Course planning for B.A. in Linguistics

Course planning for Linguistics majors

When in doubt about the requirements for this (or any) major, check the CSULB Catalog. If there is a conflict between what’s written in the Catalog and elsewhere, the Catalog is what counts. Note: we do not recommend use of the Degree Planner in MyCSULB. 

What courses are required for the major?

We are in a time of transition in Linguistics, so there are two basic patterns depending on when you declared your major. If you declared your major in Fall 2020, please use this first course set with descriptions. If you declared BEFORE Fall 2020, please scroll down.

Sections below include the following: 

  • Majors Declared Beginning in Fall 2020
  • Majors Declared Before Fall 2020
  • Substitute electives
  • Other Course Recommendations for Linguists

Majors Declared Beginning in Fall 2020

If you started your Linguistics major in Fall 2020 or later, you must take 8 core courses (including 7 required courses and 1 out of 3 sociocultural course options), 7 electives, and fulfill a language requirement.

Required courses:

  • 101 Introduction to the World’s Languages (prereq: ENGL 100B or GE Area A2) 
  • 170 Introduction to Linguistics (prereq/coreq: GE Foundation course) 
  • 300 Professional Development for Linguists
  • 325 Modern English Grammar
  • 329 Language Acquisition
  • 420 Phonology (prereq: 170)
  • 421 Syntax (prereq: 325)

Sociocultural requirement (choose any 1)

  • 379 Sociolinguistics (prereq: 170)
  • 413 Language and Culture (prereq: 170)
  • 477 Language Socialization

Electives (choose any 7)

  • 301 Introduction to Research Methods (prereq: 170)
  • 310 Academic and Technical English Vocabular Acquisition: A Linguistic Approach [spring only]
  • 360 The Languages of Africa [spring only]
  • 363 Implications of Human Language (Writing Intensive)
  • 379 Sociolinguistics (prereq: 170) [spring only]
  • 401 Corpus Linguistics (prereq: 170) [fall only]
  • 413 Language and Culture (prereq: 170)
  • 422 Discourse Analysis (coreq: 421) [fall only]
  • 423 Semantics (prereq: 325 or ENGL 320) [fall only]
  • 424 Laboratory Phonetics (prereq: 101 or 170) [fall only] 
  • 425 Education Across Cultures 
  • 426 History of the English Language (prereq: 170) [fall only]
  • 438 Psycholinguistics (prereq: 170) [spring only]
  • 450 Teaching Second Language Listening and Speaking (prereq. 329; pre-/coreq: 420)
  • 460 Teaching Second Language Composition (prereq: 325)
  • 470 Language and Gender in Cross-Cultural Perspective 
  • 472 Language and Social Justice (Writing Intensive)
  • 477 Language Socialization
  • 486 Second Language Teaching Methods (prereq: 325)
  • 490 Selected Topics in Linguistics [offered occasionally]
  • ASLD 306: American Sign Language Linguistics (prereq: 170)

Language requirement: fourth semester level in one language, or second semester level in two languages of which one is not Indo-European.

What order should I take the courses in?

Take the 7 required courses at the earliest opportunity. If you leave a required course until the last semester, you might have to delay graduation if you can’t fit the course in. Also, plan ahead how you will finish your language requirement.

First priority: 101 and 170. Of these, 170 is higher priority, because it is the prerequisite for many other courses.

Second priority: 300, 325, and 329. Of these, 325 is higher priority because it is the prerequisite for 421, 423, 460, and 486.

Third priority: 420 and 421.

Fourth priority: Sociocultural course and Electives. Among these, prioritize those that are offered Fall only or Spring only.


Majors Declared Before Fall 2020

If you started your Linguistics major BEFORE Fall 2020, you must take 6 core courses, 8 electives, and fulfill a language requirement.

Required courses:

  • 101 Introduction to the World’s Languages (prereq: ENGL 100B or GE Area A2) 
  • 170 Introduction to Linguistics (prereq/coreq: GE Foundation course)
  • 325 Modern English Grammar
  • 329 Language Acquisition 
  • 420 Phonology (prereq: 170)
  • 421 Syntax (prereq: 325)

Electives (choose any 8)

  • 301 Introduction to Research Methods (prereq: 170)
  • 310 Academic and Technical English Vocabular Acquisition: A Linguistic Approach [spring only]
  • 360 The Languages of Africa [spring only]
  • 363 Implications of Human Language 
  • 379 Sociolinguistics (prereq: 170) [spring only]
  • 401 Corpus Linguistics (prereq: 170) [fall only]
  • 413 Language and Culture (prereq: 170)
  • 422 Discourse Analysis (coreq: 421) [fall only]
  • 423 Semantics (prereq: 325 or ENGL 320) [fall only]
  • 424 Laboratory Phonetics (prereq: 101 or 170) [fall only] 
  • 425 Education Across Cultures 
  • 426 History of the English Language (prereq: 170) [fall only]
  • 438 Psycholinguistics (prereq: 170) [spring only]
  • 450 Teaching Second Language Listening and Speaking (prereq. 329; pre-/coreq: 420)
  • 460 Teaching Second Language Composition (prereq: 325)
  • 470 Language and Gender in Cross-Cultural Perspective 
  • 472 Language and Social Justice 
  • 477 Language Socialization
  • 486 Second Language Teaching Methods (prereq: 325)
  • 490 Selected Topics in Linguistics [offered occasionally]
  • ASLD 306: American Sign Language Linguistics (prereq: 170)

Language requirement: fourth semester level in one language, or second semester level in two languages of which one is not Indo-European.

What order should I take the courses in?

Take the six required courses at the earliest opportunity. If you leave a required course until the last semester, you might have to delay graduation if you can’t fit the course in. Also, plan ahead how you will finish your language requirement.

First priority: 101 and 170. Of these, 170 is higher priority, because it is the prerequisite for many other courses.

Second priority: 325 and 329. Of these, 325 is higher priority, because it is the prerequisite for 421, 423, 460, and 486.

Third priority: 420 and 421.

Fourth priority: Electives. Among electives, prioritize those that are offered Fall only or Spring only.


Substitute electives

Normally, electives are chosen from the list above. However, there is some flexibility in this area:

Linguistics courses in other departments: You can petition to count up to 6 units of linguistics coursework from another department. The courses need to be upper-division (300 or 400 level), on a topic in linguistics but not strongly overlapped with one of our courses. Examples might include FREN 414 (French Phonetics), JAPN 462 (Contrastive Analysis of English and Japanese) or ITAL 414 (History of the Italian Language). BEFORE taking the course, ask the instructor for a recent syllabus, and bring it to the advisor.

Graduate courses: Seniors with a strong GPA can petition to take graduate level LING courses (500 and above) as electives. See the advisor for details.

Can I count LING 339 as an elective? Under no circumstances. LING 339 overlaps too much with LING 329 in content.

Other Courses Recommendations for Linguists

A linguistics degree tends to be most useful when combined with practical skills such as knowledge of foreign languages, computer science, writing, or statistics. The courses below do not count towards the major, but do complement the major well.

Computer skills: These are useful in almost any job, but especially in computational linguistics. Some courses you might try include:

  • ETEC 110: Introduction to Computers as Tools (1 unit)
  • ETEC 171: Critical Thinking Using Computer Technology(prereq/coreq: GE Area A2) 
  • CECS 100: Critical Thinking in the Digital Information Age (prereq/coreq: ENGL 100B or GE Area A2) (GE Area A3)
  • CECS 110: Beginning Web Design
  • CECS 174: Introduction to Programming and Problem Solving (prereq: CECS 100 and MATH 113 or MATH 122 or MATH 123)
  • CECS 202: The Digital Information Age (prereq: GE Foundation requirements) 
  • I S 100: Critical Thinking and Information Technology Literacy 
  • I S 233: Office Productivity Software

Writing skills: Many linguists go into fields that involve writing. Courses from CSULB’s Certificate in Professional Writing provide a good background.

Languages: Languages are most useful if you study them to an advanced level (preferably third or fourth year).

Statistics: LING 301 covers some statistics; you can get further background in courses such as PSY 110 (Introductory Statistics) and PSY 310 (Intermediate Statistics). Statistics is especially useful if you are interested in research or computational linguistics.