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Course planning for Linguistics majors

When in doubt about the requirements for this (or any) major, check the CSULB Catalog. If there is a conflict between what’s written in the Catalog and elsewhere, the Catalog is what counts.

What courses are required for the major?

Linguistics majors must take 6 core courses, 8 electives, and fulfill a language requirement.

  • Required core courses:
    • 101 Introduction to the World’s Languages (GE category D2, Global Issues)
    • 170 Introduction to Linguistics
    • 325 Modern English Grammar
    • 329 Language Acquisition (GE category E)
    • 420 Phonology (prereq: 170)
    • 421 Syntax (prereq: 325)
  • Electives (choose any 8)
    • 301 Introduction to Research Methods (prereq: 170)
    • 363 Implications of Human Language (GE Writing Intensive Capstone)
    • 379 Sociolinguistics (prereq: 170) [spring only]
    • 401 Corpus Linguistics (prereq: 170) [fall only]
    • 413 Language and Culture (prereq: 170)
    • 423 Semantics [fall only]
    • 425 Education Across Cultures
    • 426 History of the English Language [fall only]
    • 428 Applied Linguistics (prereq: 170) [not currently offered]
    • 433 Survey of Discourse Analysis (prereq: 170) [offered occasionally]
    • 438 Psycholinguistics (prereq: 170) [spring only]
    • 460 TESOL Composition (prereq: 325)
    • 470 Language and Gender in Cross-Cultural Perspective [spring only]
    • 472 Language and Discrimination [fall only]
    • 490 Special Topics in Linguistics [offered occasionally]
  • Language requirement: four semesters or demonstrate equivalent proficiency.

What order should I take the courses in?

Take the six required courses at the earliest opportunity. If you leave a required course until the last semester, you might have to delay graduation if you can’t fit the course in. Also, plan ahead how you will finish your language requirement.

First priority: 101 and 170. Of these, 170 is higher priority, because it is the prerequisite for many other courses.

Second priority: 325 and 329. Of these, 325 is higher priority, because it is the prerequisite for 421 and 460.

Third priority: 420 and 421.

Fourth priority: Electives. Among electives, prioritize those that are offered Fall only or Spring only.

Substitute electives

Normally, electives are chosen from the list above. However, there is some flexibility in this area:

Linguistics courses in other departments You can petition to count up to 6 units of linguistics coursework from another department. The courses need to be upper-division (300 or 400 level), on a topic in linguistics but not strongly overlapped with one of our courses. Examples might include FREN 414 (French Phonetics), JAPN 462 (Contrastive Analysis of Japanese and English) or ITAL 414 (History of the Italian Language). BEFORE taking the course, ask the instructor for a recent syllabus, and bring it to the advisor.

Graduate courses: Seniors with a strong GPA can petition to take graduate level LING courses (500 and above) as electives. See the advisor for details.

Can I count LING 486 as an elective? This is more a pedagogy course than a linguistics course. We occasionally allow it to count as a last resort, usually in a situation where it’s your final semester and nothing else fits your schedule. Otherwise, no.

Can I count LING 339 as an elective? Under no circumstances. LING 339 overlaps too much with LING 329 in content.

Other course recommendations for linguists

A linguistics degree tends to be most useful when combined with practical skills, such as knowledge of foreign languages, computer science, writing, or statistics. The courses below do not count towards the major, but do complement the major well.

Computer skills: These are useful in almost any job, but especially in computational linguistics. Some courses you might try include:

  • ETEC 110: Introduction to Computers as Tools (1 unit)
  • ETEC 171: Critical Thinking Using Computer Technology (GE category A3)
  • CECS 100: Critical Thinking in the Digital Information Age (GE category A3)
  • CECS 110: Web Design I
  • CECS 170: Introduction to Programming and Problem Solving [prereq: CECS 100 and MATH 113 or equivalent]
  • CECS 202: The Digital Information Age (GE category B1b)
  • IS 100: Critical Thinking and Information Technology Literacy (GE category A3)
  • IS 233: Introduction to Computer Systems and Applications

Writing skills: Many linguists go into fields that involve writing. Courses from CSULB’s Certificate in Technical and Professional Communication are good background.

Languages: Languages are most useful if you study them to an advanced level (preferably third or fourth year).

Statistics: LING 301 covers some statistics; you can get further background in courses such as PSY 210 (Introductory Statistics) and PSY 310 (Intermediate Statistics). Statistics is especially useful if you are interested in research or computational linguistics.