Guide to Studying Linguistics

What is Linguistics?

  • Almost everything people do involves language at some point, whether it be buying a coffee, chairing a board meeting or making a friend. It is essential to human society and endeavours.
  • People often think that Linguistics involves learning languages. In fact, it is about understanding the workings of language. Why is it that we have different languages? Why do they change over time? What is the best way to learn or teach a language? How does the language of literature differ from other kinds of language?
  • A Linguistics degree connects the study of language to real-world problems and their solutions. It can therefore prepare you for a variety of careers.
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Specific or general skills developed

  • You will develop skills in data analysis and presentation, critical thinking and the use of statistics and IT.

Coursework, assessments and exams

  • Coursework assignments include reports, essays, short tests, poster sessions and oral presentations.
  • Formal examinations include short answer questions, essays and data analysis.
  • Students are often required to produce final year project reports and dissertations.

What degree can I get? 

  • Linguistics BA Hons
  • Linguistics (Study Abroad) BA Hons

Related courses

  • There are a vast number of related courses, the most popular of which are Linguistics combined with English Language, English Literature, Creative Writing, or a Modern Language.

What qualifications do I need?

  • Entry requirements differ depending on the university or college and course. Make sure you confirm what they are for your chosen institution.

Use our Course Chooser to search through Linguistics courses.

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

  • Language and Linguistics : MA.
  • Linguistics : MPhil/PhD.
  • Applied Linguistics (by thesis and coursework) : MPhil/PhD.

Graduate job prospects



*Professional employment refers to a job or occupation which normally requires a degree.
**Non-professional employment refers to a job or occupation which doesn't normally require a degree.

What are the job opportunities?

  • Graduates of Linguistics have gone on to a wide variety of successful careers, from relatively vocational subjects such as speech therapy or English language teaching to generic jobs such as management or public relations.
  • A Linguistics degree cultivates skills in data analysis and presentation, critical thinking and the use of statistics and IT. This expertise is valuable for careers in education, language teaching (especially the multi-million pound English language teaching industry), speech therapy, as well as information technology, management, the mass media, creative arts, social work and counselling.

Written by Dr Culpeper, Professor of English Language and Linguistics at Lancaster University.