In order to take Indo-European Studies/Linguistics M150 (“Introduction to Indo-European Linguistics”), do I need to know Greek, Latin, Sanskrit, or some other ancient Indo-European language?

No! This type of background would probably be helpful; but the only background that’s really required is basic knowledge about general linguistics, such as would be gained from UCLA’s introductory courses Linguistics 1 or Linguistics 20.

I’m considering graduate school in an area related to Indo-European Studies. How does that work, and what courses should I take to prepare for it?

There are three traditional ways to pursue graduate studies in areas connected to Indo-European Studies, which for all practical purposes mainly means “Indo-European linguistics”. One is to apply to a Department of Linguistics that has strength in historical linguistics and accepts applications from students with that sort of interest; another is to apply to a Classics Department that accepts applications from students with linguistic (in addition to literary, historical, etc.) interests; and a third is to apply to the UCLA Program in Indo-European Studies (the only such program in the US dedicated to Indo-European). For all three: a good grounding in general and historical linguistics is important. At UCLA: this means Linguistics 110 (“Introduction to Historical Linguistics”) and the various prerequisite courses it requires. In addition, strength in ancient Indo-European languages is helpful (with strong Greek and Latin obviously required for admission to graduate programs in Classics); and ability to read French and/or German will also be an asset. (Note that Sanskrit is another important ancient language for work in Indo-European, and UCLA is very strong in this area. See the UCLA Upper Division course listings under “South Asian”.)

Some students may wish to explore the field (or to strengthen their credentials) by attending an M.A. program, before applying to Ph.D. programs. See the M.A. program information on this site. For information about other M.A. programs (both in the US and abroad), contact:

Brent Vine at vine@humnet.ucla.edu.