It is difficult to imagine a world with no language – no means to communicate or express oneself. Being that it is such an essential part of society, it is no surprise that it has its own branch of study, which we now know as linguistics.

Linguistics focuses on language and its structure, including its rules, morphology, syntax, phonetics, and semantics. For this article, we discuss some of the best linguistic schools in the world.

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Top Linguistic Schools in the World

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

One of the world’s best linguistics schools, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Department of Linguistics and Philosophy offers undergraduate and graduate programs in linguistics. Its Linguistics Group, which began in the 1950s, is dedicated to understanding the structure of languages, covering various topics such as phonetics, phonology, among many others.

There are three types of undergraduate programs – undergraduate major, undergraduate minor, and HASS concentration. Meanwhile, there are four different specializations students may choose from for the graduate program.

2. University of Massachusetts Amherst

Linguistic students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst may opt to pursue their degree either minoring or majoring in Linguistics. Those who opt to major in Linguistics may focus on the field itself or combine it with another area or language, allowing for an interdisciplinary approach. The Department of Linguistics’ undergraduate program also offers a Certificate in American English Linguistics to those who can finish the 15-credit program. Such a certificate is open to everyone, even if they are not admitted to the university.

Meanwhile, for the Ph.D. in Linguistics program, only five to eight students are accepted annually, despite more than a hundred applicants. The large demand may be attributed to the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s reputation as a top school in theoretical linguistics.

3. University of Cambridge

The University of Cambridge’s undergraduate program in linguistics is divided into Part I and Part II. Part I lasts for one year and serves as an introduction to all areas of linguistics. Meanwhile, Part II is set for two years and is focused on specialization.

Those interested in taking up master’s or doctorate studies in linguistics may also consider the University of Cambridge. They offer an MPhils in Theoretical and Applied Linguistics and a Theoretical and Applied Linguistics Ph.D. Programme.

4. University of Oxford

Oxford University’s Faculty of Linguistics, Philology, and Phonetics has two joint degrees covering linguistics – Modern Languages & Linguistics and Psychology, Philosophy, and Linguistics. The Modern Languages & Linguistics program focuses on a theoretical study of human language, how it works, and specific issues of language structure. Meanwhile, the Psychology, Philosophy & Linguistics program allows students to study language from a theoretical and experimental viewpoint and emphasizes the relationship between the mind and linguistics.

For its graduate studies, the University of Oxford offers two taught Masters courses (M. St. and M. Phil.) and a doctoral program (D. Phil.). The master’s program is intended for those who wish to specialize in General Linguistics, Historical and Comparative Philology, or the linguistics of a specific language. Those who aim for an advanced degree and accomplish a thesis may proceed further into the doctorate program of this excellent institution for linguistics.

5. The University of Edinburgh

Among the world’s top linguistics institutions, the University of Edinburgh is among the first in the United Kingdom to teach linguistics. Its School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences offers undergraduates Linguistics & English Language programs. Under this, students may choose to pursue a single honors program (M.A. Linguistics & M.A. English Language) or a degree in Linguistics & English Language (M.A. Linguistics & English Language).

The university also offers multiple master’s degrees in linguistics – MSc Applied Linguistics, MSc Developmental Linguistics, MSc English Language, MSc Evolution of Language & Cognition, MSc Linguistics, MSc Psychology of Language, MSc Speech & Language Processing, and MSc by Research. Each program has its specialization – for instance, MSc Linguistics equips its students with the skills needed for linguistic research.

The University of Edinburgh also offers a stellar doctorate program for Linguistics and English language. Their Ph.D. students may choose from a wide array of research topics such as applied linguistics, developmental linguistics, historical English linguistics, morphology, among many others.

6. Harvard University

Harvard University is among the oldest universities to offer a linguistics program in the United States. Their Department of Linguistics offers both undergraduate and graduate programs. Students focus on linguistic theory, historical linguistics, and the cognitive aspects related to language (mind/brain/behavior) for the undergraduate program. A joint A.B/A.M. Program in Linguistics is also offered to honors students.

For its graduate programs in Linguistics, Harvard has been offering them since the 1930s. Aside from a four-year Ph.D. program, they also provide two Secondary Fields – Historical Linguistics and Linguistic Theory. Also, an A.M. or Master’s Degree may be granted to students who had two years of residence, completed all Ph.D. requirements, and have defended a Generals paper.

7. Stanford University

Knowns as one of the best linguistics schools in the world, Stanford University’s Department of Linguistics has top-ranked programs in the field of linguistics. They offer two types of undergraduate programs in linguistics – major and minor. The undergraduate major focuses on the human language and the importance of its study. Students who opt for the undergraduate minor program earn a solid background in linguistics.

Students who wish to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree in linguistics simultaneously may be interested in the university’s Coterminal Master’s program. This program molds students for a career or further studies in linguistics by developing their knowledge in the field. Only a selected number of students are accepted into the program.

Aside from the Coterminal Master’s program, Stanford also offers an M.A. degree in linguistics. Doctoral students may also earn their Ph.D. by taking up the doctoral program that focuses on theoretical work grounded on empirical, language data. Other doctorate students may also minor in linguistics to develop a helpful background and knowledge in linguistics.

 

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