Joint A.B./A.M. Program

IMPORTANT NOTE: the joint AB/AM program is currently being revised - new information will be available shortly. For urgent requests for information, please contact the department.

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 Linguistics 99 and the Honors Thesis. (As noted by the Office of Undergraduate Education, 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.)

Course Requirements

Students in this program must complete eight half-courses in Linguistics, including at least one from each of the following areas:

  • Phonetics and Phonology (e.g., Ling. 105, 115, 215)
  • Syntax (e.g., Ling. 102, 112, 212)
  • Morphology (e.g., Ling. 104, 114)
  • Semantics (e.g., Ling. 106, 116, 216)
  • Historical Linguistics (e.g., Ling. 107, 108, 118)
  • Field Methods/Typology (e.g., Ling. 117r)

At least six of the half-courses counted toward the A.M. must be numbered above 110, and at least one must be numbered above 200 (Latin 134 and Greek 134 may be counted for this purpose).

Bear in mind that any Linguistics courses counted for the A.B. degree cannot be used as A.M. requirements, and vice versa.

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 proceed as follows:

  1. They should discuss with the Head Tutor of their respective concentrations the prospect of their being able to complete all the A.B. requirements (except for Linguistics 99 and thesis in the case of Linguistics) by the end of the third year.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  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 for their application, and submit the application with the endorsement form to the Chairman of Linguistics for his/her signature.
  5. Students should also 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.
  6. 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 Recommendation for Honors)
  7. Students should 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.