Undergraduate students may pursue either a major or minor in linguistics. The requirements are designed to make it easy to combine a linguistics degree with one from another academic unit, and many students double-major in linguistics and another field. The linguistics degree develops analytical and verbal skills that are valuable in a wide variety of professional careers.

Graduate students may pursue a graduate minor in linguistics as a complement to their course of study in one of the Masters or PhD programs at MU. Please note that Program in Linguistics does not offer a Masters or PhD degree itself though many of our courses can be taken for graduate credit toward degrees in other academic units.

The BA in Linguistics

Major core requirements: 21 credit hours. All courses are 3 credit hours unless otherwise indicated.

I. Required areas/courses

Introduction to Linguistics.

LINGST 1060 Human Language

Language Structure. At least one in-depth structure course such as:

LINGST 4600 Structure of American English
LINGST 4721 Structure of Modern Spanish
LINGST 4720 Structure of Modern French


LINGST 4630 Phonology (Typically offered Spring semesters)


LINGST 4640 Syntax (Typically Fall semesters; a structure course is prerequisite)

Semantics. One of the following:

LINGST 2700 Elementary Logic
LINGST 4110 Advanced Logic (2700 is prerequisite)
LINGST 4100 Philosophy of Language (2700, 4640 or instructor's permission required)

II. Electives. Choose at least one additional 3-4 credit course from any part of the linguistics curriculum, including but not limited to those listed above and below.

Language Variation.

LINGST 3710 Survey of Minority and Creole Languages of the U.S. and the Caribbean
LINGST 4620 Regional and Social Dialects of American English
LINGST 4722 Spanish Across Continents
LINGST 4723 Language and Society: Spanish in the US

Language and Culture.

LINGST 3470 Culture as Communication
LINGST 4412 Gender, Language, and Communication

Historical Linguistics and Language Change.

LINGST 4200 Introduction to Old English
LINGST 4420 Historical Linguistics
LINGST 4610 History of the English Language 


LINGST 3010 American Phonetics
LINGST 3210 Anatomy and Physiology of the Speech Mechanism
LINGST 3220 Speech Acoustics
LINGST 3721 Spanish Phonetics
3210 and 3220 must be taken concurrently and together total 3 credit hours

Language and the mind.

LINGST 2820 Intro to Cognitive Science
LINGST 4810 Psycholinguistics

III. Capstone requirement.

Capstone course.

LINGST 4870 Field Methods in Linguistics (Typically offered in Spring semesters)


Topics courses such as LINGST 2001, 3001 and 4001 may also satisfy course requirements by arrangement with the program director. Substitutions may be approved for courses in one of the required areas if no courses are available in that area during a student's senior year.

Departmental Honors

To graduate with honors in linguistics students must have a GPA of at least 3.3 and complete an honors thesis under the direction of a faculty member. For more information, please contact the program director or academic advisor.

Undergraduate Minor in Linguistics

Students may earn a minor in linguistics by completing courses totally at least 15 credits. These courses may be selected from any part of the linguistics curriculum.

Graduate Minor in Linguistics

A graduate minor field in linguistics is available to graduate students. It is comprised of 12 hours, two courses of which are required and two are to be selected from a list of upper level linguistics classes:


LINGST 7630: Phonology(3).
LINGST 7640: Syntax(3)

Sample list from which two additional courses will be selected (appropriate substitutes may be accepted at the discretion of the program director):

LINGST 7400: Language and Culture (3)
LINGST 7420: Historical Linguistics (3)
LINGST 7415: Language and Discourse (3)
LINGST 7600: Structure of American English (3)
LINGST 7610: History of the English Language (3)
LINGST 7620: Regional and Social Dialects of American English (3)
LINGST 7870: Field Methods in Linguistics (4)

Graduate degrees are not offered by the Program in Linguistics. Students may pursue a research emphasis in linguistics and language as part of their MA and PhD degree programs in some affiliated departments including Communication, English, German and Russian Studies, Romance Languages and Literatures, and Philosophy. For more information, please check with directors of graduate study in those units.