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Undergraduate: Linguistics

  • Program Overview

    Linguistics (LIN)

    Linguistics is the science of language. Language is at once the most diverse and the most clearly structured aspect of human behavior. It distinguishes humans from other species and much of human culture depends on it. Understanding the nature of human language is therefore a key to understanding human nature. Linguistics seeks to discover the common features of the languages of the world's peoples, to understand how languages change over time, and how language relates to other aspects of human society.

    The major in Linguistics is designed to provide graduates with a set of skills and a body of knowledge. A graduate will have the skills to analyze the most important features of language: sounds, words, sentences, and conversation, using both formal and experimental methods. Students will also learn what linguists know about the languages of the world, their history and structure, and how language interacts with many facets of all cultures.

    The Department also prepares its majors for  provisional certification as Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages in New York State (TESOL) from kinder­garten through grade 12. Candidates for TESOL certification must follow a specific track within the major, which includes a semester of student teaching. Approximately one-quarter of Linguistics majors elect this track in the major. It is also common for Linguistics majors to have a second major, either in a language or in an adjacent field such as psychology or computer science.

    Options for further education that are taken by graduates include professional school in such areas as speech pathology and law, and graduate school in linguistics, philosophy, psychology, and computer science. A few graduates have gone on to technical positions in industry that involve speech engineering.

    Instruction in uncommonly taught lan­guages not offered elsewhere in the Univer­sity is provided by the Department of Linguistics.

  • Degrees and Requirements

    Requirements for the Major and Minor in Linguistics

    Requirements for the Major in Linguistics

    The major in Linguistics leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree. Requirements for TESOL certification are detailed following the Linguistics minor and honors program listings. 

    Completion of the major requires 39 credits in linguistics and two semesters of a foreign language in addition to the Uni­versity's language proficiency requirement. All linguistics courses offered for the major must be passed with a letter grade of C or higher.

    1. LIN 101 Human Language
    2. LIN 201 Phonetics
    3. LIN 301 Phonology
    4. LIN 311 Syntax
    5. LIN 431 The Structure of an Uncommonly Taught Language
    6. Six additional linguistics courses, of which 5 must be upper-division (LIN 355 and/or LIN 356 may be taken up to two times for this requirement. LIN 344, 454, 475, 476, 488 and 495 may not be used for elective credit)
    7. Two semesters of foreign language after completing DEC Entry Skill 3/LANG. These may be either in the same language with which the entry skill was met, or in one or two other languages.
    8. LIN 405 Writing in Linguisitics: In the junior or senior year, students must successfully complete LIN 405, a two-credit course. LIN 405 satisfies the Stony Brook Curriculum (SBC) learning objective WRTD.

    1. Students may count up to two linguistics-related courses from other departments toward the Linguistics major, with prior permission of the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

    Requirements for the Minor in Linguistics

    The minor in Linguistics requires 20 credits.

    1. LIN 101 Human Language
    2. LIN 201 Phonetics
    3. LIN 311 Syntax
    4. Three additional linguistics courses, of which 2 must be upper-division (LIN 355 and/or LIN 356 may be taken up to two times for this requirement. LIN 344, 454, 475, 476, 488 and 495 may not be used for elective credit)

    1. One of the courses required for the minor may be taken for Pass/No Credit. All other courses must be passed with C or better. 

    2. Linguistics minors that are closely integrated with students' majors are strongly encouraged. Fields with which linguistics has special affinities include: anthropology, psychology, English, foreign languages, philosophy, and computer science.

    3. With department approval, a maximum of one 3 credit course taken in another department may be applied as a LIN major elective.

    Honors Program

    Linguistics majors who have maintained a g.p.a. of 3.50 in the major are eligible to graduate with departmental honors. An additional requirement for honors is the submission and presentation of a senior thesis based on research performed during the senior year. Students must submit a written thesis proposal for approval to a sponsoring faculty member in the semester prior to the start of their senior year. Acceptance into the honors program depends on approval of the proposal by the sponsoring faculty member, the director of undergraduate studies and the department. 

    LIN 495 and LIN 496 will be taken as a 2 semester sequence during the senior year, for a total of six credits. Students will receive only one grade upon completion of the sequence. These courses must be taken in addition to the total credits required for the major. The student's thesis must be completed and the student must have a public presentation of their research no later than three weeks prior to the end of the semester in which they are enrolled in LIN 496. The thesis will be read and evaluated by a committee consisting of the student's sponsor, a member of the Department of Linguistics, and one other faculty member, as arranged by the Director of Undergraduate Studies. 

    If the thesis is accepted by the committee and the student retains a 3.50 g.p.a. for all linguistics courses taken, the Department will recommend that honors be conferred.

    Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Teacher Education Program

    The TESOL Teacher Education Program prepares undergraduates for initial certification as Pre-K-12 teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages. Prospective applicants must consult with the Director of TESOL Teacher Preparation and Certification TESOL Certification Director and the Undergraduate Director in Linguistics as early as possible in their academic careers to ensure completion of the program requirements in a timely manner. Academic requirements for admission to this program are a major in Linguistics, completion of LIN 101, and LIN 201 and/or LIN 311 with a grade of C or higher, an overall GPA of 3.0 and a GPA in the major of 3.0. Students wishing to apply should consult the department website for application deadlines and a full list of required application materials. Students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 in order to remain in the program. 
    See also information on Teacher preparation programs, TESOL teacher education program.

    Requirements for Initial Certification 

    A.  Linguistics courses:

    • LIN 101 Human Language
    • LIN 201 Phonetics
    • LIN 301 Phonology
    • LIN 307 Introduction to Sociolinguistics
    • LIN 311 Syntax
    • LIN 405  Writing in Linguistics
    • LIN 431 Structure of an Uncommonly Taught Language
    • Three additional 3 credit linguistics courses one of which may be lower division. (LIN 355 and/or LIN 356 may be taken up to two times for this requirement. LIN 344, 454, 475, 476, 488 and 495 may not be used for elective credit).
    • Two years of college-level study of a language or languages other than English. Completion of Skill 3/LANG satisfies the first year of this requirement. The additional year may in the same, or one or two languages. 

    B. Students must maintain a 3.0 g.p.a. overall and a 3.0 g.p.a in the major in order to remain in the program. Students electing TESOL may not take any courses required for certification for Pass/No Credit.

    C. Professional educational requirements:

    1. PSY 327 Introduction to Human Development
    2. CEF 347 Introduction to Special Education
    3. SSE 350 Foundations of Education
    4. LIN 344 Language Acquisition and Literacy Development
    5. LIN 375 TESOL Pedagogy: Theory and Practice
    6. LIN 378 Content-based Language and Literacy Development
    7. LIN 449 Field Experience I (1 credit co-requisite of LIN 375)
    8. LIN 450 Field Experience II (1 credit co-requisite of LIN 378)
    9. LIN 451 Supervised Student Teaching in TESOL (grades P-6)
    10. LIN 452 Supervised Student Teaching in TESOL (grades 7-12)
    11. LIN 454 Managing Instruction, Assessment, and Resources 

    Note: Students are encouraged to check course schedules, prerequisites and co-requisites carefully.

    Five-Year Accelerated B.A./M.A. Program with Teacher Certification in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

    In addition to the regular B.A. program in Linguistics with teacher certification and the regular M.A. in TESOL, the Linguistics department offers a five-year accelerated B.A./M.A. degree program with concentration in TESOL. Upon completion of the five-year program, graduates will hold a Bachelor's degree in Linguistics, New York State teaching certification in TESOL, and a Master's degree in TESOL. The combined program will allow students the opportunity to complete these requirements one semester sooner than students who complete the programs sequentially. The accelerated program is restricted to students with an outstanding undergraduate record who are expected to excel in the graduate program. 

    During the first four semesters as an undergraduate, students in the accelerated program will pursue a normal course of study for the B.A. in Linguistics with New York State certification in TESOL. Students must apply to the five-year accelerated program in the second semester of the sophomore year. During the third year of study students will take two pedagogy courses and the field components associated with them at the graduate level, and will student-teach in the second semester of the fourth year. They will then enter the graduate program prepared to complete the M.A. degree in one year of full-time study. 

    The following are the minimum requirements for admission to the accelerated program:

    1. A minimum GPA of 3.0 overall and 3.3 in linguistics courses;
    2. The admissions essay;
    3. Recommendations from two linguistics faculty members;
    4. Interviews with the Undergraduate Director in Linguistics and the Director of the TESOL program.

    Five-Year Accelerated B.A./M.A.T. Degrees in Linguistics and Language

    Stony Brook Linguistics offers three B.A-M.A.T. programs for students specializing in linguistics and a foreign language  

    • Five-year program in Linguistics and French
    • Five-year program in Linguistics and Italian
    • Five-year program in Linguistics and Spanish 

    These 5-year programs allow students to complete a BA with a double major in Linguistics and French, or Linguistics and Italian, or Linguistics and Spanish, plus an MAT in French, Italian, or Spanish, as well as dual certification in ESL/ENL (grades K-12) and French, Italian, or Spanish (grades 7-12). This program can be completed in 5 years with careful planning. For more information, please consult:





  • Sequence

    Sample Course Sequence for the Major in Linguistics

    For more information about SBC courses that fulfill major requirements, click here.


    FALL Credits
    First Year Seminar 101 1
    WRT 101 3
    LIN 101 3
    Foreign language 111 4
    SBC 3
     Total 14
    SPRING Credits
    First Year Seminar 102 1
    WRT 102
    SBC 3
    Foreign language 112 4
    LIN 201 4
     Total 15

    FALL Credits
    LIN 307 3
    Foreign language 211 3
    LIN 345 3
    SBC 3
    SBC  3
     Total 15
    SPRING Credits
    LIN 356 3
    LIN 311 4
    Foreign language 212  3
    SBC  3
    SBC  3
     Total 16

    FALL Credits
    LIN 330 3
    LIN 301 4
    SBC 3
    Upper-division SBC  3
    Upper-division SBC  3
     Total 16
    SPRING Credits
    LIN 405 2
    LIN 431 4
    Upper-division SBC 3
    Upper-division SBC 3
    Upper-division SBC 3
     Total 15

    FALL Credits
    LIN 425  3
    Upper-division Elective  3
    Upper-division Elective  3
    SBC  3
    SBC  3
     Total 15
    SPRING Credits
    LIN 426 3
    Upper-division Elective  3
    Upper-division Elective   3 
    Upper-division Elective  3
    Upper-division Elective 3
     Total 15


  • Contact

    Linguistics (LIN)

    Major and Minor in Linguistics

    Department of Linguistics, College of Arts and Sciences

    Chair: Lori Repetti

    Director of Undergraduate Studies: Marie K. Huffman

    Assistant to the Chair: Sandra Brennan

    Office: S-201 Social and Behavioral Sciences

    Phone: (631) 632-7777










  • Courses