The significance of linguistics in the context of the liberal arts education is twofold. On the one hand, linguistics is a highly developed field of knowledge whose achievements, challenges, and problems constitute an integral part of the modern world of ideas. On the other, understanding inner properties of language as a complex mechanism and awareness of the extensive tools of its discription developed by linguistics provides a crucial background for a variety of disciplines whose subject involves language, such as analytical philosophy, anthropology, folklore, sociology, psychology, computer science, archeology, classic philology, and literary theory.

Columbia does not have a regular major in Linguistics. However, students may choose to pursue an academic specialization in Linguistics through one of the following programs.

The special concentration in linguistics is open to students in Columbia College and the School of General Studies. It gives students an opportunity to become acquainted with theoretical ideas, conceptual apparatus, and research techniques involved in the study of language. A student must have a regular major or concentration in addition to the Special Concentration in Linguistics in order to obtain the B.A. degree. See Professor John McWhorter or Professor Alan Timberlake for more information.

Barnard students may pursue a special major or combined major in Linguistics by completing the application form for a combined or special major and submitting it to the Committee on Programs and Academic Standing. Click here for more details. For more advice on pursuing a major or minor in Linguistics at Barnard, see Professor Paul Kockelman (Anthropology) or Professor Robert Remez (Psychology). For general information about the Linguistics program, click here.