The Department of Linguistics offers programs in the systematic study of how language works. Linguists work on sound systems (phonetics and phonology), on the relation between form and meaning (morphology, syntax, and semantics), and on how languages change over time.

In an introductory linguistics course, you study language systems by analyzing data from languages of contrasting structure. You can expect to work on English, but also on languages like Cantonese, local First Nations languages, Latin, or Haitian Creole.

A Major and Minor in First Nations Languages and Linguistics is available in addition to a Major in First Nations Languages and Linguistics with a Minor in Linguistics.

A Major, Minor, and Honours is offered in Linguistics in addition to a Major or Honours in Speech Sciences with a Minor in Linguistics.

Click here for Program Requirements


Admission to the honours programs for Linguistics and Speech Sciences requires an application.

The Linguistics major can be declared on the Student Services Centre (SSC) when you have second-year standing. The Linguistics minor can be declared on the SSC when you have third-year standing. The major in First Nations Languages and Linguistics and the minor in First Nations Languages and Linguistics can be declared on the SSC when you have third-year standing.

If you have any questions regarding applications, please contact the department.


Caleb Lee: Linguistics and Learning

Linguistics alumnus Caleb Lee (BA ‘06) has a message for UBC students who are uncertain about their career path: pursue the things you love to do, and everything will end up coming together.

Clarissa Forbes and Michael Schwan: Preserving Language through Research

Linguistics students Clarissa Forbes and Michael Schwan spent much of 2012 working on the documentation and linguistic analysis of Gitxsan, an aboriginal language spoken in the northern interior of British Columbia. Over the course of 8 months, they were given the opportunity to work directly with Gitxsan speakers to help document the language. Through elicitation sessions, in which they recorded stories told in Gitxsan, as well as other grammatical exercises, they were able to gather new knowledge about this endangered language.

Dr. Eric Vatikiotis-Bateson: Speaking Clearly

Students who know Professor Eric Vatikiotis-Bateson know he loves talking. But it’s not just hot air — he’s a linguist who’s long been fascinated by the links between language and communicative behaviour, and he says he’s thrilled to be probing those links within the research community at UBC.


Department of Linguistics
Totem Field Studios
2613 West Mall
Tel: 604-822-0415

Speech and Linguistics Students Association