Arts’ Department of Linguistics breaks into the top 20 in QS World Rankings

The McGill Reporter recently announced University’s rise in the annual QS Rankings with five subjects making the top 20 worldwide. Among those leading the list is the Faculty of Arts’ Department of Linguistics, which made an impressive jump from 38th to 17th position. Others on the list include Minerals and Mining Engineering, Anatomy and Physiology, Library & Information Management, and Medicine.

According to the Reporter article, this set of Quacquarelli Symonds rankings evaluates 48 of the most popular subjects with students around the world and is considered one of the most comprehensive rankings of its kind. While the Department of Linguistics has chosen to take these rankings ‘with a grain of salt’, they were pleased to see the announcement. “We take great pride in the work done in our unit, and we celebrate the opportunity to highlight the hard work and many objective achievements of our faculty and students who, over the years, have built a collegial academic environment guided by the collective search for academic excellence,” said Professor Luis Alonso-Ovalle, Chair of the Department.

At the forefront of research and teaching in Linguistics

In recent years, the field of linguistics has witnessed a dramatic increase in the application of experimental, quantitative, and computational methodologies as well as a continued interest in the application of fieldwork techniques to the study of foundational issues in linguistic theory. Partly because of the traditional coexistence of theoretical and experimental approaches in the unit, and partly because of the areas of expertise of faculty members hired within the past few years, the Department of Linguistics is at the forefront of this paradigm shift. In this context, the department seeks to continue playing an active role in the integration of quantitative, computational, and fieldwork methodologies in linguistic theory, both through the research conducted in the department and through the development of innovative curricular approaches that will form the students of the twenty-first century.

What students can expect

The department offers a broad range of courses that provide undergraduate students with thorough training in linguistic theory. The curriculum is broad, both in terms of the subareas of linguistics represented and the type of methodologies that students get exposed to, which include experimental, computational, and fieldwork-based approaches to the study of language. The courses offered share as a common goal the introduction of students to the basics of scientific argumentation. Rather than aiming to provide an encyclopaedic birds-eye view of the field, the department’s undergraduate courses promote a student-centered learning environment by providing hands-on opportunities for students to engage in the process of discovering linguistic regularities and stating and evaluating explicit hypotheses. Students learn linguistics by doing linguistics and get early exposure to the excitement of making real discoveries.

This article was originally featured on the Faculty of Arts website. Click here to read the Arts Life Magazine.