It is also possible to combine a major in linguistics with a major or minor in a particular foreign language; you may also wish to consider one of the joint majors. For further information, please contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

The Linguistics Major in CAS

Learning Goals

Students graduating with a major in Linguistics are expected to attain:

  • 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.
  • The ability to identify and describe with precision the empirical patterns found in sets of language data, and to construct well-reasoned linguistic analyses by formulating, testing, and refining hypotheses about these patterns.
  • Experience in presenting their own research and/or reviewing the literature through written papers and oral presentations.

Linguistics courses satisfy a wide variety of Hub units. For information about how Linguistics courses and degree programs fit in with the brand new BU Hub, see

Major Requirements

The Linguistics major consists of 12 courses: 8 in Linguistics and 4 in foreign languages, as listed below. In addition to the requirements for the major, students must also satisfy general requirements of the College of Arts & Sciences. An advisor can assist you in designing your program of study.

Eight Linguistics courses

Introductory linguistics course

The following course, to be taken before other linguistics courses at the 300-level or higher:

Courses in linguistic theory

The following three courses in linguistic theory are required:

Linguistic analysis of a specific language

One course in the linguistic analysis of a specific language:

  Offered in English

 Knowledge of the language a prerequisite