Linguistics is the general study of language. It addresses those features which all languages have in common, the ways in which languages may differ from one another, and the ways in which languages change over time. Linguistics students learn about sounds and their patterns (phonetics and phonology), word structure (morphology), sentence structure (syntax), meaning (semantics and pragmatics), and language and cognition; how languages evolve over time (comparative and historical linguistics); and how language is used in society (sociolinguistics and anthropological linguistics).

The Berkeley experience

The undergraduate linguistics program at Berkeley offers students a unique opportunity to study an interesting and challenging discipline in one of the world's leading intellectual centers.

What makes Linguistics at Berkeley an excellent learning environment? These are a few features of our department:

  • small department (roughly 100 majors, 14 faculty)
  • intense and personalized academic experience
  • relatively small classes
  • many opportunities to work directly with faculty and graduate students on original research projects
  • abundant access to faculty and staff for help in the major or advice on how to deal with classes, grades, and the university environment in general

Student Services Mission Statement

The Student Services Unit of the Department of Linguistics guides and supports students in achieving their academic, career, and personal goals by providing personalized, comprehensive advising and by facilitating activities and opportunities that enhance and encourage student success.  The dedicated, professional staff strives to provide excellent service to prospective and current students, faculty, alumni, and university colleagues.  While upholding University and Departmental policies, the staff focuses on student needs, respecting differences and appreciating commonalities, and endeavors to work efficiently and effectively to continually improve the services and programs that are offered.