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What can I do with my degree?: Linguistics

In the constantly evolving subject of communication, students learn to interpret new information and differing opinions. From transcribing to giving presentations, see where your linguistic skills can lead...

Job options

Jobs directly related to your degree include:

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:

Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here. To find out what jobs would suit you, log in to My Prospects.

Work experience

There's no doubt that getting some work experience under your belt can help to boost your employability prospects - whether it's paid part-time work, work shadowing or volunteering. Work experience that's particularly relevant to a linguistics student includes:

Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.

Typical employers

A degree in linguistics is useful for going directly into areas such as teaching abroad, publishing roles and government administration, e.g. the Civil Service, especially on the Fast Stream scheme.

Linguistics graduates also go into roles where they can use their knowledge of linguistics directly, such as working for dictionary compilers or as proofreaders and editors.

Others train as speech and language therapists and enter the healthcare sector.

Find information on employers in teaching and education, media and internet, and other job sectors.

Skills for your CV

Skills honed on a linguistics degree include transcribing and analysing language, and understanding and critiquing theories and ideas. You also learn how to present linguistic data in various formats.

Research skills are also developed, especially regarding the accurate collection of data, research methodology, analysis techniques and statistical analysis while using IT packages.

Students study the subject of communication and pick up excellent communication skills, in written form through writing up research and oral communication by interacting with language subjects.

Generic, transferable skills include:

  • teamwork;
  • problem solving;
  • using own initiative;
  • self-management;
  • time management and organisation skills.

Further study

There are few jobs that require undergraduate-level linguistics alone. For many careers that attract linguistics graduates, such as the Civil Service, HR and social research, further vocational study will enhance your chances of employment. Although it's not essential to do postgraduate study for careers in journalism and IT, again, your chances will improve significantly with a relevant qualification.

In areas such as teaching, where you need a PGCE or equivalent, or speech therapy, where you need an accredited qualification in order to practise, a postgraduate qualification is essential.

For more information on further study and to find a course that interests you, see Masters degrees and search postgraduate courses.

What do linguistics graduates do?

Around two in three linguistics graduates are in paid employment six months after graduation. They're most often in jobs in marketing, where excellent communication skills are highly valued. Other professions in the top ten include authors, writers and translators and HR resources and industrial relations officers.

Graduate destinations for linguistics
Destinations Percentage
Employed 63.0%
Further study 16.2%
Working and studying 7.3%
Unemployed 7.4%
Other 6.1%
Types of work entered in the UK
Retail, catering and bar work 16.6%
Marketing, PR and sales 16.0%
Secretarial and numerical clerks 15.2%
Caring and education work 11.0%
Other 41.2%

Find out what other graduates are doing six months after finishing their degrees in What Do Graduates Do?  

Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.


Further information

LLAS Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies  - provides support and services for higher education linguistics.

Written by AGCAS editors
June 2013

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