BA in Linguistics & Philosophy

The joint Linguistics & Philosophy major combines a solid foundation in both disciplines with an interdisciplinary focus on understanding the human capacity for language. Through rigorous training in a variety of theoretical, empirical, and analytical approaches, students acquire the knowledge and skills they need for in-depth exploration of fundamental questions related to meaning, intention, and reference.

The small size of the program enables close personal and intellectual contact between students and faculty, and allows student majors to design a course of study that reflects their individual goals and interests. The Linguistics & Philosophy major provides excellent preparation for graduate study in the humanities, social sciences, and computer science or for professional training in law, education, or communications.


Thirteen courses are required for the major, with at least six courses each in Linguistics and Philosophy. One semester of honors research can be counted toward the 13 required courses. All courses must be completed with a grade of C or higher. Further information on individual courses can be found in the list of Linguistics course descriptions and Philosophy course descriptions and on the Linguistics program website.

Unless otherwise indicated, all required courses are 4 credit hours.

Two foundation courses, one philosophy course and one linguistics course, from the following:


One of the following, to be taken before higher-level philosophy courses:

  • CAS PH 100 Introduction to Philosophy
  • CAS PH 110 Great Philosophers
  • CAS PH 160 Reasoning and Argumentation


  • CAS LX 250 Introduction to Linguistics; to be taken before higher-level linguistics courses

Principal Courses

In addition to the above, also required are 11 principal courses (at least five philosophy courses and five linguistics courses), as outlined below:

Four philosophy courses:

  • CAS PH 310 History of Modern Philosophy
  • CAS PH 360 Symbolic Logic
  • CAS PH 463 Philosophy of Language
  • CAS PH 422 Analytic Philosophy or CAS PH 443 Philosophy of Mind

Four linguistics courses:

  • CAS LX 502 Semantics I
  • CAS LX 510 Phonetics
  • CAS LX 522 Syntax I
  • One additional course in formal syntax, semantics, or pragmatics, chosen from:
    • CAS LX 523 Syntax II
    • CAS LX 503 Semantics II
    • CAS LX 504 Topics in Pragmatics
    • CAS LX 517 “Having” and “Being” across Languages
    • CAS LX 518 Focus
    • CAS LX 519 Questions
    • Or an appropriate CAS LX 500 topics course, selected in consultation with the student’s advisor.

Three additional linguistics or philosophy courses above the 100 level, including at least one each in linguistics and philosophy. Recommended courses include the following:

  • CAS PH 261 Puzzles and Paradoxes
  • CAS PH 265 Minds & Machines
  • CAS PH 270 Philosophy of Science
  • CAS PH 266 Mind, Brain, and Self
  • CAS PH 421 Frege, Moore, and Russell
  • CAS PH 424 Wittgenstein
  • CAS PH 460 Epistemology
  • CAS PH 461 Mathematical Logic
  • CAS PH 462 Foundations of Mathematics
  • CAS PH 465 Philosophy of Cognitive Science
  • CAS PH 468 Philosophical Problems of Logic and Mathematics
  • CAS PH 486 Topics in Knowledge, Language, and Logic
  • CAS LX 235 Language in the Contemporary World: Technology, Society, and Law
  • CAS LX 240 Great Linguists
  • CAS LX 245 Language and Mind
  • CAS LX 320 Language, Race, and Gender
  • CAS LX 515 Languages in Contact: The High Stakes of Grammatical Border Crossing
  • CAS LX 521 Morphology
  • CAS LX 525 Prosody
  • CAS LX 535 Historical and Comparative Linguistics
  • CAS LX 530 Variation in English Dialects
  • CAS LX 540 Acquisition of Syntax
  • CAS LX 542 Second Language Acquisition
  • CAS LX 545 Bilingualism
  • CAS LX 546 Incomplete Acquisition and Language Attrition