Linguistics (B.A.)

Linguistics (B.A.)
linguistics students

What is linguistics?

Linguistics is the study of language. Linguists are interested in understanding the properties common to all human languages along with language history, function and acquisition. What are the characteristics that all languages share and what makes each language distinctive? How does language vary according to region, social class, ethnicity and gender? Linguists also explore many specific aspects of individual languages, language groups and language uses. A linguistics degree cuts across the boundaries between the sciences and the humanities and is closely allied with many other fields, including anthropology, psychology, sociology, speech therapy and computer science.

Why study linguistics at UNH?

The linguistics degree program at UNH provides a solid foundation in the liberal arts while also preparing you for further studies in areas such as law, speech or hearing science, or language. It’s a great fit if you’re interested in teaching English as a Foreign Language at home or abroad. The major also matches well with a dual or double major in fields such as business administration.

Potential careers

  • Analyst
  • Editor
  • English as a Second Language teacher
  • Interpreter
  • Knowledge engineer
  • Lexicographer
  • Speech pathologist
  • Translator
  • photo of Hayden Stinson
    Linguistics and Spanish Majors
    As a linguistics major, I am interested in the scientific study of the ways that language functions in the world. Through coursework and time as a research assistant in the linguistics program at UNH, I read about and worked on projects relating to social identity and language variation in New England. In the summer of 2020, I decided to conduct an independent research project with a Summer…
    Learn More

Curriculum & Requirements

Linguistics is the study of one of the most important characteristics of human beings—language. It cuts across the boundaries between the sciences and the humanities. The program is an excellent liberal arts major or preprofessional major for education, law, medicine, clergy and others. It is a particularly appropriate major for students who want to teach English as a second language. Dual majors with a foreign language, international affairs, business administration and the like are quite feasible.

Students interested in the major should consult with the program coordinator or with any professor who teaches linguistics courses. To declare a major in linguistics, a student must meet with the linguistics coordinator to design a course of study. Information is available from the University Advising Center, 101 Hood House, and at, (603) 862-1088.

Degree Requirements

Minimum Credit Requirement: 128 credits
Minimum Residency Requirement: 32 credits must be taken at UNH
Minimum GPA: 2.0 required for conferral*
Core Curriculum Required: Discovery & Writing Program Requirements
Foreign Language Requirement: Yes

All Major, Option and Elective Requirements as indicated.
*Major GPA requirements as indicated.

Major Requirements

The required minimum overall GPA in major coursework is 2.0.

LING 405Introduction to Linguistics4
LING 605Intermediate Linguistic Analysis4
LING 793Phonetics and Phonology4
LING 794Syntax4
Select one course in historical linquistics or sociolinguistics from the following:4
ENGL 752
History of the English Language
ITAL 733
History and Development of the Italian Language
Sociolinguistics Survey
RUSS 733
History of Slavic Languages and Culture
SPAN 798
Topics in Hispanic Linguistics and Cultural Studies (Subtopic A)
Two years of college study (or equivalent) of one foreign language4-16
Select one of the following cognate specialties:8
One year study (or equivalent) of a second foreign language from a different language family or subfamily 1
PSYC 712
Psychology of Language 2
Select two elective courses from list below, one of which must be a 600- or 700- level LING or ENGL course 38
Discovery Program Capstone Experience:
LING 779Linguistic Field Methods4
or LING 695 Senior Honors
Total Credits44-56

Old English may count as the second foreign language if the first foreign language is not in the Germanic family.


With its prerequisite, either PSYC 512 Psychology of Primates or PSYC 513 Cognitive Psychology


History of the English Language or Sociolinguistics can be used as an elective if the other one is used for the Historical/Sociolinguistic requirement.

Elective Courses 

ANTH 795Reading and Research (Subtopic B)1-8
ANTH 796Reading and Research (Subtopic B)1-8
CMN 572Analysis of Language and Social Interaction4
CMN 666Conversation Analysis4
ENGL 606Languages of the World4
ENGL 715Teaching English as a Second Language: Theory and Methods4
ENGL 716Curriculum, Materials and Assessment in English as a Second Language4
ENGL #717Languages in Contact4
ENGL 718Morphology4
ENGL 719Sociolinguistics Survey4
ENGL 728Language and Gender4
ENGL 752History of the English Language4
ENGL 790Special Topics in Linguistics4
ENGL 791English Grammar4
LLC 791Methods of Foreign Language Teaching4
ITAL 733History and Development of the Italian Language4
LING 606Languages of the World4
LING 717Languages in Contact4
LING 718Morphology4
LING 719Sociolinguistics Survey4
LING 728Language and Gender4
LING 790Special Topics in Linguistics Theory4
LING #795Independent Study1-4
PSYC 512Psychology of Primates 14
PSYC 513Cognitive Psychology 14
PSYC 712Psychology of Language4
RUSS 733History of Slavic Languages and Culture4
SPAN 641Spanish Language Variation & Change4
SPAN 645Intro to Spanish Linguistics4
SPAN 798Topics in Hispanic Linguistics and Cultural Studies (Subtopic A)4

Students may count either PSYC 512 Psychology of Primates or PSYC 513 Cognitive Psychology toward the linguistics major or minor, but not both.

Other courses may be substituted, with the permission of the student's adviser and the linguistics committee, when they are pertinent to the needs of the student's program.

Candidates for a degree must satisfy all of the University Discovery Program requirements in addition to satisfying the requirements of each individual major program. Bachelor of arts candidates must also satisfy the foreign language proficiency requirement.

Linguistics majors may use one major-required course to satisfy one Discovery category requirement.

Students will understand and be able to deploy the analytical tools, modes of critical thinking, and types of writing that are used in studying languages and linguistics. Students will be able to analyze sets of data and make arguments concerning the theoretical analysis of those data. Core areas:

  • Phonetics: Students will understand the acoustic and articulatory properties of speech sounds both for English and for other languages. Students will be able to transcribe and read the International Phonetic Alphabet.
  • Phonology: Students will display knowledge of phonological analysis including identifying phonemes and allophones in languages, writing phonological rules using distinctive features, and understanding phonological processes such as assimilation, epenthesis, vowel harmony, etc.
  • Morphology: Students will be able to analyze word structure (inflection, derivation, compounding) both in English and in unfamiliar languages. They will understand key concepts concerning the mental lexicon.
  • Syntax: Students will be able to analyze the structural properties of sentences in English and in other languages and be familiar with the principles of generative grammar.
  • Sociolinguistics, Historical Linguistics, and Typology: Students will understand processes of language change over time, language variation according to region, social class, gender, and education, and the effects of language contact.
  • Field Methods: Students will be able to work with a native speaker of an unfamiliar language to collect and analyze data from that language. They will understand the ethical and logistical issues involved in documenting languages.
  • Applications: Students will have an understanding of practical applications of linguistic knowledge to daily life, including political issues regarding language (e.g., bilingual education, official languages), language acquisition, disorders that can affect language.


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