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Language Sciences Minor

Language is arguably the distinguishing feature of humans. Linguistics is the scientific study of natural language, and the term “language sciences” encapsulates more broadly how this empirical approach to understanding language structure and usage is implemented in a variety of disciplines. Students who finish this minor will not only understand the fundamental pieces and social significance of language, but they will also learn how to conduct and evaluate different types of research.

Why do it?

Language is connected to any field which involves human interactions. It is equally crucial to developing engineering solutions and cognitive models of behavior, as it is to understanding power structures and describing stylistic repertoires. The minor should therefore complement any degree, and the built-in flexibility allows students to build a minor that connects language directly to their primary major(s).


The 18-credit hour minor in Language Sciences includes 9 hours of core courses and 6 hours of elective courses selected from a list, as well as a 3-hour language sciences capstone.

ENGL 1504: Introduction to Contemporary Linguistics
ENGL 4084: Conducting Research in the Language Sciences

Students select 6 credit hours of elective courses, with topics such as language and mind, languages of Native America, multicultural communication, Spanish phonetics and phonology, and independent study. For a complete list of elective courses, consult the Registrar checksheet (follow this link, click on 'checksheets', scroll down to Minors, and find the minor checksheet you're interested in).

Who is it for?

This minor has special relevance for majors in pre-education, pre-law, foreign languages, computer science (with an interest in Natural Language Processing), psychology majors, human development (especially speech and hearing disorders), industrial systems engineering (auditory interfaces), electrical engineering (speech synthesis), sociology majors (language and power), and neuroscience majors.

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This minor is hosted by the Department of English in collaboration with numerous departments across Virginia Tech.

Pathways Concepts

Core Concepts*
1a - Advanced/Applied Discourse
2 - Critical Thinking in the Humanities
3 - Reasoning in the Social Sciences
5f - Foundational Quantitative and Computational Thinking
5a - Advanced/Applied Quantitative and Computational Thinking
7 - Critical Analysis of Identity and Equity in the United States
*Students are guaranteed to meet at least three of the core concepts listed

Integrative Concepts
Ethical Reasoning
Intercultural and Global Awareness