Frequently Asked Questions for Undergraduate Students
For students considering studying at NYU
Q: I am not an NYU student. I would like to come to New York to study linguistics. Can I take linguistics classes at NYU? How do I enter your linguistics program?
A: To take courses at NYU, you have to be enrolled as a student. You may transfer from another college, enroll as a non-degree student, or apply as a traditional degree student. To learn more about enrollment options, contact the NYU Admissions Office. To enter as a linguistics major, apply to the College of Arts and Sciences and indicate your interest in the Department of Linguistics. The Department of Linguistics does not handle admissions and cannot answer questions about financial aid or your chances of being admitted to NYU.
Q: I would like to study translation/interpretation at NYU. Does your department serve my interests?
A: The Department of Linguistics at NYU does not offer a specialization in translation either at the undergraduate or the graduate level. While a degree in linguistics may be a good step towards a career in translation, it does not prepare one directly for translation work. You might want to look at applied linguistics programs that specialize in the area, including NYU's SCPS.
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Q: How do I declare a major in Linguistics?
A: Students can declare the Linguistics major by submitting the declaration of major/minor form. This form should be filled out by the student and brought to the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) during office hours in order to get a signature and submit.
Q: How do I declare a minor in Linguistics?
Students can declare the Linguistics minor by submitting the declaration of major/minor form. This form should be filled out by the student and brought or faxed to the Linguistics Administrative Secretary (10 Washington Place, Office 202, Tel: 212-998-7951, Fax: 212-995-4707, Email: Teresa.Leung@nyu.edu).
Q: I am/would like to become a Language and Mind major. Who is my advisor?
A: The academic advisor for the Language and Mind major is currently Alec Marantz. You choose your courses in consultation with the academic advisor. If you are interested in majoring in Language and Mind, consult with the Language and Mind academic advisor and fill out the declaration of major form, which requires the signature of the DUS or the academic advisor of the major.
Q: I am a joint major in German/French/Italian/Spanish & Linguistics.Who is my DUS, and who clears me for registration?
A: As a joint major, you have two Directors of Undergraduate Studies. You choose your five linguistics courses in consultation with the Linguistics DUS, and discuss your required foreign language courses with the DUS in the appropriate department. Either DUS can clear you for registration.
Q: How do linguistics majors get cleared for registration?
A: For full details, visit Registration Clearance. If your major is ANLI or LAMD, talk to your advisors. If your major is LING, FRLN, GELN, ITLN, or SPLN, the steps are as follows. First, check your Degree Progress Report on Albert to see which classes you still need. Second, check the Degree Progress Report against the checklist for your major. Third, e-mail your proposed schedule to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please paste the linguistics part of your Degree Progress Report into the message. You do not need to make an appointment to get cleared for registration, but if you would like to meet with the DUS in person, come to office hours or email email@example.com to schedule a meeting time.
Q: I've heard that there is a mailing list for linguistics students. How do I get on it?
A: The mailing list is called ling-undergrad. You need an NYU e-mail address to be on the list. To subscribe, log into NYUHome and click on "Browse and Subscribe to an NYU List" in the Lists Channel.
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Q: What courses are required for the Linguistics major?
A: The Linguistics major requires 9 courses, described here.
Q: What courses are required for the Linguistics minor?
A: The Linguistics major requires 4 courses in linguistics. Students should be mindful that some courses (e.g., Language, Sound & Language, and Grammatical Analysis) serve as prerequisites for other courses.
Q: What courses are required for the special Language and Mind major?
A: The Language and Mind major requires 10 courses spread across the departments of Linguistics, Psychology and Philosophy. These courses are described here.
Q: I am interested in a course, but I have not yet taken the prerequisite. Can I take the prerequisite later?
A: Students should be mindful that some courses (e.g., Language, Sound & Language, and Grammatical Analysis) serve as prerequisites for other courses, and therefore should be taken as early as possible. Courses must be taken in the correct sequence. This applies to all the courses in the department that have prerequisites. Our courses and their prerequisites are listed on the course offerings page; if you have any questions about prerequisites, do not hesitate to ask the instructors.
Q: What is the lowest grade that may be counted toward the major or minor?
A: A student must receive a grade of C or better for a course to be counted toward the linguistics major or minor.
Q: I've already taken some similar classes in another department/university. Can they count towards my major/minor?
A: Maybe, depending on the content of the course. Ask the DUS.
Q: How do I find out if I've fulfilled all of the requirements for the Linguistics major?
A: Check your Degree Progress on Albert and then compare it to the linguistics major checklist. If you are still not sure, the DUS would be happy to help you.
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Q: Can a course in linguistics also be used to fulfill a major or minor in another department?
A: If any course fulfills the major or minor requirements in any other department or program at NYU, it may not be used simultaneously to fulfill the requirements for the linguistics program.
Q: What linguistics courses fulfill the "Society & Social Sciences" Core Curriculum requirement?
The Societies and the Social Sciences component can be satisfied through completion of the Linguistics and Language & Mind majors or Linguistics minor. The Societies and the Social Sciences and Expressive Culture components can be satisfied through completion of Linguistics joint-major programs including:
French and Linguistics
German and Linguistics
Italian and Linguistics
Spanish and Linguistics
The linguistics courses that fulfill the "Society & Social Sciences" Core Curriculum requirement are:
LING-UA 1 Language (Linguistics)
LING-UA 15 Language and Society (Linguistics)
LING-UA 47 The Language of America's Ethnic Minorities (Linguistics)
LING-UA 30 Language in Latin America (Linguistics)
LING-UA 58 Introduction to African Languages (Linguistics)
LING-UA 9058 Introduction to African Languages (Linguistics)
Q: I would like to participate in the Study Abroad program and am required to be cleared by the DUS. What courses can count towards my major?
A: In order to be allowed to study abroad, you need to be on track to graduate. When you plan your semester abroad, keep in mind that it can interfere with your progress towards a linguistics degree, since some of our required courses are only offered once a year. Occasionally, courses taken abroad may be substituted for Linguistics electives. To determine whether a course is eligible, the DUS will need to see all the course materials (homework, syllabus, readings) after you've taken the course. Linguistics majors are encouraged to consider NYU's study-abroad center in Ghana, which offers a rare opportunity for North American undergraduates to study linguistics and African languages in Africa. A special set of linguistics courses has been developed and is offered each spring.
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Q: How can I start doing research in linguistics?
A: The best way to get research experience is to take an advanced course, which allows you to establish a relationship with a faculty member in whose research program you would like to participate. Normally, research opportunities such as assistantships are reserved for advanced students, so the earlier you get to take advanced courses, the better chance you have of getting research experience at the undergraduate level.
Q: What is the honors program in linguistics? How do I get in?
A: Information about the honors program is available on this page. If you are thinking about applying, first talk to the faculty member whom you want to supervise your thesis and then apply to the DUS in the Spring semester of your Junior year.
Q: Are there any internships in linguistics?
A: There are two types of internships: commercial and credit-bearing. Commercial internships are occasionally announced on the NYU linguistics mailing list, ling-undergrad. The Department of Linguistics does not offer academic credit for off-campus commercial internships, but you may be able to get credit for them by registering for V98.0980, V98.0981 (see Experiential Learning). Credit-bearing internships are offered to interested and qualified students on a case-by-case basis and require the permission of the DUS. These internships involve assisting linguistics faculty and graduate students in their research. To register for internship credit, the student must develop a work plan in consultation with the internship supervisor and submit the plan to the DUS. The one-page application should describe the student's responsibilities and the skills that the student will learn. The credit load (1-4) can vary depending on the workload. One credit represents approximately three hours of academic work per week (including meeting times), averaged over the semester. Internships do not count as electives for the purposes of Linguistics program requirements.
Q: What do I need to do to take an independent study in linguistics?
A: First of all, identify a professor who will guide your independent study. Note that you cannot take an independent study instead of a required course. Once you have found a linguistics faculty member and put together a plan of study, get a permission from the DUS and e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to get a registration code.
Q: What sort of jobs can I get with a degree in linguistics?
A: A linguistics degree prepares you for a variety of creative and stimulating jobs in the academia, various industries, and the government. Be sure to check out the Linguistic Society of America page, which describes linguistics jobs. The central hub for real linguistics job advertisements is the Linguist List. The linguistics mailing list ling-undergrad sometimes posts announcements for linguistics jobs in the NYC area. Feel free to talk to any of the linguists in the department about jobs in linguistics.
Q: I am interested in continuing my linguistics studies at the graduate level. What should I know?
A: A good place to start is the Linguistics Graduate Admissions FAQ page, since comparable graduate programs have similar procedures for admissions. Read the Admissions FAQ page carefully--it will give you a good idea of what you need to accomplish before you apply to graduate school (for example, you need to produce at least one high-quality writing sample, which is typically done in an advanced undergraduate or introductory graduate course). Once you have decided that you would like to go on to graduate school, you should start talking to faculty members working in your area(s) of interest. They are in the best position to advise you on which programs to apply to. The DUS would also be more than happy to help you.