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Language Sciences Minor

Language is arguably the feature that distinguishes humans from all other living things. Linguistics is the scientific study of language, and the term “language sciences” encapsulates more broadly how this empirical approach to understanding language structure and usage is carried out in a variety of disciplines – like Speech Language Pathology, Education and Second Language Learning, Natural Language Processing, and Neuroscience. Our minor also focuses on the social function of language, and how pronunciations, sentence structures, and interaction styles vary across social groups. Across our classes, we prioritize hands-on experience conducting research related to language.


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

ENGL 1514: Language and Society
ENGL 2514: Language and the Mind
ENGL 2034: Analyzing Sounds of Language
AINS/ENGL 3304: Languages of Native America
COMM/RLCL 3204: Multicultural Communication
ENGL 4004: Linguistic Discourse Analysis
ENGL 4054: History of the English Language
PSYC/ENGL 4134: Language Development
SPAN 3494: Introduction to Hispanic Linguistics
SPAN 3544: Spanish Phonetics and Phonology
SPAN 4114: Topics in Spanish Linguistics

Who is it for?

The Language Sciences minor will benefit students following a variety of career paths, including:

Human Development majors and Disability Studies minors

  • speech language pathology/audiology

Computer Science majors

  • natural language processing/speech synthesis

Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures majors and International Studies majors

  • translating/interpreting

Psychology, Sociology, Statistics, History, and Data Analytics majors

  • research linguistics/data analysis

English majors and Pre-education majors

  • teaching

Business majors and Communication majors

  • communication consulting

Geography majors and GIS minors

  • language mapping engineering

Psychology majors and Neuroscience majors

  • cognitive research science

Industrial and Systems Engineering majors

  • acoustical engineering

Electrical Engineering majors and Mechanical Engineering majors

  • artificial intelligence/speech recognition engineering

See what our students are saying

“I really enjoyed seeing all the disciplines of linguistics and being able to choose what area interested me most for my capstone. I also enjoyed how connected the courses were.” - Language Sciences graduate, 2022

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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