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Linguistics B.A.

Information and Policies

Introduction

Linguistics is an exact and structured discipline that examines human language. It has connections to many other fields in the humanities (philosophy, literature), the social sciences (anthropology, psychology, sociology), the natural sciences (biology, neuroscience, acoustics), computer science, computer engineering, and artificial intelligence.

The central areas of linguistics investigate the knowledge that speakers of a language have about its structure. Syntax is concerned with the rules that combine words into larger units of phrases and sentences. Semantics is the study of the meanings of linguistic units and how they are combined to form the meanings of sentences. Phonetics deals with the physical properties of language sounds. Phonology investigates the sound systems of particular languages and across languages. Morphology investigates the ways in which words are formed from prefixes, roots, and suffixes. Pragmatics is the study of language use. Psycholinguistics is concerned with the cognitive mechanisms by which language is put to use in producing and perceiving speech.

Academic Advising for the Program

241 Stevenson College
(831) 459-4988
ling@ucsc.edu

Undergraduate Adviser

The undergraduate adviser can advise you about requirements for the major, about prerequisites, and about many other aspects of your academic progress. During the academic year, there are regular drop-in office hours available at current advising schedule.

If none of the drop-in office hours work for you, email the undergraduate adviser at ling@ucsc.edu for an appointment.

Transfer students, please also refer to Transfer Information and Policy.

Peer Advisers

During the academic year, the department has a peer advising program to provide an additional advising resource for undergraduate majors. The peer advisers are advanced students in the major who volunteer their time and expertise to provide guidance and advice to other students. They hold regular office hours and provide one-on-one advising in the Linguistics Department office at Stevenson College (STEV 245). Peer advisers do not have signature authority on forms (i.e., Declaration of Major Petitions and study abroad planning forms). Students must see the undergraduate adviser for any forms requiring a department signature. We encourage any prospective and current linguistics majors to stop by during the peer advisers' office hours if they have questions about the linguistics program.

Faculty

You should feel free to meet with any faculty member for advising, but it may make sense to speak with the undergraduate adviser first, to find out which faculty member might be best placed to advise you about your interests or concerns.You can find the current office hours for all faculty members in the faculty directory. For issues specifically related to the undergraduate program, you can turn to the Undergraduate Program director.

Getting Started in the Major

Here are four tips to keep in mind when embarking on your major in linguistics:

  • Meet with a peer adviser to create your academic plan and get questions answered about your major.
  • Determine how many language courses you need in order to fulfill your language competency requirement, as specified in the Requirements and Planners section. Begin any necessary language instruction as soon as possible. Visit the Languages and Applied Linguistics Department website to find out about language placement, articulation and course offerings. Many language placement exams take place once a year, before classes start in September. You may opt to satisfy the mathematics/computer science requirement  instead.
  • Take at least one introductory linguistics course in your first year, and plan to take at least syntax and phonology in your second year. (Junior transfers: take all of these courses in your first year.) If linguistics is not for you, you should find this out early, in order to consider a change in your plans.
  • Plan to complete the bulk of your general education requirements early on. The sophomore, junior, and senior years can fill up quickly with major requirements (especially if you are planning to study abroad). Also, as general education courses are often lower-division courses, it can be frustrating to have to take them in the final quarters of your career, when you would like to take more advanced courses.

Program Learning Outcomes

The program learning outcomes for the linguistics major are the following:

  1. Analytical Thinking
    Students will formulate testable hypotheses, and present them clearly and completely. Students will accurately and insightfully use relevant evidence to evaluate hypotheses and determine routes for future investigation.
  2. Writing
    Students will formulate well-organized written arguments. At the micro-level, sentences will be grammatical, follow appropriate conventions, and strike an appropriate balance of clarity and complexity. At the macro-level, sentences will be linked together into paragraphs, and paragraphs into logical sections of a larger document. 
  3. Properties of Language
    Students will apply analytical techniques to identify general properties of language, including but not limited to sound structure, word structure, sentence structure, meaning, use, and language processing. Students will explain the significance of relevant universal properties in some domain. 
  4. Linguistic Theory and Investigation
    Students will demonstrate an active command of linguistic theory and linguistic investigation in at least one area of linguistic theory, including but not limited to morphology, phonetics, phonology, pragmatics, psycholinguistics, syntax, and semantics. 
  5. Second Language Proficiency or Mathematics Competency
    Students will demonstrate either competence in the mathematical foundations of theories used in linguistics or proficiency in a second language at or above the intermediate-high level.

Major Qualification Policy and Declaration Process

Major Qualification

The Linguistics Department has adopted a major qualification policy for linguistics majors that is intended to encourage students to take their performance in the gateway courses seriously and to help them lay a solid foundation for further course work in the major.

Transfer students, please also refer to Transfer Information and Policy.

In order to declare the linguistics major, a student must pass each of the following two gateway courses, with a grade of C+ or better:

LING 50Introduction to Linguistics

5

LING 53Semantics I

5

Appeal Process

Students who are informed that they are not eligible to declare the major may appeal the decision within 15 days from the date the notification was mailed. They should do this by submitting a formal letter, addressed to the department's undergraduate program director, to the Linguistics Department office (Stevenson 241 or 243). This letter should explain any extenuating circumstances that influenced performance in the gateway courses. Within 15 days of receipt of the appeal, the department will notify the student of the decision.

How to Declare a Major

You should formally declare your major as early as possible in your academic career. Doing so will mean you get helpful advising. It will require you to plan out all the courses of the major. This means you will know you have time to meet all the necessary requirements for linguistics before you graduate.

Once you have successfully completed the two gateway courses, please meet with the department adviser or a peer adviser, to complete or update your academic plan. If you are declaring a second major, please first complete an academic planning form with the adviser for your declared major.

To declare the major, you must attend one of the department’s Declaration and Orientation Meetings. These sessions are held in the first month of each quarter. Invitations to sign up for a declaration session are sent out by the first week of the quarter to all proposed majors through the Slug Success system. If you have completed the gateway courses, and you do not receive an invitation by Week 2, please contact the department adviser for assistance. Please sign up well in advance, as these meetings tend to fill quickly.

The campus undergraduate advising website has further helpful information about declaring a major.

Transfer Information and Policy

Transfer Admission Screening Policy

No major preparation courses are required prior to transfer for consideration of admission to UC Santa Cruz.

While not required for selection, transfer students are strongly encouraged to complete as much preparation as possible in the foreign language of their choosing. Transfer students admitted to UC Santa Cruz for the winter term who do not place into Level 2 or higher in a language placement test when they enter UCSC may not be able to complete the major in a timely manner. Bear in mind that placement exams, and the resulting credit for the major, are only available for languages taught at UCSC.

Prospective students are also encouraged to complete the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) or to complete all UC Santa Cruz general education requirements before matriculation. 

Getting Started at UCSC as a Transfer Student

Consult with the undergraduate adviser before enrolling for your first term, to create a two-year plan. Some required courses are only offered once a year, and careful planning is essential. Plan to take LING 50 and LING 53 in your first quarter, along with a language course. If you expect to test out of level 5 in your chosen language, or plan to complete the Mathematics/Computer Science competency requirement, you need not enroll in a language course. Transfer students can declare the major after completing LING 50 and LING 53 with a C+ or better.

Letter Grade Policy

The two qualifying courses for the major, LING 50 and LING 53, must be completed with a grade of C+ or better. Once you qualify, there is no requirement that courses for the major be taken for a letter grade. There is a campuswide requirement that you need to be aware of and to keep track of (no more than 25 percent of all of your UCSC courses can be taken on a Pass/No Pass basis). Further information about campus letter grade policy is available at the website of the Office of the Registrar.

Course Substitution Policy

Students may petition the department to have elective courses offered through other institutions or other UC programs applied toward the major requirements. At most three such courses can be applied toward the major. These courses must be upper-division and clearly fit into a coherent program of study in linguistics. The list of approved courses from other UCSC departments is given below: 

ANTH 139Language and Culture

5

APLX 101Second-Language Acquisition

5

APLX 102Bilingualism

5

APLX 112Language and Gender

5

APLX 113Inter-Cultural Communication

5

APLX 115Language and Power

5

APLX 116Discourse Analysis: Language Use and Context

5

APLX 135Second Language Teaching

5

CSE 103Computational Models

5

CSE 110AFundamentals of Compiler Design I

5

CSE 140Artificial Intelligence

5

CSE 143Introduction to Natural Language Processing

5

FREN 114French Phonetics

5

FREN 120French Linguistics

5

FREN 121History of the French Language

5

LIT 102Translation Theory

5

PHIL 117Non-Classical Logic

5

PHIL 119Intermediate Logic

5

PHIL 123Philosophy of Language

5

PSYC 119FLanguage Development

5

PSYC 125The Psychology of Language

5

SPAN 140Sounds of Spanish

5

SPAN 150Topics in Hispanic Linguistics: Introduction to Hispanic Linguistics

5

SPAN 151Topics in Hispanic Linguistics: Varieties of Spanish

5

SPAN 152Topics in Hispanic Linguistics: Spanish in the U.S.

5

SPAN 153Topics in Hispanic Linguistics: Spanish as a Second Language

5

Double Majors and Major/Minor Combinations Policy

A student may not double major or major/minor in linguistics and language studies, as there is too much overlap between the two programs.

Study Abroad

Students majoring in linguistics should consider studying abroad in the course of their degree program. Studying abroad is a good way to cultivate and enhance your language skills, as well as to gain rich life experiences. Linguistics students have various opportunities to study abroad, for a summer, quarter, semester, or year. There are programs available for students of all levels of language ability, from language and culture programs for beginning or intermediate speakers, to full immersion programs for students with advanced language skills.

Study abroad does require careful planning, especially for those who wish to pursue a year-long program, or who wish to study abroad during the senior year. ​Meeting with your major adviser early and often throughout the Study Abroad planning process is encouraged. Before being approved for UC Education Abroad Program (EAP), you must declare your major. Also, majors must complete LING 101, and either LING 111 or LING 112, before they leave for any EAP programs that take place during the academic year. The department does not place any restrictions on summer study abroad.

If you plan to study abroad during your senior year, and do not plan to return to UCSC before graduating, your plan will be approved only when all major requirements have been completed prior to departure, and/or when it is clear that any remaining requirements can be satisfactorily completed abroad. Please consult with the department adviser​ before the end of your sophomore year if you are considering this option.

Most importantly: Students who wish to have a study-abroad course count toward the major must bring back syllabi, completed papers, and course evaluations to the department, so that the department can make a decision about whether the course satisfies a major requirement. Ideally, students should have courses pre-approved for the major before they go abroad. Students can visit the UCSC Campus Credit Abroad database to find pre-approved ​courses. A maximum of three outside courses may be used toward the major.

Students who are interested in studying abroad should contact the Study Abroad Office​ (105 Classroom Unit, 459-2858). Study Abroad staff can provide detailed information concerning EAP selection criteria and application procedures. https://studyabroad.ucsc.edu/

Honors

Students who wish to be considered for honors should meet the deadline posted by the Office of the Registrar for declaring the intent to graduate. Determination of honors is based on the student’s grades for all courses relevant to the major and other factors relevant to an assessment of academic excellence, such as research papers of professional quality. Generally, honors in the major are awarded only to the top 10 percent of those graduating in the major. Only those students whose performance in coursework is excellent will qualify. Highest honors are rarely awarded, and then only to students whose performance in coursework is outstanding and who have completed an outstanding senior thesis.

Preparation for the UCSC Master’s Degree

Every year, UC Santa Cruz undergraduates in the final year of their linguistics major can apply to be admitted into the graduate program to pursue the M.A. in theoretical linguistics. Interested students should discuss the possibility with one or more faculty members and formally apply online to the graduate program during the fall quarter of the senior year. For up-to-date information about the application process, consult the Linguistics Department’s website; and see the graduate coordinator. The combined B.A./M.A. program provides another pathway to the M.A. program.

Information About Linguistics Courses

The 80-level courses have no prerequisites. Although most of them will fulfill a general education requirement, they do not fulfill any requirements for the major. They are intended to introduce the concepts of linguistics through their relation to other areas of general interest.

LING 50, Introduction to Linguistics, introduces the subfields of the discipline.  LING 53, Semantics 1; LING 101, Phonology 1; and LING 111, Syntactic Structures or LING 112, Syntax 1, serve as entry courses to the specialized upper-division sequences. Upper-division courses generally have at least two of these courses as a prerequisite.

A variety of upper-division elective courses are offered each quarter. For a list of the current offerings, please see the department website.

To enroll in the graduate (200-level) courses, undergraduates need special permission from the instructor. Permission is usually granted only to especially motivated undergraduates who have completed all the named requirements for the major with excellent performance.

Requirements and Planners

Course Requirements

Lower-Division Courses

LING 50Introduction to Linguistics

5

LING 53Semantics I

5

Foreign-Language/Mathematics Competency Requirement:

Linguistics majors are required to demonstrate either foreign-language or mathematics competency as follows:

Students must successfully complete five quarters of language study at UC Santa Cruz or demonstrate an equivalent level of competence through a recognized language test or evidence of credit from another institution. In cases where five quarters of instruction for a language are not offered at UCSC, students may opt to complete (or demonstrate equivalent level of competence for) three quarters of one language and three quarters of a second language. For Latin or Greek, three of the designated courses will be equivalent to all five levels.

Or

Alternatively, students with a strong formal background can choose to satisfy the mathematics/computer science competency requirement by demonstrating sufficient preparation in mathematics for advanced formal work in linguistics. This requirement is satisfied by passing two courses chosen from the following list:

CSE 5JIntroduction to Programming in Java

5

CSE 10Introduction to Computer Science

5

CSE 11Intermediate Programming

5

CSE 14Introduction to Programming (Accelerated)

5

CSE 15Introduction to Data Structures

5

CSE 16Applied Discrete Mathematics

5

CSE 20Beginning Programming in Python

5

CSE 140Artificial Intelligence

5

MATH 100Introduction to Proof and Problem Solving

5

MATH 160Mathematical Logic I

5

MATH 161Mathematical Logic II

5

PHIL 9Introduction to Logic

5

STAT 7Statistical Methods for the Biological, Environmental, and Health Sciences

5

STAT 131Introduction to Probability Theory

5

Any course which has one of the courses listed above as a prerequisite may also be used toward the mathematics/computer science competency requirement.

Upper-Division Courses

Students in the linguistics major are required to complete a total of 10 upper-division courses in linguistics and related disciplines, including five named courses in linguistics:

LING 101Phonology I

5

LING 102Phonology II

5

LING 113Syntax II

5

LING 116Semantics II

5

Plus one of the following courses:
LING 111Syntactic Structures

5

LING 112Syntax I

5

Electives

The major requires five upper-division elective courses in linguistics. Upper-division linguistics electives include any upper-division course offered by the Linguistics Department (except courses LING 101, LING 102, LING 111, LING 112, LING 113, and LING 116). See Course Substitution Policy in the Information and Policies section of the catalog for information on substituting courses outside the department to meet this requirement.

Disciplinary Communication (DC) Requirement

Students of every major must satisfy that major’s upper-division Disciplinary Communication (DC) requirement. The DC requirement in linguistics is satisfied by completing:

LING 101Phonology I

5

Plus one of the following courses:
LING 111Syntactic Structures

5

LING 112Syntax I

5

Comprehensive Requirement

Senior exit requirement: In their senior year, linguistics majors must satisfy the senior exit requirement in one of three ways: 

Option 1

Option 1.  Students complete a 2-unit senior research course, LING 190.  Each instance of LING 190 is taught concurrently with one of the upper-division electives offered in that quarter. Students must enroll in both an instance of LING 190 and its associated upper-division elective. This elective can also serve as one of the five linguistics electives required for the major.

Students must enroll concurrently in an upper-division elective and in the corresponding instance of the following course:

LING 190Senior Research

2

Option 2

Option 2. Senior thesis supervised by a faculty member. The proposal for a senior thesis must be submitted for approval by the department faculty at least three quarters prior to the quarter of graduation.

Students enroll in the following course:

LING 195Senior Thesis

5

Option 3

Option 3. By exception, students in their senior year may enroll in a graduate-level class, by permission of instructor. This option is for students who have performed exceptionally in the available undergraduate courses in a particular sub-discipline of the field. Under these conditions, a graduate-level course may serve as the student's capstone course.

Planners

The following planner is a recommended academic plan for four-year students who wish to pursue the linguistics major.

Four-Year Linguistics Students

Year Fall Winter Spring
2nd (soph) LING 50 LING 53 LING 101
     
     
3rd (junior) LING 112 or LING 111 LING 116 LING 113
Foreign language level 1 LING 1XX upper-div elective LING 1XX upper-div elective
  Foreign language level 2 Foreign language level 3
4th (senior) LING 102 LING 1XX upper div elective LING 190*
LING 1XX upper-div elective   LING 1XX upper-div elective
Foreign language level 4 Foreign language level 5  

*This is a 2-credit course.

In addition to the specific courses shown in these planners, a student must complete courses satisfying the general education requirements. The courses in the four-year planner cover at least the following GE requirements: MF, SI.

The following planner is a recommended academic plan for junior transfer students who wish to pursue the linguistics major.

Linguistics Transfer Students

Year Fall Winter Spring
3rd (junior) LING 50 LING 112 or LING 111 LING 101
LING 53 "Outside" 1XX*
Upper-div elective
LING 113
Foreign language level 1 Foreign language level 2 Foreign language level 3
4th (senior) LING 102 LING 116 LING 1XX upper-div elective
LING 1XX upper-div elective LING 1XX upper-div elective LING 1XX upper-div elective
Foreign language level 4 Foreign language level 5  LING 190**

* “Outside” 1XX—in lieu of a standard linguistics elective, an approved substitution elective may be selected in order to graduate within two academic years.

**This is a 2-credit course.

This planner assumes that a student has completed any required general education courses—including UCSC or community college general education requirements—before coming to UCSC. This can be accomplished by completing the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC).

Additional planning templates are available on the department website.