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University at Albany Undergraduate Bulletin - 2003-2004

Linguistics and Cognitive Science


Distinguished Service Professor

Ernest A. Scatton, Ph.D.
Harvard University

Professor Emeritus

Millicent Lenz, Ph.D.
Northern Illinois University


James Collins, Ph.D.
University of California, Berkeley

Laurie Feldman, Ph.D.
University of Connecticut

Francine W. Frank, Ph.D. (Collins Fellow)
University of Illinois

John Justeson, Ph.D.
Stanford University

Istvan Kecskes, Ph.D.
Kossuth University, Hungary

Rose-Marie Weber, Ph.D.
Cornell University

Robert Meyers, Ph.D.
State University of New York at Buffalo

James Neely, Ph.D.
Yale University

Robert Sanders, Ph.D.
University of Iowa

Frank Vellutino, Ph.D.
Catholic University of America

Associate Professors

Jeanette Altarriba, Ph.D.
Vanderbilt University

George Berg, Ph.D.
Northwestern University

Lee Bickmore, Ph.D.
University of California, Los Angeles

George Broadwell, Ph.D.
University of California, Los Angeles

Cynthia Fox, Ph.D.
Indiana University

Andrew Haas, Ph.D.
University of Rochester

Ronald A. McClamrock, Ph.D.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Maurice Westmoreland, Ph.D.
University of Illinois

Assistant Professor Emeritus

George Hastings, Ph.D.
University of Pennsylvania

Assistant Professor

Lotfi Sayahi, Ph.D.
Universidad Complutense Madrid

The linguistics major is designed to provide students with a basic understanding of the nature of human language and the principles and methods of contemporary linguistic theories. The major offers a liberal education that combines the approaches of the humanities, the social sciences and the sciences. It also provides appropriate preparation for those interested in pursuing graduate work in linguistics or related disciplines. The Program in Linguistics and Cognitive Science and the Department of Educational Theory and Practice offer a combined B.A./M.S. program leading to a bachelor's degree in linguistics and a master's in teaching English to speakers of other languages.


Linguistics majors compete favorably with those from other humanities and social science disciplines for entry-level positions in public relations, commerce, publishing and other fields requiring analytical, communication and research skills. Career opportunities for graduates also include computer programming, computer software development, editing, technical writing and dictionary-making.

Students planning to undertake professional study in such fields as law, public administration, public policy, speech pathology and education will find that course work in linguistics provides valuable preparation in analytical skills as well as an understanding of the social implications of language and attitudes toward language. For suggested sequences of courses appropriate to specific areas of advanced study or careers, consult the undergraduate adviser.

Special Programs or Opportunities

The possibility of studying a foreign language not regularly taught at the University is provided by A Lin 289, Directed Study in Foreign Languages. This course is open to any undergraduate student in the University. For current offerings, consult the undergraduate adviser.

The program also sponsors a minor in Linguistics and Cognitive Science (See Approved Minors section of this bulletin for details).

Degree Requirements for the Major in Linguistics

General Program B.A.: 36 credits in the major field of study, including: A Lin 220M, 321, 322, 421 or 422, 429; one year of a foreign language (or A Lin 423, Linguistic Structures)*, as advised; additional credits, as advised, including a minimum of 3 credits at the 300 level or above; these are to be chosen from courses offered by the Program in Linguistics and Cognitive Science and from approved courses in other departments.

*This language should be of radically different structure from the foreign language chosen for the language proficiency requirement (See below.) Non-Indo-European languages are usually advised. Credits earned in A Lin 289 may be counted toward the 36-credit requirement only if used to fulfill this one-year language requirement.

Other Degree Requirements

Language Requirement:  Majors are required to demonstrate competence in a foreign language equivalent to two years of study of skill courses in a foreign language at the college level. This requirement may be satisfied by course work or the passing of the appropriate examination. Credits earned for the proficiency requirement are additional to the 36-credit requirement described above.

Courses in other departments approved for the linguistics major. (Some of these courses may have prerequisites within the departments offering them.) Consult the undergraduate adviser of the Linguistics and Cognitive Science Program for modifications in this list.

A Ant 424; A Clc 125; A Com 373, 465; A Csi 101N, 201N, 310; A Eng 311L; A Fre 306, 406, 450; A Heb 203; A Phi 210L, 332, 415, 432; A Por 402; A Psy 301, A Psy 365, 381; A Spn 401, 402, 405; one of the following: A Gog 396, A Mat 108, A Psy 210, or A Soc 221.

Honors Program

Declared majors in linguistics who have completed 12 or more credits of A Lin courses may apply to the program by letter to the director of the Program in Linguistics and Cognitive Science. The requirements are as follows:

  1. The major GPA must be at least 3.5, and the overall GPA must be at least 3.25.

  2. 2. Students are required to take 39 credit hours. In addition to satisfying all the linguistics major requirements, the 39 hours must include 12 credits of 400 level A Lin courses. Of these 12 credits, seven must come from A Lin 429 Field Methods in Anthropological Linguistics (4 credits) and A Lin 423 Language Structures (3 credits), which constitute a seven credit sequence involving original research projects. Three credits must come from A Lin 495 Honors Thesis (described below). The remaining credits can come from any 400-level Lin course.

  3. 3. Students must take A Lin 495 Honors Thesis in which they write a major research paper. The paper can be based on new research or can be a major revision of a paper written for a previous A Lin class or independent study. This course should be taken during the final semester of the student's senior year, under the supervision of an appropriate member of the LINCS faculty. All students in Lin 495 will make an oral presentation of their research before submitting the final written version.

Combined B.A./M.S. Program

The combined B.A./M.S. program in linguistics and teaching English to speakers of other languages provides an opportunity for students of recognized academic ability and educational maturity to fulfill integrated requirements of undergraduate and master's degree programs from the beginning of their junior year. A carefully designed program can permit a student to earn the B.A. and M.S. degrees within nine semesters.

The combined program requires a minimum of 143 credits, of which at least 35 must be graduate credits. In qualifying for the B.A., students must meet all University and college requirements, including the requirements of the undergraduate major described previously, the minor requirement, the minimum 90-credit liberal arts and sciences requirement, general education requirements and residency requirements. In qualifying for the M.S., students must meet all University and college requirements as outlined in the Graduate Bulletin including completion of a minimum of 35 graduate credits and any other conditions such as a research seminar, thesis, comprehensive examination, professional experience and residency requirements. Up to 12 graduate credits may be applied simultaneously to both the B.A. and M.S. programs.

Students are considered undergraduates until completion of 120 graduation credits and satisfactory completion of all B.A. requirements. Upon meeting B.A. requirements, students are automatically considered as graduate students.

Students may apply for admission to the combined degree program at the beginning of their junior year or after the successful completion of 56 credits, but no later than the accumulation of 100 credits. A cumulative grade point average of 3.20 or higher and three supportive letters of recommendation from faculty are required for consideration. Students will be admitted to the combined program upon the recommendation of faculties of the Program in Linguistics and Cognitive Science and the Department of Educational Theory and Practice set up to administer the combined degree program.

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