Students in Second Language Acquisition course

Students presenting posters in Professor Cho's Second Language Acquisition course

Electives in the Major

Which Electives Should I Take?

Linguistics majors take at least four 3-credit elective courses to broaden their academic base and explore interdisciplinary aspects of the field. There are over 50 courses to choose from in departments across campus. Here are some popular choices which tend to be frequently offered – see the Linguistics Guide entry for the full list of eligible courses.

Descriptions of these and all UW-Madison courses can be found in the Course Guide. Course schedules for specific semesters can be found on the Upcoming Course Schedule page.

Linguistic Theory Courses

Any Linguistics course not already satisfying a major requirement can count as an elective for the Linguistics major, including additional advanced 500-level courses beyond the one required, or additional courses in linguistic theory:

Ling 309 Grammatical Variability of Language
Ling 340 Semantics
Ling 373 Topics in Linguistics – Morphosyntax
Ling 510 Phonological Theories
Ling 522 Advanced Morphology
Ling 530 Syntactic Theories
Ling 571 Structure of a Language

Eng 420 Topics in English Language & Linguistics – Experimental Syntax
Eng 514 English Syntax
Phil 516 Language & Meaning

First Language Acquisition/Language Development

CS&D 240 Language Development in Children & Adolescents
CS&D 315 Phonetics & Phonological Development
Eng 320 Linguistic Theory & Child Language Acquisition
Psych 460 Child Development

Second Language Acquisition/TESOL

Eng 318 Second Language Acquisition
Eng 415 Introduction to TESOL Methods

Psycholinguistics/Language Processing

Psych 406 Psychology of Perception
Psych 413 Language, Mind, and Brain
Psych 414 Cognitive Psychology
Psych 521 The Structure of Human Thought: Concepts, Language and Culture

Computational Linguistics/Data Science

LIS 501 Intro to Text Mining
Ling 373 Data Science & Statistics for Linguists
Ling 373 Coding for Linguistics

Sociolinguistics/Linguistic Anthropology

African 206 Introduction to African Language Practices
Anthro 430 Language & Culture
Ed Pol 205 Language and Social Inequality
Ed Pol 595 Language Politics and Education
Eng 316 English Language Variation in the U.S.
Eng 319 Language, Race, and Identity (Ethnic Studies)
Eng 414 Global Spread of English
Eng 416 English in Society
Eng 412 Bad Grammar and Metalinguistic Awareness
Ling 211 Global Language Issues
Ling 213 Topics in Sociolinguistics
Ling 237 Language in Wisconsin

Historical Linguistics

Asian 631 History of the Chinese Language
Eng 417 History of the English Language
Germ 650 History of the German Language
Ling 237 Language in Wisconsin
Ling 303 Historical Linguistics
Span 429 Intro to Romance Languages


CS&D 210 Neural Basis of Communication
CS&D 503 Neural Mechanisms of Speech

Communicative Disorders

CS&D 110 Intro to Communicative Disorders
CS&D 201 Anatomy & Physiology of Speech Production (formerly known as Speech Science)
CS&D 202 Hearing Science (formerly known as Normal Aspects of Hearing)
CS&D 303 Speech Acoustics and Perception
CS&D 440 Child Language Disorders

Linguistics of Specific Languages or Language Families:

Spanish & Romance Languages

Italian 340 Structures of Italian
Span 320 Spanish Phonetics
Span 321 Structure of Modern Spanish
Span 327 Intro to Spanish Linguistics
Span 331 Spanish Applied Linguistics
Span/Fren/Ital/Port 429 Intro to Romance Languages
Span 420 Advanced Spanish Phonetics
Span 430 Spanish in the US
Span 446 Topics in Spanish Linguistics, some recent examples:

  • Acoustic Analysis of Spanish
  • Bilingualism: Linguistic, Cognitive, and Sociopolitical Issues

Span 630 Topics in Hispanic Linguistics, some recent examples:

  • Morphosyntax
  • Second Language Spanish Phonetics & Phonology
  • The Bilingual Self


Germ 351 Intro to German Linguistics
Germ 352 Topics in German Linguistics
Germ 650 History of the German Language

East Asian Languages

Asian 358 Language in Japanese Society
Asian 432 Intro to Chinese Linguistics
Asian 434 Intro to Japanese Linguistics
Asian 631 History of the Chinese Language
Asian 633 Chinese Applied Linguistics

Native American Languages

Ling 371 Survey of North American Indian Languages (Ethnic Studies)
Amer Ind 314 Indians of North America (Ethnic Studies)
Hist 490 American Indian History (Ethnic Studies)
Ling 373 Topics – Language Endangerment & Revitalization
Ling 571 Structure of a Language (Menominee, Northern East Cree)
LIS 640 Topics – Tribal Libraries, Archives, and Museums (this topic only)
Span 446 Topics – Mayan Languages and Linguistics

Note that some courses may be offered infrequently, and future course offerings are not guaranteed. Some courses have prerequisites. Consult with the Undergraduate Advisor about course availability and selection.