FAQs about the Linguistics Major

Q: What can you do with a linguistics major?

A: See the Why Major in Linguistics flyer from the Linguistic Society of America as well as their Linguistics as a Profession page. Also see the job listings on at the LinguistList to get an idea of the kind of jobs that are available for people with a linguistics background.

Q: Do I need to take a foreign language?

A: It is not required to take a foreign language for the Linguistics major as long as you fulfill the college language requirement. We do encourage our students to study a less-commonly taught language as an elective towards the major. This language needs to be a non-Romance/non-Germanic language; that is, languages such as Portuguese, Spanish, French, and German do not count. In consultation with the linguistics undergraduate advisor, some exceptions can be made. For instance, Latin can be counted towards the major, even though it can be considered a Romance language. Examples of languages that qualify are: Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Swahili, Vietnamese, Hungarian, Czech, Russian, Hindi, Akan, Wolof, Xhosa, Yoruba (see the offerings from the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures), and American Sign Language (through the Department of Speech, Language, & Hearing Sciences). You need to take at least a two-semester sequence but only a maximum of 6 credits can count towards the major. Language courses cannot be taken S/U. We do not honor proficiency in a language if you do not have the language courses on your transcript. For instance, if you are a native speaker of Chinese, you will not get 6 credits towards the major.

Q: I am taking or have taken LIN 3010. Can I take LIN 2000?

A: No, you cannot take LIN 2000 simultaneously with, or following LIN 3010. This is because LIN 2000 is a lower level introduction to Linguistics than LIN 3010.

Q: How do I sign up for independent study or senior thesis? I cannot find this on ONE.UF.

A: Complete the Request for Individual Study (LIN 4905) or Request for Honors Thesis (LIN 4970), and have your mentor sign it. The description should mention what you will be doing and what you will be graded on. Give the form to the linguistics Undergraduate Coordinator before the end of the drop/add period. We will register you in ONE.UF.

Please see the document on Research Opportunities for more information on how to find a topic or mentor, and on the senior thesis.

Q: Which Gen Ed courses are good for LIN majors?

A: SPA 2109 “Language Breakdown and the Brain” (Bio Gen Ed) and LIN 2704 “Language as a Cognitive System” (Social Sciences Gen Ed). Note that these are 2000-level courses and, hence, do not count towards the LIN major.

Q: Which minors are good to combine with a LIN major?

A: 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.

Q: What are the requirements for transfer students?

A: We currently do not require any specific courses for admission to the UF Linguistics major but courses in the following disciplines are recommended: introduction to linguistics, philosophy of language, logic, psychology of language, language development, experimental psychology, sociology, anthropology, computer science, and non-Western languages (such as Chinese, Japanese, or Arabic).

It is also desirable to satisfy the Gen Ed requirement of the UF College of Liberal Arts & Sciences so that you can transfer these credits and concentrate on the major once you get in. For more information about Gen Ed and other college requirements, consult the CLAS Academic Advising Center.

Linguistics does not have control over undergraduate admissions. Please contact CLAS Academic Advising if you have questions not specifically related to the linguistics department.

Q: Which societies, websites, and forums are good for linguistics students to look into?

A: Check out the Linguistic Society of America (LSA), the Linguist List, and our own Florida Linguistics.com. UF Linguistics also has biweekly seminars that are open to everyone: Thursday Linguistics Seminar. If you are interested in scholarships, be sure to check out the CLAS Scholarships website.

Q: How can I best prepare for admission to a graduate program in Linguistics?

A: In any case, do an independent study (Research Opportunities), and, if you qualify, a senior thesis (see information on the Undergraduate Major webpage). It is also recommended that you take the 4000-level linguistics core classes, such as phonology, morphology, syntax, phonetics, semantics, and formal semantics. If you know what kind of linguistics you wish to specialize in, consult a faculty member in that area to discuss what other courses are good to take. Also, speak with him/her about what the best graduate programs in the field are. This faculty member may be willing to proofread your personal statement, and to write a letter of recommendation if you ask! Also, the Career Resource Center provides helpful information on applying to graduate school.

Q: How do I find M.A./Ph.D programs in Linguistics?

A: See applelinguist.wordpress.com. Also ask faculty members, especially those who work in the fields you are interested in. Once you have found a few programs, contact the faculty you would like to work with to see if they will be accepting new graduate students. Contacting some of the faculty’s students may also give you valuable information.

Q: How do I prepare for a non-academic job?

A: UF’s Career Resource Center may be able to help you out. In addition, consider taking classes or pursuing a minor in a field that you try to find a job in, for instance, business or education.

Q: What are good study abroad programs for a linguistics major?

A: Look for programs that offer linguistics courses. You may be able to transfer some of these towards your UF major. Some programs that offer linguistics are: the University of Mannheim (Germany), Madrid (Spain), Haifa (Israel), and Utrecht (Netherlands), but there are many more. Be careful, though, as some programs may offer linguistics courses in one particular year or semester, but not in another! Before you leave, have the undergraduate coordinator in Linguistics sign a course equivalency form (see next question). For more information, see UF’s International Center.

Q: How do I go about having the study abroad courses approved?

A: Before you leave to go abroad, you need to complete a course equivalency form (available at UF’s International Center), and have it further completed and signed by the undergraduate advisors of the department that offer the equivalent courses at UF. To make it easier for the advisors to see whether the course you take abroad is equivalent to a UF course, please provide the course description and syllabus. An overview of the textbooks used is often helpful, too.