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Linguistics Major - Cognition and Language


The cognition and language major is designed for students interested in how language interacts with cognitive processing, including language development, language processing and neuroscience. Students take core courses in general linguistics, as well as courses that provide knowledge and theoretical perspectives on language processing both in linguistics and in related fields of study such as cognitive science or psychology.

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Major Requirements

  • Completion of 12 upper division courses with C- or better (exception: up to four units of LIGN 199 taken for pass/no pass may count towards the major. In order to satisfy the upper-division course requirements, students who enroll in LIGN 199 for just two units are advised to enroll for another two units in a subsequent quarter.)
  • At least 6 of the 12 major courses must be taken in residence at UC San Diego.


Language Proficiency Requirement

All Linguistics Majors must demonstrate proficiency in one foreign language by one of the following:

  1. pass a reading proficiency exam and oral interview administered by the Linguistics department in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Arabic, Farsi, Tagalog, Portuguese, Vietnamese, or American Sign Language. It may be possible to take a proficiency exam in a language other than these.
  2. earn a C- or higher in a course given at UC San Diego representing the fourth quarter of instruction in any foreign language.
  3. score 4 or higher on the Advanced Placement (AP) exam in a foreign language.

Students should consult with the Linguistics Department's Undergraduate Advisors ( about this requirement.

Students with native language competence in a language other than English may petition to have English count as satisfying the proficiency requirement.

Linguistics Core Courses

6 core linguistics courses:

LIGN 101: Introduction to the Study of Language
LIGN 110: Phonetics
LIGN 111: Phonology
LIGN 120: Morphology
LIGN 121: Syntax
LIGN 130: Semantics

Students are advised to take these classes as early as possible, especially LIGN101, which is a prerequisite for most linguistics classes. LIGN110 is required for LIGN111, and LIGN111 and LIGN121 are recommended for LIGN120.

View a complete list of Linguistics courses


4 linguistics electives:

  • LIGN 112: Speech Sounds and Speech Disorders
  • LIGN 119/EDS 119: 1st and 2nd Language Learning: Childhood through Adolescence
  • LIGN 148: Psycholinguistics of Sign Language
  • LIGN 155: Evolution of Language
  • LIGN 165: Computational Linguistics
  • LIGN 170: Psycholinguistics
  • LIGN 171: Child Language Acquisition
  • LIGN 176: Language of Politics and Advertising
  • LIGN 179: Second Language Acquisition Research
  • LIGN 180: Language Representation in the Brain
  • LIGN 181: Language Procession in the Brain

2 additional courses from Linguistics or from an approved list from other departments:

Please check to see if there are prerequisites for these classes.

  • ANBI 140: The Evolution of the Human Brain
  • ANBI 159: Biological and Cultural Perspectives on Intelligence
  • ANBI 173: Cognition in Animals and Humans
Cognitive Science
  • COGS 101C: Language
  • COGS 102A: Distributed Cognition
  • COGS 102B: Cognitive Ethnography
  • COGS 107C: Cognitive Neuroscience
  • COGS 108D: Programming Methods for Cognitive Science
  • COGS 108E: Neural Network Models of Cognition I
  • COGS 108F: Advanced Programming Methods for Cognitive Science
  • COGS 151: Analogy and Conceptual Systems
  • COGS 154: Communication Disorders in Children and Adults
  • COGS 156: Language Development
  • COGS 170: Natural and Artificial Symbolic Representational Systems
  • COGS 184: Modeling the Evolution of Cognition
  • COGS 191: Laboratory Research
Computer Science and Engineering
  • CSE 133: Information Retrieval
  • PHIL 120: Symbolic Logic I
  • PHIL 134: Philosophy of Language
  • PHIL 136: Philosophy of Mind
  • PHIL 150: Philosophy of the Cognitive Sciences
  • PSYC 105: Introduction to Cognitive Psychology
  • PSYC 118A: Real-Time Examination of Language Processing
  • PSYC 118B: Real-time Examination of Language Processing
  • PSYC 119: Psycholinguistics/Cognition Laboratory
  • PSYC 145: Psychology of Language
students walking at Scripps

+ Global Concentration

  • available for all linguistics majors
  • a cluster of courses with an international or global focus that can be added to any linguistics major
  • students that complete this concentration will have "Global Concentration" annotated on their transcript

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