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Studying language scientifically

Linguistics is by its very nature interdisciplinary having significant ties to and impact on fields like psychology, philosophy, education, language teaching, sociology, anthropology, computer science, and more. Students in linguistics develop strong observational, analytical and critical thinking skills; they gain valuable experience drafting hypotheses and analyzing data; and they understand how language functions as a communication system AND a social institution, all of which can enhance their employability, expand career options, and set them up for success in graduate studies.

Linguistics emphasis mission statement

The mission of the English linguistics program is to equip students to study the English language from a scientific perspective through the analysis of the structure of language and from a humanistic perspective through the critical study of literature.


Linguistics emphasis learning outcomes

  • Analyze one or more of the following areas of linguistic structure of the English language:
        - Sounds (phonology)
        - Words (morphology)
        - Sentences (syntax)
        - Meanings (semantics)
  • Collect, organize, and analyze linguistic data to form and test hypotheses.
  • Describe how the English language has changed over time.

I learned so much about critical thinking and the world around me through my courses, that I can say I have profoundly improved as a person.

Nate Woznicki, English Linguistics, '16

Popular major/minor pairings for linguistics:

  • Teaching English as a Foreign Language
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology
  • German
  • Spanish
  • Japanese
  • Library Science
  • History

Career paths of our linguistics graduates

  • Language teacher
  • English as a second/foreign language teacher
  • Market researcher
  • Marketing director
  • Librarian
  • Graduate student in linguistics, international education, humanities, law
  • Real estate agent
  • Program coordinator
  • For more ideas, follow this link on linguistics opportunities.
Quizing English students

Interdisciplinary Linguistics minor & certificate available

If you are interested in linguistics consider the Interdisciplinary Linguistics minor (24 credits) or certificate (12 credits) which are intended to enhance students' abilities to reason about language by providing opportunities to analyze the sounds, words, sentences and/or meanings of natural language; to describe variation and change in natural language; and to form and test hypotheses about language by collecting, organizing, and analyzing linguistic data. 

See the advising link below for more detail. 

  • Prepare a what-if degree audit with your desired major and minor. (If you need help generating a what-if degree audit, please contact the LTS Help Desk, tel. 715-836-5711).
  • Get an advising packet for your proposed English major/minor and mark off courses that you have already taken. If you have completed three or more semesters, sketch out your remaining semesters on the degree plan (the last page of the advising packet). Advising packets are available from the kiosk outside the English Department Office, on the 4th floor of Centennial Hall. They are also available on the English Department website on the page regarding the particular emphasis.
  • If you are an ARCC student with an ARCC advisor, meet with that advisor. Bring a copy (either paper or electronic) of your what-if degree audit and your marked up advising guide.
  • If you are a student with a traditional department advisor, meet with the English Department's Director of Undergraduate Studies (during office hours or by appointment) and bring a copy (either paper or electronic) of your what-if degree audit and your marked up advising guide.

Please contact Alaina Guns ( or Joanne Erickson ( or stop in the English Department office (Centennial Hall 4102) to make an appointment with the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

LE Advising guides
GE Advising guides

See the online course catalog for specifics and course descriptions for the major, interdisciplinary minor, and interdisciplinary certificate in linguistics.



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