Linguistics is the scientific study of language: It studies vocabulary, speech sounds, grammatical structures, and cultural conventions in diverse speech communities around the world. 

The English Language and Linguistics Certificate sets out to provide students with a focused understanding of the structure of the English language, as well as an understanding of how the spread of English contributes to language contact, urbanization, globalization, multilingualism, and many other aspects of language and society. 

The certificate allows students to have flexibility to plan their own program completion by selecting different combinations of the courses from two separate modules. Only one course is required and the remaining nine credit hours may be taken in ways reflecting their own academic interest.

This program helps students market themselves more competitively upon graduation. Students can combine their majors with the certificate to work in diverse professions. We provide several possible scenarios below that demonstrate how the proposed certificate can boost their career. Some of the careers they can pursue include but are not limited to the following:

Students majoring in Business

Students majoring in Business can enhance their knowledge in different varieties of English around the world, become more culturally aware of varied interactional norms and conversational routines, understand the linguistic and cultural impact of urbanization and globalization on multilingual communities, and conduct business in a more socially responsible way, which can be marketed as an asset to their future employers, particularly transnational corporations.

Students majoring in Computer Science

Students majoring in Computer Science can gain linguistic knowledge through the proposed certificate, particularly in English syntax and phonology, and work in the computer industry dealing with speech recognition, machine translation, and computer-mediated language learning.

Students majoring in Education

Students majoring in Education can pursue their teaching career not only in the US but also overseas, where there is a great demand for ESL (English as a Second Language) and EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teachers. The certificate will afford students many more options than just teaching. They can work for a testing and assessment organization such as ETS (English Testing Service) that administers TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication). Students majoring in any discipline in the arts and humanities will be viewed much more favorably by their future employers in education if their academic credentials show that they have background knowledge and focused training in English linguistics.

Students majoring in Criminal Justice

Students majoring in Criminal Justice can gain more technical linguistic knowledge through the certificate and pursue their career in law enforcement that may require expert opinions on linguistic components of a case including linguistic discrimination and speaker profiling.

Students majoring in Anthropology, Sociology, and History

Students majoring in Anthropology, Sociology, and History can pursue a more activism oriented, rewarding career helping marginalized communities by documenting, analyzing, and preserving endangered languages and establishing and managing community literacy programs.

Students majoring in Political Science and Sociology

Students majoring in Political Science and Sociology can use their linguistic training through the proposed certificate to work for government agencies that require linguistic analytic skills and language-related services.

Information about the Certificate

Admission

The program is open to all undergraduate students at UM-Dearborn as well as non-degree seeking students with or without college degrees.

  1. Current UM-Dearborn undergraduate students must have a minimum 2.0 GPA to be admitted to the program. Students must declare their intent to pursue the English Language and Linguistics Certificate by submitting the Declaration of Certificate to their academic unit office.
  2. Non-degree seeking applicants with college degrees must submit the UM-Dearborn Certificate Application and their official university transcript to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. A minimum 2.0 GPA is required to be admitted to the program.
  3. Applicants who have not completed a bachelor's degree should include a resume and statement of purpose with their application.
Requirements
  1. This is a stand alone certificate.  
  2. 12 credit hours are required to complete the certificate.
  3. A maximum of two transfer courses (six credit hours) may count toward the certificate.
  4. A maximum of nine credit hours may simultaneously count toward the certificate and the Linguistics Minor.
  5. Up to 9 credits may double up with your major, if applicable.
  6. A minimum 2.0 GPA in the courses counting toward the English Language and Linguistics Certificate and a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA are required to earn the certificate.
Required course: (3 credit hours)

The required courses introduce fundamental concepts and frameworks in linguistics and provide an accessible yet comprehensible overview of lexical, phonological, morpho-syntactic, and sociolinguistic features of the English language. Select one of the following: 

  • LING 280: Introduction to Linguistics 
  • LING 480: Concepts in Linguistics
English language courses: (3 - 6 credit hours)

The English language courses discuss the structure of the English language, in addition to linguistic variation and language contact phenomena in English speaking communities in the US and around the world. Students will be introduced to factors leading to language change, language shift, language acquisition, and language maintenance as well as cultural, political, and historical components of language variation. Select one or two of the following:

  • LING 383 American English
  • LING 461/ENGL 461: Modern English Grammar
  • LING 474 Second Language Acquisition: English
  • LING 482/ENGL 482: History of the English Language
  • LING 484: World Englishes
  • Or other LING course with primary focus on the English Language
Language variation in society courses (3-6 credit hours):

The courses on language variation in society survey how linguistic concepts and theories involving English and other languages can be applied to practical issues in the real world. Particularly identity construction in marginalized communities and linguistic struggle and discrimination in the workplace and education will be addressed. Also, students will be able to study the use of English in diverse social domains such as political discourse, print media, broadcasting, popular culture, and social media and develop critical thinking and language analysis skills. Select one or two of the following: 

  • LING/WGST 385: Language and Gender
  • LING/COMM 422: Language and Popular Culture
  • LING 475: Language Diversity in Southeastern Michigan: The Arab American Community
  • LING 476: Sociolinguistics
  • Or other LING course with primary focus on language variation

The certificate allows students to have flexibility to plan their own program completion by selecting different combinations of the courses from two separate modules. Only one course is required and the remaining 9 credit hours may be taken in ways reflecting their own academic interest. Students interested more in the English language portion may choose two courses from that module and one from the Language variation in society module and those keen on language variation can choose two courses from that module and one from the English language module. 

Program Goals

By the time students complete the English Language and Linguistics Certificate, they should be able to

  1. Demonstrate and utilize a focused understanding of the structure of the English language (in terms of its sound system, grammar, meaning, and vocabulary).  
  2. Show understanding and awareness of how the spread of English contributes to language contact, urbanization, globalization, multilingualism, and many other aspects of language and society.
  3. Explain the contribution of different aspects of the English language to identity formation.
  4. Display sensitivity toward cultural forms and markers in language use.
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