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Major: Linguistics

Major Details



Department of Linguistics
Faculty of Human Sciences

This major must be completed as part of an award. The general requirements for the award must be satisfied in order to graduate.

Requirements for the Major:

Completion of a minimum of 24 credit points including the following prescribed units:

Credit points

100 level

Language: Its Structure and Use (3)

100 or 200 level

3cp from
LING units at 100 level
LING210 - LING240

200 level

6cp from
LING210 - LING240

300 level

Language as Evidence (3)
9cp from
LING units at 300 level
SPH units at 300 level


Units marked with a C are Capstone units.
Additional Information
Overview and Aims of the Program Completing a major in linguistics at Macquarie University offers students the opportunity to study many aspects of human language in one of the most diverse Linguistics Departments in Australia. After foundational work in core linguistics study in their first year, students can begin to specialise in one or more of the sub-disciplines in which our staff research and teach, leading to a broad choice in their final year. With the Bachelor of Speech and Hearing and the clinical Masters programs in Audiology and Speech Pathology in the same department, in many of the units of study in this major, students will have access to state of the art speech laboratories and equipment in the Hearing Hub on campus.

A major in Linguistics aims to turn out graduates who have a broad understanding of how human language works, from highly technical knowledge such as the articulation processes in the mouth when we speak, through to sociocultural awareness of language use in multicultural settings.

As an awareness of language use is an essential skill in so many professions, a major in Linguistics is a very useful major to take in your Bachelor of Arts, either as your qualifying major or as second major in double major programs with Anthropology, Cultural Studies, Education, English, languages other than English, International Relations, Media, Politics, Psychology.
Graduate Capabilities

The Graduate Capabilities Framework articulates the fundamentals that underpin all of Macquarie’s academic programs. It expresses these as follows:

Cognitive capabilities
(K) discipline specific knowledge and skills
(T) critical, analytical and integrative thinking
(P) problem solving and research capability
(I) creative and innovative

Interpersonal or social capabilities
(C) effective communication
(E) engaged and ethical local and global citizens
(A) socially and environmentally active and responsible

Personal capabilities
(J) capable of professional and personal judgement and initiative
(L) commitment to continuous learning

Program Learning Outcomes By the end of this program it is anticipated you should be able to:

1. demonstrate broad theoretical and technical knowledge of some of the sub-disciplines of linguistics (anthropological linguistics, discourse analysis and systemic functional linguistics, language acquisition, phonetics and phonology, psycholinguistics, semantics, sociolinguistics, speech and hearing, syntax) and be able to apply this knowledge to further study or in the workplace (K, T, L)
2. rigorously conduct and critically evaluate effective analyses of the structure of language, as manifested in the phonological, morphological, syntactic, and/or semantic systems, demonstrating understanding of the ways that language is a dynamic system that both changes over time and varies between contemporary users (K, T, P, I,J)
3. apply an understanding of the relationship between language, society and culture to a range of real world contexts (K, T, E, A, J)
4. competently analyse various linguistic data, using a range of relevant methodologies depending on the area of language investigation (K, T, P, I)
5. ethically design and carry out research in language based research settings and critically appraise the research of others in similar fields (T, P, C, E, A, J)
6. effectively communicate linguistic knowledge, in standard written and/or spoken English, to the wider community in both social and professional settings (C, E, A, J)
7. make linguistically informed choices to achieve effective workplace outcomes, helping others to achieve similar outcomes by promoting the value of linguistic knowledge to colleagues in professional environments (T, I, C, E, A, J).
Learning and Teaching Methods In the Linguistics major for your Bachelor of Arts, you will be encouraged to acquire theoretical knowledge and understanding of the foundations of language study as well as more specialised theories and their practical applications in a variety of areas of linguistic enquiry. You can begin to specialise in your second year, but in particular during the senior year of your study. At third year level, the major comprises, alongside the compulsory Capstone unit, an option set of units that allows you to choose the area(s) of language study most suited to your interest and future ambitions.

You will be guided to achieve your linguistic knowledge and understanding both collaboratively and independently through various learning activities. These activities may vary according to your area of specialisation within the option set offered in third year, but will include:
• background reading from textbooks and academic articles
• face-to-face lectures, tutorials and seminars
• online discussions and blogs
• language data analysis, including in some cases work in language laboratories and recording studios
• research projects both in groups and as independent language researchers.

All learning and teaching in linguistics is underpinned and motivated by a strong language research focus within the Department, and part of our teaching and learning methodology involves informing students about our research as well as encouraging them to participate in it wherever possible.
Assessment Overall, the assessment across the Linguistics major will offer both formative and summative feedback to students as they progress through the program. Summative feedback is that given at the end of a task and will include both the grade and comments on your performance. Formative feedback is feedback given either while you are progressing through completion of a task, or where feedback on one task is relevant to a subsequent task or tasks, or where one task is nested into a longer one on the same overall topic.

All units in the Linguistics major program will naturally involve summative assessment but many will also offer extensive formative assessment – that is you will receive feedback that should advantage you in your performance in a particular task and/or other tasks. For instance, formative feedback is given at first year level by means of a short and comparatively risk free task in each of the three 100 level units. This task often takes the form of an essay where students’ academic literacy skills are assessed and commented on. At second and third year levels, formative feedback may occur by way of nested assessment tasks and or by way of peer reviewed tasks. In each case the feedback from an earlier task should help inform your performance in a longer assignment or in a test/examination in a related area.

In each unit of study the Unit Guide will set out clearly what is assessed, how it will be assessed and the weighting of each assessment task. The standards and criteria for the assessment of each assignment task will often be set out in full in the Unit Guide. However in some units the Unit Guide will contain generalised information about standards and criteria, with the more specific information being delivered by way of detailed instructions accompanying each assessment task.

Depending on choices the student makes from within various option sets offered in the major, assessment tasks may involve:
• writing essays, critical reviews and research reports of various lengths and complexity.
• critical evaluation of theoretical concepts and/or language data collected by others
• reporting on and critical evaluation of language data you have collected yourself
• posting blogs or participating in other kinds of online activities
• laboratory language data analysis
• tutorial participation
• tutorial and seminar presentations (group and/or individual)
• phonetics/phonemics transcriptions.

The Capstone unit, LING399 Language as Evidence, is the culmination of your study of linguistics in this major. In this unit, the main assessment task – and the one all others lead up to – will involve you conducting your own piece of language research on data you collect yourself in an area where your main linguistics interests and expertise lie. The early tasks in this unit provide formative assessment to inform your performance in the major task – a 3500 to 4000 word report on your data.
Recognition of Prior Learning

Macquarie University may recognise prior formal, informal and non-formal learning for the purpose of granting credit towards, or admission into, a program. The recognition of these forms of learning is enabled by the University’s Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Policy (see and its associated Procedures and Guidelines. The RPL pages contain information on how to apply, links to registers, and the approval processes for recognising prior learning for entry or credit. 

Domestic Students
For undergraduate RPL information visit
For domestic postgraduate RPL information visit

International Students
For RPL information visit

Support for Learning

Macquarie University aspires to be an inclusive and supportive community of learners where all students are given the opportunity to meet their academic and personal goals. The University offers a comprehensive range of free and accessible student support services which include academic advice, counselling and psychological services, advocacy services and welfare advice, careers and employment, disability services and academic skills workshops amongst others. There is also a bulk billing medical service located on campus.

Further information can be found at

Campus Wellbeing contact details:
Phone: +61 2 9850 7497

Program Standards and Quality

The program is subject to an ongoing comprehensive process of quality review in accordance with a pre-determined schedule that complies with the Higher Education Standards Framework. The review is overseen by Macquarie University's peak academic governance body, the Academic Senate and takes into account feedback received from students, staff and external stakeholders.

Graduate Destinations and Employability Graduates with a major in Linguistics in the Bachelor of Arts are well placed to gain employment in:
• public service departments (local state or federal) in Australia and other parts of the world, especially departments dealing with immigration, refugees and language policy
• non-government organisations, particularly those dealing with migrant and/or refugee matters
• private industry, where there are many organisations that welcome graduates with a language based major into their policy planning, media and PR sections.

Some graduates from a Linguistics major will be inspired to undertake further study in related areas, and this major can be a pathway into our Graduate Certificate in TESOL or the Graduate Certificate in Editing and Electronic Publishing. In addition, with careful selection of third year units, graduates with strong GPAs may also apply for admission to one of the clinical Masters of Audiology or Speech and Language Pathology, although you will have to undertake a qualifying program in undergraduate Psychology if that has not been part of your BA.

Some Linguistics major graduates will want to move into a Higher Degree Research program in language studies, and the Linguistics major offers high achieving graduates a pathway into an MRes (Masters of Research) leading to a PhD program.
Assessment Regulations

This program is subject to Macquarie University regulations, including but not limited to those specified in the Assessment Policy, Academic Honesty Policy, the Final Examination Policy and relevant University Rules. For all approved University policies, procedures, guidelines and schedules visit

2017 Unit Information

When offered:
S1 Day
Permission of Executive Dean of Faculty
HSC Chinese, CHN113, CHN148