Linguistics Department

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?

Yes, all major core courses are offered each long semester. 


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.  Other summer offerings vary.


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 (2016-2018 catalog only.  See course requirements page for requirements for other catalogs--link):

  • Junior Year
    • Fall: LIN 306
    • Spring: LIN 344K, a LIN course of your choosing (can be lower-division)
  • Senior Year
    • Fall: LIN 372L, two upper division LIN courses of your choosing
    • Spring: LIN 345, LIN 372K (Prerequisite LIN 344K),
      plus an additional upper-division LIN course


Can my minor be a foreign language?

For catalogs 2014-2016, 2012-2014. 2010-2012, the Linguistics degree plan does allow you to choose a foreign language as your minor.  If you use the same language as you took for your Liberal Arts language requirement, the minor will consist of 12 hours, 6 upper division and 6 in residence.  If you minor in a language other than the one used for the Liberal Arts requirement, you may complete a  minor by doing a second complete lower-division language sequence of at least 12 hours, 6 of them in residence. 

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).