Our Linguistics Major | Our Linguistics and TESOL Minors | Declare a Linguistics Major or MinorWhat Can I Do with a Linguistics Major? | TESOL Minor FAQ | For Current Students

Why Study Linguistics?

Linguistics is the scientific study of language in all its aspects. We look at how all languages are alike, how they differ, and how they change over time. Core objects of inquiry include the properties of speech sounds (phonetics), how sounds pattern (phonology), word formation (morphology), sentence structure (syntax), meaning (semantics), and how language functions in society (sociolinguistics). Subfields and applications include language documentation, educational linguistics, philosophy of languagehistorical linguistics, computational linguistics, anthropological linguistics, cognitive linguistics, neurolinguistics, discourse analysisfirst and second language acquisition, and more. UCA offers courses in those subfields listed in bold.

“Each new grammar pattern we find sheds light on how the human brain creates language. The loss of even one language may forever close the door to a full understanding of human cognitive capacity.” 
― K. David Harrison, When Languages Die: The Extinction of the World’s Languages and the Erosion of Human Knowledge

What Our Students Say (Outstanding Experiences):

What Linguistics Degrees do You Offer?

Major in Linguistics

We offer four different types of Linguistics majors, a Linguistics minor, and a minor in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Different Languages). If you’re most interested in going deep into one or two languages, the Language track (Track 1) in our major is right for you. If you’ve dreamed of traveling the world while getting paid to teach English, or are passionate about supporting people with limited English proficiency in the US the TESOL track (Track 2) has you covered. If you’re fascinated by the intersection between linguistics and computer science, machine learning, large language models, and voice search (among other fascinating and cutting-edge topics), check out our Computer Science track (Track 3). Finally, if you can’t get enough of the science of languages more generally and find all of the areas of linguistics equally fascinating, try our General Linguistics track (Track 4).

See the Linguistics Major Checksheet →

Minors in Linguistics and TESOL

Our Linguistics and TESOL minors also complement any major, or even work well as a second minor! Both require 21 hours.

Declaring A Major or Minor

Not yet a Linguistics major or Linguistics/TESOL minor, but want to declare one? Email Mrs. Deanne Murphey. ( She will help ensure the major or minor gets added and help you get connected to the right academic advisor to ensure you make degree progress!

Declare a Linguistics Major or Linguistics/TESOL Minor Now!

What Can I Do with a Linguistics or TESOL Major or Minor?

Anything and everything! Linguistics majors graduate with content knowledge on how language works, but they also acquire skills in critical thinking, analytical problem solving, the ability to write clearly and concisely, and strong argumentative skills. Job seekers may not find many jobs with the title “Linguist,” but you will find many jobs that require the knowledge and the skills your degree program has helped hone. Please keep in mind that many jobs require additional graduate level study. Our students have an outstanding record of acceptance to high quality graduate schools.

Whatever your interests, Linguistics opens career doors.

Depending on your area of concentration in the major and on the minor you have chosen, you may be qualified for a wide variety of jobs.

Here are some links you might find useful in your graduate school or job search in Linguistics and TESOL:

Curious to hear more?

Career Ideas by Passion


Our TESOL minor is an academic program requiring 21 credit hours of coursework: seven courses at 3 credit hours each. This minor provides a broad foundation in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, including Second Language Acquisition. Check out the current requirements here.
A large number of our students are planning to teach English abroad after graduation. Students with a minor in TESOL or a BA in Linguistics are better prepared to teach, as we require students to take courses that help them understand how students acquire a second language, methods of teaching a second language, and assessing second language students. Students also gain an in-depth understanding of how languages work and how the grammar of a language (any language) works, as well as the issues concerning bilingual education, language planning and policy, and literacy education. While it is true that many schools overseas and many companies will hire graduates with any degree, they prefer and increasingly seek out students with degrees in Education, Linguistics, English, or Writing, especially with TESOL courses such as we offer. Every single one of our students who graduated with the TESOL minor or Linguistics degree who then sought a job teaching English in another country has obtained one. Every student who wished to continue their education by earning an MA in TESOL has been accepted into a program. Alumni of the TESOL minor and the TESOL track in the Linguistics BA program have gotten jobs teaching English in dozens of countries, from Mongolia to Morocco. Several are currently working in Japan on the JET Program.
No. Note that ‘TESOL(/TESL/TEFL) Certificate’ is not a regulated or standardized qualification, and different programs offer different content, different levels of rigor, and different time commitments. Learn more about best practices with this publication from TESOL International, titled ‘Standards for Short-Term TEFL/TESL Certificate Programs’:
No. This minor does not lead to teacher licensure for K-12 schools in the United States.
Certificate programs are based on clock hours, so ‘80 hours’ typically means 80 total hours of seat time in a classroom.
From the 2020-2021 UCA Undergraduate Bulletin: “A semester hour is defined as the credit earned for the successful completion of one hour per week in class for one semester, or a minimum of two hours per week of laboratory work for one semester. Each lecture hour suggests a minimum of two hours preparation on the part of the student.” This means that a university course worth 3 credit hours will require at least 45 hours of contact time (in classroom), plus around 90 hours of work outside the classroom. UCA’s TESOL minor requires seven such courses, for a total minimum commitment of 21 credit hours, or roughly 262.5 clock hours of contact time (excluding time outside the classroom).
Neither UCA nor the UCA Linguistics program is affiliated with any TESOL-related third-party company. We do not endorse or recommend any specific program.
UCA’s TESOL minor does not lead to ‘certification’ per se. For students who have completed the TESOL minor, faculty are happy to write letters explaining the scope and content of the minor.

For Current Students

Check out the Linguistics Major Portfolio requirements.