Majoring in linguistics

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Your advisor

The advisor for undergraduate linguistics majors is Dr. Tonia Bleam (tbleam-at-umd-edu). The advisor for undergraduate linguistics minors is Dr. Peggy Antonisse. Dr. Antonisse can also provide advising for the major.


Requirements

Linguistics Core

Everyone majoring in Linguistics takes the Linguistics Core. This consists of:

  1. Ling 240, Language and Mind

  2. Ling 311, Syntax 1

  3. Ling 321, Phonology 1

  4. Any two of the following courses:

    • Ling312, Syntax 2
    • Ling 320, Phonetics
    • Ling322, Phonology 2
    • Ling410, Grammar and Meaning
    • Ling440, Grammars and Cognition
    • Ling 444, Child Language Acquisition

  5. Any three upper-level Linguistics electives (Ling3/4xx)


Officially, Ling 420 is also an option in the "any two of" category. However, because the department does not currently offer this course, we have removed it the list. If you are able to find this course at another college or university, and if it is accepted as an equivalent course and the credits transfer to UMD, it will count in this category.

Choose a track

Every linguistics major must choose one of following two tracks.

1) Grammars and Cognition Track

This track requires 15 credits distributed as follows:

  • Phil 170 or 271 (Logic)
  • Ling 350 (cross-listed as Phil 360) Philosophy of Language
  • Psych 100 Intro to Psych
  • Elective in Ling, Psych, HESP, Phil, or CMSC
  • Elective in Ling, Psych, HESP, Phil, or CMSC
    • "Electives" from other departments must be approved by your linguistics advisor.

2) Language Track

This track requires 15 credits distributed as follows:

  • 15 credits of a single language (may include both basic language courses and Structure or History of language X courses)

These requirements are neatly organized for you as checklists in the following documents:



Declaring a major in Linguistics

Meeting with your advisor

To declare linguistics as your major, the first thing you should do is to meet with the linguistics advisor. She will talk to you about your interests and goals, and you and the advisor together will fill out the "declaration of major" form and the "four year plan" form that you will then take to ARHU. After meeting with your ling advisor, you will then need to meet with an ARHU advisor (who will go over general ARHU and University requirements with you) and then you will officially be a major.

In order to make an appointment with your linguistics advisor, send her an email with your name, UID#, the reason for the appointment, and a list of your available times during the week. Do not give just one specific time or day when you are available, because is is likely that the advisor will be unavailable at that time, which will result in more email back and forths. Please remember that your professors' time is limited and make the process as streamlined as possible.

In preparation for the meeting with the ling advisor, you should:

  1. Make sure to read over this entire web guide to majoring, and the FAQ page.

  2. Read over the linguistics roadmaps and think about which track you would like to do (if you need more information in order to decide, bring your questions to the advising meeting and your advisor can help you).

Completing a 4-year plan

A 4-year plan is a worksheet that is required by ARHU in order to declare your major. It is a way to make sure that you fit in all of the things that you want or need to do (satisfy your major requirements, satisfy CORE, double major, study abroad, take some language courses, etc) before your desired graduation date. In other words, it's a way to make sure that you have a realistic idea about how long it will take you to graduate.

When you meet with your linguistics advisor, she will provide a copy of the worksheet and get you started by filling in the courses for your ling major (in PENCIL!). After that, you can play around with it, filling in other courses that you need or want to take, leaving a semester for study abroad if you want, and things like that. You will then meet with an ARHU advisor who will go over the plan with you again. Both advisors will keep a copy of the plan on file for later reference. You too should keep a copy and revise it as necessary.

When filling in the 4-year-plan, the goal is not to choose every single course for 4 years. The goal is to make sure that every slot on the appropriate Linguistics roadmap shows up somewhere in your 4-year plan, even if you haven't picked the specific course that's going to fill that slot.



Advisory meetings

At several points in your career as a ling major, Testudo will tell you that you have an "advising block" on your registration (this is based on the number of credits you have – see ARHU's page on Mandatory Advising for more information). When you see this (and you should check for this well before registration time every semester), you need to arrange for advising meetings with both your linguistics advisor and your ARHU advisor (if it says that your block is for "department and college advising"). In this meeting, we will take stock of where you are in the major, and talk about your choices for classes in the coming semester and down the road.

You do not have to wait for an advising block to come talk to your linguistics advisor. Any time you would like advice about courses in the coming semester or you want to talk about anything else, feel free to make an appointment and come in for a chat.

You should also feel free to send an email if you have a quick question that you think can be answered easily over email.

In preparation for the meeting with the linguistics advisor, you should:

  1. Make sure to read over this entire web guide to majoring, and the FAQ page.

  2. Read over the linguistics roadmaps and think about which track you would like to do (if you need more information in order to decide, bring your questions to the advising meeting and your advisor can help you).

  3. Look at what courses are offered on Testudo for the coming semester and think about what you would be interested in taking. Come to your advising meeting with a list of the classes that you are planning to take.

  4. Write down any questions that you have for your linguistics advisor and bring your questions to the meeting.



Undergraduate mailing list

Linguistics has a mailing list for undergraduates. If you're a Linguistics major, you should make sure to be on the list. If you don't, you're going to miss important announcements.

To subscribe, unsubscribe, or post to the list, go to this Web page.

The Office of Information Technology documentation includes a Basic Guide to Listserv with more information about subscribing, unsubscribing, posting, etc. Those who truly want all the gory details can look at L-Soft's detailed information for Listserv list users.



Double majors and degrees

What is the difference in requirements between a double major and a double degree?

In both cases, you will fulfill all of the requirements for both majors. Declaring a double major is just a matter of going through the regular process of declaring a major in each of the departments that you want to major in. You will need to choose which will be your "primary major" and which will be your "secondary major".

According to the Undergraduate Catalog, a double degree requires 150 credits instead of the normal 120 credits for a single degree. Also, there is a restriction on how many credits may overlap between your two majors if you do a double degree, but not if you do a double major. See the Undergrad Catalog and/or talk to an ARHU advisor for more information.


Questions about majoring