University of Minnesota
Institute of Linguistics

Undergraduate Studies.

Honors Degrees

Linguistics majors who are enrolled in the University Honors Programs have different requirements for completing their major or minor.

Honors requirements are listed below for:

Major requirements for honors

  • A minimum of 34 credits is required for the major.
  • All courses must be completed with grades of C- or better.
  • An overall GPA of at least 2.0 is required for all University of Minnesota major coursework.

Required courses (minimum 19 credits)

  • LING 3001, 3001H, or LING 5001 - Introduction to Linguistics (4 cr.)
  • LING 4201 - Syntax I (3 cr.)
    • You may substitute LING 5201 for LING 4201.
  • LING 4302W - Phonology I (3 cr.)
    • You may substitute LING 5302 for 4302W.
  • LING 5205 - Semantics (3 cr.)
  • LING 4202 - Syntax II (3 cr.) or LING 4303 Phonology II (3 cr.)
    • You may substitute LING 5202 for LING 4202, or LING 5303 for LING 4303.
  • LING 3051 (3 cr) and LING 3052V (3 cr) - Honors Thesis

Exceptions for fulfilling major course requirements

LING 4201 and 5201 cannot both be counted towards the degree requirements, nor can 4302W and 5302, or 4202 and 5202, etc.

Elective courses (15 credits)

For your electives, you may take any course with a LING designator, but no more than 4 credits from a 1xxx-level course. Up to 6 of your elective credits may be taken in an allied discipline, if approved by the director of undergraduate studies.

Minor requirements for honors

  • A minimum of 16 credits is required for the minor.
  • All courses must be completed with grades of C- or better.

Required courses (10 credits)

  • LING 3001, LING 3001H, or LING 5001 - Introduction to Linguistics (4 cr.)
  • Any 2 of the following:                        
    • LING 4201 - Syntax I (3 cr.) You may substitute LING 5201 for LING 4201.
    • LING 4302W - Phonology I (3 cr.) You may substitute LING 5302 for LING 4302W.
    • LING 4002 - Linguistic Analysis (3 cr.)

Elective courses (6 credits)

  • Any course with a LING designator

Exceptions for fulfilling minor course requirements

  • No more than 4 credits in a 1xxx-level class may be used to satisfy the minor requirements.
  • LING 4201 - Syntax I and LING 5201 - Syntactic Theory I cannot both be counted towards the minor requirements.
  • LING 4302W - Phonology I and LING 5302 - Phonological Theory I cannot both be counted towards the minor requirements.

Honors thesis

An honors thesis is required of all honors students majoring in linguistics.

The thesis is completed by registering for the two-semester sequence LING 3051H-3052V. These courses must be taken on an A-F grade basis.

The final thesis usually is 20 - 40 pages, although actual length may vary according to the topic. Summa cum laude theses require the approval of the thesis supervisor and two readers. Magna cum laude, and cum laude theses require the approval of the thesis supervisor.

The first semester is conducted as an independent study under the supervision of a professor with expertise in the subject of the thesis, and usually consists of background reading, data gathering and other research and should culminate in completion of an initial draft of the research.

The final writing of the thesis is done in the second semester, LING 3052V, which will meet concurrently with LING 4901W. This is a seminar devoted to the writing and structure of linguistics papers, as represented by models to be examined and discussed in class. It will include peer review and commentary on successive drafts, along with discussion of the linguistic issues appropriate to the topics students are writing about in each seminar.

For further information on the honors thesis, and guidance in choosing a topic and/or an advisor for the first semester's research, contact the honors advisor in linguistics, Brian Reese, prior to registering for the course.

Sample thesis titles

The following are some of the honors theses written by linguistics graduates in recent years:

  • “Classifying” Bengali as Southeast Asian: An analysis of definiteness and quantificational approximateness in the DP
  • A Minimalist analysis of Case in English gerunds
  • A sociolinguistic study of Bulgarian l-vocalization
  • The structure and shaping of narrative in Colloquial Malay
  • Borrowed scripts, unique Identities: Writing systems of the Uighirs and Japanese
  • Tongues at war: Language and politics in Yugoslavia
  • Henrik Ibsen's Terje Vigen: Translation and discussion of syntactic structures
  • Diglossia among university and upper secondary school students in greater Rabat, Morocco
  • Portuñol: Nos nao falemos un dialeto! Turner Award Winner
  • Unraveling the mysteries of schwa: An optimal prosodic approach to Saami epenthesis
  • Analysis of the anthropological, historical, and linguistic factors of language obsolescence, endangerment, and attrition in Mexico Turner Award Nominee
  • Investigation of typicality shift of dab in White Hmong Christian discourse Turner Award Winner

Contact Information

Portrait: Brian Reese
Brian Reese
Director of Undergraduate Studies

S314 Elliott Hall
Spring advising hours:
Mondays 3:00pm–5:00pm
Thursdays 10:00pm–11:00pm
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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