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Explore Linguistics

Welcome to the Linguistics Department - we're so glad you're here! If you are visiting this page, you are likely one of two kinds of people - someone who already knows what we do or someone who has no idea. If you are already planning to major/minor in linguistics, you will find some information about our programs, education abroad opportunities, and undergraduate research below. If you are completely new to the idea, you might want to start here: Sitting at the edge of humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, linguistics is the systematic study of the phenomenon of human language, covering everything from how little children learn their first language to how you can talk to Siri (and she can talk to you)! In addition to the major/minor, we offer two classes for the UK Core:

  • LIN 200, How to Create Your Own Language, satisfies the Arts & Creativity requirement
  • LIN 331, Language in US Society, satisfies the US Citizenship requirement

See the course catalog for other exciting courses! If you have any questions, please contact our Director of Undergraduate Studies, Dr. Andrew Byrd ( We hope to see you in our classes soon!


Where Can Linguistics Take Me?

Loving Language with the Linguistics Major

Linguists are interested in a precise and systematic understanding of the phenomenon of human language. In pursuing this goal, they study the diverse ways in which languages differ from one another as well as the ways in which they are fundamentally alike; the processes of language learning and language use; the forces that cause language to change over time; and the historical relationships that exist among the world’s languages. Students of linguistics at the University of Kentucky enroll in an interdisciplinary program bringing together faculty from a range of departments including English, Hispanic Studies and Modern and Classical Languages. Students often choose to pair a linguistics major or minor with other areas of academic interest.

What skills does studying linguistics develop?

  • ability to think logically about the form and meaning of language
  • awareness of physical, psychological and socio-cultural aspects of language use
  • capacity to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing
  • effectively work in a collaborative environment
  • ability to gather and interpret complex information and synthesize the findings in a coherent manner


Career Opportunities

A degree in linguistics (for more click here) gives students excellent preparation for careers in computing and technology; clinical fields relating to speech and language; international business and education; publishing; and many other professions. Linguistic majors are also prepared to continue their education in graduate studies. Possible occupations for linguistic majors include but are not limited to the following:

  • artificial intelligence
  • forensic linguistics
  • general linguistics
  • language teaching
  • lexicography
  • language documentation
  • minority language advocacy
  • natural language processing
  • neurology
  • psycholinguistics
  • sociolinguistics
  • speech pathology
  • translation

For more information about careers, go to the following:

For more information about career opportunities, contact the UK Career Center.