D. Eric Holt, Director
Linguistics is the scientific study of language and includes subdisciplines such as phonetics and phonology (the study of speech sounds), morphology (the study of word structure), grammar and syntax (the study of phrasal and sentence structure), and semantics (the study of meaning). The field of linguistics is related to many other areas of study and is a specialization within certain areas: linguistic anthropology, psycholinguistics, or Spanish lingustics, for example.
The Linguistics Program at USC offers the possibility of an undergraduate minor or cognate field in linguistics, and knowledge gained in such a course of study can complement a wide variety of disciplines. Students who would especially benefit from a minor or cognate in linguistics are those majoring in anthropology, computer science, English, French, German, philosophy, psychology, and Spanish. A linguistics minor is also good preparation for a graduate program in speech pathology. A student wishing to have linguistics as a major concentration of study may pursue an emphasis in the field through the Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies (B.A.I.S.) degree program. Further information about the B.A.I.S. program may be obtained from the College of Arts and Sciences.
The recommended first step in learning about linguistics is LING 300: Introduction to Language Sciences (cross listed as ANTH 373 and PSYC 470). Note that this course can be taken for social science elective credit. After the introduction gained in this course, the student is prepared for topics courses on the 400 and 500 level. (There are, however, no formal prerequisites for these courses.) Possibilities include courses on language in society, history of language, acquisition of language by children, and courses devoted to the description of a particular language: English, French, German, or Spanish. Majoring in one of the related disciplines and minoring in linguistics can prepare students for a variety of careers, including teaching, translating, foreign service, and social work, or for graduate study in linguistics and any of its related fields. For students who want to pursue linguistics past the undergraduate level, the USC Linguistics Program offers a comprehensive graduate program in linguistics, which leads to the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees.