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Purdue's undergraduate program has an enrollment of nearly 100 majors and minors.  While some students chose to major in linguistics, others find the linguistics minor to fit in well with their other studies. Whether you are interested in language teaching, cognitive science, social research, natural language processing, speech pathology, or the technical details of how language works, you will find the Linguistics courses intriguing and helpful.

Linguistics Major Plan of Study

Linguistics Minor Plan of Study

Linguistics studies the properties that characterize human language and its interactions with other cognitive and social systems. In contrast with other disciplines that also deal with language, linguistics uses the scientific method to address the questions around the nature of language in humans.

The linguistics major provides a solid foundation in the core areas used to describe the structure of language (phonetics, phonology, syntax and semantics) and includes requirements that expose the student to the diversity of human languages. Students supplement the core areas by taking courses on other important topics including the structure of particular languages, language acquisition, bilingualism, and sociolinguistics. Students will also explore Less Commonly Taught Languages and tailor their courses to an area of their choice.
The linguistic minor comprises the core areas of linguistics and can thus bolster any major. Students can also fulfill their major or minor requirements by participating in summer-long or semester-long study abroad programs.


  • You will learn about many aspects of human language, including sounds (phonetics, phonology), words (morphology), sentences (syntax), and meaning (semantics). You will also learn how languages are acquired, and the sociolinguistic and psycholinguistic nature of that process.
  • You will look at how languages change over time (historical linguistics), as well as issues related to language contact and bilingualism.
  • You will learn how language varies from situation to situation, group to group, and place to place (sociolinguistics, dialectology).
  • You will learn how people use language in context (pragmatics, discourse analysis).


  • Students have the opportunity to participate in short-term and long-term study abroad courses in Europe, Mexico, Central America, and Latin America - learn more in our study abroad page
  • Students have the opportunity to participate in service learning courses
  • Students regularly participate in professors' research
  • Students are encouraged to publish their research in the Journal of Purdue Undergraduate Research


Our graduates have successfully found careers in:

  • Education
  • Government
  • Law school
  • Linguistic forensics
  • Editing
  • Curriculum Design
  • NGO specialist for linguistic and cultural projects
  • Linguistic consulting for World Development Programs
  • Speech user interface design
  • Linguistic consulting for Native American Institutions
  • Linguistic consultant/specialist for school corporations

For further information, please contact the academic advisor assigned to Linguistics: Ashley Rivera (, or 765-494-3670).

What's Life Like as an Undergrad in Linguistics?: