Linguistics - General Linguistics Option, B.A.


Department of Linguistics

Brian Agbayani, Chair
Peters Business Building, Room 383

Degrees and Programs Offered

BA in Linguistics - Teaching English as a Second Language Option, B.A.
BA in Linguistics - Computational Linguistics Option, B.A.
BA in Linguistics - General Linguistics Option, B.A.
BA in Linguistics - Interdisciplinary Language Studies Option, B.A.
BS in Cognitive Science, B.S.
CERT in TESOL, Certificate of Adv. Study
MA in Linguistics, M.A.
MA in Linguistics - Teaching English as a Second Language Option, M.A.
MN in Linguistics, Minor
MN in Computational Linguistics, Minor
MN in Chinese, Minor
MN in Hmong, Minor
MN in Teaching English As A Second Language, Minor
MN in Cognitive Science, Minor
MN in Japanese, Minor

Courses Offered

The Department

Linguistics is the study of the human capacity for language. Language is the defining characteristic of the human species; without language, there would be no civilization, no culture, no scientific or technological development, none of the achievements and capabilities distinctive to the human species. Therefore, the study of the nature of language is fundamental to the understanding of what it means to be human.

Students and faculty in linguistics investigate the nature of human language, its structure, diversity, universality, acquisition by children and adults, historical change, and its use in society. They study how language is processed in the human mind/brain, and how it relates to other human cognitive faculties. And they study and develop applications of linguistics to teaching, technology, and many other fields.

Degrees and Programs

Our degrees and programs develop intellectual skills that are essential to professional careers or advanced degrees and can be applied directly to various professional fields. An undergraduate or advanced degree in linguistics can prepare you for a career in a variety of different fields, including but not limited to: teaching, publishing, national security, international affairs, policy, forensics, medicine and technology. Our programs also serve as excellent preparation for pursuing advanced degrees in linguistics and other fields such as English, Anthropology, Psychology, Sociology, Computer Science, and Foreign Languages.

The B.A. Option in General Linguistics provides a broad background in the scientific study of language, including but not limited to phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, language acquisition, sociolinguistics, and related areas.

The B.A. Option in TESL provides professional training and preparation in theories and methods for teaching second/foreign languages and is especially compatible with degrees in education and liberal studies.

The B.A. Option in Interdisciplinary Language Studies is for those students interested in combining the study of a particular language or languages with the core areas of linguistics.

he B.A. Option in Computational Linguistics is for those students interested in text processing, forensic linguistics, software design, machine translation, and other professions dealing with the interface between computers and humans.

The B.S. Degree in Cognitive Science is an interdisciplinary program that combines aspects of Computer Science, Psychology, Linguistics, and Philosophy.

The M.A. degree in Linguistics is designed to increase the student’s knowledge and understanding of linguistics and its applications. The M.A. degree has two options, one in General Linguistics and one in TESL. The general linguistics program is designed to train students who expect to do further graduate work, to teach linguistics at the college level, or to do linguistic field work on less-studied languages. The option in TESL prepares students for further graduate work in applied linguistics and serves those who wish to teach English to speakers of other languages at any educational level, either abroad or in this country. The TESL option specifically meets the needs of English language teachers in this region.

Minors in Chinese, Hmong, and Japanese are also available for students with plans to pursue careers in various areas, such as education, health care, international affairs, marketing, economics, national security, art and literature, etc., where a knowledge of language and culture would be useful.

The Undergraduate Certificate of Special Study in Teaching English as a Second Language is intended for local and international Bachelors students who wish to specialize in English as a Second Language methods. The Graduate Certificate in TESL is designed to train students in the theory and practice of TESL, with application to a wide variety of teaching circumstances.


The Department of Linguistics has a computer lab for computer-assisted language learning (CALL) and for language study. The Department also has a sound booth for phonetic analysis. The Linguistics Department provides practical classroom teaching experience for qualified ESL students through internship programs at area schools and through employment with the American English Institute.


Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements

Linguistics Major

A B.A. with a major in linguistics requires 36-46 units completed in one of the options outlined below, the General Education requirement, specific course/skill requirements, and electives and remaining degree requirements totaling at least the 120 units required for a B.A.

The B.A. program in Linguistics is diversified but integrated. Four options are available: (1) Teaching English as a Second Language, (2) General Linguistics, (3) Computational Linguistics, and (4) Interdisciplinary Language Studies. In each option, students receive a basic grounding in the nature and structure of human language.

1. Major requirements (36-46 units)
A. Core (18 units)
LING 100, 139, 142, 143, 148, 165

B. Options (18-28 units)

II. General Linguistics (19 units)
LING 144, 145, 151, 153, 154; CGSCI 100

2. General Education requirements (49 units)

3. Other requirements (6 units)
Upper-division writing and Multicultural and International (MI)

4. Sufficient elective units to meet required total units (varies)
(See Degree Requirements); may be used toward a double major or minor

5. Total units (120)*

* G.E. and MI courses can be double-counted with major requirements. The writing requirement may be met by taking the upper-division writing exam. See advisor for details.

Advising Notes

  1. CR/NC grading is not permitted in the linguistics major.
  2. General Education and elective units can be used toward a double major or minor. (See double major or departmental minor.) Consult the appropriate department chair, program coordinator, or faculty advisor for further information.
  3. See advisor for list of approved electives.
  4. Students who have studied a language in high school or community college, or who by culture and experience have a certain level of proficiency, must consult with an advisor in the language to determine their placement in lower- or upper-division coursework.
  5. Students must fulfill the 18 units by taking language courses in a minimum of two languages and not more than three languages. Students must maintain a B average in the languages taken. LING 151 is intended to be taken upon completion of Plan A or Plan B.
  6. Literature courses in the language may be used with permission of advisor. Except for LING 120, courses taught in English do not count toward the required courses for Plan A or Plan B.


For faculty phone numbers and e-mail, see the campus directory.

For more on the faculty, see the faculty pages.
The faculty pages are updated by the department or program.


B.A. in Linguistics - General Linguistics Option

A Roadmap identifies the specific set of courses students must complete in their major in sequential order. Information on corequisites or prerequisites is listed along with other pertinent information to assist students in completing courses towards the major.

Click here for roadmap.

Please note: Roadmaps are not a guarantee of course availability.

If you are looking for archived roadmaps, please click here.


Language is an essential part of life.

Career Opportunities

Many of our B.A. students want to pursue careers in education. There are several ways to do this. Students interested in teaching grades 7-12 can enroll in the English Department Credential Program with a linguistics emphasis. Students can double major in linguistics and liberal studies, or minor in linguistics with a liberal studies major to lead to a Multiple Subject Credential for K-6 instruction. Students who pursue a major in linguistics by itself may enter the Multiple Subject Credential Program with satisfactory completion of the CSET Exam. Many linguistics graduates find jobs teaching English overseas.

Students with a B.A. or M.A. in Linguistics can go on for further education to pursue careers in a wide variety of fields. In law or criminology, they have a special understanding of legal issues involving language or the use of language evidence in litigation (forensic linguistics). In health care, students with a linguistics degree can take advanced training and pursue careers in speech pathology and related areas. With additional work in computer science, the linguistics student can find employment in software development or in the development of human and computer interfaces. After further training, some linguistics students work for the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the Peace Corps, the United States Information Agency, the military, or the State Department monitoring foreign news or doing cryptography, language instruction, or translation. Many corporations recruit linguistics majors into management, development, and marketing positions. Enterprising linguistics students have developed service-related businesses in consulting, interpretation, translation, or communication.

Interesting Classes You Might Take

  • Introduction to Language (LING 10, GE Foundation A2)
  • Language through the Lifespan (LING 30, GE Breadth E1)
  • General Linguistics (LING 100)
  • Language, Culture and Society (LING 115, GE Integration IC)
  • Japanese Language and Culture (LING 120)
  • Language and Gender (LING 130, GE)
  • Practical English Grammar for Language Teachers (LING 146)
  • Arabic 1A-B (GE Breadth C2)
  • Chinese 1A-B (GE Breadth C2)
  • Hmong 1A-B (GE Breadth C2)
  • Japanese 1A-B (GE Breadth C2)
  • Persian 1A-B (GE Breadth C2)

What You Can Learn

  • Linguistic methodology: phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics
  • The relationship among languages of the world and social class, race, age, sex, and other social subcategories

About the College

The College of Arts and Humanities provides a diverse student population with the communication skills, humanistic values and cultural awareness that form the foundation of scholarship. The college offers intellectual and artistic programs that engage students and faculty and the community in collaboration, dialog and discovery. These programs help preserve, illuminate and nourish the arts and humanities for the campus and for the wider community.

College Contact Information

College of Arts & Humanities
Office of the Dean
2380 E. Keats MS/MB99
Fresno CA 93740-8024

(559) 278-3056
FAX: (559) 278-6758

Where We Are Located

The college is located in the west wing of the Music Building in Room 186.

Department Contact Information

Department of Linguistics

Mail Stop: M/S PB92

Phone: 559.278.2441 
Fax: 559.278.7299

The Department of Linguistics is located in Peters Business Building, Room 383.