Language Studies


Language Studies is an interdisciplinary major offered by the Linguistics Department. It is designed to equip students with competence in one foreign language and, at the same time, provide an understanding of the general nature of human language, its structure and use in particular.

Degrees Offered

  • B.A.
  • Minor

Study and Research Opportunities

  • B.A. and minor with concentrations in Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish
  • Opportunities to study abroad through Programs Abroad

Information for First-Year Students (Freshmen)

High school students planning to major in Language Studies at UC Santa Cruz need no additional background other than the courses necessary for UC admission; however, it may be useful to complete more than the minimum requirement in foreign language.

Information for Transfers

Transfer students planning to major in Language Studies should complete two years of intensive language study in their language of concentration before coming to UC Santa Cruz. Those who have not fulfilled these requirements will find it difficult to include study abroad in their schedule, as well as graduate in two years. In addition, they will find it helpful to have completed courses that satisfy campus general education requirements.

Transfer course agreements and articulation between the University of California and California community colleges can be accessed on the ASSIST.ORG web site.


  • Advertising
  • Bilingual education
  • Communications
  • Editing and publishing
  • Government service
  • International relations
  • Journalism
  • Law
  • Speech pathology
  • Teaching

These are only samples of the field’s many possibilities.


Programs Abroad offers undergraduate students the opportunity to study at more than 100 host universities and colleges in 40 countries as part of their regular UC academic program. Students receiving financial aid can apply their award to a program abroad. Studying abroad on one of these programs can often be a valuable experience for Language Studies majors and minors.

Awards, Honors, and Recognitions

Six of the Department’s faculty (current or emeriti) are Fellows of the Linguistic Society of America (LSA). In 2011 Professor Sandra Chung served as President of the LSA, in 2012 Chung was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and in 2017 Chung gave UCSC's Distinguished Faculty Research Talk. Professor Adrian Brasoveanu received the Linguistic Society of America’s 2014 Early Career Award. Four of the Department's faculty have received the Dizikes Teaching Award from UCSC's Humanities Division.

Department Website

General Catalog Information

Language Studies majors must satisfy course requirements in languages, linguistics, and cultural context.

Language Component: Language Studies majors (in French, German, Italian, and Spanish concentrations) must achieve a level of competence equivalent to seven quarters of UCSC language study in their area of concentration (including one upper-division course). Majors in Chinese and Japanese must achieve a level equivalent to eight quarters of UCSC language study.

Six courses in linguistics - four named courses and two electives:

  • Linguistics 50, Introduction to Linguistics
  • Linguistics 53, Semantics I
  • Linguistics 111, Syntactic Structures OR Linguistics 112, Syntax I
  • Linguistics 101, Phonology I
  • Two upper-division linguistics electives

Five upper-division elective courses chosen from:

  • Additional upper-division course in linguistics
  • Upper-division cultural context courses in the language concentration, to be selected from a variety of  disciplines including literature, history, politics, and art. (See web site for list of approved context courses.)

Senior Comprehensive Requirement:

In their senior year, Language Studies majors must satisfy the senior comprehensive requirement in one of three ways.

Option 1: Successful completion of an upper-division UCSC linguistics "exit" course, once a student has completed all linguistics named courses (50, 53, 101, and either 111 or 112) and has reached senior standing.

Option 2: Successful completion of a senior thesis supervised by a linguistics faculty member. The proposal for a senior thesis must be submitted for departmental approval at least three quarters prior to the quarter of graduation. Students enroll in Linguistics 195 (Senior Thesis) with the faculty adviser.

Option 3: Successful completion of a UCSC linguistics graduate course during a student's senior year. Students interested in this option must first receive approval from the instructor and the department.

More Information

Linguistics Department
University of California, Santa Cruz
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, California 95064
(831) 459-4988