First, become familiar with the Undergraduate Calendar. It describes the requirements and courses offered in our program, and general University requirements and policies. You can find information about the linguistics program on our webpage, or by going directly to the undergraduate calendar.
Second, you should get in the habit of checking your audit at least once every semester (see question (6) to find out more about audits).
Using the information in your audit and in the Calendar, as well as in the rest of this FAQ, plan your coursework ahead to make sure you can graduate in the time that you intend.
The Advisor’s main job is to answer questions about the program, to help you with your course planning, and to advise about academic matters in general.
However, it is your responsibility to keep track of your requirements. Don’t expect the Advisor to go after you and remind you about classes you need to take in order to graduate. The Advisor does not check the audits of all the students in the program; (s)he normally acts only if asked by the student.
That being said, the Advisor is happy to go over the audit with you to explain anything that may be confusing, and to give suggestions about courses you can take in the following year. There is a period called March Advising when students are especially encouraged to speak with the Advisor to make sure they are on track.
When you ask the Advisor for help, it is useful if you come prepared – look at your audit beforehand, look at the requirements, and perhaps draw up a course plan for the coming year.
The Program Administrator handles the administrative side of advising – helping you with course registration, making adjustments to your audit, and answering questions about the requirements and the scheduling of courses. You can contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The audit is a document that keeps track of your progress toward your degree. It lists all the requirements of your major and shows whether you have completed them. You should check it periodically to make sure you are on track. In addition to the audit, it is always a good idea to keep track of things manually by checking off the requirements listed in the Undergraduate Calendar.
Audits are available on Carleton Central. A step-by-step guide to obtaining and reading your audit can be found here.
Go to Carleton Central and file an override as soon as possible. If the course is needed for your requirements, say so. If you are a linguistics major, you will most likely be allowed into a closed course, especially if it is a core course, as long as you meet the prerequisites. It will take a few days to process your request. If you don’t see any response under Carleton Central, feel free to alert the Program Administrator. Once a spot is made for you, you still need to register by using the CRN for the course. Carleton Central gives you a deadline to do so.
If you are in the BA program, you must take at least one credit within three of the four subject-matter areas as defined in the Undergraduate Calendar. See more details here.
For most students, LING 1001 and ALDS 1001 fulfill the Humanities requirement, and two semesters of a language take care of the Culture and Communication area. You only need one more credit in either ‘Social Sciences’ or ‘Science, Engineering, and Design’.
If you are in the BSc program, your breadth requirements are part of the major requirements.
You are subject to the requirements as they were at the time when you were admitted to the linguistics program. New requirements only apply to new students. The principle is that we never move the goal posts in the middle of the game.
You may, however, switch into the new requirements if you wish.
There are several options for majoring in linguistics.
First, you can do linguistics as a BA or a BSc degree. The main difference between the two are the general degree requirements: you do a significant number of math and science courses as part of the BSc, while as part of the BA you have different breadth requirements. The BA is for those who prefer an arts education with more flexibility in electives; the BSc is for those who are interested in a science-oriented course selection.
Within each degree, you choose a concentration: either Linguistic Theory, or Psycholinguistics & Communication Disorders. Linguistic Theory should appeal to students who are interested in formal and cognitive issues in language from a theoretical point of view. The Psycholinguistics and Communication Disorders Concentration should appeal to students interested in speech/language pathology, and in experimental approaches to language.
Finally, if you are doing a BSc, you additionally choose one of two options that defines a further specialization in your course selection: either psycholinguistics or neuroscience.
To summarize, there are six total ways of doing linguistics. There are two degrees (BA, BSc), and two concentrations (Theory, PCD). Additionally, within the BSc degree, there are two further options (Psychology, Neuroscience).
See the following question for details on the requirements in each program.
(A) The following requirements are common to all linguistics students:
LING 1001, ALDS 1001
LING 2005, 2007
LING 3004, 3007
1.0 credit in LING at 4000 level
(B) The following requirements are common to all students in “Linguistic Theory” concentrations (BA and BSc):
LING 3005, 3505
1.0 credit in LING 4004, 4005, 4007, 4505, 4510
(C) The following requirements are common to all students in “Psycholinguistics and communication disorders” concentrations (BA and BSc):
LING 2604, 3601, 3603, 3604
1.0 credit in LING 4601, 4603, 4605, 4606
(D) The following requirements are common to all students in the BSc program (all concentrations and options)
BIOL 1103, 1104, 3306
1.0 credits in (CHEM 1001 and 1002) or (CHEM 1005 and 1006)
MATH 1007, 1107
(E) The following requirements are common to all students in the BSc Psychology option (both concentrations)
PSYC 1001, 1002, 2001, 2002
1.5 credits in PSYC 2307, 2700, 3506, 3307, 3702
(F) The following requirements are common to all students in the BSc Neuroscience option (both concentrations)
NEUR 1202, 1203, 2001, 2002
1.5 credits in NEUR 2201, 2202, 3206, 3207, 3303
The requirements listed above are additive. So, if you are, for example, a BSc student in the Theory concentration and Neuroscience option, you need to fulfill all the requirements that apply to you: general linguistics requirements (A), theory concentration requirements (B), BSc requirements (D), and Neuroscience requirements (F).
Additionally to the above, the program requires “electives in LING, excluding 1100” as follows for the different concentrations and degrees:
BA Theory: 3.5 credits
BA PCD: 2.0 credits
BSc Theory 3.0 credits
BSc PCD 1.5 credits.
Currently we have about 150 majors in the program. It is neither very big nor very small; you will have many classmates, but the classes are never very large. LING 1001 is the largest class, with about 150 students. Second- and third-year courses typically have about 60 students, and fourth-year courses are usually around 40 students. Some courses may be substantially smaller.
We are planning to launch a graduate programs in linguistics in the fall of 2020, which will give us more TA support. As a result, courses up to the 3rd year will be run as large lectures combined with small tutorials of about 20 students or so.
Core courses are courses which are central to an education in linguistics. They cover the main areas of linguistic structure: the sound system (2007, 3007, 4007), morphology (2005, 3005, 4005), syntax (3004, 4004), and semantics (3505, 4505). Most core courses are obligatory for those graduating with a concentration in linguistic theory.
The common theme in this FAQ is that each student has a slightly different case, so there’s no general answer. The program path suggested on our webpage may be typical for an honours BA major, but it is just a suggestion – things may work differently in your case.
You should definitely take LING 1001 as soon as possible, since it is a prerequisite for all other linguistics courses. You should also consider taking ALDS 1001 in your first year. You can fill out the rest of your first-year schedule with electives, keeping in mind the breadth requirements (see (9)). If you take LING 1001 in the fall, consider taking LING 2007 or 2005 in the winter semester.
If you haven’t taken LING 2007 and 2005 in your first year, do so as soon as possible in your second year – these two classes are prerequisites for many others in linguistics.
If you take a “sequence” of 3000-level and 4000-level classes on the same topic, such as Phonology (3007, 4007), or Syntax (3004, 4004), it is best to do so in the same year, usually your third year. Phonology I and Syntax I are taught in the fall, and Phonology II and Syntax II in the winter, so it makes sense not to let a year elapse between the two halves of the sequence.
You may take any course at any time, as long as you meet the prerequisites. Note, though, that some courses may require 3rd year standing; check the description in the calendar. Also, keep in mind that you are required to take a certain number of courses at certain levels, as detailed in the program description and the general requirements.
No. Core courses are normally offered every year, but other courses may not be. Don’t assume that a course listed in the Calendar will be taught. Most courses are offered at least once every two years, but there is no guarantee. Next year’s course schedule is usually published in June, although a tentative list of offerings may be available earlier if you ask the Advisor or the Program Administrator.
Free elective requirements can be fulfilled by taking any class, within or outside of the program. Pay close attention to what the requirements say for your program and concentration: some of your elective credits may be in LING, while some have to be outside of LING.
You can take courses at Ottawa U or other universities. Whether those courses, including language courses, will count toward your requirements may depend on a variety of circumstances. Do not automatically assume that you can substitute Ottawa courses for Carleton ones. Prior to taking the course, you need to file a LOP (Letter Of Permission) at the registrar’s office by submitting a course description. See information here; note that there is a fairly long processing time, and the deadlines are surprisingly early. Once the permission is granted, the course will be counted towards your degree.
Talk to the Advisor before you plan on taking a course outside of Carleton.
Topics courses are developed by professors on an ad-hoc basis every year. They usually cover advanced material in the professor’s area of expertise. More so than other courses, they focus on current research and give you an opportunity to pursue your interests in the field by completing your own research project.
You can find out about current topics courses here. Normally, the information on next year’s Topics courses is available in early summer, and often earlier.
You can take as many 3009s and 4009s as you want, even taught by the same professor, as long as they’re on different topics. If you have trouble registering for more than one section of 4009, file a “course registration error override” request at Carleton Central.
You can satisfy the requirement in one of the following ways. First, you automatically satisfy the requirement if you are proficient in a language other than English, as documented by e.g. a diploma or a language placement test. Talk to the Advisor or the Program administrator. If this does not apply to you, you need to take one credit (two semesters) worth of any foreign language(s) offered at Carleton. (Note that FINS courses do not count toward this requirement). You may take two semesters of two different languages to satisfy this requirement.
Simply having taken a foreign language in high school does not by itself satisfy the language requirement.
Information on modern languages taught at Carleton and placement tests is here; you may also consider taking Greek and Latin (see here), and French (here).
Independent studies are just like other courses except you are the only student, working closely with the instructor. The amount of work is similar to other third- and fourth-year 0.5-credit courses. Usually, the independent study results in a term paper. If you are interested in an independent study, talk to potential faculty supervisors, but see also (31).
An Honours Thesis is a more extensive project over the course of two semesters, resulting in a major research paper. It has stricter requirements than an independent study and involves more work on your part. In addition to the written submission, Honours Thesis students are encouraged to present their work orally to other students and faculty at the annual Thesis Mini-Conference in April.
Normally, we only recommend taking an independent study to satisfy an elective requirement in case there is a scheduling conflict and you need that elective to graduate. You cannot substitute core requirements with independent studies (see (36)).
If you are interested in working closely with a faculty member, the Honours Thesis might be a better way to go.
An Honours Thesis takes two semesters to complete, so you would need to do it over the summer and fall terms. If you find a faculty supervisor willing to work with you on that timeframe, then you may do so; be prepared, however, that you might have trouble finding a professor available in the summertime.
First, check that you meet the prerequisites (there’s a GPA and standing requirement). Then, talk to the professor you’d like to work with, or to the Advisor if you’re not sure who you’d like to work with. Together with the professor, you will develop the topic and the timeline. The best time to approach a faculty member about a thesis is in the winter of your third year.
Not necessarily. What you need is a writing sample that you can send together with your application. Different programs expect different kinds of samples, but in most cases, you need to show that you can conduct research independently and that you write well. An Honours Thesis is a logical way to produce such a writing sample, and it might otherwise strengthen your application and give you useful research experience, but it is not strictly necessary. Many students have been successful without writing one.
Generally speaking, we do not allow students to override prerequisites. If you think that your case is special, you may bring it up with the instructor in the course and the Advisor, but success is unlikely.
This is a hard question; there is no general answer.
We make every effort to avoid potential conflicts when scheduling courses, but sometimes they are inevitable. If you plan your coursework in advance, conflicts are unlikely to happen. However, if you have more than one major, courses in different departments can conflict, and these cases are the hardest.
If you have a difficult conflict, especially one that prevents you from graduating, talk to the Advisor, who will handle it on a case-by-case basis.
If everything else fails, a solution may be to take equivalent classes at Ottawa U or another University. See also questions (37) and (23).
We do not allow substitution of core course requirements with independent studies. You can use independent studies to fulfill elective requirements, provided that there’s a faculty member willing to work with you. See also question (36).
If you don’t meet the GPA requirement, you may still be able to write an Honours Thesis. It depends on a variety of factors. Most importantly, you need to find a supervisor willing to work with you. If your GPA is close to the cutoff, and especially if it has improved over the course of your time in the University, there’s a good chance you’ll be allowed to write a thesis.
Yes. There is an active undergraduate society for Linguistics and Applied Language and Discourse Studies students called CATL (Carleton Applied and Theoretical Linguists). The society has a Facebook page.
Linguistics and ALDS are two approaches that investigate how language works. They focus on different aspects of language and use different methods to investigate it. We think it is useful for students to become familiar with the basics of both approaches, so both LING 1001 and ALDS 1001 are required courses in the program. You should take both courses as early as you can and decide which field is right for you.
Many Carleton linguistics majors are accepted to top Canadian programs in speech pathology each year. Linguistics gives you the foundational knowledge about language structure which you can build on in your speech pathology career. While at Carleton, you can take LING 2604, a class on speech and language problems taught by a practicing speech pathologist.
You can also consider a combined major or a minor in psychology.
It’s very important to check admission requirements for speech pathology programs you’re interested in. Do so well in advance, as different programs have different requirements. Most programs require some linguistics, psychology and statistics.
Your best resource are your professors. As they get to know you over the course of your time at Carleton, they can offer individual advice and answer your questions in a more meaningful way than someone in an office who has never met you before. Go to your professor’s office hours and talk to them. If you need advice on really big questions about your career, get more than one opinion – don’t just listen to your most favorite teacher. Ask your least favorite teacher, too, and take them just as seriously, even if what they say is not what you want to hear.
ENGL 2105 (History of English) Philosophy
PHIL 3530 (Philosophy of Language)
PHIL 4210 (Seminar in Philosophy of Lg. or Linguistics)
PHIL 4507 (Contemporary Formal Semantics) French:
Many linguistics courses (FREN 2401, 3412, 3413, 3414, 3451) Cognitive Science:
CGSC 1001 (Intro to Cognitive Science)
CGSC 2002 (Theories and methods)
Every year in the spring we hold a career info session designed specifically to answer this question. There are many opportunities, such as teaching, speech pathology, computational linguistics, and research. Most of these require getting more education in graduate school. Your professors and the Advisor are an excellent source of information on this.