Undergraduate Program Applied Linguistics

PSU Linguistics faculty member and student meeting

Applied Linguistics Bachelor's Degree and Minor Overview

With a bachelor's degree or minor in Applied Linguistics, you will understand an essential part of being human:  language. Applied linguists study how human languages are structured, how they function, and how they relate to culture, identity, and power. Applied linguists then use that knowledge to solve problems in the real world. 

In the PSU program, we use our knowledge about language to improve language teaching, document the languages in Portland, highlight social justice issues, determine what makes specialized texts more or less effective, help students be more successful in higher education, create resources for literacy learners, improve digital communication, inform policy decisions, and much more. 

Because language is fundamental to many fields, Applied Linguistics majors go on to diverse careers: teaching, international development, artificial intelligence, refugee services, marketing, and translation, to name just a few. Applied linguistics is excellent preparation for law school or graduate degrees in social sciences and humanities.

The Applied Linguistics major or minor pairs well with foreign languages, computer science, speech and hearing sciences, English, anthropology, and other social sciences. A dual major or minor gives you an advantage in the job market. With Applied Linguistics and Computer Science, you will be better prepared for natural language processing. With a dual degree in Applied Linguistics and other fields, you will be better prepared for working in multilingual and multicultural contexts.

Degree Details

  • BA
    Bachelor of Arts
    Delivery Method
    On campus
    Total Credits
    Start Term
  • m
    Delivery Method
    On campus
    Total Credits
    Start Term

Learn more about PSU’s academic program delivery methods.

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

In PSU's Department of Applied Linguistics, you’ll find faculty who are committed to helping you succeed. You'll join a community of faculty and students who are passionate about applying the science of language for making positive social change.

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?

Applied Linguistics prepares you to be part of a multicultural, multilingual society. The major develops skills for analytical reasoning and effective communication. 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 degrees in computational linguistics, teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL), linguistics, applied linguistics, culture and technology, language and literacy education, psychology, and speech pathology.

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
  • LING 334U "You have the Right to Remain Silent": Language and the Law


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