Frequently asked questions about the Linguistics major and the combined majors with Linguistics:

How do I declare a major or minor in Linguistics?

You simply fill out a petition to change your degree program online; if you meet all of the entry requirements for the major or minor, you will be accepted into that program. We also highly recommend meeting with your Faculty Advisor as you make the change so that all of your questions about the major or minor and course planning can be answered. Complete instructions for changing your major or minor are available here.

When are courses in linguistics offered?

It depends on the course. Courses that are at the core of the degree program are offered regularly, while some of the elective courses are offered less frequently. Be sure to check with the Registrar’s website or the Linguistics faculty advisor on the selection of courses for any specific term.

How do I fulfill the Experiential Education requirement for these majors?

There are currently two ways to fulfill your Experiential Education requirement for the Linguistics major and the Linguistics-combined majors. You may go on Study Abroad for a full fall or spring semester, or you may complete a pre-approved research experience in linguistics.

  • International Study Abroad is an excellent opportunity to experience the fun and the challenges that go with living and studying in a different culture. Living in a different linguistic context gives students many opportunities to practice their language skills, to apply their analytic abilities, and to experience first-hand the types of cross-linguistic miscommunication that we often discuss in our courses. [Please note that while we encourage our students to go on Dialogues of Civilizations, these short-term study aboard experiences are not considered deep enough to fulfill the Experiential Education requirement for students with majors in Linguistics.]
  • Conducting research in the field offers students hands-on independent research experience, and often results in a paper that can be used as the writing sample for graduate school applications. Most typically, students will enroll in a Research Seminar during their junior or senior year; in the seminar, they work closely with a faculty member, either working on a study related to that professor’s research program, or developing their own study with the guidance of the faculty member. Outstanding students who qualify may also decide to develop and conduct a more extensive, year-long research project with a faculty mentor. This not only allows students to engage in the research experience at a deeper level, but it also confers the “Honors in the Discipline” title upon students who successfully complete the requirements for the project.

How do I ask for a letter of recommendation?

There are plenty of on-line resources that give information about how to request a letter of recommendation, including this link to WikiHow’s excellent article on the the subject. To highlight a few of the most important things:

  • Give the professor plenty of advance warning, requesting the letter at least four to six weeks before the letter is due. You may also need to give them a gentle reminder a week or so before the deadline.
  • Give the professor plenty of information about yourself. This helps to jog their memory, and write a more specific letter. This should include a copy of your resume, an unofficial transcript with the courses you took with that professor highlighted, and a copy of your statement of purpose. Keep this information neat and organized. And please keep in mind that as much as professors enjoy getting to know their students as individuals, they are dealing with many, many students each semester!
  • Give the professor an organized list of the schools you are applying to. In addition to the school names, also include the degree program you are applying to, the due date for the letter, and the method for submitting the letter (whether online, in hard copy, etc.). Lastly, it is also very helpful to include a brief description as to why you are applying to the school and program; this will help the faculty member tailor the letter to each school, making the letter that much stronger and more specific.
  • Be sure to waive your rights to view the letter on the application forms. Many Professors require you waive these rights, so they can write a completely candid letter; it also affects how the application committee views the letter—a letter written without the student’s consent waived may be viewed as less open and honest.