Linguistics / Undergraduate Study

Linguistics BA

Linguistics is the study of languages as a general phenomenon. It aims to help answer broad questions concerning the nature of human cognition and communication. Students will learn about language universals as well as the ways in which languages differ from one another in terms of their sound patterns, syntax, and the way they encode meaning. They will also learn about the linguistic theories explaining and constraining linguistic knowledge, informed in part by experimental investigations of child language acquisition and adult language processing. Successful graduates will receive a cognitive science education with a focus on language; they will develop skills in data analysis, analytic reasoning, and experimental methods.

Learning Outcomes

The Linguistics major has the following learning outcomes:

  • Ability to apply critical thinking skills through linguistic data analysis in phonetics, phonology, syntax, and at least one other subfield
  • Understanding of advanced theoretical concepts and/or analytical techniques in at least one subfield
  • Ability to write technical material in linguistics, including language description and theory-based analysis
  • Ability to access scholarly literature on language structure and use it in research

Preparation for the Major

Required: Linguistics 20; two of the following: Philosophy 31, Psychology 10 (or 100A), one cultural anthropology course; completion of the equivalent of the sixth term of one foreign language and the third term of a second foreign language.

Students who complete an advanced language course are considered to have completed the equivalent of whatever courses are requisite to that one (e.g., if students complete French 100, they have automatically satisfied the requirement of the sixth term of work in one language). Students are required to complete at least the equivalent of the third term in a language other than those in the Romance, Slavic, or Germanic families. This requirement may be satisfied either as part of or in addition to the language requirement described in the preceding paragraph.

Transfer Students

Transfer applicants to the Linguistics major with 90 or more units must complete as many of the following introductory courses as possible prior to admission to UCLA: one introduction to linguistics course, two courses from symbolic logic, introductory psychology or psychological statistics, or cultural anthropology, and two years of one foreign language and one year of a second foreign language (at least one year must be in a language other than those in the Romance, Slavic, or Germanic families).

Refer to the UCLA transfer admission guide for up-to-date information regarding transfer selection for admission.

The Major

Required: Eleven upper-division or graduate courses, including Linguistics 103, 120A, 120B, two courses from 110, 120C, and 130 (or 132), and two courses from 165A, 165B, 165C (students may substitute courses 200A, 200B, and 200C for 165A, 165B, and 165C respectively if they receive grades of A in 120A, 120B, and 120C respectively and have consent of instructor). Courses 165A, 165B, and 165C, or 200A, 200B, and 200C, are recommended for students planning linguistics graduate work. The remaining four courses are electives, three of which must be linguistics courses (no more than one course from 197, 198A, and 199 may be applied toward the major). The other course may be in linguistics or in another field as follows: Classics 180, English 113A, 113B, Philosophy C127A, C127B, 172, Psychology 120A, 124E, 133C, or an upper-division course in a foreign language beyond the sixth term. Nonlinguistics courses not on the list may be used as electives only in consultation with an adviser.

Linguistics 198A and 198B, or 199, are recommended for students planning to pursue graduate work in linguistics, since they provide an opportunity to engage in independent research and to write a paper that can be submitted to graduate admissions committees. To enroll in the courses, students must consult with the department senior essay and honors counselor.