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  • Practicum (with CTESL or Psycholinguistics and Communication Disorders)

  • 75-77%

    Cut off Range

  • Degree Website

Programs / Arts / Linguistics (BA)

Program Summary

Linguistics is the scientific study of one of the most fundamental aspects of being human: using language to communicate. Linguists explore a range of fascinating ideas, including what it means to know a language, how we process and produce language, language structure, how children acquire language, variation and diversity in languages across the globe, language disorders and delays, and how languages change over time.

At Carleton, students learn to study linguistics from a dedicated faculty with a diverse set of research interests, including theoretical and experimental approaches and methods.

Students in the BA Honours can choose from two concentrations to tailor their Linguistics degree to their interests: Linguistic Theory or Psycholinguistics and Communication Disorders. Qualified students in the Psycholinguistics and Communication Disorders concentration have the opportunity to take a practicum course that provides clinical experience in speech-language pathology.

Linguistics can also be taken as a Bachelor of Science degree.

The Linguistics program at Carleton is one of the strongest in Canada, offering students a chance to be involved in a variety of diverse research projects and to learn from dedicated and accessible faculty.

Our programs are designed to be responsive to student needs and interests and create opportunities for students to explore theoretical, experimental, and clinical linguistics from a variety of perspectives.

In addition, our close connection with our sister program, Applied Linguistics & Discourse Studies, allows students to explore language structure and language use through different lenses.

Teaching excellence

The faculty in Linguistics at Carleton do research in diverse subfields of linguistics and their expertise and passion are infused into their classrooms. Our faculty members win awards for their teaching and take seriously their role and responsibility as educators of the next generation of linguists. Implicit in the Linguistics programs at Carleton is the opportunity for students to learn about language beyond just English or French. Our faculty study a wide range of languages, including Indigenous, endangered, minority and understudied languages.

Independent research

Qualified students in the Linguistics program may explore more independent research by taking an Independent Study or Honours Thesis, under the supervision of a faculty member. This kind of research often leads to presentations at academic conferences and co-publication with the supervisor, and can be an excellent way to test the waters for graduate-level research.

Practicum in Speech-Language Pathology

Qualified students registered in the concentration in Psycholinguistics and Communication Disorders have the opportunity to take a practicum course that provides clinical experience in speech-language pathology. This type of experience will benefit students who hope to pursue graduate studies in Speech-Language Pathology.

One of Carleton’s greatest assets is its location in the nation’s capital. As a student here, you will be able to take advantage of all that Ottawa offers, including access to the federal government, cutting-edge research facilities, national and international organizations and numerous national museums.

What is language? How are languages organized? How are they represented in the brain? How do languages differ and how are they alike? These are some of the questions you will examine if you choose to study Linguistics at Carleton.

Our BA programs focus on several key areas:

  • Phonetics: What kinds of sounds are used in human speech? How are they made? What are their acoustic properties?
  • Phonology: How do different languages use the sounds of human speech? How many different sounds does a language need?
  • Morphology: How are words constructed? How do they combine to form longer words?
  • Psycholinguistics: How do understand language? What is involved in how we plan to produce language?
  • Syntax: How are words combined into sentences? How do different languages organize words to communicate the same meaning?
  • Semantics: How is meaning conveyed and understood?
  • Language acquisition: How do young children learn language, and do it so quickly?
  • Communication disorders: What kinds of speech and language disorders and delays affect people? How can we develop tools to assist in prevention and treatment?
  • Historical linguistics: How and why do languages change? How are different languages related to one another?
  • Psycholinguistics: How do understand language? What is involved in how we plan to produce language?
  • Language acquisition: How do young children learn language, and do it so quickly

The Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics (General, Honours, or Combined Honours) examines these areas. More advanced studies are available to students in the Honours programs, which include the option of an Honours Thesis.

Bachelor of Arts (Honours)

The Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics requires 20.0 credits: 9.5 of these credits are in Linguistics and 10.5 are non-major courses.

Students in the BA Honours can choose from the following concentrations:

  • Linguistic Theory
  • Psycholinguistics and Communication Disorders

The BA Honours with a concentration in Psycholinguistics and Communication Disorders is the ideal BA degree for students interested in pursuing graduate studies in Speech-Language Pathology.

Core courses

Your first year will include an introductory course that provides an overview of the main subfields of Linguistics and gives you a chance to gain some concrete experience with what Linguistics is all about. You will also take an introductory overview course of our sister discipline Applied Linguistics & Discourse Studies.

In second year, you will expand on what you learned in your intro courses, and start to gain some analytical and experimental skills in linguistic analysis and phonetics.

In third year, you will dive deeper into linguistic theory by exploring two of the main subfields of Linguistics in syntax and phonology.

Beyond these core courses, you will have the opportunity to take courses that relate to your specific interests and that contribute to completing the concentration of your choice. These courses include morphology, pragmatics, historical linguistics, language typology and universals, communication disorders, child language, and language and the brain.

Language proficiency requirement

Students in the program are required to have a working knowledge of at least one other language besides English by graduation. Proficiency is determined by successful completion of 1.0 credit in the language or by an oral or written test given by the School.

Combined programs

You may wish to combine your studies in Linguistics with studies in another discipline. You will need to fulfill the credit requirements for a combined program in both majors. You may also combine both of our own programs in the specially designated Combined Honours in Linguistics and Discourse Studies.


The School of Linguistics and Language Studies offers minors in American Sign Language, Chinese (Mandarin), German, Italian, Japanese, Russian and Spanish, each of which requires four credits in the language. Minors are also offered in Linguistics and in Applied Linguistics and Discourse Studies.

Certificate in the Teaching of English as a Second Language (CTESL)

Carleton’s Teaching of English as a Second Language program, offered through the School of Linguistics and Language Studies, is one of Canada’s oldest and best-known TESL programs.

The CTESL program includes courses in theory and methodology, as well as a practicum that includes opportunities for classroom observation and supervised teaching in a variety of settings. With the proper course selection, the program may be taken simultaneously with the Honours program in Linguistics, allowing you to graduate with both a degree and a certificate at the same time. You can also pursue this program as a post-degree certificate.

The CTESL program concentrates on teaching English to adults, either in Canada or abroad. It is widely recognized in Canada as a qualification to teach ESL at the post-secondary level in private language schools, colleges and universities. Overseas, it can lead to teaching positions at the elementary and secondary school levels, as well as at the adult level.

The workplace

Graduates of a Linguistics program find careers in speech-language pathology, natural language processing, branding/advertising, second language learning technology, artificial intelligence, speech recognition, governmental language policy, forensic linguistics, translation/interpretation, lexicography and more.

Linguistics graduates are regularly hired at organizations such as Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Duolingo.

Graduate studies

Graduates of the Honours programs may be eligible for graduate studies in a variety of fields including theoretical linguistics, psycholinguistics, cognitive science, computational linguistics, speech-language pathology, applied linguistics, discourse studies, writing studies, language assessment and language education.

If you think that you may wish to pursue advanced studies, you are encouraged to investigate graduate programs early in order to ensure that your program is tailored to meet requirements at the graduate level.

Professional programs

Many professional programs, including law and teaching, welcome well-rounded applicants from a variety of backgrounds. Linguistics can be a strong foundation for a number of professional programs, and you are encouraged to pursue your interests in these fields.

What students are saying about Linguistics (BA)

The undergraduate Linguistics program at Carleton is extraordinary. The professors pay extra attention to detail when it comes to making course content both comprehensive and incredibly enjoyable. If you’re interested in Linguistics or learning more about it, Carleton University is the place for you.
Jesse Thandni, Linguistics student

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