Skip to main content

Linguistics Major - Speech and Language Sciences

 speech language therapist working with a young girl

The speech and language sciences major is designed for students considering careers in speech-language pathology (SLP). Students take core courses in general linguistics, as well as courses that provide knowledge and theoretical perspectives on disorders of speech, language, and hearing.

Important note to students: this major is not equivalent to a major in Communication Sciences and Disorders. Applicants to Master’s programs in SLP who have obtained a Bachelor’s degree in linguistics may be asked to satisfy additional requirements. Visit Info on Speech-Language Pathology for more details.

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.

Lower Division Requirements

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.


One lower division statistics course to be chosen from:

  • COGS 14B. Introduction to Statistical Analysis
  • PSYC 60. Introduction to Statistics

Upper Division Requirements

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

Speech, Language and Hearing Disorders

One course in speech, language and hearing disorders*

  • LIGN 112. Speech Sounds and Speech Disorders
  • LIGN 113. Hearing Science and Hearing Disorders
* Students interested in SLP are highly encouraged to take both courses. In that case, one will count as an elective.

Language and Development Disorders

One course in language development and disorders to be chosen from:

  • LIGN 119. First and Second Language Learning: From Childhood through Adolescence
  • LIGN 171. Child Language Acquisition
  • LIGN 179. Second Language Acquisition Research

Neurobiology of Language

One course in neurobiology of language to be chosen from:

  • LIGN 180. Language Representation in the Brain
  • LIGN 181. Language Processing in the Brain

Speech and Language Science Electives

Three speech and language sciences elective courses to be chosen from:

  • COGS 107A. Neuroanatomy and Physiology
  • COGS 107C. Cognitive Neuroscience
  • COGS 154. Communication Disorders in Children and Adults
  • COGS 179. Electrophysiology of Cognition
  • COMM 168. Bilingual Communication
  • COMM 169. Deaf Culture in the U.S.
  • EDS 117. Language, Culture and Education (same as SOC 117)
  • EDS 125. History, Politics, and Theory of Bilingual Education
  • ETHN 185. Discourse, Power, and Inequality
  • LIGN 119. First and Second Language Learning: From Childhood through Adolescence
  • LIGN 146. Sociolinguistics in Deaf Communities
  • LIGN 148. Psycholinguistics of Sign Language
  • LIGN 160. Pragmatics
  • LIGN 170. Psycholinguistics
  • LIGN 171. Child Language Acquisition
  • LIGN 175. Sociolinguistics
  • LIGN 177. Multilingualism
  • LIGN 178. Spanish Sociolinguistics
  • LIGN 179. Second Language Acquisition Research
  • LIGN 180. Language Representation in the Brain
  • LIGN 181. Language Processing in the Brain
  • MUS 175. Musical Psychoacoustics
  • PSYC 105. Cognitive Psychology
  • PSYC 108. Cognitive Neuroscience
  • PSYC 128. Psychology of Reading
  • PSYC 138. Sound and Music Perception
  • SOC 117. Language, Culture, and Education (same as EDS 117)
Exceptions: COGS 107C and PSYC 108 may not both be taken for credit toward the major.

Other Resources

FAQs About Applying to SLP Programs

Are you a Linguistics major interested in pursuing a Master’s degree (clinical or research) in Speech-Language Pathology (SLP)? Please visit Info on Speech-Language Pathology to better understand the process of applying and to find answers to many frequently asked questions about this process.

Study Abroad Opportunity

The Linguistics Global Exchange Program with Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia has a particular focus on Hearing & Speech Sciences.


Please contact Linguistics Advising in one of the following ways:

Interested in minoring in Linguistics? Check out the Speech and Language Sciences Minor.

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

Learn More