Linguistics is the field of inquiry that addresses the origin and nature of language, investigates language in all of its forms (spoken, written, signed), and describes how language is used wherever, whenever, and however it is practiced. Linguistics is comprised of several subfields including, but not limited to, applied and educational linguistics, formal and computational linguistics, historical and comparative linguistics, neuro- and psycholinguistics, and sociocultural linguistics.

The Linguistics Program offers a major and a minor to all Miami students. The program is housed in the English Department in cooperation with a number of departments that contribute to the program through their course offerings. See the Linguistics Curriculum page for a complete list of required and elective courses for the major and minor. 

Linguistics Contact

Aaron Shields
Linguistics Director and Advisor

Program Highlights

  • Linguistics is a flexible program that encourages students to pursue their particular interests across a wide range of disciplines and periods.
  • Faculty members from other English Department programs and from a variety of departments across MU teach courses for the program. 
  • The Linguistics Program sponsors an annual conference for students to showcase their work.

Opportunities for Majors

  • English/Linguistics offers courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels to help prepare students to teach English as a Second Language (ESL) to adults.
  • The student-run chapter of the Linguistics Society promotes discussion among students interested in linguistics and related fields.
  • In addition to classes offered in a wide variety of departments, we at Miami sponsor extra- and co-curricular speakers and events.

TESOL Training

The program also offers the Adult TESOL Graduate Certificate in cooperation with the English Department's ESL Composition Program, and the American Culture and English Program (ACE). 

After Graduation

Linguistics graduates have excellent analytic skills and are therefore qualified for many careers that require in-depth understanding of how language works, and how it can best be utilized. Linguists work in many different occupations including software development, medicine, international relations, bilingual and foreign language education, TESOL, marketing, translation, law, politics, communications, journalism, and publishing. In fact, Miami graduates work in literacy programs, advertising, machine translation, on the mission field, and in lexicography, and computer programming. Others are employed by the government in cross-cultural centers, such as the Peace Corps, the U.S. Information Agency, and those who also obtained teacher certification are working in schools both in the United States and abroad. Still others have enrolled in graduate schools to continue their linguistics studies or work toward degrees in business or law. See Internship and Job Resources for Linguistics (Career Services).

Because linguistics touches so many areas of study, a English/Linguistics minor is useful for students majoring in:

  • English
  • foreign languages
  • sociology
  • anthropology
  • psychology
  • mathematics
  • communication
  • philosophy
  • computer science