Linguists study language: how it works, how it develops, how it changes over time, and how it impacts human communication and psychology.

Because linguistics draws on the humanities, science and mathematics, and the social and behavioral sciences, it is a good fit for students with interests spanning these domains. A background in foreign languages can be an asset in the major, and a grounding in mathematics can be very helpful for the formal side of linguistic theory.

UMass offers a linguistics major, but also eight interdisciplinary majors that combine linguistics with another field, specifically anthropology, Chinese, German, Japanese, philosophy, Portuguese, psychology, or Spanish. Students can also opt to complete certificates in American English linguistics or teaching English to speakers of other languages.

Training in linguistics can be valuable for anyone interested in a field in which language is at the center. This might include communications, communication disorders and speech and reading therapy, information retrieval, natural language processing, law, philosophy, preschool and elementary education, psychology, and teaching English and other languages.