University of Minnesota
Institute of Linguistics

Undergraduate Studies.

Undergraduate Studies

Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. Our courses explore:

  • the principles governing the structure of natural languages
  • how people use language in social interaction
  • how children and adults acquire languages
  • how languages change over time

Why you should major in linguistics       

You should major in linguistics if you enjoy learning about language. When you major in linguistics, you learn how to study language scientifically. You also develop skills that have general applications, including critical thinking, analytical reasoning, argumentation and effective communication.


The major in linguistics prepares you for a variety of careers by providing courses that require problem solving and data analysis; strong communication skills; independent, self motivated work ethic; critical reading and argumentation skills; and sensitivity to and the ability to work with culturally diverse individuals and groups.

The Linguistic Society of America has published an in-depth article about careers for people who study linguistics.

CLA Career Services provides many resources for exploring career paths, along with job search strategies, resources for finding internships, and information on preparing for graduate school.              

Graduate study in linguistics

Some students continue to do graduate study in linguistics. Students who received bachelor of arts degrees in linguistics at the U of M have been accepted at a wide variety of graduate schools including:

  • University of Minnesota
  • University of Maryland
  • UMass Amherst
  • MIT
  • UCLA
  • University of Texas
  • Texas A&M
  • University of Southern California
  • University of California at Berkeley
  • University of California at Santa Cruz
  • Ohio State University
  • Yale University
  • Harvard University
  • University of Hawaii
  • Oxford University
  • University of Edinburgh

The following are some of the universities and colleges where U of M graduates have taught or are currently teaching:

  • University of Michigan
  • University of California at Irvine
  • Swarthmore College
  • Augsburg College
  • Brigham Young University
  • University of Toronto
  • Stanford University

Contact Information

Portrait: Brian Reese
Brian Reese
Director of Undergraduate Studies

S314 Elliott Hall
Fall advising hours:
Mondays 3:00–4:00
Thursdays 10:00–12:00
and by appointment

Undergraduate News

LSA 2014 Annual Meeting
Three of our Linguistics undergrads have been selected to give talks at the LSA 2014 Annual Meeting, held in Minneapolis this January.  Carolyn Spadine will be presenting “Circumstantial voice and aspect in Malagasy”, Andrew Hedding and Hannah Sande will be presenting “Geminates and weight in Amharic”, and Maria Stolen will be presenting “Fixed aspect in Amharic Conditionals” which she co-authored with Professor Claire Halpert.

Talle Family Scholarships (2013-2014)
Congratulations to our student Christopher Hammerly! Chris has been awarded a Talle Family Scholarship, which provides full tuition support for his senior year. Read more.

Selmer Birkelo Scholarship for 2013-2014
Congratulations to our undergraduate student Mary Elson! Mary was awarded the prestigious Selmer Birkelo scholarship for 2013-2014. The scholarship was awarded on the basis of academic merit, and only 18 students in CLA were awarded the scholarship for 2013-2014. The recipients receive up to $4000.

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