Your linguistics degree sets you up for careers ranging from marketing and publishing to speech and language therapy
Jobs directly related to your degree include:
- English as a foreign language teacher
- Marketing executive
- Public relations officer
- Publishing copy-editor/proofreader
- Secondary school teacher
- Speech and language therapist
- Talent agent
- Teaching assistant
Jobs where your degree would be useful include:
- Academic researcher
- Advertising copywriter
- Civil Service fast streamer
- Digital copywriter
- Editorial assistant
- Information officer
- Magazine journalist
- Public librarian
- Social researcher
Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.
Look for work experience opportunities with organisations and businesses that you're interested in or that will help you develop the skills relevant to your career interests.
Some universities provide opportunities to take a work placement during your course, either in the UK or abroad, or to learn an additional language.
If you're interested in training to become a speech and language therapist, it's essential that you get some work experience. Try and arrange an observation session at your local speech and language therapy service and get some experience working with children and adults with a learning disability or the elderly and disabled people. You could contact local nursing or residential care homes, schools, nurseries or stroke groups to ask for opportunities.
Experience of working with children in a classroom setting is essential if you want to become a teacher. If you would like to teach English as a foreign language it could be helpful to get work as a language assistant in a summer school or voluntary work abroad.
Examples of other areas of work experience that may be of interest to linguistics students include:
- opportunities provided by BookCareers and The Society of Young Publishers (SYP)
- work on university publications as proofreaders or editors
- work in a bookshop or library.
Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.
A degree in linguistics is useful for careers in:
- communications and media
- government administration
- public relations
It's also possible to go into jobs where you can use your knowledge of linguistics directly, such as working for dictionary compilers or as proofreaders and editors.
Other possibilities include training as a speech and language therapist or teacher, or finding work teaching English as a foreign or second language. There are also opportunities in computer programming and information technology, specifically within areas such as voice recognition and language software development.
Typical employers include:
- media organisations
- publishing companies
- marketing, advertising and PR companies
- primary and secondary schools
- language schools both in the UK and abroad
- Civil Service, especially on the Fast Stream
- law and accountancy firms
- IT and telecommunications firms
- the NHS and private hospitals.
Skills for your CV
Studying linguistics teaches you about the science and function of language and how it evolves. You develop skills in analysing language, looking at syntax and semantics as well as words and sounds. You also study and critique theories and ideas and learn how to present linguistic data in various formats.
You also develop other important skills, including:
- research skills, including knowledge of research methodology and quantitative methods
- a range of analysis and statistical analysis techniques
- the ability to accurately collect, interpret and manage data
- written and verbal communication skills
- IT skills
- critical thinking and problem solving
- the ability to work well in a team and independently
- project management skills
- time management and organisation skills.
You may decide to go on to study at Masters level to specialise in an area of linguistics of particular interest to you, such as:
- applied linguistics
- forensic linguistics
- language sciences
or a related area such as:
- English language
- philosophy of language
- creative writing
Various postgraduate courses are also available that allow you to enter particular careers such as speech and language therapy or teaching. There are also opportunities to take a qualification in teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL).
Although it's not essential to do a postgraduate qualification for careers in areas such as marketing, PR, journalism, IT and social research, further vocational study may enhance your chances of employment, particularly when combined with relevant work experience.
What do linguistics graduates do?
Six of the top ten jobs held by linguistics graduates include teaching professionals (12%), sales, marketing and related associate professionals (6%), teaching and childcare support occupations (5%), artistic, literary and media occupations (4%) business, research and administrative professionals (4%) and media professionals (3%).
|Working and studying||11|
|Type of work||Percentage|
|Clerical, secretarial and administrative||16|
|Retail, catering and customer service||13.6|
|Childcare, health and education||11.7|
Find out what other graduates are doing after finishing their degrees in What do graduates do?
Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.