The Applied Linguistics major will give you a deep understanding of language structure, language use, and linguistic analysis.

The Major in Applied Linguistics includes:

  • 36 credits of required courses (9 courses)
  •  8 credits of language or language structure (2 courses)
  • 16 credits of electives (4 courses)

Advising and grading requirements: By the end of the first quarter of admission to the program, students must consult with the Applied Linguistics faculty adviser to select the appropriate courses and plan their schedule. All courses used to satisfy the department major or minor requirements must be graded C or above. Courses taken for a "pass" grade during the Covid pandemic are acceptable toward fulfilling department major requirements.

Required courses (36 credits)

Course Description

1) LING 390 Introduction to Linguistics (4 credits). Start here. LING 390 is a prerequisite for many other courses. A general introduction to the study of linguistics and the tools for conducting linguistic analysis. This course includes a basic survey of phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics, and a brief overview of other topics such as language in social contexts. This course is a prerequisite for many 400 level-courses in the department.
2) LING 391 WIC: Introduction to Applied Linguistics (4 credits) An introduction to core areas of applied linguistics integrated with experience analyzing and writing about linguistic data. Specific topics include language acquisition and discourse analysis. The course serves as a bridge between 300-level and 400-level coursework in the department, and it can be used toward the fulfillment of the University Writing Requirement. Prerequisite: 390
3) LING 392 Structure of the English Language (4 credits) A study of basic English grammar with an emphasis on describing grammatical forms and their functions in communication. 
4) LING 415 Linguistics Phonetics (4 credits) An introduction to the sounds of the world's languages with a concentration on English. Practical exercises develop skills in production, discrimination, and phonetic transcription. Applications include speech technology and speech pathology. Prerequisite: LING 390
5) LING 435 Applied Linguistics (4 credits) An examination of current areas of applied linguistics research. Prerequisite: LING 390 and LING 391
6) LING 414 Linguistic Pragmatics OR LING 416 Discourse Analysis (4 credits) LING 414: A study of current theories of language use, particularly contextual and functional aspects of communication. Prerequisite: LING 390. Recommended prerequisite: LING 391. LING 416: An examination of forms and functions in spoken and written texts. The course introduces a variety of analytic procedures for understanding and analyzing how texts are constructed. Prerequisite: LING 390. Recommended prerequisites: LING 391, LING 392
7) LING 411 Syntax or LING 412 Phonology (4 credits) LING 411: An introduction to modern generative grammatical theory, its methods, and findings. The course presents patterns of argumentation, models, and basic results of research. Prerequisites: LING 390 and one other 400 level linguistics course. Recommended prerequisite: LING 392. LING 412: An examination of sound patterns and how they are used in the world's languages, how those patterns should be represented, and what theories have been advanced to explain those patterns. The course provides some some historical background and some training in linguistic analysis and argumentation. Prerequisites: LING 390 and LING 415.
8) LING 437 First Language Acquisition OR LING 438 Second Language Acquisition (4 credits) LING 437: An introduction to main aspects of first language acquisition in childhood, from infancy to the early school years. The course examines comprehension and production of the structural and social aspects of language, and includes discussion of language acquisition from linguistic, psycholinguistic and sociolinguistic perspectives focus on linguistic analysis. A research project based on collection and analysis of child language data is required. Prerequisite: LING 390. Recommended prerequisites: 391, 392, 415. LING 438: An introduction to main aspects of second language acquisition from sociolinguistic and psycholinguistic perspectives. Content includes theories of second language acquisition from sociolinguistic and psycholinguistic perspectives. Content includes theories of second language acquisition, cognitive processes, the effects of linguistic environment, individual variables affecting SLA, and the relationship between first and second language. The course provides practice with observing and analyzing learner language. Recommended: LING 391
9) LING 407 Senior Seminar (4 credits) The Senior Seminar synthesizes the Applied Linguistics major's various strands and applies the students' linguistic knowledge to explore substantive issues in the field. Course content varies from quarter to quarter. Previous topics have included "Orality and Literacy," "Critical Linguistics," and "Language in Cyberspace." In addition, students are guided through preparing resumes and CVs for graduate school or jobs. Those students planning on going to graduate school are advised to take the course in Fall quarter. Prerequisites: 16 LING credits, senior standing or instructor's permission

Language or language structure (8 credits)

Students have three options: 

1) Take 2 terms of a single language that is typologically different from English.  Choose from Arabic, ASL, Chinese, Hebrew, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Russian, Swahili, or Turkish. If you fulfill the PSU BA Language Requirement with one of these languages, you also simultaneously fulfill the Applied Linguistics structure requirement. 
2) Take 2 classes that focus on language structure across languages

Choose from: 

  • LING 420 Historical Comparative Linguistics
  • LING 418 Morphology
  • LING 419 Language Typology
  • LING 481 World Englishes
  • LING 482 Pidgins & Creoles
  • LING 410 with prior advisor approval
3) Take one term of a typologically different language and one language structure class.  

Advisor-approved electives (16 credits) 

Meet with LING faculty advisor to decide which electives best meet your goals and interests. At least eight credits must be PSU LING courses. For a course not taken at PSU to count towards the major, students must get approval from the chair or the LING adviser. 

I'm just so happy that I finally found something I love learning about, and a field I can go into with a lot of career choices; it has really made me excited about my future again! The teachers at PSU are all passionate about linguistics as well, so it really makes the classes engaging and fun to be in.

-- Sara Scott, Applied Linguistics major alum