Language Study Degree Requirements

Successful completion of the language studies major leads to a BA degree in language studies. The department also offers a minor in language studies. Requirements for the completion of each program may be found below.

[ Language Studies Minor ]

The Language Studies Major

To graduate with a BA in language studies, students must complete three course components: the language component, the linguistics component, and the elective component. Each component is discussed further below. In addition, students must satisfy the senior exit requirement.

The Language Component: Students must demonstrate a high level of competence in their language of emphasis. Six languages are currently available for intensive study:

  • Chinese

  • French

  • German

  • Italian

  • Japanese

  • Spanish

For all languages except Japanese or Chinese, students must achieve a level of competence equivalent to six quarters of UCSC study, and pass at least one upper-division foreign language course - one which has level 6 as a prerequisite.

Students whose language of emphasis is Japanese or Chinese must reach a level of competence equivalent to 8 quarters of UCSC study (through UCSC level 6 plus two additional courses). These two extra quarters of language instruction are usually also used for the upper-division foreign language requirement and one context elective.

Students who come to the program with some competence in one of the languages that they wish to study may opt out of the lower levels and move directly to a higher level of instruction. (However, students cannot place out of all upper-division courses in the language.) For most languages, students must take a placement exam to accomplish this. Placement exams are administered at the start of each quarter. Students should consult the Schedule of Classes for the quarter in which they would like to take the exam, or else contact the Languages and Applied Linguistics Department (218 Cowell, 459-2054).

The Linguistics Component: The linguistics component of the language studies major provides an introduction to the nature of human language, linguistic structure, language use, and linguistic universals. Majors must take four named courses and two advanced linguistics courses. 

Linguistics Named Courses (required):

  • LING 50  Intro. to Linguistics

  • LING 53  Semantics 1

  • LING 101 Phonology 1

  • LING 111 Syntactic Structures or LING 112 Syntax 1 

Advanced Linguistics Electives: Students can take any two upper division courses (numbered 100 and above) offered by the Linguistics Department; however, LING 111 or 112 cannot be counted for one of these upper division electives. 

The Context Elective Component: Language Studies majors take 5 upper division courses in Linguistics or in the social, historical, political, cultural, or literary context of the language concentration. These 5 context electives are taken in addition to the required course taught in the language. It is sometimes possible to use courses taken while on EAP to satisfy elective requirements. Click here for more information.

Senior Comprehensive Requirement: All students at UCSC must satisfy the Senior Comprehensive Requirement. Language studies majors can satisfy this requirement in one of three ways.

Option 1: Successful completion of an upper division UCSC linguistics "exit" course. Once you have completed all foundation linguistics courses required for the major and have reached senior standing, you can satisfy satisfy the UCSC Linguistics Department Senior Comprehensive Requirement through successful completion of an exit course. This exit course will also satisfy one upper division elective for the major. To see which electives are exit courses, download the list of courses at the top of this page and look for the bolded ones.

Option 2: Successful completion of a senior thesis supervised by a Linguistics Department faculty member. Students must have done very good to excellent work in the major to be approved for this option. Students interested in completing a senior thesis should work with a faculty advisor to draft a senior thesis proposal, which must be submitted for departmental approval at least three quarters prior to the quarter of graduation. Students whose senior thesis proposal has been approved enroll in LING 195 (Senior Thesis) with their faculty advisor. Students submit final version of their thesis by the seventh week of their final quarter.

Option 3: Successful completion of a UCSC graduate course during your senior year. Students interested in taking a graduate level course for this option, but first receive approval from the course instructor and the Undergraduate Program Director.

Disciplinary Communication (DC) Requirement
Students of every major must satisfy that major's upper-division Disciplinary Communication (DC) requirement. The DC requirement in language studies is satisfied by completing courses 101 and either 111 or 112.

Download the Language Studies Major worksheet (PDF)

The Language Studies Minor

The minor requires completion of two years (six quarters) of language study (or demonstration of an equivalent level of ability) and eight additional linguistics and cultural context courses as follows:

  • Ling 50, Introduction to Linguistics

  • Ling 101, Phonology I

  • Ling 111, Syntactic Structures; or Ling 112, Syntax I

  • Two upper-division linguistics courses

  • Three electives in linguistics or in the cultural context; cultural context of the language of concentration, to be selected from disciplines such as literature, history, and politics, subject to departmental approval. One of the courses taken must have a prerequisite of Level 6 in the student’s designated language.

There is no senior exit requirement for the minor.

Download the Linguistics and Language Studies Minor worksheet (PDF).

See Also