Admission to the Major

After passing Linguistics 211 and Linguistics 212 (or equivalent courses), the prospective Linguistics major must present a plan of study to the department for approval.

Requirements for the Major

  1. Our introductory series: LING211 and LING212.
  2. Five additional courses in linguistics (or cross-listed in Linguistics).
  3. Competence in two languages other than English, equivalent to at least second-year college-level proficiency in one language, and at least first-year college-level proficiency in the second. (Students may demonstrate competence through Reed coursework, coursework completed elsewhere for transfer credit, placement exams, or some combination of these).
  4. A total of four units in an allied field. Courses used for the allied field may not be used to fulfill requirements 1, 2, or 3 above, but they may be cross-listed with Linguistics. Typical allied fields include Anthropology, Psychology, Mathematics, Philosophy, General Literature, or a foreign language. Other choices of allied field are also acceptable, as appropriate to the needs and interests of the student, and subject to the approval of the department. 
  5. Passing the take-home junior qualifying examination in either Grammatical Analysis (GA) or Research Design (RD), no earlier than enrolling in a fifth unit of linguistics.
  6. Linguistics 470 (thesis), which may, as appropriate, be jointly supervised by faculty members from linguistics and an allied field.


  1. Further courses in the allied field and in Linguistics.
  2. At least one classical language or one non-Indo-European language as part of, or in addition to, the language requirement above. Additionally, more advanced competence in the languages used to meet that requirement.
  3. Courses in anthropology, psychology, literature, and/or philosophy, in addition to courses in the student’s chosen allied field, if it is not one of these. Students’ attention is particularly drawn to those courses dealing with poetry, prose style, and the grammars of individual languages, both modern and classical, in the Division of Literature and Languages; courses on logic and the philosophy of language; courses on semiotics and linguistic anthropology; and courses on cognition, mental representations, and psycholinguistics.

Group and Division Applicability

Of the courses described here, the following courses may be counted toward the Group D requirement: 211, 296, 312, 320, 321, 323, 324, 328, 329, 331, 336, 337, 341, 350, 352, and 393.

The following courses may be counted toward the Group B requirement: 212, 221, 296, 313, 326, 330, 332, 335, 337, 338, 348, 393, 411, and 440.

If taken as Anthropology courses, the following courses count toward divisional requirements in History and Social Sciences: 334, 348, 411, and 440.

Note: Linguistics 211 and 212 cannot be taken together to fulfill a single group requirement.

Sample First and Second year Programs: 

Courses Typically taken by a first year Linguistics major: 

FALL                                                    SPRING

Hum 110                                               Hum 110

Group or allied field course                     Psych/Ling 296, or allied field course

Group C course                                      Group C course

Psych, Math, or foreign language             Psych, Math, or foreign language

Note: First year students are eligible to enroll in Linguistics 211 and 212 if there is space available in these courses.


Courses typically taken by a second year Linguistics major:

FALL                                                    SPRING

Linguistics 211                                       Linguistics 212

Linguistics or allied field course               Linguistics 323, or other Linguistics or allied field course

Foreign language                                   Foreign language

Group or elective course                        Group or elective course

Off-campus study options: Majors interested in studying abroad are recommended to complete the study abroad program during the spring semester of sophomore or junior year. Potential majors should consult with a member of the Linguistics department as soon as possible for help in planning their course of study.