Prospective Students

What is Linguistics?

Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. Linguists are interested in questions such as the following:

  • What are the structural properties of languages?
  • To what extent are the languages of the world similar or different?
  • How is language acquired, by children and in adulthood?
  • How is language processed in the brain?
  • How do people produce and perceive spoken and/or signed languages?
  • How do languages change over time?

Linguistics is a highly interdisciplinary field which combines research methods from the humanities, and the social, natural, and mathematical sciences.

The Linguistics Society of America provides further information on the field, as well as the UBC You page.

What you should know before going into linguistics

In this video, created by the Speech and Linguistics Student Association (SALSA), linguistics professors offer advice to incoming students about why they should consider a degree in linguistics.

Degree Options

The UBC Linguistics Department has five high-quality and very lively undergraduate programs in linguistics:

Our students are actively engaged in learning about all aspects of linguistics from the moment they enter the department. Our department currently has permanent faculty members, visiting faculty and sessional instructors from many corners of the world. The department has excellent facilities in our two locations on the UBC campus, housing several research laboratories and numerous ongoing research projects.


Check out our Frequently Asked Questions to learn more about our program and what it’s like to be a Linguistics student!

Applying to UBC

The Linguistics Department does not handle undergraduate admissions.

All applications are handled through UBC Admissions