Overview and Learning Goals
Linguistics examines fundamental properties that all languages share, and how they differ, with respect to structure, meaning, acquisition, variation, and change; it includes the study of biological, social, cultural, and historical bases of language. Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences (SLHS) 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 interdisciplinary, intercollegiate major in Linguistics & SLHS is available to students in SAR pursuing a BS degree and to CAS students pursuing a BA. The major provides 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/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 joint 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.
Students graduating with a major in Linguistics & Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences will be able to demonstrate:
The joint major in Linguistics & SLHS consists of 13 courses, including 1 phonetics course, 1 language acquisition course, another 5 courses in linguistics (CAS), 5 courses in SLHS (SAR), and 1 elective in either linguistics or SLHS.
5 Linguistics Courses
5 SLHS Courses
1 Language Acquisition Course, e.g.
1 Phonetics Course, e.g.
1 Elective in Linguistics or SLHS, e.g.
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:
In addition to the standard joint major, we also have an Honors Program in Linguistics & Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences. For further information, see the Honors Program page: