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Best for Linguistics

kross_addictedkross_addicted Posts: 89Registered User Junior Member
edited August 2010 in Other College Majors
What do you consider to be the top university for linguistics?

Personally my top three are:
NYU
University of Pennsylvania
University of Chicago
Post edited by kross_addicted on
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Replies to: Best for Linguistics

  • davidav87davidav87 Posts: 326Registered User Junior Member
    I don't know about the "top" but Santa Cruz might be a good choice. They have one of the very best Lingustics departments in the nation and Santa Cruz is a very happy and pleasent city. If I wanted to go into Lingustics I'd go there as a first choice.
  • eponymouseponymous Posts: 318Registered User Junior Member
    The best school in the country for linguistics is without a doubt, Georgetown. They hold the annual Roundtable for Linguistics conference there, offer several different majors in Linguistics, and also offer a five-year accelerated bachelor's/master's program. If you're interested in research, the center for applied linguistics is a short walk from campus. Their FLL program (Faculty of Linguistics and Languages) is world-renowned. If you're serious about linguistics, it's a great choice. Plus, they're tops for just about everything else too, so you can double major. I may attend grad school there.

    But from personal experience, I can say Rice is excellent for linguistics. I attend school there, and I think the program is wonderful. Plus, in the city of Houston, there are so many opportunities for internships and field research, it makes my mouth water. Specifically, Rice is strong on computational linguistics. I highly recommend it.
  • MeldonMeldon Posts: 3Registered User New Member
    I was reading a post from about a year ago that said that for real linguistics (not just the study of several languages) the best was MIT. What do you guys think? I'd like to find a good linguistics program at a school where I can get decent scholarships (as in, not pay to be there) and double (or even triple?) major. My other subject(s) would be along the lines of economics, history, physics, or mathematics. I'll make my own thread for this personal problem, but I primarily wanted to throw MIT out there and see what you all have to say.
  • bonafide20bonafide20 Posts: 434Registered User Member
    You have a lot of choices for linguistics...I go to Pitt and am majoring in Linguistics....in addition to some of the schools mentioned here, you cna try Cornell, Indiana, U of IL-UC, McGill, Toronto, Ohio State, perhaps Northwestern. It depends on which area of linguistics youa re interested in too...some schools are more specialized in certain areas.
  • sr6622sr6622 Posts: 3,123Registered User Senior Member
    It's gotta be MIT
  • MeldonMeldon Posts: 3Registered User New Member
    Why does it have to be MIT? Does anyone know of some study or list that could provide some input on the subject? I know there's a list of strong graduate programs done by (I think) the National Research Center, but is there any such thing for undergraduate programs in Linguistics?
  • molliebatmitmolliebatmit Posts: 12,150Super Moderator Senior Member
    Well, I don't know any strictly undergraduate rankings, but here's some food for thought: in the MIT linguistics department, the undergraduate program and the graduate program aren't substantially different; many of the core classes are joint grad/undergrad classes, and motivated undergraduates would be welcome to take grad classes if they so desired.

    Looking at your requirements above, though, a few caveats: you can't triple-major at MIT (it's no longer allowed), and while most people get pretty good financial aid, it's not like we're coming here for free.
  • DRabDRab Posts: 6,107Registered User Senior Member
    Many good schools have stellar linguistics departments, including MIT, but the environment there is far different from many schools. As with all things, other factors will probably weigh in more importantly than the ellusive "best," whatever that happens to be. Where you will be happy and where you end up getting in, for instance, should be more important that which department is "better."

    As to MIT, many people interested in linguistics wouldn't want to touch most if not all of the common core stuff. Yes, the department is known to be amazing, but keep in mind the many other factors associated with going to a school outside of just the department.
  • MeldonMeldon Posts: 3Registered User New Member
    It's not like it's the only thing I'd consider, I just wanted some answers because I haven't seen any rankings or anything to let it be a factor at all. Thanks.
  • DRabDRab Posts: 6,107Registered User Senior Member
    A good way to go about this (if you're willing to put in the effort) is to call people in various linguistics departments for their opinions about other school's linguistics departments. This is essentially what people who advise their undergraduate students do- you should do the same thing before you are one to have a good idea of various departments. By calling multiple departments, you can get a more fair view than just one department's consensus opinion.
  • interesteddadinteresteddad Posts: 22,795Registered User Senior Member
    Here is the list of the top per capita undergrad producers of future Linguistics PhDs over the most recent ten year period.

    A couple of caveats. The raw numbers are very small because Linguistics is not usually a popular major. Nor should this be contrued as a pure measure of "quality". It is, however, some indication of the interest in Linquistics at these schools, the type of students at each school, and the success of departments in preparing their students for academic/research careers in Linguistics. In any case, you might find some schools to consider from this list.

    Number of PhDs per 1000 graduates

    Academic field: Linguistics

    PhDs and Doctoral Degrees: ten years (1994 to 2003) from NSF database
    Number of Undergraduates: ten years (1989 to 1998) from IPEDS database
    Formula: Total PhDs divided by Total Grads, multiplied by 1000

    Note: Does not include colleges with less than 1000 graduates over the ten year period


    1 St John's College (both campus) 2
    2 Reed College 2
    3 Swarthmore College 2
    4 Grinnell College 2
    5 Pomona College 1
    6 University of Hawaii at Hilo 1
    7 University of Chicago 1
    8 Georgetown University 1
    9 Yale University 1
    10 Kalamazoo College 1
    11 Occidental College 1
    12 Wellesley College 1
    13 Williams College 1
    14 Central College (Pella, IA) 1
    15 Harvard University 1
    16 Oberlin College 1
    17 Hampshire College 1
    18 Newberry College 1
    19 Dartmouth College 1
    20 Gordon College (Wenham, MA) 1
    21 Massachusetts Institute of Technology 1
    22 Bethel College (North Newton, KS) 1
    23 University of California-Santa Cruz 1
    24 Stanford University 1
    25 Western Maryland College 1
    26 Lawrence University 1
    27 Maryville College 1
    28 Chestnut Hill College 1
    29 Macalester College 1
    30 Salem College 1
    31 Scripps College 1
    32 Princeton University 1
    33 Amherst College 1
    34 Brandeis University 1
    35 Concordia College (Ann Arbor, MI) 1
    36 Houghton College 1
    37 St Andrews Presbyterian College 1
    38 Bethany College (Bethany, WV) 1
    39 Rhodes College 1
    40 University of Wisconsin-Superior 1
    41 Anderson University 1
    42 Bethel College and Seminary, All Campuses 1
    43 Rice University 1
    44 University of AK Fairbanks, All Campuses 1
    45 University of the Virgin Islands 1
    46 Converse College 1
    47 Concordia Teachers College 1
    48 Cornell University, All Campuses 1
    49 Middlebury College 1
    50 Hope College 1
    51 Brown University 1
    52 Andrews University 1
    53 Barnard College 1
    54 University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences 1
    55 Manchester College 1
    56 Davidson College 1
    57 Culver-Stockton College 1
    58 Washington and Lee University 1
    59 CUNY Hunter College 1
    60 Adrian College 1
    61 Biola University 1
    62 Hollins College 1
    63 University of Pennsylvania 1
  • celebrian25celebrian25 Posts: 15,373Registered User Senior Member
    My question is aren't there different focuses for linguistic departments? You know, like how at some schools neuroscience can be a more scientific or a more physcological study?
  • bonafide20bonafide20 Posts: 434Registered User Member
    yes some schools may have expertise in particular areas of linguistics...you would have to contact individual departments to see which areas they specialize in. Penn, for example, is supposedly great when it comes to sociolinguistics. MIT is supposed to be good at computational linguistics.
  • DRabDRab Posts: 6,107Registered User Senior Member
    That's an odd list. Here are some things to consider- some departments are large and some are small. Even at a huge school like Berkeley, there are small departments. The linguistics department is relatively small, as in there are much fewer of linguistics profs than English or Physics. This leads to some advantages and some disadvantages. For instance, the profs will know the average ling student better than the English profs will know the average English student. It leads to some disadvantages, such as limited course offereings, but not really here, because there are still many professors (not 50-70, but at least 20), and they have many fields of interest, leading to the disadvantage being made nonexistant here. My point- just becaues few people major in it doesn't mean it's a weak department, although the list might show that because of the way it's created. For example, Wellesley's Econ department is small, but known to be amazing. Talk to linguistics departments about what they think about other departments, and also look at the many other factors about each and every school.

    Here's something I generally agree with about linguistics - from wikipedia:

    Areas of theoretical linguistics

    Theoretical linguistics is often divided into a number of separate areas, to be studied more or less independently. The following divisions are currently widely acknowledged:

    * Phonetics, the study of the different sounds that are employed across all human languages
    * Phonology, the study of patterns of a language's basic sounds
    * Morphology, the study of the internal structure of words
    * Syntax, the study of how words combine to form grammatical sentences
    * Semantics, the study of the meaning of words (lexical semantics), and how these combine to form the meanings of sentences
    * Pragmatics, the study of how utterances are used (literally, figuratively, or otherwise) in communicative acts
    * Historical linguistics, the study of languages whose historical relations are recognizable through similarities in vocabulary, word formation, and syntax
    * Linguistic typology, the study of the grammatical features that are employed across all human languages
    * Stylistics, the study of style in languages
    * Discourse analysis, the study of sentences organised into texts

    The independent significance of each of these areas is not universally acknowledged, however, and nearly all linguists would agree that the divisions overlap considerably. Nevertheless, each area has core concepts that foster significant scholarly inquiry and research.
  • interesteddadinteresteddad Posts: 22,795Registered User Senior Member
    My point- just becaues few people major in it doesn't mean it's a weak department, although the list might show that because of the way it's created. For example, Wellesley's Econ department is small, but known to be amazing.

    The strength of Wellesley's econ department is captured by their ranking on per capita Econ PhD production: a very high #16 in the country.

    My concern with the linguistics list is that the raw numbers are so small that I don't think there is sufficient resolution. Also, I'm pretty sure there Linguistics PhDs from undergrad schools that don't have a linguistics department!

    Nevertheless, a list like this is really only useful to jog someone into looking into a college/university they might not have thought of. There are some very strong linguistics departments on the list.

    The nice thing is that these lists tend to reveal options in many size ranges and many degrees of selectivity. I mean, doesn't take 800s across the board on your SATs to figure out that Harvard or Swarthmore or U Chicago have strong academic departments. But, a lot of people are looking for options that are more realistic from an admissions standpoint.
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