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Undergraduate Programs in Linguistics


Undergraduate Program Director:   Prof. José Elías-Ulloa

Note: If you would like to meet with the UG Program Director about declaring your major/minor, deciding what courses to take next semester or any other issue concerning your progress in the LIN major/minor, please schedule an appointment with him on or through the SBU Guide app (

TESOL Education Program Director: Annette Shideler



Linguistics is the science of language. Language is at once the most diverse and the most clearly structured aspect of human behavior. It distinguishes humans from other species, and much of human culture depends on it. Understanding the nature of human language is, therefore, a key to understanding human nature. Linguists seek to discover the common features of the languages of the world, to understand how languages change over time and how language relates to other aspects of human society.The Department of Linguistics offers a major in Linguistics, a minor in Linguistics, as well as a program leading to initial certification in TESOL (PreK-12) and a 5-year combined BA/MA-TESOL program.


The Linguistics Major and Minor

The major in linguistics is designed to provide graduates with a set of skills and a body of knowledge. A graduate will have the skills to analyze the most important features of language: sounds, words, sentences, and conversation, using both formal and experimental methods. Students will also learn what linguists know about the languages of the world, their history and structure, and how language interacts with many facets of culture.


Courses in Linguistics

The department offers a wide range of courses on linguistics.  


Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

The TESOL program prepares students to become Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESL/TESOL). The thorough foundation in general linguistics that characterizes our program serves our teacher candidates well in their development as professionals. Additionally, the Stony Brook University program is unique on Long Island in its emphasis on data-driven curriculum design and the integration of technology specifically focused on the needs of English Language Learners. Our students are sought after by local districts familiar with the quality of our graduates.

We have a highly selective Honors Program for our best and most motivated undergraduates. Students who graduate with Honors in Linguistics must write and publicly present a senior thesis based on research performed during the senior year. For more information, please contact the Undergraduate Program Director.

Speech Language Pathology

Undergraduate Linguistics Club

The Department has a very active Undergraduate Linguistics Club where Linguistics majors and minors engage in a wide variety of activities to further explore the field of Linguistics. 


Graduates of our program have gone on to use their skills in a variety of fields. Many are teaching ESL or languages other than English in public schools, colleges, universities, or in numerous educational settings abroad. Others are working as Speech and Language Pathologists or in other health professions. Some alumni have careers in  business, publishing, journalism, or the computer industry, particularly speech synthesis. Some recent graduates are enrolled in PhD programs in Linguistics.

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