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College of Arts and Sciences


Linguistics is the scientific study of language in all its aspects. These interdisciplinary issues are investigated from diverse perspectives including biological, cognitive, developmental, educational, historical and sociocultural.

Studying linguistics can prepare students for a variety of careers including teaching, translating, foreign service, and social work, or graduate study in Linguistics and any of its related fields. Linguistics is also good preparation for a graduate program in Speech Pathology.

Undergraduate: B.A.

A student wishing to have linguistics as a major may pursue an emphasis in the field through the Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies (B.A.I.S.) degree program. The undergraduate linguistics program also offers a minor that is a good complement to those majoring in anthropology, computer science, English, French, German, philosophy, psychology and Spanish.

Graduate: M.A. and Ph.D.

The Graduate Program in Linguistics at USC is comprehensive in its scope. Its mission is to train students to pursue research and teach in a wide range of linguistic subdisciplines. The program strives to develop students' analytical skills and to encourage creative and critical approaches to data, models, and theories. In addition to requiring all students to have a theoretical foundation in general linguistics, phonology, and syntax, the interdepartmental structure of the program affords students the opportunity to take coursework and pursue specializations in a range of subdisciplines that includes: French/German/Spanish linguistics, historical linguistics, philosophy of language and discourse analysis, phonological theory, psycholinguistics, second/foreign language acquisition and teaching, sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology, and syntactic theory. The program's dual emphasis on theoretical and applied aspects of linguistics is one of its major strengths, and the great variety of research conducted by faculty and graduate students is a reflection of the intellectual diversity that characterizes the program.

Certificate: TESOL

The Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages Certificate Program (TESOL) is a one-year course of study, primarily designed to supplement other degree programs in linguistics, foreign language and literature, English, or education. The TESOL certificate by itself can sometimes lead to employment as an ESL teacher but is more often combined with another degree. Because the TESOL Certificate is a six-course program and because up to three graduate courses from this certificate may apply towards an M.A., a student can usually earn a TESOL Certificate in conjunction with an M.A. in Linguistics with just one additional semester's coursework. The Program offers two tracks: EFL (English as a Foreign Language), primarily for post-secondary and/or overseas settings, and K-12 ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages).


Program Director
Mila Tasseva-Kurktchieva

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