Linguistics AB/Linguistics MA

Career and Academic Opportunities

Students with degrees in Linguistics acquire valuable intellectual skills, such as analytical reasoning, critical thinking, argumentation, and the ability to express themselves clearly in writing. They learn to make insightful observations, formulate clear, testable hypotheses, generate predictions, draw conclusions, and communicate their findings to a broader audience. Students with the A.B/M.A. in Linguistics are therefore well equipped for a variety of careers and other graduate-level and professional degree programs.

Many of our students go on to Ph.D. programs in Linguistics; most of the highly-ranked graduate programs in the U.S. admit students only at the Ph.D. level, and it is difficult for students with only an undergraduate degree to gain admission. Students also often enroll in graduate programs in related fields, such as cognitive science, neuroscience, psychology, computer science, anthropology, philosophy, communication sciences, education, English, or other languages. The intellectual skills that students acquire also make them well prepared for professional programs in fields such as law.

Career opportunities include jobs in industry (e.g., in speech recognition, text-to-speech synthesis, artificial intelligence, natural language processing, user research, and computer-mediated language learning); government (the Foreign Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National Security Agency (NSA), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Department of Defense, and the Department of Education all hire linguists; similar opportunities may exist at the state level); education (teaching [including teaching English as a second language], development of instructional materials, educational research); advertising and publishing; translating and interpreting; and linguistic consulting for professions such as medicine or law. Some, but not all of these careers may require additional training or experience beyond the M.A. degree.