Linguistics Program


Lederer, JennyJenny Lederer
Phone: (415) 338-7406
Office: HUM 430






The Linguistics program at SF State offers B.A..and M.A. degrees which provide students with a solid grounding in the tools of language analysis. At the undergraduate level, students begin to explore the patterns of sounds, words, sentences and conversations in a variety of languages and speech communities. What similarities are found between English, Spanish, and Swahili, for example? What patterns do Turkish and Japanese share? How can you characterize the difference between “empty” and “hollow,” when the dictionary lists them as synonyms? How do conversations among teenagers in San Francisco differ from conversations among 40-year-olds?

Students interested in any field involving language analysis — including but not limited to law, education, anthropology, sociology, psychology and linguistics — benefit from preparation in examining language data with the rigorous methods of the discipline. Students who plan to teach language gain a valuable background in the structure of English along with a deeper understanding of how languages are acquired. Undergraduate majors are encouraged to take courses in other languages as well as courses investigating language from the perspectives of other fields, such as speech and communication, psychology, computer science and anthropology.

Students Starting Fall 2019: Requirements & Courses

  • Core Requirements (24 Units)
  • Concentration Requirements (21 Units)
    • Required Courses (9 units)
      • ENG 421 - Syntax (3 units)
      • ENG 424 - Phonology and Morphology (3 units)
      • ENG 425 - Langauge in Context (3 units)
    • Elective (9 units)
      • Three courses selected with approval of advisor.
    • Capstone Experience (3 units)
      • ENG 422 - History of the English Language

View more about the post-Fall 2019 requirements in the current SF State Bulletin.

Continuing Majors (Pre-Fall 2019): Requirements & Courses

The following are requirements for a B.A. in English with concentration in Linguistics for students who declared their major and began instruction before Fall of 2019.

View more about the pre-Fall 2019 requirements in the 2018-2019 SF State Bulletin.


Lower-Division Prerequisites/Corequisites: 6 units*

Core Requirements: 15 units

  • One upper-division course in Shakespeare, ENG 583 or ENG 584 (3 units)
  • ENG 480GW: Junior Seminar GWAR (3 units)
  • ENG 420: Introduction to the Study of Language (3 units)

Two Upper-Division Survey Courses (choose two of the three below): 6 units

  • ENG 460: Literature in English I: Beginnings to 17th Century
  • ENG 461: Literature in English II: 18th and 19th Centuries
  • ENG 462: Literature in English III: 20th Century

Concentration Courses: 24 units

  • ENG 421: Syntax (3 units)
  • ENG 422: History of the English Language (3 units)
  • ENG 424: Phonology and Morphology (3 units)
  • ENG 425: Language in Context (3 units)
  • Electives: four courses chosen with approval of adviser (12 units)

Total for Major: 45 units

Please note: The minimum grade acceptable in a course for the major is a C- with the exception of ENG 480GW (Junior Seminar GWAR), which requires a minimum grade of a C. The minimum grade-point average for the major remains 2.0. If you have any questions, please see your faculty advisor.


* - Transfer students may be able to transfer literature courses to fill this requirement. Check with a faculty advisor.