The general linguistics major serves students who have an interest in language as an aspect of human nature or who wish to pursue graduate education in language-related areas. A variety of options gives students the opportunity to work closely with faculty members, either one-on-one or in small groups. In this way, students in General Linguistics get individualized attention and an opportunity for engagement much like that of graduate students at other institutions. Mechanisms for these experiences include independent study, research internships, research assistantships on funded projects, and advanced seminar courses. Students who are interested in studying linguistics at the graduate level are well-prepared by the General Linguistics major. Graduates have gone on to graduate programs in Linguistics at top research universities. For students interested in pursuing a Law degree, USM offers an accelerated graduate pathway that includes Linguistics as one of the B.A. options.
Total number of credits required for the major: 49
- LIN 185 - Language, Mind, and Society: An Introduction to Linguistics Credits: 3
- LIN 311 - Phonetics Credits: 3
- LIN 312 - Phonology and Morphology Credits: 3
- LIN 313 - Syntax Credits: 3
- LIN 316 - Language Variation Credits: 3
- LIN 317 - Two Languages, One Mind: Introduction to Second Language Acquisition and Bilingualism Credits: 3
- LIN 490 - Introduction to Language Research Credits: 3
- One three-credit 100- or 200-level LIN course that does not fulfill another requirement in the major (may be replaced with a higher level LIN course in consultation with a faculty advisor)
- One of the language-based courses offered by the English Department (ENG 330 , ENG 337 , ENG 338 , ENG 431 )
- Two courses from the following list: three-credit 300-level LIN courses (excluding courses focused on interpreting and courses that meet other requirements in the major; may be replaced by 400-level LIN courses in consultation with a faculty advisor), ASL 416 - ASL Linguistics in ASL , FRE 416 - The Linguistic Structure of French , SPA 416 - The Linguistic Structure of Spanish , COS 427 - Computational Text Analytics
- One three-credit 400-level LIN course (excluding courses focused on interpreting, LIN 490 - Introduction to Language Research , and LIN 498 - Thesis )
- Four semesters of language study Credits: 16
Note on Language Component
Students pursuing the general linguistics major must complete four semesters of a language or languages other than their native language. Students may choose to take four semesters of the same language or to divide the four courses among two or more different languages. The language courses may be waived on a case-by-case basis for students who demonstrate the equivalent degree of competency in a language or languages. In such cases, students replace the language course credits with other linguistics courses (or possibly with linguistics-related courses in other areas). Substitutions are made in consultation with the student’s advisor.
Note on grade requirement for LIN 185 - Language, Mind, and Society: An Introduction to Linguistics
Students must receive a grade of B or higher in LIN 185 before enrolling in certain upper-level LIN courses, including LIN 312 - Phonology and Morphology and LIN 313 - Syntax . LIN 185 may be repeated at most one time. Students for whom American Sign Language is their first language may consult with the department about alternative pathways for satisfying this requirement.
Honors in Linguistics
Linguistics majors who do outstanding work in the major can graduate with honors in linguistics. Requirements for Honors for students majoring in general linguistics are the following:
- Achieve a G.P.A. of at least 3.7 in LIN courses.
- Earn a grade of B or higher in all language courses that count toward the major.
- Submit a portfolio of linguistic activities approved by the Department. The portfolio documents linguistic activities outside of required coursework. Examples of such activities include independent study and research internship courses, tutoring, and attendance at linguistics conferences. Students who plan to submit a portfolio should discuss details with their advisor.
- Complete LIN 498 - Thesis with a grade of A.
Notes on Core Curriculum Requirements
In addition to completing a major, students must satisfy USM’s Core Curriculum requirements and earn a total of at least 120 credits to graduate. The following information outlines core requirements that overlap with the major in general Linguistics or core courses recommended for students majoring in general Linguistics.
Quantitative Reasoning: Students should fulfill this requirement by taking a statistics course (MAT 120 - Introduction to Statistics or PSY 201 - Statistics in Psychology ). One of the LIN requirements, LIN 490 - Introduction to Language Research , has a statistics course as a prerequisite.
Cultural Interpretation: All 101, 102, 201, and 202 language courses fulfill this requirement; therefore, the language requirement for the major also fulfills this core requirement.
Socio-Cultural Analysis: LIN 185 - Language, Mind, and Society: An Introduction to Linguistics meets this requirement.
Science Exploration: LIN 185 - Language, Mind, and Society: An Introduction to Linguistics meets this requirement if LIN 186 - Introduction to Linguistics: Lab (the one-credit lab associated with LIN 185 ) is taken as well.
Culture, Power, and Equity: LIN 185 - Language, Mind, and Society: An Introduction to Linguistics also meets this requirement.
Writing, Reading, and Inquiry 3: LIN 317 - Two Languages, One Mind: Introduction to Second Language Acquisition and Bilingualism meets this requirement.
Capstone: LIN 490 - Introduction to Language Research is a capstone course.
Several linguistics or language courses that are not required for the major fulfill core requirements:
International: LIN 112 - The Birth of a Language , FRE 202 - Intermediate French II , GER 202 - Intermediate German II , ITA 202 - Intermediate Italian II , SPA 202 - Intermediate Spanish II
Ethical Inquiry, Social Responsibility, and Citizenship: LIN 410 - Ethical Decision Making in ASL/English Interpreting (Note: Students who have not taken ASL or interpreting courses can request permission from the Department to take this course, if they demonstrate experience in an area involving ethical reasoning.)
Engaged Learning: ASL 201 - Intermediate American Sign Language I , ASL 202 - Intermediate American Sign Language II , ASL 398 - Independent Study , ASL 401 - Advanced American Sign Language I , ASL 402 - Advanced American Sign Language II , FRE 398 - Independent Study , GER 398 - Independent Study , SPA 398 - Independent Study , LIN 130 - Language Revitalization and Reclamation Methodologies , LIN 394 - Teaching Internship , LIN 395 - Research Internship , LIN 398 - Independent Study , LIN 498 - Thesis
USM Core Requirements
The USM Core Curriculum is a coherent, integrative, and rigorous liberal education that enables our graduates to be world-minded, intentional, life-long learners and captures your general education degree requirements.
Please Note: Core requirements may be part of your major and/or minor, and Core may have been fulfilled with transfer credit. Please consult your MaineStreet Degree Progress Report (DPR) and review your degree progress with your Advisor. For additional information, access the USM Core webpage.