Linguistics, BA

The Linguistics Program is intended to acquaint students with the methods and findings of the scientific study of human language and its relationships to cognition, society, and history. It serves as a preparation for graduate training in linguistics or related areas, and as part of a rigorous general education. Linguistic training is relevant to work in anthropology, philosophy, psychology, and language and literature, as well as to careers in such fields as education, computer science, and law. Founded by Zellig Harris in 1947, the Penn Linguistics Department is the oldest modern linguistics department in the United States. We have outstanding programs in the core disciplines of syntax and phonology, as well as in sociolinguistics, semantics, discourse, historical linguistics, phonetics, and psycholinguistics. Penn is also the home of the Linguistic Data Consortium (LDC), a compiler and distributor of linguistic materials for language engineering research. The graduate group in Linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania is an interdisciplinary team of faculty from the Department of Linguistics and related departments. Our program has strong concentrations in several areas and a tradition of collaboration among its faculty.

The minimum total course units for graduation in this major is 34. Double majors may entail more course units.

For information about the General Education requirements, please visit the College of Arts & Sciences Curriculum page.

College General Education Requirements and Free Electives
Foundational Approaches + Sectors1 + Free Electives20
Major Requirements
Core Requirements
LING 0600Introduction to Sociolinguistics1
LING 2300Sound Structure of Language1
LING 2500Introduction to Syntax1
LING 4000Tutorial in Linguistics1
Linguistics Courses
Select 6 course units of Linguistics courses with 3 courses at 2000-level or higher6
Related Courses
Select 4 course units of Related courses 24
Total Course Units34

You may count no more than one course toward both a Major and a Sector requirement. For Exceptions, check the Policy Statement.


May be satisfied by any Linguistics courses or relevant courses from other departments with approval from the Undergraduate Chair.


Required: A minimum overall GPA of 3.0 and 3.5 in Major-related courses.


The degree and major requirements displayed are intended as a guide for students entering in the Fall of 2024 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.