Bachelor in Linguistics


Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description


How do children learn a language? How does language shape think—and how does thought shape language? 

Linguistics—which studies the structure of language—scientifically examines how we create messages in our minds, and how we put together sounds and symbols to convey those messages in ways that create meaning and understanding for ourselves and others.

You might enjoy this if you're interested in

  • How language works, including syntax, phonetics, word origins, and grammar
  • Analyzing and studying how and why people use language the way they do
  • Experiencing and studying languages in different contexts, cultures, and countries
  • Diagramming sentences written in unfamiliar languages

Lawrentians sometimes pair linguistics with

  •  Anthropology
  •  Cognitive science
  •  Computer science
  •  English
  •  Government
  •  History
  •  Languages: Chinese, Classics, French, German, Japanese, Russian, Spanish
  •  Math-Computer Science
  •  Music performance
  •  Philosophy

Life After Lawrence

Lawrentians can enjoy careers in

Foreign service, speech-language therapy, software engineering and technology (e.g., natural language processing, speech recognition), education (secondary and higher ed), consulting, business, government, law, medicine

Recent employers include

Accenture, Epic Systems, French Cultural Embassy, Minneapolis Public Schools, UNISYS, Apple, Teach for America, Broadcast Interactive Media, VoiceBox Technologies, Waseda University, IBM, U.S. Department of Defense

Lawrentians can earn advanced degrees in

Linguistics, Cognitive Science, Law, Physical science, English, Computer Science, Teaching English as a Second Language

Recent schools include

Iowa, Georgetown, Johns Hopkins, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Princeton, Wisconsin

Components of the Major

  • Introduction to Linguistics
  • Two of the following introductory courses: Lexical Semantics; Syntax; Phonology; or Morphology
  • Two of the following: Philosophy of Language; How to Do Things With Words; Topics in Logic; Cognitive Linguistics
  • Four electives from linguistics or computer science
  • Additional language study
  • Linguistics Senior Seminar

The Chandler Senior Experience

For your Senior Experience, you will complete your senior seminar in linguistics along with an independent study that you can complete with a faculty advisor over one, two, or three terms (based largely on your research needs). Your linguistics Senior Experience will culminate in a research paper and oral presentation to faculty and students.  Linguistics majors with double-majors in other fields (e.g., language, anthropology or psychology), typically combine their interests into one Senior Experience. (One particularly creative student completed a project that served as his senior experience for three majors: music theory, Russian studies, and linguistics.)

Recent Senior Experiences include:

  • Native and non-native perceptions of pre-velar /æ/-raising in Wisconsin English
  • English-Spanish Code-switching in Bilingual Blogs: Patterns among native English speakers living abroad
  • What Did You Call That? An Examination of English Names Transliterated into Chinese
  • Machine Translation in the Connectionist Framework
  • Dajare: A Linguistic Analysis of Japanese Wordplay
  • Conceptual Metaphor and Framing in the State of the Union and Republican Rebuttal
  • Shakespeare in Russian: Problems and Solutions in Cross-Cultural Translation
  • Courtroom Narratives: The Lawyers as Storytellers
  • Gender Differences in Scientific Writing
Last updated Sep 2020

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About the School

Lawrence University is a top-ranked private residential liberal arts college and conservatory of music that is devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Located in the welcoming Midwestern the s ... Read More

Lawrence University is a top-ranked private residential liberal arts college and conservatory of music that is devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Located in the welcoming Midwestern the state of Wisconsin, with 15% of its 1,500 undergraduates coming from more than 50 countries beyond the U.S., the Lawrence community is one of the most internationally diverse in the country. A proud member of the Colleges That Change Lives the organization, Lawrence is devoted to an engaged learning approach that develops abilities that are highly valued by graduate schools and employers. Read less