College of Arts and Sciences

Linguistics is the study of language as a natural phenomenon. It focuses on grammar, the social context of language variation, the physics of speech sounds and the properties of language evolution. As language is an exclusively and intrinsically human characteristic, research on the structure, acquisition and use of language cuts to the heart of human cognition and the social world, linking linguistics to psychology, anthropology, information science and many other disciplines. The degree program in General Linguistics leads to a BA. Students study issues relating to any and all languages. General Linguistics students have a basic mastery of at least two languages from different language families. Graduates of this degree pursue careers in a variety of fields such as technology, policy, nonprofit, government, publishing and education.

Minor available

Major category: Minimum requirements

Curricular options: General Linguistics, Romance Linguistics

Topic: Arts

Applicant type


Freshmen can apply to the UW to begin autumn quarter or winter quarter (U.S. applicants only)

Read more about applying to the UW as a freshman, including details for programs that provide high school students with college credit (like Running Start).


Quarters of general admisson to UW: autumn / winter (U.S. applicants only) / spring / summer

Preparation for the major is a factor in transfer admission.

  • Use the information below to help you prepare for this degree
  • Visit MyPlan to run a degree audit.
  • Use the UW Equivalency Guide to find out how courses taken at a Washington state community or technical college will transfer to the UW.
  • UW college and school graduation requirements

Department admission information

  • Departmental application deadline:
  • You must enroll at the UW before applying to this major. Please contact the department for additional details.

Read more about applying to the UW as a transfer student.

Career outcomes