Stanford linguistics professor John Rickford (Ph.D., sociolinguistics '71) is an expert on African American Vernacular English.


The linguistics major is designed to acquaint students with the central aspects of linguistic structure and the methodologies and perspectives of the field.

Degrees Offered

  • B.A.
  • M.A.
  • Minor
  • Ph.D.

Study and Research Opportunities

  • B.A. and minor programs in linguistics
  • B.A./M.A. pathway in linguistics
  • M.A. and Ph.D. programs in theoretical linguistics

Information for First-Year Students (Freshmen)

High school students who plan to major in linguistics at UC Santa Cruz are not required to have any special background in linguistics. However, they will find it useful to begin study of a foreign language in high school and complete more than the minimum courses in science and mathematics.

Information for Transfers

Transfer students who intend to major in linguistics should complete two collegiate years of one foreign language or two math courses at the calculus level or beyond. In addition, students will find it helpful to have completed general education requirements.

While it is not a condition of admission, students from California community colleges may complete the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) in preparation for transfer to UC Santa Cruz.


  • Language engineering
  • Information processing: computer science and computer technology, information sciences, library science
  • Speech technology: speech synthesis and speech recognition
  • Advanced study in linguistics or in related fields 
    (such as experimental psychology or language or child development)
  • Education: educational research, bilingual education
  • Teaching: English, English as a second language, other languages
  • Speech pathology
  • Law

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 over 43 countries as part of their regular UC academic program. Students receiving financial aid can apply their award to a program abroad.

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. Five of the Department's faculty have received the Dizikes Teaching Award from UCSC's Humanities Division.

Department Website

General Catalog Information

More Information

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