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Linguistics Major - General


The general linguistics major provides students with a comprehensive study of the field of linguistics. Students take core courses focusing on language data from a variety of languages, which teach analytical and writing skills. Students acquire knowledge of the theoretical issues in language processing, language acquisition, and language in society. These courses develop writing, research and critical thinking skills.

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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


Five linguistics electives:

One additional linguistics elective or upper-division course in another department pertaining to the study of language. Courses currently approved to satisfy this requirement include:

Interested in minoring in Linguistics? Check out the General Linguistics Minor.

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+ 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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