Career Opportunities

Linguistics is a superb preparation for careers that require expertise in the use of language as a means of communication, e.g., you will be well prepared for jobs in education, communications, speech-language pathology and audiology, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, law, and marketing. Knowledge of linguistics is useful in both foreign language and English language education, in helping those with speech and language impairments, and in advertising.

Undergraduate Admission

Admission to KU

All students applying for admission must send high school and college transcripts to the Office of Admissions. Unless they are college transfer students with at least 24 hours of credit, prospective students must send ACT or SAT scores to the Office of Admissions. Prospective first-year students should be aware that KU has qualified admission requirements that all new first-year students must meet to be admitted. Consult the Office of Admissions for application deadlines and specific admission requirements.

Visit the Office of International Student and Scholar Services for information about international admissions.

Students considering transferring to KU may see how their college-level course work will transfer on the Office of Admissions website.

Admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Admission to the College is a different process from admission to a major field. Some CLAS departments have admission requirements. See individual department/program sections for departmental admission requirements.

First- and Second-Year Preparation

A student who plans to major in linguistics should fulfill the College foreign language requirement by the end of the junior year. LING 106 or LING 107, which is required for the major, provides an introductory survey of the field, and also fulfills a general education social sciences: culture and society (SC) principal course requirement. In addition, LING 110 or LING 111, which is required for the major, fulfills a general education social sciences: individual behavior (SI) principal course requirement. These courses prepare students for upper-division courses in the major. Students considering a major in linguistics should discuss their plans with the director of undergraduate studies.

Admission to the Major

Admission Requirements

Course Requirements

Prospective majors should enroll in the following 2 introductory courses:

Grade-Point Average Requirements

Students must earn a 2.5 grade-point average in the 2 designated admission courses. KU's course repeat policy applies to the GPA calculation.

Application Term

Students should apply to the major during the semester in which major admission criteria will be completed; normally no later than 60 hours, or for transferring students, normally during the initial term at KU.  Application to this major after completion of 60 hours, or the initial KU term for transfer students, will likely delay graduation.


Requirements for the B.A. or B.G.S. Major

Linguistics Language Proficiency

Majors must meet Language Proficiency (4th level proficiency) in a second language. Even those seeking the B.G.S. in Linguistics must complete the 4th level of foreign language proficiency. See the chart of Foreign Languages offered at KU for world languages with KU course offerings through the proficiency level.

Linguistics Major Core Knowledge and Skills (15)
Majors must complete a course in each of the following areas:
Introductory Linguistics. Satisfied by:
LING 106Introductory Linguistics3
or LING 107 Introductory Linguistics, Honors
Language & Mind. Satisfied by:
LING 110Language and Mind3
or LING 111 Language and Mind, Honors
Phonetics I. Satisfied by:
LING 305Phonetics I3
Introduction to Phonology. Satisfied by:
LING 312Introduction to Phonology3
Syntax. Satisfied by:
LING 325Syntax I3
Linguistics Required Courses (3)
Majors must complete a course in each of the following areas:
Acquisition & Processing. Satisfied by one of the following:3
Second Language Acquisition
First Language Acquisition
Neurolinguistics I
Analysis & Description. Satisfied by one of the following:
Linguistic Analysis
Introduction to the Languages of Africa
Field Methods in Linguistic Description
North American Indian Languages
The Structure of Japanese
The Structure of Chinese
The Structure of: _____
Electives (6)
Satisfied by 2 additional courses (6 hours) in linguistics at the junior/senior (300+) level, chosen by the student in consultation with the undergraduate coordinator.6
Capstone Experience (3)
Majors must complete one capstone course:
LING 420Capstone: Research in Language Science3
or LING 421 Capstone: Typology-Unity and Diversity of Human Language

Major Hours & Major GPA

While completing all required courses, majors must also meet each of the following hour and GPA minimum standards:

Major Hours
Satisfied by 30 hours of major courses, or 33 hours required if completing departmental honors course LING 496.

Major Hours in Residence
Satisfied by a minimum of 24 junior/senior (300+) hours of KU resident credit in the major. 

Major Junior/Senior Hours
Satisfied by a minimum of 24 hours from junior/senior courses (300+) in the major.

Major Junior/Senior (300+) Graduation GPA
Satisfied by a minimum of a 2.0 KU GPA in junior/senior courses (300+) in the major. GPA calculations include all junior/senior courses in the field of study including F’s and repeated courses. See the Semester/Cumulative GPA Calculator.

A sample 4-year plan for the BA degree in Linguistics can be found here: Linguistics, or by using the left-side navigation.

A sample 4-year plan for the BGS degree in Linguistics can be found using the left-side navigation.


Departmental Honors

The honors program allows exceptional undergraduate students to work closely with faculty members on a research project. To graduate with honors in linguistics, a student must complete all requirements for the linguistics major and LING 496 Honors Essay in Linguistics (usually taken in the fall semester of the senior year). The student must have a grade-point average of at least 3.5 in linguistics and 3.25 in all courses.

Consult the departmental honors coordinator or the director of undergraduate studies for information. Prospective honors candidates are encouraged to select a thesis topic and thesis director at the end of the junior year.