Major program (*Updated* 2022)

New linguistics major course requirements

In December 2021 a new set of requirements was approved for the major in linguistics at UC Berkeley.

The new requirements apply to the following students:

  • New students who are admitted to UCB in Fall 2022 and thereafter

Overview of major requirements

The new major requirements consists of the following four components:

  1. 1 lower division linguistics course: Ling 3, Ling 5, Ling 55AC, or any other lower division linguistics course
    • Ling 55AC will be offered regularly and is the recommended course for students who have already taken Ling 100
    • Course must be 3 or more units; freshman seminars cannot be used as this course.
    • Transfer students may seek transfer credit for linguistics courses taken at other institutions equivalent to lower division courses
  2. Linguistics 100 or Linguistics W100 (the online summer course offered by UCB summer sessions)
    • Students must earn a C or better in Linguistics 100 to declare the major

  3. 4 courses from 4 different upper division course bins (of the five bins below)

  4. 10-13 units of upper division electives
    • At most 5 units of electives can be taken outside of the linguistics department

Additional rules:

  • Upper division courses (Ling 100, 4 binned courses, upper division electives) must total at least 30 units.
  • Binned courses and Linguistics 100 must be taken at UC Berkeley

It is important that students plan their program of study with a departmental Undergraduate Advisor, who can assist in planning the timing of required courses and in the selection of electives.  You may also use the  Linguistics Major Requirement Worksheetto assist with planning your courses.

Upper division course bins

Students must take at least 1 course from 4 different bins of the 5 bins below, ensuring breadth of training. Most regularly taught upper-division courses that survey a subfield of linguistics are included in the following five bins

  • 4-unit courses are marked by a preceding asterisk (*).
  • Italicized courses are typically offered in the spring, non-italicized courses are typically offered in the fall.

Bin 1. Language and mind: *105:Cognitive Linguistics, 108:Psycholinguistics, 109: Bilingualism, C142:Language and Thought

Bin 2. Sociolinguistics and historical linguistics: *130:Comparative and Historical Linguistics, 150:Sociolinguistics

Bin 3. Phonetics and phonology: *110:Phonetics, *111:Phonology

Bin 4. Morphosyntax: *115:Morphology, *120:Syntax

Bin 5. Meaning: *106:Metaphor, *121:Formal semantics, 123:Pragmatics

  • Courses must be taken at UC Berkeley to satisfy the binned course requirement.
  • Additional binned courses beyond the four required courses can count towards the upper division electives requirement.

Scheduling notes:

  • The department will offer at least one course from each bin every year.
  • The department will offer at least four binned courses each semester, alternating courses, and will attempt to ensure that these four offerings cover four distinct bins.

Elective requirements

In addition to the five core courses, 10-13 upper division units of electives, taken for a letter grade, are required. The number of upper division units of electives is dependent on the number of units satisfied by binned courses; 30 total units, including Linguistics 100, must be taken.

At most five pre-approved courses in other departments can count towards the linguistics major. The remaining elective units must come from upper-division course offerings within the Linguistics Department, and can include binned courses beyond the one course required from that bin.