Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics

The Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Linguistics degree at Wayne State University is an interdisciplinary program with a strong emphasis on theoretical linguistics. This approach allows students to explore a wide range of topics through research, preparing them for graduate study and any profession involving the analysis of speech or writing.

Why Wayne State’s linguistics major?

  • Learn from award-winning, published faculty who speak at prestigious universities and lead significant contributions to the field of linguistics across the world.
  • Quickly earn your M.A. in Linguistics while enrolled as an undergraduate through Accelerated Graduate Enrollment (AGRADE).
  • Engage in fascinating linguistics research across topics like speech disorders, linguistic anthropology, medical communication and psycholinguistics.

Linguistics alumna: Molly Alampi, B.A. 2011

Following the completion of her undergraduate degree in linguistics, Molly earned her M.A. in speech-language pathology at Wayne State University.

Understanding the structures of language helped me formulate insightful observations about the techniques I choose for therapy. I would highly recommend other speech pathology undergrads get a dual major or minor in linguistics!

"I always think back to your (Professor Ljiljana Progovac) language evolution course and how much I'd love to retake that course knowing what I know now about the brain and aphasic patients. Your syntax course was very useful for me once I began working with patients who needed language intervention who suffered head injuries or strokes."

What is linguistics and is it right for you?

Linguistics is the scientific study of language and its use. Considered an applied science, the field of linguistics encompasses many branches that examine languages’ structure, evolution and use in communication.

Linguistics majors often enter the path of academia, research or speech therapy. However, the most common career for graduates is to become a linguist. These professionals explore the intricacies of languages, consistently working to analyze or preserve them. 

Learning objectives

Wayne State University’s linguistics majors learn to:

  • Develop cultural competence to excel in diverse careers.
  • Successfully analyze speech data through fieldwork or theory.
  • Interpret complex communication verbally, including written text and various forms of media.
  • Establish an extensive understanding of the fundamentals of language and its structure.

Linguistics program requirements and curriculum

The Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics requires a minimum of 120 credits. To meet this requirement, you must satisfy the following:

  • Writing-intensive requirement

    In one of your last two or three semesters, you must register for LIN 5993 Writing-Intensive Requirement (zero credits) in conjunction with a linguistics course that has a paper requirement. It may make sense for you to fulfill this requirement by continuing to work on a paper that you wrote for a class that you have already completed. In this case, you would consider your completed term paper as the first draft of your writing-intensive paper.

    You must ask the instructor of the course if they would be willing to help you make this paper read like a linguistics paper. A linguistics paper should involve analysis of language data argumentation appropriate to the field presenting the goals and the conclusion "upfront, etc.

    • Plan to work through several drafts of this paper. Grades recorded for LIN 5993 will receive either an S (Satisfactory) or U (Unsatisfactory).
    • Complete the Writing-intensive Requirement Form and present it to your instructor for his or her signature, indicating their willingness to help you pass this requirement.
    • Return the signed form to the student advisor for your file.
    • Once your final paper is completed to the satisfaction of your instructor, it should also be submitted to the Linguistics Program office for your file.
  • Exit interview

    In your last semester, we'll arrange for you to be interviewed by as many of your instructors as we can assemble for about 45 minutes. During this time, we'll first ask you to explain what you are taking away from your experiences as a linguistics major your, view of language, the things you learned that surprised you, the threads that connect the work you did in different courses and the contradictions you encountered.

    We will also ask you about your plans for work or study after college and will ask you to advise us on how to improve the major. You must submit a completed exit questionnaire and a selected set of papers demonstrating how you have met the undergraduate learning outcomes at least a week before the interview. This will allow us to ask you more appropriate questions about your experiences here. So don't throw away any of your syllabuses, term papers, final exams or interesting assignments! You should get a large file and remember to put portfolio materials in your file at the end of every semester.

  • AGRADE program

    Wayne State has a program that makes it possible for undergraduates with high GPAs to count up to 15 credits of undergraduate work in their major toward an M.A. degree at WSU in the same field. If you think you might want to stick around and get an M.A. from us, too, this is the best way to do it.

    If you're a major right now, it's difficult to do an M.A. with us without double-counting: we simply do not offer enough courses for you to find 30 credits for your B.A. and then 30 more for your M.A. easily. See the graduate student advisor if you would like to discuss this possibility. If you would like to pursue graduate studies in linguistics at another university after graduation, any member of the faculty would be happy to tell you what they know about programs elsewhere.

    Learn more about AGRADE

View Review B.A. in Linguistics curriculum

Courses you take

Your degree plan varies depending on the electives you choose. This gives you the option to direct your focus on theory, hone your skills in a given language or explore related linguistics topics.

Your major requirements generally cover a few of the following subjects:

  • Language and culture
  • Language processing
  • Linguistics
  • Morphology
  • Phonology
  • Semantics
  • Syntax

View all available courses

Unique linguistics research opportunities

Conduct individual research, work with a group or begin a mentorship in emerging linguistics topics with a faculty member. Our linguistics program is devoted to discovery.

Review several of our faculty members’ research interests:

  • Arabic, Chinese and Spanish linguistics
  • Bilingualism
  • Evolution of language
  • Language acquisition
  • Linguistic anthropology
  • Medical communication
  • Psycholinguistics
  • Sociolinguistics
  • Speech disorders

Direct pathway to graduate study

To save you valuable time and money, Wayne State University offers the Accelerated Graduate Enrollment (AGRADE) program, which allows you to earn your graduate degree in linguistics quickly.

To qualify:

  • Maintain a minimum GPA of 3.3
  • Be an undergraduate student
  • Hold 90 credits

Linguistics bachelor’s degree career outlook

As a linguistics major, your career options are highly diverse, as nearly all professions look for individuals with stellar critical thinking, communication and writing skills.

While some professions require additional training, such as certifications or a master’s degree, a bachelor’s degree in linguistics provides you with the foundation to enter careers in language education, writing, language research and more.

Financial aid and tuition

To support the pursuit of your linguistics degree, Wayne State University provides substantial scholarships and financial aid.

Visit our net price calculator to determine your financial aid and cost of tuition.

Learn more about Wayne State University’s bachelor’s degree in linguistics

Pave the way for a rewarding career and dive deep into the world of language by enrolling in the Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics at Wayne State University.

Career insights

This tool provides a broad overview of how major selection can lead to careers and is provided without any implied promise of employment. Some careers will require further education, skills, or competencies. Actual salaries may vary significantly between similar employers and could change by graduation, as could employment opportunities and job titles.