Linguistics is the general study of language. It addresses those features which all languages have in common, the ways in which languages may differ from one another, and the ways in which languages change over time. Linguistics students learn how language is processed in the brain (cognitive science), sounds and their patterns (phonetics), word structure (morphology), sentence structure (syntax), meaning (semantics), how languages evolve over time (comparative and historical linguistics), and how language is used in society (sociolinguistics).
The Berkeley experience
The undergraduate linguistics program at Berkeley offers students a unique opportunity to study an interesting and challenging discipline in one of the world's leading intellectual centers. As a small department (roughly 100 majors, 13 faculty) whose faculty are leaders in their specialized fields, Linguistics provides an intense and personalized academic experience to its undergraduate majors; classes are relatively small, students have many opportunities to work directly with faculty and graduate students on original research projects, and there is abundant access to faculty and staff for help in the major or advice on how to deal with classes, grades, and the university environment in general. All this makes Linguistics at Berkeley an excellent learning environment.