Honors Degree in Linguistics

Course Requirements - Honors Thesis - On-going Research - Timeline - Contact

What is an Honors Degree?

An Honors Degree in Linguistics involves some specialized coursework, an individual research project and, most importantly, the writing of an Honors Thesis. Being in the Honors program requires top marks in Linguistics, and gives talented students a chance to get the most out of their degree. 

Why an Honors Degree? 

The Honors program is a great opportunity to get first-hand research and communication experience, which is widely applicable on the job market and in academia. If you are thinking of graduate school or post-degree studies, the Honors program will be of particular interest to you. Graduate admissions committees view Honors Degrees very favourably, as the completion of an Honors Thesis shows that you have in-depth knowledge of your field,  are capable of carrying out your own original research and are able to communicate that research at a professional level. Working closely with a professor also means that you have someone who knows you on an individual basis and who can write you more personalized letters of reference.

Applying to the Honors program

Application to the Honors program is done online through the Registrar's Office. Click on the Admissions website under Quick Links. You may then click on the yellow "Apply Now" button and then "Start Application". Application deadline: March 1st (typically following completion of the second year). Please consult the appropriate section of the University Calendar for Faculty requirements and the current calendar listing of Departmental requirements for the Honors Program. Entrance to the Honors program and promotion from year to year requires a GPA of at least 3.0 with an average of at least 3.3 in all Linguistics courses.

Course Requirements

Requirements for a BA with Honors in Linguistics

The Honors BA program is similar to the BA in that it is a 4 year program that requires the completion of *120 (*= credits).  Most courses offered in the Faculty of Arts are one term in length and are worth *3.  The normal course load is 5 x *3 per term, so 10 courses or *30 in an academic year.

The Linguistic requirements are a minimum of *48 (16 courses) and a maximum of *60 (20 courses).  The following are required courses:

  • LING 101  Introductory Linguistics
  • LING 310  Introductory Phonology
  • LING 204  English Syntax
  • LING 375  Directed Research I
  • LING 205  Phonetics
  • LING 475  Directed Research II
  • LING 308  Morphology & the Lexicon     
  •  LING 501  Research Project Seminar  
  • LING 309  Syntax & Semantics
  • LING 502  Honors Project
  • *6 at 4xx- or 5xx level
  • You may choose from all other LING courses to make up your complement of *48-*60 credits. 

    Requirements for a Combined Honors in Linguistics

    A Combined Honors in Linguistics requires a minimum of *36 in Linguistics and a minimum of *36 in the other discipline. The Linguistics courses would include:

  • LING 101 Introductory Linguistics
  • LING 310 Introductory Phonology
  • LING 204 English Syntax
  • LING 375 Directed Research I
  • LING 205 Phonetics
  • LING 475 Directed Research II
  • LING 308 Morphology & the Lexicon     
  • LING 501 Research Project Seminar  
  • LING 309 Syntax & Semantics
  • LING 502 Honors Project
  • an additional *3 at the 400- or 500-level
  • See also Program Requirement section of the Calendar for further requirements.

    Honors Thesis

    The Honors Thesis is a piece of original research, typically 25-70 pages in length, written with the guidance of a faculty member over the final two semesters of your program. In the first term, you enroll in LING 501 and learn general research skills and lay the groundwork for your project. In the next term, you enroll in LING 502 and begin the actual writing of the thesis. The completed thesis is submitted for assessment to the thesis supervisor and a second reader. The thesis is assigned a letter grade which is the final grade for the course. The final approved thesis is then submitted to the Library’s Archive (ERA) as part of the Honors Theses (Linguistics) collection.

    The thesis topic

    Pick a field in which you are interested or that you might want to pursue someday as part of a post-graduate degree. A topic is selected in consultation with the potential supervisor.

    The thesis supervisor

    By the end of your third year (earlier is encouraged) you should choose a supervisor whose primary area of research coincides with your own interests. If you're not sure who to ask, think of someone who taught a class you really enjoyed, or check out the profiles on our Faculty webpage. Once you have chosen a supervisor, you need to complete a Notice of Honors Supervision form and submit it to the Associate Chair - Undergraduate at <>.


    The final copy of your thesis should conform to the Department's formatting and style guide. You can access previous electronic copies of Linguistics honors theses on the Library's Archive (ERA)

    On-Going Research

    A good way to get a head start on your Honors Thesis is to get involved in a research project by volunteering, taking a Directed Research class, and attending departmental colloquia or reading groups. Honors students working on projects typically perform functions similar to those described for graduate students, although they spend less time at it (graduate students get paid) and what they do is generally more directly related to the research required for their Honors Thesis. If you're having trouble picking an area for your Honors Thesis, take a look the individual professors' websiteslab websites, or schedule an appointment with professors to talk about their research.


    You can enroll in the Honors Program at any point after your first two semesters of classes and before March 1st of the year before your final year (that is, of the year before you expect to begin work on your Thesis). Once enrolled, you continue your program as usual, maintaining the necessary minimum GPA of 3.0 (3.3 in LING courses).

    • Before the add/drop date for Fall term classes of the final year, Honors students choose a supervisor and begun discussing possible thesis topics. This must be confirmed by submitting a Notice of Honors Supervision to the department's Associate Chair- Undergraduate by 15 September of that year.
    • By 30 January, students enrolled in 502 should submit, to the Associate Chair - Undergraduate, a one-paragraph proposal stating the topic of the honors thesis research and indicating a schedule of regular meetings with the supervisor. This proposal must be approved and signed by the student's supervisor.
    • By 30 April, the thesis will be read by the supervisor and one other faculty member (chosen in consultation with the supervisor and Associate Chair - Undergraduate), and approved for a grade.
    • By 30 June, Honors students will submit their thesis to the Department Honors Thesis collection in the Library's Archive (ERA)


    Please contact [lingugr{at}] Professor Juhani Järvikivi, Associate Chair – Undergraduate, if you have any questions.