Linguistics Program

Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. Linguists study all aspects of language: from the structure of sounds and words to sentences, to how those sentences are used to perform actions in the world. Linguists are also interested in relationships between language and cognition, language and society, and language acquisition in children and second language learners.

As the only Bachelor of Science in Linguistics in the state of Minnesota, the program at UMD has particular strengths in syntax, morphology, cognitive linguisticssemantics/pragmatics, and sociolinguistics.

In addition, we have a special interest in the languages and linguistic variations of Minnesota, including the Iron Range, languages of recent immigrants, and Minnesota English in all its past and present glory.

Career Possibilities

Linguistics majors can pursue a wide range of employment post-graduation. Their analytical skills and experience with language lead them to work at computer and software companies, as writers and analysts, as teachers, in government agencies, and prepares them for advanced study in many fields in the humanities and behavioral sciences. Linguistics majors also tend to do very well on LSAT scores and are accepted into law schools at much higher rates than their peers in other majors.

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Linguistics Scholarship Information

Each spring, the Linguistics Program Scholarship Committee solicits nominations from faculty and self-nominations from students. Winners are recognized at the annual CAHSS Awards Ceremony.

The Ken and Diana Risdon Scholarship: This scholarship is awarded to undergraduate students majoring in Professional or Technical Writing Studies and/or Linguistics who demonstrate interest in technology and writing and/or linguistics. The original fund, established by Dr. Kenneth Risdon in memory of his late wife Diana, supports the growing need to teach the technology of writing.

To be eligible, students shall be: (a) undergraduate students who have completed at least 90 credits (or in their third year of study), (b) studying professional or technical writing studies and/or linguistics.

Students who are nominated for the scholarship should submit:

  • a writing sample (5-20 pages of original work completed in a UMD course; it can be a personal statement that describes distinguished achievements, states academic goals, and most convincingly demonstrates a commitment to the study of linguistics;
  • a transcript

Please send your documents to Dr. Chongwon Park by the end of February (each spring).