Bachelor of Arts in English: Concentration in Linguistics

General Information

The English Department at SF State provides opportunities for students to study in a variety of subfields that make up the English major. Join us and become part of a racially, linguistically, and culturally diverse community of learners engaging in a dialog between our histories and experiences, and new ideas and literacies.

Linguistics is a concentration within the English BA. 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 to 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.

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will be able to differentiate how language use varies across the contexts and genres of professional writing and rhetoric, literature, and linguistics. (Disciplinary Knowledge) 

  2. Students will be able to formulate and pursue methodologically sound lines of inquiry, effectively placing their ideas side by side the ideas of others, drawing persuasively on credible primary and secondary sources. (Research) 

  3. Students will be able to produce rhetorically effective texts across a range of digital, print, and multimedia formats. (Written Communication/Digital Literacy) 

  4. Students will be able to carefully read and critically examine the ways in which culture and global context affect language, literature, and writing. (Global Perspectives) 

  5. Students will be able to analyze language and texts in relation to the historical and social contexts in which they are situated. (Historical Thinking)
  6. Students will be able to apply critical thinking, close reading, and rhetorical persuasion to engage productively and ethically in scholarly, civic, and professional communities. (Application & Engagement)
  7. Students in the linguistics concentration will be able to demonstrate a solid understanding of the fundamental linguistic subfields of phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and sociolinguistics.
  8. Students in the linguistics concentration will be able to analyze grammatical aspects of English and other languages unfamiliar to them.
  9. Students in the linguistics concentration will be able to produce a field-appropriate research paper conforming to all writing conventions, citation conventions, and structural conventions in linguistics research. 

GPA Requirements

Students must have a GPA of 2.0 or higher in the major, and no grade in the major lower than a C- (except for ENG 480GW, which requires a grade of C or higher).

English (B.A.): Concentration in Linguistics - 45 Units

Lower-Division Requirements (6 units)

ENG 218Literature Is Not A Luxury: Writing For Self and Community3
ENG 250Topics in Literature and Culture3

Upper-Division Requirements (18 units)

ENG 402Introduction to Professional Writing and Rhetoric3
ENG 420Introduction to the Study of Language3
ENG 461Literature in English Since 18003
ENG 480GWWriting in English: GWAR Seminar3
ENG 583Shakespeare: Representative Plays3
ENG 640Global Texts and Practices3

Concentration Requirements (21 Units)

ENG 421Syntax3
ENG 424Phonology and Morphology3
ENG 425Language in Context3

Electives (9 units)

Three courses selected with approval of advisor.

Capstone Experience (3 units)

This course must be completed during the spring semester of the student’s final (senior) year.

ENG 422History of the English Language3

Students must have a GPA of 2.0 or higher in the major, and no grade in the major lower than a C- (except for ENG 480GW, which requires a grade of C or higher).

Complementary Studies Requirement for English Majors

Twelve units of Complementary Studies are required of all candidates in any of the four concentrations (Literature, Linguistics, English Education, and Professional Writing and Rhetoric) in the Bachelor of Arts degree in English. These units must come from courses bearing a prefix other than ENG, and must not be cross-listed with ENG. English majors will be offered four pathways for satisfying this requirement; each pathway is designed to facilitate graduation in a timely manner.

  1. Foreign Language: 12 units in a single foreign language;
  2. Second major, minor, or certificate: 12 units of coursework taken as part of a second major, a minor, or a certificate;
  3. Study Abroad: 12 units of coursework taken in an approved study abroad program (such as CSU Study Abroad);
  4. Related Subjects: 12 units of coursework in related disciplines with the approval of an English Department advisor.

Related subjects typically include (but are not limited to) Comparative and World Literature, Classics, Creative Writing, Ethnic Studies, Foreign Languages, History, Journalism, Women and Gender Studies, Communication Studies, Instructional Technology, or Marketing.   For these related subjects, six units must be from classes in a non-literary related field.

Depending on the concentration within the major, Complementary Studies pathway, and approval of a departmental advisor, up to 12 units from courses with non-ENG prefixes that count towards the Complementary Studies requirement may also count as English electives in fulfillment of the degree requirements.

Students who have earned AA-T or AS-T degrees and are pursuing a similar B.A. degree at SF State are required to fulfill the Complementary Studies requirement as defined by the major department. Students should consult with a major advisor about how transfer units and/or SF State units can best be applied to this requirement in order to ensure degree completion within 60 units.

General Education Requirements

Requirement Course Level Units Area Designation
Oral Communication LD 3 A1
Written English Communication I LD 3 A2
Critical Thinking LD 3 A3
Physical Science LD 3 B1
Life Science LD 3 B2
Lab Science LD 1 B3
Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning LD 3 B4
Arts LD 3 C1
Humanities LD 3 C2
Arts or Humanities LD 3 C1 or C2
Social Sciences LD 3 D1
Social Sciences: US History LD 3 D2
Social Sciences: US & CA Government LD 3 D3
Lifelong Learning and Self-Development (LLD) LD 3 E
Physical and/or Life Science UD 3 UD-B
Arts and/or Humanities UD 3 UD-C
Social Sciences UD 3 UD-D
SF State Studies
Courses certified as meeting the SF State Studies requirements may be upper or lower division in General Education (GE), a major or minor, or an elective.
American Ethnic and Racial Minorities LD or UD 3 AERM
Environmental Sustainability LD or UD 3 ES
Global Perspectives LD or UD 3 GP
Social Justice LD or UD 3 SJ

Note: LD = Lower-Division; UD = Upper-Division.

First-Time Student Roadmap (4 Year)

Find the correct roadmap (A, B, C, or D):

  1. Select the row that matches your English Course choice for A2.*
  2. Select the column that matches your QR Category (found at your student center under Math Alert).
  3. Click the Roadmap that lines up with your row and column.

For example, if you are taking ENG 104 as your first English course and your student center math alert says you are QR Category III, you should choose Roadmap D.

Pathway QR Cat I/II QR Cat III/IV
ENG 114 Roadmap A Roadmap C
ENG 104/ENG 105 Roadmap B Roadmap D

*Composition for Multilingual Students: If taking ENG 209 as your first English course, choose the ENG 114 row. If taking ENG 204 for your first English course, choose the ENG 104/ENG 105 row.

Transfer Student Roadmap (2 Year)

For students with an AA-T in English. This roadmap opens in a new tab.

This degree program is an approved pathway (“similar” major) for students earning the ADT in English

California legislation SB 1440 (2009) mandated the creation of the Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT) to be awarded by the California Community Colleges. Two types of ADTs are awarded: Associate in Arts for Transfer (AA-T) and Associate in Science for Transfer (AS-T). 

Note: no specific degree is required for admission as an upper-division student. However, the ADT includes specific guarantees related to admission and graduation and is designed to clarify the transfer process and strengthen lower-division preparation for the major.

An ADT totals 60 units and in most cases includes completion of all lower-division General Education requirements and at least 18 units in a specific major. (The Biology, Chemistry, and Environmental Science AS-T degrees defer 3 units in lower-division GE area C and 3 units in lower-division GE area D until after transfer.) Students pursuing an ADT are guaranteed admission to the CSU if minimum eligibility requirements are met, though not necessarily to the CSU campus of primary choice.

Upon verification that the ADT has been awarded prior to matriculation at SF State, students are guaranteed B.A. or B.S. completion in 60 units if pursuing a “similar” major after transfer. Determinations about “similar” majors at SF State are made by faculty in the discipline.

Degree completion in 60 units cannot be guaranteed when a student simultaneously pursues an additional major, a minor, certificate, or credential.

A sample advising roadmap for students who have earned an ADT and continue in a "similar" major at SF State is available on the Roadmaps tab on the degree requirements page for the major. The roadmap displays:

  • How many lower-division units required for the major have been completed upon entry based on the award of a specific ADT;
  • Which lower-division requirements are considered complete upon entry based on the award of a specific ADT;
  • How to complete the remaining 60 units for the degree in four semesters.

Students who have earned an ADT should seek advising in the major department during the first semester of attendance.

General Advising Information for Transfer Students

  1. Before transfer, complete as many lower-division requirements or electives for this major as possible.
  2. The following courses are not required for admission but are required for graduation. Students are strongly encouraged to complete these units before transfer; doing so will provide more flexibility in course selection after transfer.
    • a course in U.S. History
    • a course in U.S. & California Government

For information about satisfying the requirements described in (1) and (2) above at a California Community College (CCC), please visit http://www.assist.org. Check any geographically accessible CCCs; sometimes options include more than one college. Use ASSIST to determine:

  • Which courses at a CCC satisfy any lower-division major requirements for this major;
  • Which courses at a CCC satisfy CSU GE, US History, and US & CA Government requirements.

Remedial courses are not transferable and do not apply to the minimum 60 semester units/90 quarter units required for admission.

Additional units for courses that are repeated do not apply to the minimum 60 units required for upper-division transfer (for example, if a course was not passed on the first attempt or was taken to earn a better grade).

Before leaving the last California Community College of attendance, obtain a summary of completion of lower-division General Education units (IGETC or CSU GE Breadth). This is often referred to as a GE certification worksheet. SF State does not require delivery of this certification to Admissions, but students should retain this document for verifying degree progress after transfer.

Credit for Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or College-Level Examination Program courses: AP/IB/CLEP credit is not automatically transferred from the previous institution. Units are transferred only when an official score report is delivered to SF State. Credit is based on the academic year during which exams were taken. Refer to the University Bulletin in effect during the year of AP/IB/CLEP examination(s) for details regarding the award of credit for AP/IB/CLEP.

Students pursuing majors in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines often defer 6-9 units of lower-division General Education in Areas C and D until after transfer to focus on preparation courses for the major. This advice does not apply to students pursuing associate degree completion before transfer.

Transferring From Institutions Other Than CCCs or CSUs

Review SF State's lower-division General Education requirements. Note that, as described below, the four basic skills courses required for admission meet A1, A2, A3, and B4 in the SF State GE pattern. Courses that fulfill the remaining areas of SF State’s lower-division GE pattern are available at most two-year and four-year colleges and universities.

Of the four required basic skills courses, a course in critical thinking (A3) may not be widely offered outside the CCC and CSU systems. Students should attempt to identify and take an appropriate course no later than the term of application to the CSU. To review more information about the A3 requirement, please visit bulletin.sfsu.edu/undergraduate-education/general-education/lower-division/#AAEL.

Waiting until after transfer to take a single course at SF State that meets both US and CA/local government requirements may be an appropriate option, particularly if transferring from outside of California.

All Students Must Meet the Transfer Eligibility Requirements Outlined Below for Admission.

For more information, visit the Undergraduate Admissions section.

  • Complete 60 or more transferable semester units or 90 or more quarter units.
  • Earn a college grade point average of 2.0 or better in all transferable courses. Non-local area residents may be held to a higher GPA standard.
  • Be in good standing at the last college or university attended.
  • Complete 30-semester units (45-quarter units) of General Education, including four basic skills courses:
    1. One course in oral communication (same as CSU GE Area A1)
    2. One course in written composition (same as CSU GE Area A2)
    3. One course in critical thinking (same as CSU GE Area A3)
    4. One course in mathematics or quantitative reasoning (same as CSU GE Area B4)
  • The four basic skills courses and a minimum of 60 transferable semester units (90-quarter units) must be completed by the spring semester prior to fall admission, or by the fall semester prior to spring admission. Earn a C- or better grade in each basic skills course.