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Linguistics Major - Language and Society

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The Language and Society majoroffers students the opportunity to investigate language in its social setting. This includes exploring hypotheses concerning the relationship between language and culture, multilingualism, language birth and decline, and language variation and change. Students have the opportunity to acquire a multidisciplinary approach to language study by taking targeted courses in related departments.

Course Offerings

Academic Advising Resources

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


3 additional linguistics electives:

1 course in sociolinguistics chosen from:

  • LIGN 174: Gender and Language in Society
  • LIGN 175: Sociolinguistics
  • LIGN 177: Multilingualism
  • LIGN 178: Spanish Sociolinguistics

2 courses from other departments, chosen from the approved list:

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


  • ANSC 118: Language and Culture
  • ANSC 122: Language in Society
  • ANSC 162: Language, Identity, and Community


  • COMM 100B: Interpretive Strategies
  • COMM 110P: Language, Literacy, and Communication: Language and Human Communication
  • COMM 110T: Language, Literacy, and Communication: Language, Thought, and Media
  • COMM 112G: Interaction and Mediation: Language and Globalization
  • COMM 168: Bilingual Communication
  • COMM 169: Deaf Culture in the U.S.

Ethnic Studies

  • ETHN 140: Language and American Ethnicity
  • ETHN 141: Language, Culture, and Inequality
  • ETHN 144: Bilingual Communities in the USA


  • SOCI 117/EDS 117: Language, Culture, and Education
  • SOCI 118E: Sociology of Language
  • SOCI 120T: Special Topics in Culture, Language, and Social Interaction

Education Studies

  • EDS 117/SOCI 117: Language, Culture, and Education
  • EDS 125: History, Politics, and Theory of Bilingual Education
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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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