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Study language as an intrinsically human phenomenon.

The Department of Linguistics engages students in the exploration of language as a natural phenomenon. You’ll focus on language acquisition, the social context of language variation, the physics and perception of speech sounds, the properties of language evolution, and the automated processing of speech and language by computers. In addition to our undergraduate and graduate degree programs, we foster the study and preservation of Northwest Indigenous languages and teach American Sign Language. Classes in the Department of Linguistics are usually limited to 30 students.

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Undergraduate Programs

Graduate Programs

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3 Fulbright Fellowships, 2015-20  


The study of language develops writing, critical thinking and analytical reasoning skills sought after by employers. At the graduate level, the department offers a PhD in Linguistics and a professional MS in Computational Linguistics (CLMS) that can prepare you for a career at the intersection of computer science and linguistics. 

Career Paths

Graduates with an undergraduate linguistics degree can find success in a variety of roles, including: 

  • Translator/Interpreter
  • Educator
  • Technical writer
  • Natural language processing researcher
  • Forensic linguist 
  • Lexicographer
  • Journalist 
  • Copywriter
  • Actor
  • Dialect coach

Our PhD graduates go on to careers in higher education, government and the private sector. CLMS graduates pursue careers at companies such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft, as well as in government and the nonprofit sector. 


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Uncover New Meaning with Research

Our research interests span phonetics, sociolinguistics, computational linguistics, endangered languages, language acquisition theory and grammatical theory. We are home to five research/teaching laboratories that support this work. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of linguistics, students can expect to collaborate with other departments in the College of Arts & Sciences, the College of Engineering and across the UW. This type of research is funded by interdisciplinary research grants, primarily with computer science, electrical engineering, bioinformatics and speech and hearing sciences.

More About Linguistics Research


Find Yourself in Linguistics

Explore the complexities of language. 


Department of Linguistics Stories

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Dedicated to Dialects

Through the study of dialects, Elijah Pasco has combined his love of linguistics and theater. 

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Four "Remarkable" Dean's Medalists

The College honors four exceptional graduates representing eight Arts & Sciences majors.

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Siri, Are You Guessing?

Linguistics professor Emily Bender explores the challenges involved when computers handle human language, and the ethical issues that can arise.