Learning Goals

The joint major in Linguistics & Philosophy provides a solid foundation in both disciplines and allows students to explore theoretical issues and basic philosophical questions raised in connection with discussions of meaning, intention, and reference. Students graduating with a major in Linguistics & Philosophy will be able to demonstrate:

  • some mastery of the history and development of analytic philosophy and the concepts of truth, reference, objectivity, and meaning as they have figured in philosophy in the last century or so
  • an understanding of fundamental concepts in the philosophy of language and logic
  • foundational knowledge in the core areas of linguistic theory, including phonetics, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics, with additional emphasis on one of the latter three subfields, and an understanding of the fundamental questions that drive modern linguistic research in these subfields
  • 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
Major Requirements

The joint major in Linguistics & Philosophy consists of 13 courses, including 5 courses in linguistics, 5 courses in philosophy, and 3 electives distributed across both areas.

5 Linguistics Courses
  • CAS LX 250 Introduction to Linguistics
  • CAS LX 301 Phonetics & Phonology: Introduction to Sound Systems
  • CAS LX 321 Syntax: Introduction to Sentential Structure
  • CAS LX 331 Semantics & Pragmatics: Introduction to Linguistic Meaning
  • 1 additional course in formal syntax, semantics, or pragmatics (e.g., CAS LX 317, 327, 328, 422, 432, 433, relevant 390/490 Topics course)
5 Philosophy Courses
  • 1 introductory PH course (e.g., CAS PH 100, 110, 160)
  • CAS PH 310 History of Modern Philosophy
  • CAS PH 360 Symbolic Logic
  • CAS PH 422 Analytic Philosophy or CAS PH 443 Philosophy of Mind
  • CAS PH 463 Philosophy of Language
3 Electives in Linguistics & Philosophy, e.g.
  • courses in linguistics at 200+ level (e.g., CAS LX 235, 311, 342, 345, 349, 359, 360, 365, 405, 423, 454)
  • courses in philosophy at 200+ level (e.g., CAS PH 261, 265, 266, 270, 421, 424, 460, 461, 462, 465, 467, 468, 486)
Study Abroad

Students may take courses to fulfill some of these requirements (with advance approval of their advisor) in the BU Study Abroad and Internship programs. For further information, see BU Study Abroad’s website:

Honors Program

In addition to the standard joint major, we also have an Honors Program in Linguistics & Philosophy. For further information, see the Honors Program page:


Director of Undergraduate Studies