Michelle Foley 7 min read Academic Tips and Info, College Lists

List of All U.S. Colleges With a Linguistics Major

“Linguist,” like many English words, originates from the Latin lingua, for language. This root splintered into the English vocabulary in the late 16th century, but not before also appearing in the Spanish lengua and Catalan llengua, for tongue.

 

Linguistics explores stories like these, and this wide-spanning social science pushes its students even further. 

 

In short, linguistics is the study of languages, how they function, and how humans have learned to communicate with them. 

 

In long, linguistics is multifaceted and broad in scope, covering everything from Mandarin to ASL to Python. Linguists break down language acquisition, phonetics, phonology, syntactic theory, history, and more. This field is one of niches and subdisciplines.

 

Computational linguists build analytical models outlining the structure of natural language to answer linguistic questions. They stay as objective and scientific as possible, but with language’s heavily psychological and historical backing, some things get lost in translation. For example, the true origin of the word “walrus” in Dutch vs. Old Norse is hotly contested. 

 

Such unanswered questions push some linguistics students to conduct field research, often concerning fast-disappearing languages in faraway countries.

 

Interested in this major? Here, we’ll break down which colleges offer linguistics programs and what to look for in a school.

 

Overview of the Linguistics Major

 

Course requirements will vary depending on the college, but linguistics majors will likely cover many of these key subjects:

 

  • Computational Linguistics
  • Cultural Anthropology
  • Foreign Language 
  • Historical Linguistics 
  • Introductory Psychology
  • Phonetics, Phonology
  • Semantics
  • Syntax, Morphology 

 

Many assume that linguists must either be current polyglots or aspiring ones, but in truth, you don’t have to know a ton of languages to be successful in this major. 

 

Instead, strong linguistics students are typically curious about history, psychology, and computer science. They like to explain big concepts using diagrams and maps, and they’re genuinely curious about languages, especially their own. They like puns, Scrabble, and speaking with those from different countries. 

 

Successful students in this major are strong verbal and written communicators. They’re often at least somewhat scientifically-minded and skilled in research and analysis.

 

The linguistics degree opens up a wide array of jobs, many of them in education and academia. Graduates commonly become teachers, professors, librarians, and researchers. Those with a particular interest in speech and sound become speech therapists, speech language pathologists, and audiologists. 

 

There’s some overlap between the potential jobs for linguistics, English, and communications majors; technical writing, copywriting, editing, marketing, and public relations are popular paths for linguistics majors with a communications bent. 

 

Perhaps surprisingly, linguists make great consultants and forensic linguistics within the criminal justice system. A few even work for the FBI! 

 

The likelihood of graduate school wholly depends on your career interests; a linguistics bachelor’s neither inherently pulls you towards graduate school nor guarantees that you’ll get where you want to go without it. 

 

What to Look for in a College as a Linguistics Major

 

Study Abroad Opportunities 

 

While bilingualism isn’t mandatory for this major, immersing yourself in a new language will only enhance your understanding of diverse languages and the links between them. If you feel that studying abroad will enhance your learning experience, look into your potential colleges’ offerings in this area and see if they allow you to travel to the countries which interest you. UCLA, for example, is part of the UC Education Abroad Program, which offers programs in 42 countries.

 

Field Research Opportunities 

 

For those planning on grad school, research is a fantastic way to expand one’s knowledge and resume. Linguistics research often involves using auditory and digital equipment to record sound and written records. The University of Chicago’s Sapir Scholars Program creates a symbiotic relationship between graduate students and undergrads; linguistics majors are paired with graduate students to work as assistants for them on their independent research projects in exchange for a small stipend.

 

Student Organizations

 

Clubs and professional fraternities are fantastic places to mingle and network with like-minded individuals. This is especially important if you’re seeking to make connections within a large university or one in which linguistics is an uncommon major. Schools like UCLA work hard to keep their students in the humanities engaged; their Bruin Linguists Society hosts quarterly events providing their linguistics majors with academic, social, and career support.

Discover your chances at hundreds of schools

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List of All U.S. Colleges With a Linguistics Major

 

School Name

City

State

University of California, Riverside | UC Riverside

Riverside

California

University of California, Irvine | UC Irvine

Irvine

California

Pomona College

Claremont

California

Harvey Mudd College | HMC

Claremont

California

Pitzer College

Claremont

California

Lawrence University

Appleton

Wisconsin

Youngstown State University

Youngstown

Ohio

University of Connecticut | UConn

Storrs

Connecticut

Montclair State University | MSU

Montclair

New Jersey

University of California, San Diego | UCSD

La Jolla

California

Northwestern University

Evanston

Illinois

Scripps College

Claremont

California

University of Alaska Fairbanks | UAF

Fairbanks

Alaska

University of Kentucky

Lexington

Kentucky

University of California, Santa Cruz | UCSC

Santa Cruz

California

California State University, Northridge | CSUN

Northridge

California

University of North Texas | UNT

Denton

Texas

Indiana University Bloomington | Indiana

Bloomington

Indiana

University of California, Santa Barbara | UCSB

Santa Barbara

California

University of Vermont | UVM

Burlington

Vermont

Brigham Young University | BYU

Provo

Utah

University of Kansas

Lawrence

Kansas

Brandeis University

Waltham

Massachusetts

University of Chicago

Chicago

Illinois

Earlham College

Richmond

Indiana

Purdue University

West Lafayette

Indiana

Ohio University

Athens

Ohio

University of Michigan

Ann Arbor

Michigan

Eastern Michigan University | EMU

Ypsilanti

Michigan

Rutgers UniversityNew Brunswick | Rutgers

New Brunswick

New Jersey

Union University

Jackson

Tennessee

Brooklyn College

Brooklyn

New York

University of Houston

Houston

Texas

Rice University

Houston

Texas

University of Georgia

Athens

Georgia

University of Nevada, Las Vegas | UNLV

Las Vegas

Nevada

University of Mississippi | Ole Miss

University

Mississippi

Truman State University | TSU

Kirksville

Missouri

California State University, Fullerton | CSU Fullerton

Fullerton

California

Macalester College

Saint Paul

Minnesota

Stanford University

Stanford

California

The State University of New York at Stony Brook | SUNY Stony Brook

Stony Brook

New York

San Diego State University | SDSU

San Diego

California

Southern Illinois University Carbondale | SIU

Carbondale

Illinois

Boston College | BC

Chestnut Hill

Massachusetts

Harvard University

Cambridge

Massachusetts

Northeastern University

Boston

Massachusetts

Boston University | BU

Boston

Massachusetts

Massachusetts Institute of Technology | MIT

Cambridge

Massachusetts

Calvin College

Grand Rapids

Michigan

Ohio State University | OSU

Columbus

Ohio

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities | Minnesota

Minneapolis

Minnesota

Haverford College

Haverford

Pennsylvania

St. Joseph’s University | SJU

Philadelphia

Pennsylvania

Bryn Mawr College

Bryn Mawr

Pennsylvania

Swarthmore College

Swarthmore

Pennsylvania

Princeton University

Princeton

New Jersey

University of Wisconsin-Madison | Wisconsin

Madison

Wisconsin

Cornell University

Ithaca

New York

University of New Hampshire | UNH

Durham

New Hampshire

Dartmouth College

Hanover

New Hampshire

University of Rochester

Rochester

New York

University of Missouri | Mizzou

Columbia

Missouri

Bucknell University

Lewisburg

Pennsylvania

California State University, Long Beach | Long Beach State

Long Beach

California

Florida Atlantic University | FAU

Boca Raton

Florida

California State University, Fresno | CSU Fresno

Fresno

California

University of Oregon

Eugene

Oregon

University of California, Davis | UC Davis

Davis

California

University of Arizona

Tucson

Arizona

The State University of New York at Albany | SUNY Albany

Albany

New York

Michigan State University

East Lansing

Michigan

Hofstra University

Hempstead

New York

Iowa State University

Ames

Iowa

Miami University

Oxford

Ohio

University of Texas at Austin | UT Austin

Austin

Texas

University of California, Berkeley | UC Berkeley

Berkeley

California

Washington State University | WSU

Pullman

Washington

Carleton College

Northfield

Minnesota

University of New Mexico | UNM

Albuquerque

New Mexico

Tulane University

New Orleans

Louisiana

Reed College

Portland

Oregon

Portland State University | PSU

Portland

Oregon

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee | UWM

Milwaukee

Wisconsin

University of Massachusetts Amherst | UMass Amherst

Amherst

Massachusetts

University of Pittsburgh | Pitt

Pittsburgh

Pennsylvania

Carnegie Mellon University | CMU

Pittsburgh

Pennsylvania

San Jose State University | SJSU

San Jose

California

University of Oklahoma

Norman

Oklahoma

Emory University

Atlanta

Georgia

Georgia State University

Atlanta

Georgia

Brown University

Providence

Rhode Island

Western Washington University | WWU

Bellingham

Washington

University of Florida

Gainesville

Florida

University of Iowa

Iowa City

Iowa

Syracuse University

Syracuse

New York

Washington University in St. Louis | WashU

Saint Louis

Missouri

Wayne State University | WSU

Detroit

Michigan

University of California, Los Angeles | UCLA

Los Angeles

California

University of Colorado Boulder | CU Boulder

Boulder

Colorado

University of Delaware

Newark

Delaware

University of Maryland, College Park | Maryland

College Park

Maryland

Baylor University

Waco

Texas

Oakland University

Rochester Hills

Michigan

University of Minnesota Duluth | UMD

Duluth

Minnesota

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign | UIUC

Champaign

Illinois

Cleveland State University | CSU

Cleveland

Ohio

University of Texas at El Paso | UTEP

El Paso

Texas

University of Texas at Arlington | UT Arlington

Arlington

Texas

University of Utah

Salt Lake City

Utah

University of Toledo

Toledo

Ohio

The State University of New York at Binghamton | SUNY Binghamton

Vestal

New York

Duke University

Durham

North Carolina

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | UNC

Chapel Hill

North Carolina

University of Pennsylvania | UPenn

Philadelphia

Pennsylvania

Temple University

Philadelphia

Pennsylvania

University of Southern California | USC

Los Angeles

California

New York University | NYU

New York

New York

Barnard College

New York

New York

Columbia University

New York

New York

City College of New York | CCNY

New York

New York

University of Washington

Seattle

Washington

Seattle Pacific University | SPU

Seattle

Washington

Yale University

New Haven

Connecticut

Georgetown University

Washington DC

Washington DC

Gallaudet University

Washington DC

Washington DC

 

Notice a school that’s missing? Email us and let us know!

 

What Are Your Chances of Acceptance?

 

No matter your major, you must be academically comparable to previous years’ admits to be a competitive college applicant. Most selective schools use the Academic Index, a complex tool based on your grades, test scores, and class rankings, to evaluate academic aptitude and filter out students who don’t meet their standards.

 

The qualitative aspects of your application, like your essays and extracurriculars, are your place to show who you are and demonstrate fit with your chosen schools and major. 

 

Linguistics is a bit of a niche field, but you can still pursue your passion for it in high school with enough creativity. Join a foreign language club, self-teach, or take a foreign language class

 

Model UN, Mock Trial, and Speech and Debate all develop close analysis, critical thinking, and clear communication skills that will be invaluable in your undergraduate career. Some areas offer Linguistics Olympiads, so do some digging to see if it’s available in yours!

 

On your own, you can start a linguistics club or take a linguistics class at your local community college. You can always read linguistic books or self-teach linguistic skills in your own time.

 

Science fair projects, computer science, history presentations, and English research papers can all take on a linguistics-like quality if you choose to tailor it that way. For example, a student asked to research a societal problem could delve into the rapid unique language loss occurring since the 1950’s and its role as a product of cultural, political, and economic marginalization.

 

If you’re struggling to figure out where you match up to other college applicants, we recommend using our free Chancing Engine. Unlike other solely stats-based chancing calculators, ours looks at your profile holistically, including both your quantitative stats and qualitative extracurriculars.

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Michelle Foley
Essay Breakdown Writer at CollegeVine
Short bio
Michelle Foley is currently taking a gap year before starting at Yale College in Fall '21, where she is considering majoring in Art, English, or Cognitive Studies while earning her Spanish certificate. In her free time, she likes to paint, run, and read!