In addition to advanced coursework in the areas of their major fields, all students must complete the following foundational courses, normally in their first two years:
- Linguistics 112/212: Syntactic Theory I/Syntactic Theory II
- Linguistics 115/215: Phonological Theory I/Phonological Theory II
- Linguistics 116/216: Semantic Theory I/Semantic Theory II
- Linguistics 117r: Linguistic Field Methods
- Linguistics 118: Historical and Comparative Linguistics (formerly Linguistics 224)
Second- and third-year students also take Linguistics 241r: Practicum in Linguistics. Linguistics 116b is not required of students concentrating in a language-intensive area of historical linguistics.