Linguistics Track

The Linguistics Track has two options:

  • Regular (12 half-courses; 1 language requirement; no thesis)
  • Honors (14 half-courses (2 additional thesis-writing tutorials); 2 language requirement; thesis)

Required non-tutorial courses (9 half-courses)

  • One of the introductory courses:
    • Linguistics 83: Language, Structure, and Cognition
    • Linguistics 101: The Science of Language: An Introduction
    • Freshman Seminar in linguistics (e.g. 34x: Language and Prehistory; 61Q: the Origins of Meaning)
  • Linguistics 102: Sentence Structure
  • Linguistics 105: Sounds of Language
  • Linguistics 106: Knowledge of Meaning
  • One of:
    • Linguistics 104: Word Structure
    • Linguistics 107: Introduction to Indo-European
    • Linguistics 108: Introduction to Historical Linguistics
  • 4 additional half-courses
    (at least 1 of which must be in linguistics)
    Courses in Linguistics include any course in the Linguistics Department, or a course on a Linguistics topic in another department. For the other three courses, any course in Linguistics or in a Related Field (e.g. Philosophy of the Mind; Neurobiology of Behavior) will do. Alternatives outside of this domain must be approved by the Head Tutor.

Required tutorials (3 half-courses)

Sophomore: Linguistics 97r (spring)

Two consecutive six-week small-group tutorials

Junior: Linguistics 98a (fall), and Linguistics 98b (spring)

Ling 98a: Two consecutive six-week small-group tutorials
Ling 98b: One-term individual tutorial with a faculty member
[Letter Grade]
*For non-honors candidates, it is possible to replace Ling 98b with Linguistics 97r (taken twice) or with any other elective course in linguistics.

Honors Track tutorials (2 half-courses)

Senior: Linguistics 99a (fall), and Linguistics 99b (spring)

Required for Honors candidates and focused on the research and writing of the senior Honors thesis.
Group tutorial led by an instructor with the participation of Honors candidates’ thesis advisers.

Language Requirements

Regular concentrators must demonstrate knowledge of one foreign language by the end of the junior year as required by the college (see language requirement in the Handbook for Students).

Honors concentrators must demonstrate knowledge of an additional foreign language by the end of the senior year. This can be done in the following ways:

  • by being a native speaker of the language;
  • by obtaining at least a B grade in a full-year, first-year language course;
  • by passing a Harvard College language placement exam (end of first year);
  • in some cases, by passing a special departmental reading exam.
  • by taking a class on Language Typology/Universals, Field Methods or ‘Structure of language X’, if not used to satisfy other requirements.


  • The same language course cannot count toward both the concentration requirement and the language requirement. But a language course that does not count toward the language requirement can count as an elective linguistics course (i.e. as one of the additional half-courses in linguistics).
  • Native speakers of a foreign language are normally not allowed to take courses of basic instruction in that language. Any such courses taken by a native speaker will not be counted toward the concentration requirement.


Required for Honors concentrators.


  • Courses taken Pass/Fail may not be counted for concentration credit.
  • Study Abroad: Courses taken abroad that are directly related to Linguistics count towards the relevant requirements. Please discuss your courses with the Head Tutor.