Mind, Brain, Behavior Track (MBB)

Mind Brain Behavior (MBB) is an Honors track (14 half courses).

The Linguistics/MBB track gives students an opportunity to delve into the neurobiological, psychological, philosophical, and evolutionary aspects of language, in the process becoming familiar with the different ways that researchers in these fields approach language-related problems. Another option encourages exploration of the relationships between language and computer science, including computational neuroscience. Whatever their specific choices, students who elect to concentrate in Linguistics/MBB graduate with a unique knowledge base and an invaluable set of skills and tools.

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
  • Linguistics 102: Sentence Structure
  • Linguistics 105: Sounds of Language
  • Linguistics 106: Knowledge of Meaning
  • Three required half-courses in MBB:
    • Science B-62: The Human Mind (or Science B-29: Evolution of Human Nature for the classes of 2010 or earlier)
    • MCB 80: Neurobiology of Behavior
    • An MBB interdisciplinary seminar (see the MBB website for more information)
  • One additional half-course in linguistics
  • One additional half-course in MBB

Required tutorials (5 half-courses)

SophomoreLinguistics 97r (1 term)

Two consecutive six-week small-group tutorials
[Letter Grade]

JuniorLinguistics 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]

SeniorLinguistics 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 the head tutor with the participation of Honors candidates’ thesis advisers.


Language Requirements

Concentrators must demonstrate knowledge of one foreign language by the end of the junior 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, second year language course
  • by passing a Harvard College language placement exam
  • in some cases, by passing a special departmental reading exam

Note: 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 departmental language or related field requirements.



Required for Honors concentrators.



  • Courses taken Pass/Fail may not be counted for concentration credit.
  • Language courses taken in addition to those used to fulfill the language requirement may be counted towards the concentration (for courses in the related field)
  • Study Abroad: Courses taken abroad that are directly related to Linguistics count towards the relevant requirements. Please discuss your courses with the head tutor.