The Department of Linguistics was started in 1963 with Dr. Chandrasekhar as its head. Only a diploma course in Linguistics was offered in the beginning. The Master’s and Doctoral programmes were later introduced in 1966 when the then noted Indian linguist Professor P.B. Pandit joined the Department. Dr. R.N. Srivastava joined the Department as a Professor in 1976 and subsequently an advanced diploma course in Applied Linguistics, and the M.Phil. programme, in place of the earlier M.Litt. programme were introduced in 1978 and 1979, respectively.
Recognizing its strength in its teaching programmes as well as in research, particularly in the areas of theoretical linguistics and applied linguistics, the Department has been accorded the status of Centre for Advanced Studies in Linguistics by the University Grants Commission w.e.f. 2010-11. The department has been fortunate in attracting linguists trained in excellent academic institutions located in India and abroad. The significant number of international scholars from prestigious academic institutions seeking academic affiliation with the Department and the number of students admitted to the Department from various countries, indicate the international academic recognition that the department enjoys. The fact that a number of students of the Department have been selected by premier Universities in the US and Europe in the last few years for pursuing doctoral research further speaks of the academic reputation of the Department.
The Department has had the privilege of having Professors like K.V.Subbarao, (Late) Prem Singh, (Late) A.K. Sinha, R.K. Agnihotri and Ramesh Chand Sharma who superannuated from the Department after long distinguished service. Other eminent Indian linguists who have taught at the Department include Prof. B.G. Mishra (ex-Director of the Central Institute of Hindi, Agra), Prof. C.J. Daswani, and Prof. C. Ramarao. In addition, many linguists of international repute have over the years been associated with the Department in various capacities. These include : Professors Gordon Fairbanks, Robert B. Lees, Gerald Kelly, Jame D McCawley, Jean Aitchison, Charles Kisseberth, Frankin C. Southworth, Richard Mckee, Yamuna Kachru, George Lakoff, Peter Trudgill, Alice Davison, Peter Hook, Hans Hock, J.D. Singh, H.S. Ananthanarayana, Rajendra Singh, Kashi Wali, K.S. Yadurajan, J.P.S. Oberoi, Andre Beteille, Sisir Kumar Das, B. Jernudd, J. Neustupny, Peter Austin, Anastasia Giamakidou, Colin P. Masia and Norman H. Zide. The Department has also had the privilege of inviting eminent scholars such as Noam Chomsky, M.A.K. Halliday, John Gumperz, Andre Martinet, David Abercormbie, George Cardona, Ashok Kelkar, Eric Hamp, Peter Ladefoged, Howard Lasnik, G.Nickel, R.M.W. Dixon, R. Posner, Braj B. Kachru and Y. Kachru.
The Department also had the honour of organizing the golden jubilee celebrations of the Linguistics Society of India and the Decennial celebrations of the Dravidian Linguistics Association in addition to several summer institutes, seminars and conferences.