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Academic Program

The Linguistics Department offers a course major, a course minor, an honors major, and an honors minor. In addition, a special course major and a special honors major are offered in linguistics and languages.  Language courses do not count towards the elective requirements for the major/minor. Examples of these courses include LING 011, 012, 024, 033, 057, and 059. If you're unsure about whether a course falls into this category, please contact the chair.  Students may count towards the major or minor up to one elective course taken with CR/NC grading. This restriction does not apply to courses taken in the first semester at Swarthmore or in other cases where regular letter grades are not available. Students who wish to petition for an exception or change to a particular major/minor requirement should fill out the form at [link] and submit it to the department chair. These requests will be granted at the discretion of the chair, in consultation with appropriate faculty members.

Off-Campus Study

Linguistics majors and minors frequently study abroad, and are encouraged to do so. There is no limit on the number of courses taken abroad or in other off-campus programs that may count towards the major or minor. Usually these will count as electives, but the chair may approve relevant courses to fulfil core major requirements.

Table of Contents

Course Major

Special Course Major: Linguistics and Languages

Special Major in Educational Studies & Linguistics

Course Minor

Honors Major

Honors Special Major Linguistics and Languages

Honors Minor

Course Major

The course major in linguistics consists of at least eight credits in linguistics, including all of the following:

  1. Phonetics & Phonology: LING 45/H115.
  2. Syntax: LING 50/H113/B113.
  3. Semantics: LING 40/H114.
  4. A course in language, culture, and society from the following: LING 21 Anthropological Linguistics, LING 25/H125 Sociolinguistics, LING 41 Dialects of American English, LING 44 Linguistic Discrimination, LING 46 / H146 Linguistic Diversity, LING/ANTH B281 Language in the Social Context. Other courses which are not being used to fulfill another major requirement may be used here with approval of the chair.
  5. A course in the Structure of a Non-Indo-European Language: typically LING 61 (Navajo), 67 (Wamesa), 68 (Kyrgyz), H282 (Chinese), or H215 (Colonial Valley Zapotec).
  6. LING 100/H399/B399, in which students complete and defend a one-credit senior thesis. This course constitutes the comprehensive requirement for the major.
  7. Two additional electives in linguistics.

Special Course Major: Linguistics and Languages

The special course major in linguistics and languages consists of at least twelve credits: six credits in linguistics and three credits in each of two languages. The languages can be ancient or modern. Students must complete each of the following:

  1. A course in Phonetics & Phonology from the following list: LING 45/H115.
  2. A course in Syntax: LING 50/H113/B113.
  3. A course in Semantics from the following list: LING 40/H114.
  4. A course in Language, Culture, & Society (see course major).
  5. A course in the Structure of a Non-Indo-European Language (see course major).
  6. LING 100/H101/B101, in which students complete and defend a one-credit senior thesis. This course constitutes the comprehensive requirement for the major.

Contact the Modern Languages Department, the Spanish Department, and the Classics Department to find out the necessary courses to complete the language part of this special major.

Some work in each foreign language included in the major must be done in the student’s junior or senior year.

If one or both of the foreign languages is modern, the student must study abroad for at least one semester in an area appropriate for one of the foreign languages.

Special Major in Educational Studies & Linguistics

See www.swarthmore.edu/educational-studies/course-majors-and-minors for requirements.

Course Minor

Four minors are offered, each totaling five credits (courses below plus any other two credits in linguistics):

  • Theory: LING 40/H114, LING 45/H115, LING 50/H113/B113
  • Phonology/Morphology: LING 43, LING 45/H115, and LING 25 or LING 52
  • Syntax/Semantics: LING 40/H114, LING 43, LING 50/H113/B113
  • Language and Society:
    • Any two of LING 21 Anthropological Linguistics, LING 25/H125 Sociolinguistics, LING 41 Dialects of American English, LING 44 Linguistic Discrimination, LING 46/H146 Linguistic Diversity, LING/ANTH B281 Language in the Social Context, or LING 82 Sociolinguistics II.
    • One additional course on socio- or anthropological linguistics. This may be a third course from the list above, a First-Year Seminar, or another relevant elective.
  • Individualized: Student may choose five courses in linguistics and provide justification why the courses form a coherent minor.

Honors Major

The honors major in linguistics consists of ten credits in linguistics, and includes all of the following:

  1. A course in Phonetics & Phonology: LING 45/H115.
  2. A course in Syntax: LING 50/H113/B113.
  3. A course in Semantics: LING 40/H114.
  4. A course in language, culture, and society (see course major).
  5. A course in the Structure of a Non-Indo-European Language: (see course major).
  6. LING 195, in which students complete and defend a two-credit senior thesis. This course constitutes the comprehensive requirement for the major.
  7. Two electives in linguistics.
  8. Complete and defend an honors major portfolio as explained in Doing Honors in Linguistics.

Honors Special Major Linguistics and Languages

The special honors major in linguistics and languages consists of the following Linguistics classes and three credits in each of two languages. The languages can be ancient or modern. Students must complete each of the following:

  1. A course in Phonetics & Phonology from the following list: LING 45/H115.
  2. A course in Syntax: LING 50/H113/B113.
  3. A course in Semantics from the following list: LING 40/H114.
  4. A course in Language, Culture, & Society (see course major).
  5. A course in the Structure of a Non-Indo-European Language (see course major).
  6. LING 195, in which students complete and defend a two-credit senior thesis. This course constitutes the comprehensive requirement for the major.
  7. Complete and defend an honors major portfolio as explained in Doing Honors in Linguistics.

Honors Minor

If a student is a course major in Linguistics as well as an honors minor in Linguistics, they will write a two-credit thesis in LING 195 constituting the thesis required for the course major and the portfolio for the honors minor.

Honors minors who are not course majors in linguistics will satisfy the course minor and complete and defend their honors minor portfolio as explained in Doing Honors in Linguistics.