Joint A.B./A.M. Program

The joint A.B./A.M. Program in Linguistics is available to students in an honors program (not necessarily in Linguistics) who were admitted to Harvard with Advanced Standing and who have completed all of the A.B. requirements except for Generals, Linguistics 99, and the Honors Thesis. (It is not available to students who were admitted to Harvard under the regular four-year program but might be able to satisfy all of the A.B. requirements by the end of the third year.) The rules that govern this program are set forth in a document entitled Joint A.B./A.M. or A.B./S.M. Program for Advanced Standing Students, available from the Office of the Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Education.

Course Requirements

Students in this program must fulfill all of the following requirements by the end of the fourth year:

  • Linguistics 101 The Science of Language: An Introduction or Linguistics 83: Language, Structure, and Cognition
  • Linguistics 102 Sentence Structure
  • Linguistics 104 Word Structure
  • Linguistics 105 Sounds of Language
  • Linguistics 107 Introduction to Indo-European or Linguistics 108 Introduction to Historical Linguistics 
  • Linguistics 112 Intermediate Syntax or Linguistics 115 Advanced Phonology
  • Linguistics 117r Linguistic Field Methods
  • One 200-level course in syntax, phonology, or historical linguistics (Latin 134 and Greek 134 may be used for this requirement.)

Bear in mind that any Linguistics courses counted for the A.B. degree cannot be used as A.M. requirements, and vice versa. Also note that 8 half-courses are needed to be bracketed to an A.M.

Language Requirements

Knowledge of two foreign languages, one of which must be French, German, Spanish, or any other language of linguistic scholarship is required. This requirement may be met in the following ways:

    1. By obtaining a grade of B or higher in two full-year, second-year university language courses;
    2. By passing the appropriate Harvard College language placement exams;
    3. By passing a written exam administered by the Linguistics Department (in the case of languages for which there is no Harvard College placement exam);
    4. By being a native speaker of the relevant language(s).

Master’s Thesis

Honors students in Linguistics automatically fulfill this requirement by turning in an honors thesis. Students from other concentrations that do not require honors theses are required to turn in a master’s thesis that is comparable in content and quality to an honors thesis in Linguistics.

Students interested in the A.B./A.M. program should:

      1. Discuss with the Head Tutor of their respective concentrations the prospect of their being able to complete all the A.B. requirements (except for generals, Linguistics 99, and thesis) by the end of the third year.
      2. Discuss with the Head Tutor in Linguistics the prospect of their admission to the graduate program in Linguistics, and their plans for satisfying the A.M. requirements in Linguistics.
      3. Discuss with the Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Education their general qualifications for the A.B./A.M. program and the plausibility of their coursework and bracketing plans.
        Students should bear in mind that bracketing may have significant consequences for their prospects of graduating Summa cum laude. Note that bracketed courses do not count towards the bachelor’s degree; the courses that students bracket may therefore affect their GPA. They may also affect the general profile of students’ transcripts (whether it is well-balanced or too narrowly focused, and whether it consists mostly of elementary courses), which is an important factor for Summa qualifications. (See the section “Recommendation for Honors” in this handbook.)
      4. At the final stage of preparation for enrollment in the Joint A.B./A.M. Program in Linguistics, students should obtain from the Head Tutor of Linguistics a signature on the endorsement form (see next page) for their application, and submit the application with the endorsement form to the Chairman of Linguistics for his/her signature.
      5. An application for admission to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences must be submitted following the regular deadlines established for GSAS applications (i.e., approx. by Dec. 31) independent of the application for enrollment to the joint A.B./A.M. Program. Admission to the graduate program in Linguistics is voted on by the entire departmental faculty. Therefore, the Head Tutor’s endorsement and the Chairman’s signature to the Joint Program application form do not necessarily guarantee admission to the graduate program.
      6. Candidates for the A.B./A.M. degree do not need to take the GREs in order to be admitted to the master's program.