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Linguistics

Department Overview

A210 Padelford

Linguistics is the scientific study of language, which is one of the most characteristic human attributes. In contrast to other language-related disciplines, linguistics is concerned with describing the rule-governed structures of languages, determining the extent to which these structures are universal or language-particular, positing constraints on possible linguistic structures, and explaining why there is only a fairly narrow range of possible human languages.

Undergraduate Program

Adviser
A215 Padelford, Box 354340
(206) 685-4846
lingadv@uw.edu

The Department of Linguistics offers the following programs of study:

  • The Bachelor of Arts degree with options in general linguistics and Romance linguistics
  • A minor in linguistics
  • A minor in American sign language

Bachelor of Arts

General Linguistics

Suggested First- and Second-Year College Courses: LING 400 or other introductory course in linguistics. One year of a foreign language that belongs to a different family from the student's native language.

Department Admission Requirements
  1. Completion of at least the third quarter, or equivalent, of a foreign language, with a minimum 2.0 grade
  2. Completion of at least one writing (W) course and two quantitative and symbolic reasoning (QSR) courses, with a minimum 2.0 grade in each course and a cumulative 2.50 GPA in the three courses
  3. The department accepts students who meet the minimum requirements stated above, but recognizes that a 2.50 GPA or higher is indicative of the motivation and academic skills needed for a reasonable probability of success in the program.
Major Requirements

80 credits, as follows:

  1. LING 400 or other introductory course in linguistics
  2. LING 450, LING 451, LING 461, LING 462
  3. At least one of LING 432, LING 442, or LING 481
  4. At least one year of each of two languages, one of which must belong to a language family different than the student's native language, with a minimum grade of 2.0 in the third quarter of each language
  5. 20 additional credits of departmentally approved courses in linguistics.

Romance Linguistics

Suggested First- and Second-Year Courses: Two college years of study in a Romance language; LING 400 or other introductory course in linguistics
Department Admission Requirements
  1. Completion of at least one year of college work in a single Romance language
  2. Completion of at least one writing (W) course and two quantitative and symbolic reasoning (QSR) courses, with a minimum 2.0 grade in each course and a cumulative 2.50 GPA in the three courses
  3. The department accepts students who meet the minimum requirements stated above, but recognizes that a GPA of 2.50 or higher is indicative of the motivation and academic skills needed for a reasonable probability of success in the program.
Major Requirements

Minimum 63 credits, as follows:

  1. LING 400 or another introductory course in linguistics
  2. LING 450, LING 451, LING 461, and LING 462
  3. 15 credits at the 300 level or higher of one Romance language
  4. LING 419
  5. 20 additional credits of departmentally approved courses in linguistics, with at least one course for which a research paper on a Romance language is written

Minors

Linguistics -- Minor Requirements: 32 credits to include LING 400 or another introductory course in linguistics; three courses from LING 432, LING 442, LING 450, LING 451, LING 461, LING 462, or LING 481; 12 additional credits from a list of departmentally approved courses in linguistics, 6 of which must be in upper-division courses

American Sign Language -- Minor Requirements: 33-35 credits as follows:

  1. Second-year American Sign Language (15 credits): ASL 201; ASL 202; ASL 203
  2. Culture and History (3 credits): ASL 305
  3. Theory and Structure (8-10 credits): LING 400 or LING 461; either ASL 343 or LING 403
  4. Approved 300- 400-level electives (minimum 7 credits). See adviser for approved list.
  5. Minimum 2.00 cumulative GPA for all courses applied to the minor
  6. Minimum 18 credits from outside student's major requirements

Student Outcomes and Opportunities

  • Learning Objectives and Expected Outcomes: The study of linguistics emphasizes formal reasoning and critical thinking skills. Linguists' skill sets include the ability to analyze sound, word, and sentence structures of individual languages; the ability to understand and account for how languages change in certain patterns; the ability to understand how social factors can affect language, how people learn their first or second languages; and the ability to find out and appreciate how apparently vastly different languages can be governed by the same set of rules. Linguistics is a valuable component of liberal education and vocationally can have applications wherever language itself becomes a matter of practical concern. Graduates have a good foundation for pursuing further training and careers in teaching languages, in areas of rehabilitative medicine such as audiology or speech therapy, in special education, in work with native peoples or with immigrant groups, in lexicographic work, in interpretation and translation, in work in computer science and artificial intelligence, or in academic disciplines such as psychology, philosophy, literature and language studies, where the contribution of linguistics is recognized. An undergraduate degree in linguistics from the UW also serves as preparation for graduate work in linguistics or language-related fields such as speech and hearing science or language teaching.
  • Instructional and Research Facilities: The Language Learning Center located in Denny Hall provides audio and video services facilitating language learning. It also has a computer laboratory providing instructional software for linguistics and varieties of languages. Departmental facilities include a phonetics laboratory for students conducting phonetic experiments and doing digital acoustic analyses, a linguistics library that supplements the linguistics collection of the UW libraries and provides a quite study place, and a computer laboratory for research in computational linguistics.
  • Honors Options Available: With College Honors (Completion of both Honors Core Curriculum and Honors requirements in the major). With Honors (Completion of Departmental Honors requirements). See adviser for requirements.
  • Research, Internships, and Service Learning: None offered
  • Department Scholarships: None offered
  • Student Organizations/Associations: The Linguistics Undergraduate Association (LingUA)

Graduate Program

Graduate Program Coordinator
A210B Padelford, Box 354340
(206) 543-2046
phoneme@uw.edu

The Department of Linguistics offers a program of study for graduate students leading to the degrees of Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy. The program is administered by the departmental faculty. The major interest of the core faculty lies in syntax, semantics, phonetics, phonology, sociolinguistics, computational linguistics, and in theoretical aspects of second-language acquisition.

Some course work is also available in various cooperating departments. Among those fields represented outside the department are psycholinguistics, philosophy of language, speech synthesis, and the structure and history of a number of individual languages and language families.

Master of Arts

An MA is not required as a prerequisite to PhD study.

Degree Requirements

Thesis Option

  1. Minimum 35 credits - LING 507, LING 508, LING 532, LING 551, LING 552, either LING 550 or LING 553, either LING 542 or LING 579
  2. Language Requirement: Satisfied by one of the following:
    1. One year of study at the university or community college level. Students who are language instructors in other UW departments can use their language teaching experience to satisfy one language requirement.
    2. A major research project that involves significant primary data collection that includes substantial structural analysis and results in a major paper such as a generals paper
    3. Translation exam to demonstrate the ability to read linguistic literature in a foreign language; only one of the two language requirements for the PhD can be satisfied through the translation exam
  3. A thesis, written under the supervision of a Linguistics faculty member, and accepted by a second faculty reader. Normally the work is completed in 10 credits of LING 700.

Non-thesis Option: Students who pass the General Exam will automatically receive an M.A. degree in General Linguistics; the Generals papers and Exam constitute the capstone project necessary for a masterís degree (or the student may complete the thesis model below).

Master of Science in Computational Linguistics

Admission Requirements

  1. The ability to program, including knowledge of data structures and algorithms (equivalent to CSE 373); broad familiarity with C++ and Java; expertise in C++ or Java; and Perl and/or Python.
  2. A college-level introductory course in linguistics or equivalent
  3. Introduction to statistics and probability (equivalent to STAT 391)
  4. Some knowledge of languages other than English is strongly encouraged.
  5. A one- or two-page statement of purpose.
  6. Two or three letters of recommendation, preferably from people familiar with the applicant's academic work
  7. A sample of the applicant's academic work (required for applicants who have completed their previous degree within the past two years. Other applicants who wish to send samples of academic work are encouraged to do so). Types of samples include coding projects (together with write-ups), theses and term papers.
  8. One complete set of official transcripts
  9. International applicants must meet UW English language proficiency requirements. For more information, please refer to Memo 8: Graduate School English Language Proficiency Requirements.

Degree Requirements

43 credits, as follows:

  1. Required Courses: LING 450, LING 566
  2. One additional 400- or 500-level course in phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, or pragmatics
  3. Computational Linguistics Courses: LING 570, LING 571, LING 572, LING 573
  4. One elective in computational linguistics and one elective in computational linguistics or a related area
  5. At least 10 credits of LING 600 or LING 700

Doctor of Philosophy

In addition to the general Linguistics PhD program, an option is offered Computational Linguistics. Variations in requirements are shown below.

Admission Requirements

Three letters of recommendation and Graduate Record Examination scores are required for all applicants. Applicants should send the department a copy of their master's thesis or a paper of high quality, or both.

Degree Requirements

Minimum 90 credits

General Linguistics

  1. Required courses (35 credits): LING 507, LING 508, LING 532, LING 551, LING 552, LING 550 or LING 553, LING 542 or LING 579
  2. Additional courses for a minimum of 90 credits (27 of which are LING 800) to be determined by specialization and consultation with the Supervisory Committee
  3. 3. Language knowledge requirement: Non-Computational Linguistics graduate students must satisfy two natural language requirements for the PhD through the following:
    1. One year of study at the university or community college level. Students who are language instructors in other UW departments can use their language teaching experience to satisfy one language requirement.
    2. A major research project that involves significant primary data collection that includes substantial structural analysis and results in a major paper such as a generals paper
    3. Translation examination to demonstrate the ability to read linguistic literature in a foreign language; only one of the two language requirements for the PhD can be satisfied through the translation examination.
  4. Colloquium conference talks: Two papers delivered at a colloquium or conference
  5. Constitution of the PhD committee by the end of the second year of study
  6. Generals papers: Two generals papers in different areas, at least one in grammatical theory. (Normally 10 credits of LING 600.)
  7. General examination: An oral examination, in which the candidate is questioned on the two papers. The oral examination may not be scheduled until the committee has read the two papers and approved them as passing.
  8. Dissertation prospectus: Within six months of the oral examination, the student presents a formal dissertation proposal to the subset of the PhD Supervisory Committee members who constitute the reading committee, along with a proposed calendar for completion of the dissertation.
  9. Final examination: A final examination on the dissertation attended by the candidateís Supervisory Committee and open to others interested
  10. Dissertation: Suitable for publication
  11. All-but-dissertation (ABD) requirement: All degree requirements except for the dissertation and the two colloquia must be completed before the general examination.

Computational Linguistics Option

Admission Requirements

Students who complete the Computational Linguistics Master of Science degree (CLMS) and who wish to be admitted to PhD study in linguistics must satisfy the following:

  1. Completion of CLMS degree requirements
  2. Completion of master's thesis option
  3. Completion of three courses required for the Linguistics PhD (Computational Linguistics track), subject to the following restrictions: (a) Courses must be taught by at least two non Computational Linguistics faculty; (b) Courses may not include LING 570 through LING 573
  4. The required general linguistics courses for the Computational Linguistics track PhD is as shown below.
  5. Degree Requirements

    Requirements are the same as for the General Linguistics option, except for the following:

    1. Required courses: two from LING 507, LING 508, LING 566; two from LING 550, LING 551, LING 552, LING 553; one from LING 542, LING 579; one from LING 532, LING 533; three from LING 567, LING 570, LING 571, LING 572, LING 573
    2. Language knowledge requirement: Computational Linguistics students must fulfill only one language requirement, but may not use a translation examination to do so.
    3. Generals papers: Same as for the General Linguistics program except a masterís thesis completed as part of the CLMS program may count as one of the two generals papers.
    4. Transition from the CLMS to PhD program is done in two steps:
      1. Step 1: Entering the General Linguistics graduate program registered as a post-masterís program student: Students may apply for admission to the Linguistics graduate program after receiving their CLMS degree; admission decision is made by the Computational Linguistics faculty; after admission, students pay regular UW tuition for courses.
      2. Step 2: Entering the Linguistics PhD program: Students may apply for admission to the PhD program after completing all requirements listed above; admission decision is made by the full linguistics faculty. If all requirements are completed upon receipt of the CLMS degree, Steps 1 and 2 may be completed simultaneously.