Linguistics - A.B.

General Information

Degree & Major: Linguistics - A.B.
College Name: Franklin College of Arts and Sciences
Department Name: Linguistics
Dr. Keith Langston
Head and Undergraduate Coordinator, Linguistics Department
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Degree Requirements

College-wide Requirements

University-wide Requirements

Description: Linguistics is the scientific study of language. At the heart of linguistics is the search for the unconscious knowledge that humans have about language and how it is that children acquire that unconscious knowledge. Linguistics also involves an understanding of the structure of language in general and of particular languages, as well as knowledge about how languages vary and how language influences the way in which we interact with each other and think about the world. Linguistics is not the same as the study of many different languages, though exposure to different languages is required in Area VI of the Core requirements for the major, and courses required for the major examine data from a wide variety of languages. All students are required to take foundational courses introducing them to the study of speech sounds and how they are used in language (Phonetics and Phonology) and in the structure of sentences (Syntax). Students then choose other courses from two distributional areas, as well as major electives, which give them exposure to different subfields of linguistics and allow them to focus on their own areas of interest.

Career Opportunities: Studying linguistics will help you acquire valuable intellectual skills, such as analytical reasoning, critical thinking, argumentation, and the ability to express yourself clearly in writing. You'll learn to make observations, formulate clear and testable hypotheses, generate predictions, draw conclusions, and communicate your findings to a broader audience. Depending on the courses you take, you will also learn specific practical skills (e.g., programming or using existing software to analyze, process, or model language; using statistical methods; conducting experiments; interviewing people to collect data). Students with a degree in linguistics are therefore well equipped for a variety of careers and for graduate and professional degree programs. Many of our students go on to graduate programs in linguistics or in related fields, such as cognitive science, neuroscience, psychology, computer science, anthropology, philosophy, communication sciences, education, English, or other languages. The intellectual skills that students acquire also make them well prepared for professional programs in fields such as law. Career opportunities include the following areas:
  • industry (speech recognition, text-to-speech synthesis, artificial intelligence, natural language processing, user research, and computer-mediated language learning)
  • government (the Foreign Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National Security Agency (NSA), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Department of Defense, and the Department of Education all hire linguists; similar opportunities may exist at the state level)
  • education (teaching [including teaching English as a second language], development of instructional materials, educational research)
  • advertising and publishing
  • translating and interpreting
  • linguistic consulting for professions such as medicine or law

of Transfer Students:
Transfer students who have taken Linguistics courses at other universities should contact the Undergraduate Coordinator for evaluation and assignment of the appropriate equivalents in UGA courses.