Linguistics and Cultural Studies

Programs offered
  • Linguistics and Cultural Studies (major and minor)

This major is not accepting new admits as of Autumn 2023.

The study of linguistics focuses on the nature of language itself and on human beings as creators and users of language. This program in SPU’s Department of Languages, Cultures, and Linguistics explores systems of sound and meaning; phrase and sentence structure; linguistic diversity; both first- and second-language acquisition; and language change over time.

Both the major and the minor may be of interest and use to students pursuing studies in a variety of fields including anthropology, global development, global and urban ministries, sociology, and specific languages.

In this program you can prepare yourselfto enter a professional field such as translation, teaching, or linguistic research.

Find out more about this department’s mission, vision, and learning outcomes.

Linguistics and Cultural Studies (BA)


The Linguistics and Cultural Studies major features a thorough grounding in general linguistic theory, as well as provides you with an opportunity for work in some more specific subfields (e.g., sociolinguistics, second-language acquisition).

  • A minimum 53 credits are required for this major, including 38 upper-division credits.
  • It is required that you have a minimum competency through the second-year sequence of a language.
  • You must complete all non-credited and language proficiency requirements found here, and on the Languages, Cultures, and Linguistics website.
  • This major also offers Cultural Studies courses in a minimum of three different cultures.
  • A senior paper is required and is to be presented in conjunction with the Capstone Seminar.
  • The study abroad requirement may be fulfilled through the Study Abroad programs, including European Quarter, or an approved alternative program.
  • Majors in Linguistics and Cultural Studies are required to complete an Oral Proficiency Interview conducted by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages prior to graduation.

Linguistics and Cultural Studies minor


This minor is not accepting new admits as of Summer 2024.

You can choose from one of three areas of emphasis in the anthropology minor, including Linguistic Anthropology.

  • A minimum 30 credits are required for each of these minors, including 15 upper-division credits.
  • 10 credits of elective courses are required. 

Entering and completing the major or minor

In order to earn a degree, you must complete at least one academic major. SPU encourages students to explore various academic paths, so if you change your mind about a major or minor, or want to include an additional program, you are able to do so, as outlined below.

Note that the University encourages you to enter your chosen major(s) and minor(s) by the start of your junior year. Students who transfer as juniors and seniors should enter a major within their first two quarters at SPU.

  • If this is your first quarter at SPU and you identified the Linguistics and Cultural Studies major as your first choice on your application for admission to the University, you have gained entry to the major.
  • To change or enter a major or minor in this department, follow these instructions.
  • The University requires a grade of C- or better in all classes that apply to a major or minor; however, programs may require higher minimum grades in specific courses. You may repeat an SPU course only once for a higher grade.
  • To advance in this program, meet with your faculty advisor regularly to discuss your grades, course progression, and other indicators of satisfactory academic progress. If your grades or other factors indicate that you may not be able to successfully complete the major or minor, your faculty advisor can work with you to explore options, which may include choosing a different major or minor.
  • You must complete the major or minor requirements that are in effect in the SPU Undergraduate Catalog for the year you enter the major or minor.