Linguistics is, in short, the scientific study of language. At the heart of linguistics is the search for the unconscious knowledge that humans have about language and how children acquire it, an understanding of the structure of language in general and of particular languages, knowledge about how languages vary, and how language influences the way we interact with each other. But there's more! Please view an excellent handout created by the Linguistic Society of America (LSA).

Here at Pitt the faculty of the Department of Linguistics focus on Sociolinguistics (linguistic analysis of social media, for example), Hispanic Linguistics (linguistic aspects of Spanish), and Applied Linguistics (how people learn second/third languages).

Our students get exposure to these specialties. Also, our degree program emphasizes the importance of real-world experiences through our capstone courses and internships. We maintain close ties with various industries throughout Pittsburgh to offer our internship program.

Through our Less-Commonly-Taught-Languages Center we also teach languages that range from Amharic to Vietnamese. Students can study to obtain a Certificate in American Sign Language or Arabic Language and Linguistics.

Major Requirements

Majoring in linguistics can set you on an exciting academic and career path. Find out what requirements are needed for a linguistics major.

Minors and Certificates

A linguistics minor is a great fit for lots of majors, from English to psychology. We also offer many language minors and certificates (such as Swedish!) through our Less-Commonly-Taught Languages Center. 


Find information on our courses that are offered on a regular basis, grouped by topic. See A&S Course Descriptions for more details.


Contact the undergraduate advisors with any questions about your major or minor in linguistics.

Capstone and Internships

Linguistics majors take one of three Capstone Courses. These are courses that solidify your knowledge of the field and help jump-start your after-Pitt career.

Career Options

A degree in linguistics opens doors in many fields from academic to government to industry.

Get Involved

As a linguistics major, you will find lots of opportunities to engage with fellow students, professors, local communities and workplaces, and even the world!