A student with an umbrella walks down the stairs leading out of Deady Hall.

Undergraduate degrees: BA or BS
Undergraduate minor

About the major

Language is with you all day, every day of your life—it is central to the human experience. You use language to think, to learn new things, to get things done, to share your heart, and to engage with others more generally. In the Linguistics Department, you will be introduced to the science of language in a high-powered and welcoming research community. You will learn all about how language works, how it is learned, how it varies from society to society, and how it changes over time.

Work in linguistics cultivates key intellectual abilities: analytical skills, data analysis skills, reasoning and argumentation, and written and oral communication skills. A degree in linguistics prepares students for professions and/or further training in any number of areas that value these abilities. Those who pursue degrees in linguistics frequently go on to pursue careers in teaching (e.g., foreign language or ESL teaching in the US or abroad), the high-tech industry (e.g., software development and testing, speech analysis and synthesis), health sciences (e.g., speech-language pathology), or national security.

A little more info

  • VISION! We embrace individual and community language behavior and change as objects of linguistic study, with attention to how this study can benefit society.
  • THINKING! Our courses and research fall under three areas of study: linguistic diversity and society; language processing and human health; language learning and technology.
  • COMMUNITY! Faculty get to know students well both in the classroom and outside the classroom through research assistantships and other research opportunities.
  • TRAVEL! A Second Language Acquisition and Teaching (SLAT) certificate can support a student’s ability to work while also traveling across every major continent in the world.
  • HUMAN RIGHTS! Our department is famous for linguistic advocacy work, including language documentation, revitalization, and language policy.
  • JOBS! The knowledge and analytical skills we teach are especially desired in the high-tech sector and in the field of language teaching.

Career opportunities

Among the top occupations for linguistics graduates are: education and training; management; and computer and mathematical occupations (source: EMSI).

Careers in the public sector include communication intelligence and cryptanalysis (i.e., national security); diplomacy; forensic linguistics (e.g., the FBI); lawyer-linguist/jurilinguist (source:

Businesses value linguistics for help with marketing, including foreign language advertising support and multicultural marketing (source:

The high-tech sector values linguistics for research and development in text-to-speech, machine translation, and artificial intelligence (source:

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