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Linguistics B.S.

Program Type: 
Bachelor of Science
English, Linguistics, Writing Studies

The B.S. in linguistics offers courses in the sound, structure, and meaning of language, and it teaches students the fundamental methods of scientific inquiry. The curriculum focuses on both the internal place of language in the human mind and brain, as well as the external role of language in communication and culture. Along the way, students consider topics such as syntactic structure of world languages, semantic and pragmatic meaning, language acquisition, language disorders, language evolution, dialects and sociolinguistic variation, language and gender, computational linguistics, and many others. Students are trained to form research questions, gather data, and make arguments based upon linguistic observations. They also gain experience working with a wide range of languages and diverse cultures. In addition, the program requires a background in science and mathematics consistent with a Bachelor of Science degree at UMD, which allows students a straightforward double major in many of the established science majors at the university.

As the only Bachelor of Science in Linguistics in the state of Minnesota, the program at UMD has particular strengths in syntax, morphologycognitive linguisticssemantics/pragmatics, and sociolinguistics.

In addition, we have a special interest in the languages and linguistic variations of Minnesota, including the Iron Range, languages of recent immigrants, and Minnesota English in all its past and present glory.

Acquired Skills

Linguistics majors develop:

  • strong analytical skills
  • experience working with languages and diverse cultures
  • the ability to form research questions, gather data, and make arguments based on their observations

Career Possibilities

There is a diversity of employment opportunities for linguistics majors. The analytical skills and experience with language makes linguistic majors particularly appealing to computer and software companies, as writers and analysts of all types, in education, in projects such as speech recognition and machine translation, and as preparation for advanced study in all of the liberal arts, social sciences, and computer sciences disciplines. Finally, the United States Department of Homeland Security and federal law enforcement agencies routinely hire employees trained in linguistics. 

Linguistics graduates will be well prepared to:

  • Work for the government (national security, the Foreign Service)
  • Work in the computer industry(speech recognition, text-­to-­speech synthesis, search engines, artificial intelligence)
  • Work as a translator or interpreter
  • Teach English as a second language
  • Work on language documentation or conduct fieldwork
  • Work in the publishing industry, as a technical writer or an editor
  • Work as a dialect coach and train actors
  • Pursue a graduate degree in linguistics and teach at the university level

Admissions and Scholarships

CAHSS is proud to be able to offer over 90 alumni and donor funded scholarships to our students each year.  In total over $190,000 is awarded out to CAHSS majors and some minors as well. Each department facilitates the process for their specific scholarships and students are also encouraged to apply for CAHSS-wide scholarships offered to students in any field.

Graduate Report

Recent UMD Graduates Job Placement Data & Employers

Here's a sampling of positions and graduate programs Linguistics grads have attained six months to one year after graduation.

  • Youth Specialist - AmeriCorps, YMCA, Duluth Area Family, Duluth, MN
  • Admissions Counselor - University of Minnesota Duluth, Office of Admissions, Duluth, MN
  • English Teacher - AVALON English, Seoul, South Korea
  • Senior Big Data Engineer - Thomson Reuters, Eagan, MN


  • Graduate School, Communication Sciences & Disorders, University of Minnesota Duluth
  • Graduate School, Speech-Language Pathology, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Graduate School, Speech-Language Pathology, University of Minnesota Twin Cities
  • Graduate School, Computer Science, University of Minnesota Duluth

For more data see the Linguistics Graduate Follow-Up Report.

For ideas about Linguistics and other majors visit Career & Internship Services