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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.

Major requirements (Major Checklist):

  • 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.)
  • All Linguistics Majors must demonstrate proficiency in one foreign language by either 1) passing 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, or 2) earning a C- or higher in a course given at UCSD representing the fourth quarter of instruction in any foreign language, or 3) by scoring 4 or higher on the Advanced Placement (AP) exam in a foreign language.  It may be possible to take a proficiency exam in a language other than those listed above.  It is critical that students 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. 
  • At least 6 of the 12 major courses must be taken in residence at UC San Diego.
6 core 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.

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

To develop a suggested four-year academic plan, click here.