Linguistics: The Scientific Study of Language

Language is an important part of what makes us human. Language is how we communicate, how we function in society, and how we interpret the world around us. The work of linguistics is to address important questions about language, such as how is it acquired in infancy, how second languages are acquired, and how language can be processed by computers. To answer these and other important questions, linguists study the formal properties of language, how it evolves, and how it is used in social situations. 

Simon Fraser University has one of the largest and most diverse linguistics programs in Canada. We offer a wide range of courses about language at the undergraduate level, including certificate programs in Speech Science and TESL. We also offer graduate programs leading to MA and PhD degrees. Research in linguistics at SFU is characterized by interdisciplinarity, breadth in research methodology, and diversity in theoretical perspective.

The Department of Linguistics offers courses about sounds (phonetics and phonology), words (morphology), sentences (syntax), narratives and conversations (discourse analysis), and meaning (semantics and pragmatics). We also have courses devoted to language learning and teaching, computational linguistics, neurolinguistics, sociolinguistics, historical linguistics, universals and typology, language and the law, and Indigenous languages.

What can you do with a linguistics degree?

Endless possibilities! Career and Volunteer Services are available to help students explore their post-graduation options, offering assistance in conducting a strategic work search, creating effective work search documents, and developing action plans for productive transitions.  

The study of linguistics prepares you for a variety of exciting careers: 

  • Audiologist
  • Communications Specialist
  • Computational Linguist
  • Forensic Linguist
  • ESL Instructor
  • Foreign Language Instructor
  • Immigration Officer
  • Research Analyst
  • Speech Language Pathologist 

Meet one of our faculty