Student-Originated Studies: Linguistics, Mathematics, and Cognitive Studies

Spring 2017 quarter

Taught by

This Student-Originated Studies (SOS) program is designed for students who wish to engage in significant independent learning and project work in linguistics and/or math, while also learning more about the nature of human cognition in these abstract domains.  So, it is for students who are interested in thinking about thinking.

Students in this small SOS cohort should be prepared for independent learning, and motivated to develop their own learning goals and plan of activities for achieving the goals.  Part of the SOS structure will consist of a 4-credit unit on human cognition relating to math and language.  This unit will involve shared readings, seminars, written responses to the reading, and some lecture during two full days of class every two weeks. 

The remaining 12 credits will consist of student-designed and faculty-approved work, which may be completed individually or in small groups.  Some students may decide to engage in a major research and writing project for this part of the program, while others may choose independent study of topics such as introductory linguistics, the structure of a particular language, a specific area of math, writing mathematical proofs, or cross-cultural mathematics.  Students may also pursue interdisciplinary topics such as how math and language emerged in human culture and cognitive capacity.  All students will be expected to submit work weekly, whether in the form of problem sets, essays, research outlines, bibliographies, etc.

Class time will be limited, and will take place on Monday and Tuesday every two weeks.  On the remaining Mondays, students will meet in small groups for peer review of their writing and/or for library research support.  We will also meet an additional day for final presentations.  Students will need to be able to access electronic resources and participate in online discussions and feedback sessions during weeks that the class does not meet as a whole.

Although there are no content prerequisites for this program, the ability to work independently, meet commitments, and actively shape one’s own education are all essential.  For students wishing to pursue a project in linguistics, but without prior coursework in this area, the first few weeks of the quarter will need to focus on gaining the necessary background.

Program Details

Fields of Study

linguistics mathematics

Preparatory For

linguistics and mathematics.


Spring Signature

Location and Schedule

Campus Location


Time Offered


Advertised Schedule

First class meeting: Monday, April 3 at 9am (Lab 2 3270)

Online Learning

Hybrid Online Learning < 25% Delivered Online