Since the establishment of Korea’s first language department in 1946 in the Department of Law and Literature at Gyeongseong University, the Department of Linguistics at SNU has been affiliated with the College of Liberal Arts and is currently affiliated with the College of Humanities. The Master’s program was designated in 1955 while the Ph.D. program was designated in 1972. 
Research in the Department of Linguistics at SNU began with the study of Indo-European comparative linguistics along with structural linguistics but developed an interest in phonetics and phonology. Courses in Jurchenese, Manchurian, Mongolian and Turkish were developed with efforts to study and research these languages using various materials. At the same time, the study of linguistics in various fields such as Mongolian and Altaic language studies, Latin and Indo-European studies among others were studied together in the development of Korean linguistics. Furthermore, following the 1975 SNU’s comprehensive plan, the Department of Linguistics is laying the foundation for balanced development in linguistic subfields by accepting the transformational generative grammar framework which was the focus of the American linguistics community.

Based on the above history, the Department of Linguistics at SNU currently cover a wide range of fields ranging from traditional linguistics such as phonetics, phonology, syntax, semantics, and historical and comparative linguistics, along with newer fields such as text linguistics, computational linguistics, sociolinguistics, and experimental linguistics.