InternationalStudent.com InternationalStudent.com
Sign in to Your Account Done
Forgot account info?

Don't have an Account?

Register Now!

Done USA School Search

Top 5 Schools to Study Language and Linguistics in the U.S.


Study Languages and Linguistics

Almost as important a decision as your major is deciding what university or college will be the most beneficial to the career path you’ve settled on. With almost 5,000 higher education institutions in the U.S., where do you begin to look as you narrow down your choices on where to study language and linguistics? Never fear – you’ve come to the right place.

We’ve compiled a list of the top 5 schools to study languages and linguistics in the U.S., combining schools from all across the country. This list will give you just enough options to make an educated decision about where you want to further your schooling in the fields of languages and linguistics.

Harvard University tops off the list of best language programs in the country. Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts , Harvard is the oldest higher education institution in the country, a university that has consistently maintained a position of high regard on an international level.

Language Programs

In Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences school, you’ll have access to:

  • Celtic Languages and Literatures
  • East Asian Languages and Civilizations
  • Germanic Languages and Literatures
  • Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
  • Romance Languages and Literatures
  • Slavic Languages and Literatures

English Language Programs

However, what may be most exciting to international students is their Institute for English Language Programs. Primarily a summertime program, students living outside of the U.S. have the opportunity to study English in an intensive, Monday through Friday course, with the option to live on the historic Harvard campus. There are multiple options within the Institute, including English for Academic Purposes, English for Professional Purposes, and English for Design, giving you the flexibility to choose which concentration you wish to pursue.

Linguistic Programs

Their Department of Linguistics is touted for the wide scope it offers in relation to linguistics, specializing in both ancient and modern languages. Harvard also offers a unique opportunity to students in the linguistics program, in which students are given the option to register in additional classes in linguistics or related topics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), also located in Cambridge.

Language & Linguistic Programs

Nestled into Northern California, the University of California, Berkeley (UCB) provides appealing programs and opportunities in both languages and linguistics. Department of Linguistics has traditionally leaned towards the study of unwritten languages and continues to carry out innovative work in most every subgenre of linguistics. Their College of Letters and Science has undergraduate degree programs in more languages than you could possibly imagine, including Hindu-Urdu, Korean and Tibetan. And UCB is also home to the Berkeley Language Center, which augments the quality education received in language studies through modern facilities and language-learning tools, as well as compelling lecture series, workshops and events.

English Language Programs

Within the UC Berkeley Extension branch, there are a multitude of English as a Second Language (ESL) courses within the Department of Humanities, Languages and Personal Development. Whether you wish to improve your conversational skills, improve your pronunciation or even find your dream job, there is a class for you. While geared towards slightly more advanced speakers, these courses are fine-tuned to address the real-life needs of ESL students and increase their level of confidence in their English language abilities.

Linguistic Programs

As a linguistics student at the University of Chicago (UIC), you’ll have access to the Chicago Linguistic Society, the oldest student-run linguistics society in the U.S. In conjunction with the Department of Linguistics, the CLS holds weekly events and an annual conference to unite linguistics scholars under their common bond. Within the linguistics degree programs, the department implements a broad scope of teaching methodologies and strongly encourages students to become diligent researchers upon entrance to the university.

Language Programs

The Center for the Study of Languages (CSL) was introduced to the campus in 2006 and became the new hub for the Department of Humanities’ language courses, addressing the needs of today’s modern student. There are more than 40 languages to choose from at UIC, separated into eight distinct categories ranging from Germanic Studies to Romance Languages and Literatures.

English Language Programs

An exciting opportunity at UIC, the International House, is part program center, part residence hall, where international students have the opportunity to live and study together. Its English Language Institute offers quarterly classes in integrated, conversation and professional skills, and enrollment is open to any and all who wish to improve their ESL abilities, although it is not considered an accredited part of UIC.

A private university settled in the Silicon Valley in California, Stanford University centers itself on research and leadership, encouraging its students to be innovators and positive forces in the world upon graduation. The university is home to the Stanford University Language Center, Department of Linguistics and English for Foreign Students (EFS) program.

Linguistic Programs

Their Department of Linguistics is a small department with a broad focus when it comes to the material taught and research conducted within the field of linguistics, including topics such as computational linguistics and typology. The Stanford Language Center, however, is naturally much larger, given it teaches fourteen different languages, as well as roughly thirty Less Commonly Taught Languages (LCTL) by request. With their Digital Language Lab, the Language Center has seen a high level of success in its students, because the technology within the lab allows teachers to evaluate their students’ progress in oral proficiency on a daily basis.

English Language Programs

For ESL students, the EFS program within the Language Center has tracks for both international graduate students and students who wish to teach ESL. With courses during the regular academic school year and the summer months of July and August, the program is accommodating to whenever you may choose to further your ESL studies in the U.S.

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) says it all in its slogan, “These are the grounds of optimism.” UCLA touts this aspect as their driving factor, what they believe allows them to produce excellent scholars and fresh research.

Language Programs

With curriculum-enriching initiatives like the Language Materials Project and The New Language Classroom, the UCLA Center for World Languages has a lot to offer potential students. The New Language Classroom, for example, works to explore how the classroom has and is changing as a result of technology. In addition, the Center for World Languages has a laundry list of potential languages to be studied, including ancient languages like Classical Sanskrit, Medieval Latin and Old English.

English Language Programs

For ESL students, UCLA Extension’s American Language Center (ALC) is open to both international students and California residents. Whether you’re studying English for academia, business or pleasure, the ALC has day, evening and weekend courses to accommodate your lifestyle. One program that may highly appeal to ESL students is the new Intensive University Preparation (IUP) course, which is specifically geared towards preparing ESL speakers for an undergraduate or graduate program in the U.S.

Linguistic Programs

On the linguistics front, the UCLA Department of Linguistics offers a program honing on both the fundamentals of linguistics and interdisciplinary subtopics, such as language acquisition. The department is home to the UCLA Phonetics Laboratory, Psycholinguistics Laboratory and Language Acquisition Laboratory – all three of which aid in the teaching and research that takes places at the university. Through the Language Acquisition Laboratory, for example, studies are done on how infants acquire their native language and how they develop grammatically throughout their early years of childhood.


Get the International Student Newsletter!