of their knowledge of a variety of languages.
After a few required foundational courses, students may tailor their programs of study according to their interests, choosing from courses in the areas of formal linguistic theory, language acquisition, language variation, and historical Indo-European linguistics. In all, majors will take a total of 8 upper-level Linguistics courses to earn their degree.
Our program is interdisciplinary in nature; in addition to the core faculty who are housed in the Department of Linguistics, we also have a large number of faculty housed in other departments who are specialists in linguistics. Many of our courses are cross-listed with other departments and will also earn you credit in areas such as English, Spanish, French, German, Russian/Slavic, Comparative Literature, Communication Sciences and Disorders, or Language and Literacy Education, making it easy to combine Linguistics with another major.
Declaring a Major or Minor in Linguistics
Students can declare a major or minor in Linguistics in Athena.
Majoring in linguistics gives students valuable intellectual skills such as analytical reasoning, critical thinking, argumentation, and clarity of expression. More specifically, this means that students will have gained the ability to make insightful observations, formulate testable hypotheses, generate predictions, make arguments, draw conclusions, and communicate findings to a wider audience, skills which can be used in a wide variety of professions. Many businesses are welcoming to linguists, such as advertising, journalism, and especially the tech industry, where linguists can work in speech recognition and analysis, natural language processing, or artificial intelligence. Governmental organizations like the Foreign Service, the FBI, the NSA, or the CIA, are eager employers of those with skills in languages and linguistics.
The Linguistic Society of America also offers valuable information on professional opportunities for linguists.
Linguistics majors are also well-equipped for a variety of graduate-level and professional programs; e.g., in Linguistics or Applied Linguistics and TESOL; in related fields such as Cognitive Science, Artificial Intelligence, or Communication Sciences and Disorders; or in law school or other programs. Many of our students gain admission to graduate programs at UGA and at other prestigious universities across the country. Links to some popular UGA programs are given below: