Undergraduate Program Applied Linguistics

PSU Linguistics faculty member and student meeting

Applied Linguistics Bachelor's Degree and Minor Overview

Applied Linguistics investigates the development and use of language in real-world situations.

You will answer questions such as:

  • What language features are effective or ineffective in different interactions?
  • How can language choices empower or disempower people?
  • How do people's attitudes affect their language?
  • Why is one dialect considered "correct" and others are not?
  • How can a computer be trained to interact with a human in speech or writing?
  • How can changes in the way people use language help ease social problems?
  • Can changes in language increase access to education, services, and professions?

PSU's bachelor's degree in Applied Linguistics prepares you to solve language-related problems in society through work with immigrants, international development, teaching languages, and training companies to work with international partners. You will gain the language background you need to be competitive in technology fields and prepare you to pursue advanced work in computational linguistics. With a dual degree in Applied Linguistics and Computer Science, you can enter careers to improve the function of artificial intelligence systems (Amazon's Alexa, Apple’s Siri, or Google Voice). With your knowledge of the structure of language and how real people use it, you'll be steps ahead of a computer science major.

The Applied Linguistics major or minor pairs well with foreign languages, social sciences, computer science, speech and hearing sciences, anthropology, history and English, and will set you apart and give you an advantage in the job market.

Degree Details

Location Definitions:

On campus:
100% on campus
100% online
Combination of online and on campus
  • BA
    Bachelor of Arts
    On campus
    Total Credits
    Start Term
  • m
    On campus
    Total Credits
    Start Term

Applied Linguistics Bachelor's Degree or Minor: Why PSU?

The Applied Linguistics faculty are committed to your success. That's why we provide you with opportunities to gain valuable experience working with immigrants, refugees, and language learners as an undergraduate. Enjoy small class sizes, with fewer than 20 students. Our dedicated faculty will know your name and interests and are passionate about their courses. They bring their personal experience with research, teaching, and activism to the classroom.

Get hands-on experience and participate in faculty-led projects or present with them at conferences. Opportunities are diverse and may range from surveying the languages spoken in Portland, to developing online materials to increase access to health care, or analyzing videos of learners' classroom interactions.

Be mentored by expert researchers and devoted teachers. Our award-winning faculty are invited to give seminars around the world but are just as committed to building community in their classes and sharing the excitement they feel for Applied Linguistics. Connect with the local and global community. We work closely with community partners in the Portland area and around the world on research and teaching projects. In the same week, you might help with workshops at a linguistically diverse school in Portland and interact online with an English learner in China.

Our program allows you to adapt your course plan to your interests. You can choose to pursue a concentration in structural linguistics or the language classroom. You can take a wide variety of elective courses in areas as diverse as technology applications, intercultural communication, and documenting endangered languages.

What Can I Do With a Bachelor's Degree or Minor in Applied Linguistics?

With a bachelor's degree in Applied Linguistics, you can work in a variety of jobs, including:

  • teachers of English as a Second/Foreign Language
  • international development aid worker
  • teachers for citizenship courses
  • interpreters and translators
  • dialect coaches
  • technical writers
  • computational linguists
  • lexicographers (dictionary makers)
  • International student advisors

Our alumni have gone on to pursue graduate studies in computational linguistics, teaching English to speakers of other languages, Applied Linguistics, culture and technology, language and literacy education, and psychology. Recent graduates have been accepted to programs at Georgetown University, University of Southern California, University of California at Santa Cruz, and at universities in Europe. Students also use the major as preparation for law school.

Featured Courses

  • LING 390 Introduction to Linguistics
  • LING 392 Structure of English
  • LING 480 Bilingualism
  • LING 411 Syntax
  • LING 415 Phonetics
  • LING 414 Pragmatics
  • LING 433 Psycholinguistics
  • LING 416 Discourse Analysis
  • LING 476 Corpus Linguistics
  • LING 432 Sociolinguistics
  • LING 481 World Englishes


  • LING 438 Second Language Acquisition
  • LING 412 Phonology
  • LING 482 Pidgins & Creoles
  • LING 332U "Do I Speak Wrong?": Language Myths in the USA


Portland State University is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).