Undergraduate Language Requirement

Students in the Linguistics Department are required to undertake a one-year (three quarter) study of each of two languages. Classes used to satisfy this requirement will normally be drawn from one of the language sequences (most of which are fifteen credits) offered by various departments on campus. You must earn at least a 2.0 in the third-quarter course in order to satisfy the requirement. You can request a list of beginning language courses offered at the UW from the Linguistics Undergraduate Adviser.

A class on the (synchronic) linguistic structure of a particular language (e.g., SPLING 406 "Advanced Spanish Grammar") may also be used to satisfy one quarter of the language requirement (or may be applied to the elective requirement, but not both).

The languages studied to fulfill this requirement must be different from your native language and at least one of them must belong to a different major language family (e.g. Indo-European, Ural-Altaic, Sino-Tibetan, etc). The languages studied may both belong to the same family.

You may test out of one, but not both, of the languages by taking one of the University-administered language placement tests and being assigned to the second-year program (or higher). Contact the Humanities Academic Services Center or the UW department that offers the language for more information about testing. The HAS Center language placement testing page offers information on language placement tests for various languages.

If you are a non-native speaker of English and wish to count English as one of your languages for the Linguistics major, you may do so by satisfying the UW English competency requirement. Additional coursework in the structure of English, such as LING 446, may also be helpful.

If you are seriously interested in linguistics, you should view the language requirement outlined above as a minimal course of language study. Regardless of whether or not you test out of the first year of a language, you are encouraged to take additional classes (beyond the first year) in one or both languages, provided that this does not affect your ability to graduate within UW's satisfactory progress guidelines (see Linguistics Advising for more information). Additional or more advanced language study is particularly recommended for students who are planning to attend graduate school in linguistics. Even for those not planning to go to graduate school, fluency in a second language is a valuable (and marketable) skill.

Linguistics majors, like other students in the College of Arts and Sciences, must satisfy the College foreign language proficiency requirement. One year of the language study required for the Linguistics major will also satisfy the College requirement, provided that you earn at least a 2.0 in the third quarter language course.