Programs in linguistics

Linguistics is devoted to the scientific study of language structure and use. The Linguistics Program at Wayne State offers an interdisciplinary approach to this field, permitting students to explore a wide range of topics and issues in language research. The core courses are offered on a regular basis. The program offers electives in the following areas:

  • Linguistics and a language
  • Language structure
  • Language variation and change
  • Language acquisition and processing
  • Sociolinguistics and discourse/pragmatics

For a more updated and comprehensive introduction to the career choices for a linguistic major, see the linguistics career outlook.

General information

Majoring in linguistics

Any undergraduate student may elect a major or minor in linguistics. Contact our student advisor, Corinne Forys through STARS to schedule an initial meeting to discuss your plans.

For more information, contact the student coordinator, Dr. Natalia Rakhlin.

More about linguistics at Wayne State

Our program is administered by a director, Professor Haiyong Liu; a graduate advisor, Professor Ljiljana Progovac; and an advisory committee of participating faculty who regularly teach courses for the program.

Current faculty research interests and areas of expertise include linguistic anthropology, Spanish, Arabic, and Chinese linguistics, psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics, the evolution of language/syntax, and more.


Linguistics alumnus: Samuel Owen, B.A. 2011

Samuel was admitted to the master of science in information program and was awarded the University of Michigan School of Information Achievement Fellowship. The fellowship covered tuition for the entire program and provided him with a stipend. 

From being a signals analyst, pursuing mastery of the Arabic language through immersion in Middle Eastern countries, studying linguistics at Wayne State University (WSU), to teaching English in Saudi Arabia, this circuitous route has recently brought me back to where I started: at the intersection of information and technology.

"Now, as a recently admitted student to the master of science in information program at the University of Michigan School of Information, I am looking forward to continuing this journey en route to becoming a data scientist. I am extremely grateful for my experience studying linguistics at WSU. It is there that I received my first formal exposure to academia. Those linguistics courses were the most challenging that I took during my undergraduate studies and they played a crucial role in developing my analytical and critical thinking skills, as well as stimulating my intellectual curiosity. However, even more influential than the courses themselves were the exemplary faculty members with whom I was—and still am—very fortunate to be a recipient of their support and mentorship."