Carnegie Mellon Linguistics Program

The Major in Linguistics

Faculty Advisor: Professor Werner
Office: Baker Hall 155F
Email: twerner[at]


The Linguistics Major requires a total of 12 courses, which includes 2 semesters of language study. In addition, primary majors in Linguistics are required to write a Senior Thesis in their final year. At least three courses (not including specific language courses) must be at the 300-level or higher. All courses counted towards the major must be taken for a letter grade and passed with a grade of "C" or above. For H&SS students, up to 2 of these courses may be counted also as satisfying the College's General Education requirements (as long as the double-counting maximum established by the college is not exceeded), with permission of the Director.

Introductory Course

  80-180 Nature of Language

Fundamental Skills
Take one course from each of the following core subject areas:

Sounds 80-282 Phonetics and Phonology
Structure 80-280 Linguistic Analysis
  76-389 Rhetorical Grammar
  80-283 Syntax and Discourse
Meaning 80-381 Meaning in Language
  80-383 Language in Use
  76-385 Discourse Analysis

Take one course from each of the following breadth subject areas:

    Area 1: Language Learning and Language Cognition
  76-420 Process of Reading and Writing
  82-280 Learning about Language Learning
  82-383 Introduction to Second Language Acquisition
  82-585 Topics in Second Language Acquisition
  85-354 Language acquisition in Infancy and Childhood
  85-421 Language and Thought

    Area 2: Discourse, Society and Culture
  76-318 Communicating in the Global Marketplace
  76-385 Introduction to Discourse Analysis
(if not used to fulfill a core requirement)
  76-386 Language and Culture
  82-273 Introduction to Japanese Language and Culture
  82-305 *French in its Social Contexts
  82-311 *Arabic Language and Culture 1
  82-312 *Arabic Language and Culture 2
  82-333 Introduction to Chinese Language and Culture
  82-470 Analysis of Language in a Global Context


Take four additional electives. These can be additional courses from the Fundamental Skills courses or Breadth courses listed above, or any other course which is approved by the Director as a linguistics elective. Listed below are the additional electives taught on a regular basis. Additional appropriate courses are offered irregularly or on a one-off basis. The Director will provide students with a list of possible electives each semester, and will assist students in selecting electives which are consistent with students’ goals and interests.

  76-373 Topics in Rhetoric: Argument
  76-378 Literacy: Educational theory and community practice
  76-451 Topics in Language Study
  76-476 Rhetoric of Science
  76-490 Discourse and Identity
  80-281 Language and Thought (Philosophy)
  80-380 Philosophy of Language
  80-382 Linguistics of Germanic Languages
  82-345 Introduction to Hispanic Literacy and Cultural Studies
(topics vary: consult with Director)
  82-373 *Structure of the Japanese Language
  82-378 *Japanese Conversation Analysis
  82-388 Understanding Second Language Fluency
  82-442 *Analysis of Spoken Spanish
  82-444 *The Structure of Spanish
  82-476 *Japanese Discourse Analysis
  82-480 Social and Cognitive Aspects of Bilingualism
  82-488 Language Learning in a Study Abroad Context
  11-411 Natural Language Processing
  11-716 Graduate Seminar on Dialog Processing
  11-721 Grammars and Lexicons
  11-722 Grammar Formalisms
  11-761 Language and Statistics I
  11-762 Language and Statistics II
  15-492 Special Topc: Speech Processing


Language Requirement
Students must successfully complete two semesters of consecutive language courses. (Note that students may not ‘test out’ of this requirement. However, language courses taken at other institutions or as part of a study abroad program will typically substitute for a semester of language study.)

Senior thesis [primary majors only]
Primary majors must complete a senior thesis (a workload equivalent to a 12-unit course) during their senior year. Topics must be approved by an advisor, who will work with the student and guide the thesis project.

For more details on the thesis requirement, click here.

Courses marked with an asterisk are taught in the language of analysis. All 11-xxx and 15-xxx courses have significant Computer Science prerequisites. Students should consult with the course instructor before enrolling.

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Linguistics Program
Carnegie Mellon University
Baker Hall 155
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890

412.268.3375 Office
412.268.1440 Fax