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Language Sciences Minor

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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 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 (esp. speech and hearing disorders), industrial systems engineering (auditory interfaces), electrical engineering (speech synthesis), sociology majors (language and power), and neuroscience majors.

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

Core Concepts
3 -  Reasoning in the Social Sciences
5a - Advanced Quantitative and Computational Thinking

Integrative Concepts
> Ethical Reasoning
> Intercultural and Global Awareness