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University of Pittsburgh


Factoids about the department (Click to enlarge)

The Department of Linguistics has an international reputation and is particularly strong in the areas of second language acquisition, applied linguistics, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), and sociolinguistics. Like every major linguistics program in the United States, the department is centrally concerned with core areas of linguistic theory, but it is unusual in that it also attaches equal importance to applied and descriptive endeavors. The areas of expertise of the faculty are theoretical and descriptive linguistics, Hispanic linguistics, sociolinguistics, and second language acquisition. The department has a good student-faculty ratio and prides itself on its collegial atmosphere and close cooperation between faculty and students.


The department's MA program has been recognized as one of the strongest in the country, especially for students interested in the teaching of English as a second or foreign language. In addition to the MA degree, students can earn a Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) certificate. Work for the TESOL certificate provides both theoretical and practical training for English as a second language as well as hands-on experience in supervised teaching.


The department's PhD students work closely with their professors, and current doctoral students are conducting research on second language acquisition, psycholinguistics, and sociolinguistics.

Multidisciplinary Education

In addition to formal instruction provided by the department, students are encouraged to take courses in related departments such as anthropology and psychology. Students who wish to combine their work in linguistics with training in a specific cultural area may simultaneously earn a certificate in Asian, Latin American, Russian and East European, or West European studies through the University Center for International Studies.

Affiliated Centers

The department is also home to the English Language Institute, the Robert Henderson Language Media Center, and the Less-Commonly-Taught Languages Center.