NEW Intercollegiate major in Linguistics & Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences

Linguistics examines fundamental properties that all languages share, and how they differ, with respect to structure (sound system, word formation), syntax, expression of meaning, acquisition, variation, and change. It includes the study of biological, social, cultural, and historical bases of language. Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences is also concerned with language structure, how it is represented in the mind, and how it is used, but focuses more on atypical or disordered populations.

The new interdisciplinary, intercollegiate major in Linguistics & Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences is available to students in SAR pursuing a BS degree and to CAS students pursuing a BA. The major provide a theoretically solid, empirically oriented program of study focused on experimental approaches to language science and interactions between theoretical study of human language and clinical applications. It takes advantage of the faculty strengths and richness of course offerings in related disciplines from CAS/Linguistics and SAR/Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences (SLHS), which have considerable synergies. The joint degree, with a curriculum designed to integrate the two disciplines in a way that provides students with relevant and complementary courses from both domains, is more than just the sum of the two separate components.

The 13-course major offers a solid foundation in both domains, breadth of coverage, and good preparation for a variety of career paths. It prepares students for graduate study in any of a number of related areas (e.g., linguistics, psychology, neurolinguistics, cognitive science) and for graduate/professional work in speech language pathology, audiology, or more generally, for future careers in medicine, neuropsychology, language technology (e.g., speech recognition or speech synthesis), or areas of child development and education. Individual plans of study will be designed, in consultation with faculty advisors, to match students’ interests and professional goals.

Learning Goals

Students graduating with a major in Linguistics & Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences will be able to demonstrate:

  • An understanding of the fundamental questions that drive modern linguistic research concerning formal structure, universals, acquisition, historical change, variation, and social dimensions of use, along with foundational knowledge in the core areas of linguistic theory.
  • Foundational knowledge in the areas that form the basis for research and clinical work in speech, language and hearing sciences.
  • The ability to identify and describe with precision the empirical patterns found in sets of language data, and to construct well-reasoned analyses by formulating, testing, and refining hypotheses about these patterns.
  • The ability to apply their coursework in Linguistics and SLHS either in research or in clinical or other professional experiences, demonstrating integrative reasoning to interpret data in relation to published research, justifying the scope of their analyses, supporting their conclusions, and presenting a coherent summary of the relevant facts and of their reasoning.

Program administration and participating faculty members

The program will be jointly administered by:

  • Carol Neidle, Professor of French and Linguistics and Director of the Linguistics Program (CAS)
  • Sudha Arunachalam, Assistant Professor of Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences and Linguistics (SAR)

The other participating faculty members are listed below.

Linguistics (CAS)

Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences (SAR)

  • Diane Constantino, Clinical Associate Professor of Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences
  • Elizabeth Hoover, Clinical Associate Professor of Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences
  • Karole Howland, Clinical Associate Professor of Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences
  • Barbara Oppenheimer, Clinical Associate Professor of Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences
  • Tyler Perrachione, Assistant Professor of Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences
  • Cara Stepp, Assistant Professor of Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences

Major Requirements

The joint major provides solid grounding in both Linguistics and Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences. Thirteen courses, including at least five in CAS Linguistics and at least five in SAR SLHS, are required:

(A) Two foundation courses:

To be taken before all other CAS LX courses

Introduction to Linguistics

To be taken before all other SAR SH courses

Introduction to Communication Disorders

(B) One course in phonetics -- either of the following:

(C) Two additional core courses in Linguistics

(D) Two additional core courses in Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences

(E) One course in language acquisition -- chosen from the following

(F) Two additional courses in Linguistics

  • chosen from CAS LX courses at or above the 300-level, in consultation with an advisor

(G) One additional course in Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences -- chosen from:

(H) One additional course in Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences -- chosen from:

(I) One additional elective from (E), (F), or (G) above

Declare your major

CAS students can change their major or minor declarations online: http://www.bu.edu/casadvising/major-minor-declaration-form/.
Be sure to list all your majors and minors if you are making any kind of change.

Honors program

Follow this link for details on the Linguistics & Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences Honors Program: http://ling.bu.edu/staging/degrees/honors-lx-slhs.

Printable Brochure

Click here for a printable description of the Linguistics & Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences program: http://www.bu.edu/linguistics/UG/j-m/Linguistics-SLHS.pdf

Career Opportunities

Students completing this program may pursue careers in research, education, medicine, public health, or the law. The major prepares students for graduate study in a number of related areas (linguistics, psychology, neurolinguistics, cognitive science) and for graduate/professional work in speech-language pathology, audiology, or more generally, for future careers in medicine, neuropsychology, language technology (speech recognition or speech synthesis), or areas of child development and education. Students work with advisors in both Sargent at the BU College of Arts & Sciences to design individual programs of study that match each student’s interests and professional goals.

    Note: Employment as a certified speech-language pathologist or audiologist is not possible with only a bachelor’s degree. An advanced degree in speech-language pathology or audiology is required for certification by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) as well as for licensure in most states. Boston University’s Master of Science Program in Speech-Language Pathology is accredited by the Council on Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (CAA) and enables students to fulfill the requirements for professional certification in speech-language pathology, as well as for Massachusetts state licensure and teacher certification.