List of All U.S. Colleges With a Linguistics Major (2022)

“Linguist,” like many English words, originates from the Latin lingua, for language. This root splintered into the English vocabulary in the late 16th century, but not before also appearing in the Spanish lengua and Catalan llengua, for tongue.

Linguistics explores stories like these, and this wide-spanning social science pushes its students even further.

In short, linguistics is the study of languages, how they function, and how humans have learned to communicate with them.

In long, linguistics is multifaceted and broad in scope, covering everything from Mandarin to ASL to Python. Linguists break down language acquisition, phonetics, phonology, syntactic theory, history, and more. This field is one of niches and subdisciplines.

Computational linguists build analytical models outlining the structure of natural language to answer linguistic questions. They stay as objective and scientific as possible, but with language’s heavily psychological and historical backing, some things get lost in translation. For example, the true origin of the word “walrus” in Dutch vs. Old Norse is hotly contested.

Such unanswered questions push some linguistics students to conduct field research, often concerning fast-disappearing languages in faraway countries.

Interested in this major? Here, we’ll break down which colleges offer linguistics programs and what to look for in a school.

Overview of the Linguistics Major

Course requirements will vary depending on the college, but linguistics majors will likely cover many of these key subjects:

  • Computational Linguistics
  • Cultural Anthropology
  • Foreign Language
  • Historical Linguistics
  • Introductory Psychology
  • Phonetics, Phonology
  • Semantics
  • Syntax, Morphology

Many assume that linguists must either be current polyglots or aspiring ones, but in truth, you don’t have to know a ton of languages to be successful in this major.

Instead, strong linguistics students are typically curious about history, psychology, and computer science. They like to explain big concepts using diagrams and maps, and they’re genuinely curious about languages, especially their own. They like puns, Scrabble, and speaking with those from different countries.

Successful students in this major are strong verbal and written communicators. They’re often at least somewhat scientifically-minded and skilled in research and analysis.

The linguistics degree opens up a wide array of jobs, many of them in education and academia. Graduates commonly become teachers, professors, librarians, and researchers. Those with a particular interest in speech and sound become speech therapists, speech language pathologists, and audiologists.

There’s some overlap between the potential jobs for linguistics, English, and communications majors; technical writing, copywriting, editing, marketing, and public relations are popular paths for linguistics majors with a communications bent.

Perhaps surprisingly, linguists make great consultants and forensic linguistics within the criminal justice system. A few even work for the FBI!

The likelihood of graduate school wholly depends on your career interests; a linguistics bachelor’s neither inherently pulls you towards graduate school nor guarantees that you’ll get where you want to go without it.

What to Look for in a College as a Linguistics Major

Study Abroad Opportunities

While bilingualism isn’t mandatory for this major, immersing yourself in a new language will only enhance your understanding of diverse languages and the links between them. If you feel that studying abroad will enhance your learning experience, look into your potential colleges’ offerings in this area and see if they allow you to travel to the countries which interest you. UCLA, for example, is part of the UC Education Abroad Program, which offers programs in 42 countries.

Field Research Opportunities

For those planning on grad school, research is a fantastic way to expand one’s knowledge and resume. Linguistics research often involves using auditory and digital equipment to record sound and written records. The University of Chicago’s Sapir Scholars Program creates a symbiotic relationship between graduate students and undergrads; linguistics majors are paired with graduate students to work as assistants for them on their independent research projects in exchange for a small stipend.

Student Organizations

Clubs and professional fraternities are fantastic places to mingle and network with like-minded individuals. This is especially important if you’re seeking to make connections within a large university or one in which linguistics is an uncommon major. Schools like UCLA work hard to keep their students in the humanities engaged; their Bruin Linguists Society hosts quarterly events providing their linguistics majors with academic, social, and career support.

List of All U.S. Colleges With a Linguistics Major

School Name

City

State

University of California, Riverside | UC Riverside

Riverside

California

University of California, Irvine | UC Irvine

Irvine

California

Pomona College

Claremont

California

Harvey Mudd College | HMC

Claremont

California

Pitzer College

Claremont

California

Lawrence University

Appleton

Wisconsin

Youngstown State University

Youngstown

Ohio

University of Connecticut | UConn

Storrs

Connecticut

Montclair State University | MSU

Montclair

New Jersey

University of California, San Diego | UCSD

La Jolla

California

Northwestern University

Evanston

Illinois

Scripps College

Claremont

California

University of Alaska Fairbanks | UAF

Fairbanks

Alaska

University of Kentucky

Lexington

Kentucky

University of California, Santa Cruz | UCSC

Santa Cruz

California

California State University, Northridge | CSUN

Northridge

California

University of North Texas | UNT

Denton

Texas

Indiana University Bloomington | Indiana

Bloomington

Indiana

University of California, Santa Barbara | UCSB

Santa Barbara

California

University of Vermont | UVM

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Burlington

Vermont

Brigham Young University | BYU

Provo

Utah

University of Kansas

Lawrence

Kansas

Brandeis University

Waltham

Massachusetts

University of Chicago

Chicago

Illinois

Earlham College

Richmond

Indiana

Purdue University

West Lafayette

Indiana

Ohio University

Athens

Ohio

University of Michigan

Ann Arbor

Michigan

Eastern Michigan University | EMU

Ypsilanti

Michigan

Rutgers UniversityNew Brunswick | Rutgers

New Brunswick

New Jersey

Union University

Jackson

Tennessee

Brooklyn College

Brooklyn

New York

University of Houston

Houston

Texas

Rice University

Houston

Texas

University of Georgia

Athens

Georgia

University of Nevada, Las Vegas | UNLV

Las Vegas

Nevada

University of Mississippi | Ole Miss

University

Mississippi

Truman State University | TSU

Kirksville

Missouri

California State University, Fullerton | CSU Fullerton

Fullerton

California

Macalester College

Saint Paul

Minnesota

Stanford University

Stanford

California

The State University of New York at Stony Brook | SUNY Stony Brook

Stony Brook

New York

San Diego State University | SDSU

San Diego

California

Southern Illinois University Carbondale | SIU

Carbondale

Illinois

Boston College | BC

Chestnut Hill

Massachusetts

Harvard University

Cambridge

Massachusetts

Northeastern University

Boston

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Massachusetts

Boston University | BU

Boston

Massachusetts

Massachusetts Institute of Technology | MIT

Cambridge

Massachusetts

Calvin College

Grand Rapids

Michigan

Ohio State University | OSU

Columbus

Ohio

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities | Minnesota

Minneapolis

Minnesota

Haverford College

Haverford

Pennsylvania

St. Joseph’s University | SJU

Philadelphia

Pennsylvania

Bryn Mawr College

Bryn Mawr

Pennsylvania

Swarthmore College

Swarthmore

Pennsylvania

Princeton University

Princeton

New Jersey

University of Wisconsin-Madison | Wisconsin

Madison

Wisconsin

Cornell University

Ithaca

New York

University of New Hampshire | UNH

Durham

New Hampshire

Dartmouth College

Hanover

New Hampshire

University of Rochester

Rochester

New York

University of Missouri | Mizzou

Columbia

Missouri

Bucknell University

Lewisburg

Pennsylvania

California State University, Long Beach | Long Beach State

Long Beach

California

Florida Atlantic University | FAU

Boca Raton

Florida

California State University, Fresno | CSU Fresno

Fresno

California

University of Oregon

Eugene

Oregon

University of California, Davis | UC Davis

Davis

California

University of Arizona

Tucson

Arizona

The State University of New York at Albany | SUNY Albany

Albany

New York

Michigan State University

East Lansing

Michigan

Hofstra University

Hempstead

New York

Iowa State University

Ames

Iowa

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Miami University

Oxford

Ohio

University of Texas at Austin | UT Austin

Austin

Texas

University of California, Berkeley | UC Berkeley

Berkeley

California

Washington State University | WSU

Pullman

Washington

Carleton College

Northfield

Minnesota

University of New Mexico | UNM

Albuquerque

New Mexico

Tulane University

New Orleans

Louisiana

Reed College

Portland

Oregon

Portland State University | PSU

Portland

Oregon

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee | UWM

Milwaukee

Wisconsin

University of Massachusetts Amherst | UMass Amherst

Amherst

Massachusetts

University of Pittsburgh | Pitt

Pittsburgh

Pennsylvania

Carnegie Mellon University | CMU

Pittsburgh

Pennsylvania

San Jose State University | SJSU

San Jose

California

University of Oklahoma

Norman

Oklahoma

Emory University

Atlanta

Georgia

Georgia State University

Atlanta

Georgia

Brown University

Providence

Rhode Island

Western Washington University | WWU

Bellingham

Washington

University of Florida

Gainesville

Florida

University of Iowa

Iowa City

Iowa

Syracuse University

Syracuse

New York

Washington University in St. Louis | WashU

Saint Louis

Missouri

Wayne State University | WSU

Detroit

Michigan

University of California, Los Angeles | UCLA

Los Angeles

California

University of Colorado Boulder | CU Boulder

Boulder

Colorado

University of Delaware

Newark

Delaware

University of Maryland, College Park | Maryland

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College Park

Maryland

Baylor University

Waco

Texas

Oakland University

Rochester Hills

Michigan

University of Minnesota Duluth | UMD

Duluth

Minnesota

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign | UIUC

Champaign

Illinois

Cleveland State University | CSU

Cleveland

Ohio

University of Texas at El Paso | UTEP

El Paso

Texas

University of Texas at Arlington | UT Arlington

Arlington

Texas

University of Utah

Salt Lake City

Utah

University of Toledo

Toledo

Ohio

The State University of New York at Binghamton | SUNY Binghamton

Vestal

New York

Duke University

Durham

North Carolina

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | UNC

Chapel Hill

North Carolina

University of Pennsylvania | UPenn

Philadelphia

Pennsylvania

Temple University

Philadelphia

Pennsylvania

University of Southern California | USC

Los Angeles

California

New York University | NYU

New York

New York

Barnard College

New York

New York

Columbia University

New York

New York

City College of New York | CCNY

New York

New York

University of Washington

Seattle

Washington

Seattle Pacific University | SPU

Seattle

Washington

Yale University

New Haven

Connecticut

Georgetown University

Washington DC

Washington DC

Gallaudet University

Washington DC

Washington DC

Notice a school that’s missing? Email us and let us know!

What Are Your Chances of Acceptance?

No matter your major, you must be academically comparable to previous years’ admits to be a competitive college applicant. Most selective schools use the Academic Index, a complex tool based on your grades, test scores, and class rankings, to evaluate academic aptitude and filter out students who don’t meet their standards.

The qualitative aspects of your application, like your essays and extracurriculars, are your place to show who you are and demonstrate fit with your chosen schools and major.

Linguistics is a bit of a niche field, but you can still pursue your passion for it in high school with enough creativity. Join a foreign language club, self-teach, or take a foreign language class.

Model UN, Mock Trial, and Speech and Debate all develop close analysis, critical thinking, and clear communication skills that will be invaluable in your undergraduate career. Some areas offer Linguistics Olympiads, so do some digging to see if it’s available in yours!

On your own, you can start a linguistics club or take a linguistics class at your local community college. You can always read linguistic books or self-teach linguistic skills in your own time.

Science fair projects, computer science, history presentations, and English research papers can all take on a linguistics-like quality if you choose to tailor it that way. For example, a student asked to research a societal problem could delve into the rapid unique language loss occurring since the 1950’s and its role as a product of cultural, political, and economic marginalization.

If you’re struggling to figure out where you match up to other college applicants, we recommend using our free Chancing Engine. Unlike other solely stats-based chancing calculators, ours looks at your profile holistically, including both your quantitative stats and qualitative extracurriculars.

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FAQs

What majors go well with linguistics? ›

The field of linguistics is extremely diverse, intersecting with many areas such as anthropology, computer science, engineering, foreign language study, neurology, philosophy, psychology, sociology, and speech & hearing science, among others.

What university is known for linguistics? ›

The top ranked schools for Linguistics majors include Georgetown University, the University of Chicago and Binghamton University with 22 students graduating with a degree in Linguistics at Georgetown University. Learn more about college options in the table below.

How common is a linguistics major? ›

In 2019-2020, foreign languages and linguistics was the 24th most popular major nationwide with 34,268 degrees awarded.

Is a linguistics degree useful? ›

Linguistics graduates also go into jobs where they can use their knowledge of linguistics directly, such as working for dictionary compilers or as proofreaders and editors. Others train as speech and language therapists or as teachers, or find work teaching English as a foreign or second language.

Which Ivy League is best for linguistics? ›

As the only Ivy League school in the top five, Harvard University offers another superior program for students studying linguistics. Harvard has one of the oldest linguistics programs in the U.S., along with an extensive collection of materials at the University Library.

Do linguists make good money? ›

The average salary for a linguist is $39,695 per year in the United States. 330 salaries reported, updated at July 20, 2022.

What should I double major with linguistics? ›

A double major with Linguistics complements a wide variety of fields, including Anthropology, Communication and Media, Communication Disorders, Computer Science, English, Foreign Languages, International Relations, Philosophy, Psychology, Political Science, and other disciplines.

Are linguistics in demand? ›

In recent years, the demand for people with such backgrounds has exploded, and linguists are in high demand.

What is a linguistics major? ›

What Is a Linguistics Major? Linguistics is a scientific subject, which means linguistics majors ask questions and test hypotheses about language. Students may focus on the role of language in society or how children and adults learn language differently.

What is the base of linguistic study? ›

Phonology and phonetics — the study of the sound systems of languages — deals with the basic utterances in speech. It can be investigated by observing which physical properties of the vocal tract (including the lips and tongue) are used to form distinct linguistic sounds to convey information.

Is Forensic linguistics real? ›

A forensic linguist performs language analysis on written or recorded documents to help solve crimes. A forensic linguist studies dialect, grammar, sentence construction, phonetics and other linguistic areas to determine authenticity and ensure correct interpretation. A forensic linguists may analyze: Contracts.

Is linguistics a BA or BS? ›

If you study linguistics at undergraduate level, you will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or, in some cases, a Bachelor of Science (BSc).

What percentage of linguists are female? ›

Cryptologic Linguists By Gender
GenderPercentages
Male71.6%
Female28.4%
Apr 18, 2022

What does a linguist do in the FBI? ›

FBI linguists are experts in specific languages as well as holding expertise regarding the cultures in which those languages are spoken. These federal agents assist in solving federal crimes through the application of their foreign language skills.

What is the coolest Ivy League school? ›

Harvard was the clear winner in our rankings, taking the top spot in half of our categories — Affordability, Campus, and Job Prospects — and never placing out of the top three. Boston is a great city to attend college, and Harvard's historic and picturesque campus makes it all the better.

Does Yale have a good linguistics program? ›

In 2020, 58 students received their master's degree in foreign languages and linguistics from Yale. This makes it the #5 most popular school for foreign languages and linguistics master's degree candidates in the country.

What is the number 1 Ivy League? ›

A world-renowned research university, Princeton is No. 1 in our National Universities ranking.

How much do FBI contract linguists make? ›

FBI — Contract Linguist Positions ($27 - $41 Per Hour)

What job can linguistics get you? ›

Here are 10 jobs you can get with a degree in linguistics:
  • Linguist.
  • Copy editor.
  • Translator.
  • Foreign language teacher.
  • Technical writer.
  • Copywriter.
  • Language specialist.
  • Professor.
Apr 5, 2021

Do linguists speak many languages? ›

While some linguists can speak five languages fluently, many others can't, and some highly-respected linguists speak only a single language with any fluency.

What minors go well with linguistics? ›

Which minors are good to combine with a LIN major? This depends on your interests and focus. Most common are: a language minor (e.g. Chinese, Spanish), Teaching English as a Second Language, African Studies, Communication Disorders, Psychology, Education, Business, and Computer Science.

Is Linguistics a good major for law school? ›

Linguistics

Linguistics is an excellent major for lawyers, as it gives them an excellent base for understanding how language itself operates — a fundamental piece of deconstructing or interpreting laws. Much like Classics Majors, they are also annoying at parties.

What is master in linguistics? ›

A Master in Linguistics is about the routine study of language as a structure as well as the many sub-fields of Linguistics that overlap with other sciences, such as Semiotics, Psychology, Sociology, Forensics, and many others which makes the subject much more exciting and appealing.

Who is the most famous linguist? ›

1. Noam Chomsky (1928 - ) With an HPI of 77.50, Noam Chomsky is the most famous Linguist. His biography has been translated into 134 different languages on wikipedia.

How do linguists make money? ›

How to Make Money With Your Language Skills
  1. Become a tutor. ...
  2. Work as a freelance translator. ...
  3. Grade/score standardized language examinations. ...
  4. Do some freelance writing. ...
  5. Create language videos on YouTube. ...
  6. Sell your (original) content. ...
  7. Create a language app or game. ...
  8. Teach at a museum, library, or community college.
Oct 11, 2016

How many linguists are there in the US? ›

The number of Language & Linguistics graduates in the workforce has been growing at a rate of 2.14%, from 486,746 in 2018 to 497,149 in 2019.

Is linguistics a hard course? ›

Linguistics is as hard as you make it out to be or as easy as the person teaching you makes it for you. Linguistics is not a micky mouse subject. There are numerous textbooks on it and kt's not as simple as learning grammar.

Which foreign language is most demanded? ›

Mandarin

After English, it's the most demanded foreign language thanks to its 1 billion speakers.

Is linguistics a competitive course? ›

The Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics is competitive. Knowing the prerequisites will enable you have seamless registration and also avoid unnecessary mistakes.

What are the three main branches of linguistics? ›

Syntax - the study of the formation of sentences. Semantics - the study of meaning. Pragmatics - the study of language use.

Who has linguistic intelligence? ›

What Is Linguistic Intelligence? Maya Angelou, William Shakespeare, and Oprah Winfrey are famous people who have high linguistic intelligence. In other words, they have a deep understanding and appreciation of the rules and functions of language. People with linguistic intelligence are skilled writers and speakers.

Do you need a PHD to be a forensic linguist? ›

Graduate students entering programs in forensic linguistics could hold an undergraduate degree in foreign languages, computer science, English, communications or philosophy. Pursuing a doctoral degree, which is generally required if you want to work as an expert witness, can mean as much as 10 years of schooling.

How is linguistics being used in courts? ›

The linguistic tools of semantics, discourse analysis, pragmatics and speech acts can help identify such lack of clarity in the courtroom. Lawyers handling trademark cases have been turning more and more to linguists to help them with disputes about whether a trade name can be protected.

What is a linguistic detective? ›

“it is a science where linguistic techniques are applied to legal processes to solve cases and provide new angles on evidence. The examination of texts for all types of authorship, authenticity, interpretation of meaning, disputed language and other forensic processes.”

How long does a PhD in linguistics take? ›

The PhD program in Linguistics consists of three stages, which correspond to the three Graduate College doctoral degree stages (see chapter 6 in the Graduate College Handbook ). The entire PhD program in Linguistics is intended to take 5 or 6 years: 2 years for Stage 1, and 3 or 4 years for Stages 2 and 3.

Does linguistics involve math? ›

Mathematical linguistics is a field of scientific linguistic inquiry applying mathematical methods and concepts to linguistic systems, to phenomena observed in natural languages, or to the metatheory of models of grammars.

What can I do with a masters in linguistics? ›

With additional knowledge and training, linguistics graduates and professionals can also find success in other potential careers, such as follows:
  • Translator or Interpreter. ...
  • Copywriter. ...
  • Editor. ...
  • Speech or Language Therapist. ...
  • English As a Foreign or Second Language Teacher.
Dec 10, 2020

Does Yale have a good linguistics program? ›

In 2020, 58 students received their master's degree in foreign languages and linguistics from Yale. This makes it the #5 most popular school for foreign languages and linguistics master's degree candidates in the country.

Where can I study linguistics in Canada? ›

Institution Any
  • Brock University.
  • Memorial University of Newfoundland.
  • University of Alberta.
  • University of Ottawa.
  • Carleton University.
  • University of British Columbia.
  • University of Calgary.
  • Concordia University.

Is UCL good for linguistics? ›

Linguistics at UCL

UCL Linguistics is a cutting-edge department ranked 5th in Europe the 2021 QS Ranking.

Is UMass Amherst good for linguistics? ›

For the fourth year in a row, the UMass Amherst Department of Linguistics has earned a top spot in the QS World University Rankings. The linguistics department is ranked second in the world, with MIT holding the top spot, and the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford tied for third.

Why is linguistics worth studying? ›

Linguistics helps us understand our world

Apart from simply understanding the intricacies of world languages, this knowledge can be applied to improving communication between people, contributing to translation activities, assisting in literacy efforts, and treating speech disorders.

What are the 3 purposes of linguistics? ›

The informative, expressive, and directive purposes of language.

What is it like to study linguistics? ›

Linguistics is a major that gives you insight into one of the most intriguing aspects of human knowledge and behavior. Majoring in linguistics means that you will learn about many aspects of human language, including sounds (phonetics, phonology), words (morphology), sentences (syntax), and meaning (semantics).

How long does it take to study linguistics in Canada? ›

Program
ProgramExpected Length
M.A.2 years

What is the base of linguistic study? ›

Phonology and phonetics — the study of the sound systems of languages — deals with the basic utterances in speech. It can be investigated by observing which physical properties of the vocal tract (including the lips and tongue) are used to form distinct linguistic sounds to convey information.

What is a Masters in Applied Linguistics? ›

A masters degree in applied linguistics is an arts masters degree program that entails theory and research of linguistics. The program is wide and also encompasses the practical problems and solutions offered by use of linguistics in the society.

What is social linguistic? ›

sociolinguistics, the study of the sociological aspects of language. The discipline concerns itself with the part language plays in maintaining the social roles in a community.

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