Special Major in Linguistics

The option for a Special Major is available to any student who wants to combine linguistics with at least one more discipline (e.g., psychology, sociology, Spanish). The Special Major involves 30-40 credits and includes a capstone course experience (a linguistics seminar or individual study in linguistics).

Frequent Questions

For whom is a Special Major in Linguistics appropriate?
For those students who really love linguistics and want a chance to pursue it in depth.

How easy is it to declare a special major?
It’s a much more painstaking process than declaring an existing major, but the end result will be fulfilling in that you pursue a customized degree in what you like. This major can prepare you for either graduate school or a career that involves linguistics.

What courses do you need in order to declare a Special Major?
To design a major in linguistics you have to take 6-7 courses in linguistics and combine them with a set of 4-5 courses from another discipline (any discipline or disciplines can be used such as any Modern Languages and Literatures, Sociology/Anthropology, Psychology, etc.). The major consists of 30-40 credits with up to only four prerequisites not counting in the major. Please consult the Instructions to Request Approval for a Special Major.

What is the process?
You need to write a proposal in which you answer the questions the Curriculum Committee has set for the creation of a special major. In consultation with a linguistics professor, you select the relevant courses and provide a written rationale for their inclusion. The average length of a proposal is 2 pages.

After all cross-checking has been done and the sponsoring faculty has signed the cover page, you email your proposal to the Chair of the Curriculum Committee of the College, one week before the published dates of the meetings. (There are usually 4 meetings a semester. The Curriculum Committee Chair for 2016-2017 is Dr. Surupa Gupta.

Can I change courses in my special major after it has been approved?
If there is a conflict with two courses being offered at the same time, or a course becomes available that was not anticipated, you can petition to change your major requirements but make sure you follow the procedure delineated in the published guidelines (e.g. No change can be requested if the substitute course is in progress). That is why it is very important to keep a copy of every original document you create since it will have to be included with the revised requests you are making.

Can I see a representative sample of a proposal?
Contact Professor Judith Parker (654-1538 or jparker[at]umw.edu), Professor Paul Fallon (654-1543 or pfallon[at]umw.edu), or Professor Janie Lee (654-1548 or jlee8[at]umw.edu) and they will be happy to provide you with one.