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Linguistics guide

Linguistics looks at language in a unique way. If A Level English left you wanting to explore it in greater depth, then a Linguistics degree could be for you.

Hand writing on a blackboard in an language english class


  1. What's Linguistics?

  2. Why study Linguistics?

  3. What jobs can you get as a Linguistics graduate?

  4. What qualifications do you need?

  5. What degrees can you study?

  6. How will you be assessed?

  7. What are the postgraduate opportunities?

What's Linguistics?

People often think Linguistics involves learning languages. In fact, it's 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.

Why study Linguistics?

Linguistics is a subject that is new to most students. However, rather than being an issue, this should be viewed as a fantastic opportunity to expand your knowledge. 

The field of Linguistics is incredibly varied, so no two modules are the same. Phonetics, phonology, sociolinguistics and morphology all focus on different aspects of Linguistics, and all require a slightly different skill set. If you find certain areas of Linguistics easier or more interesting, you can choose modules that suit your preferences. 

As the study of Linguistics can be applied to any language, it's a perfect candidate to form a joint honours degree with a language course – be that English or a foreign language. Linguistics is also commonly offered as part of a joint honours degree with other social sciences such as Philosophy.

At postgraduate level, the opportunities are even greater, with subjects such as Computer Science available to study alongside Linguistics.

What jobs can you get as a Linguistics graduate?

Graduates of Linguistics have gone on to a variety of successful careers, from speech therapists and English language teachers to generic roles in management and 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.

Professional job: Usually needs a degree
Non-professional job: Doesn't usually need a degree

What qualifications do you need? 

There are no standard A Level (or equivalent) requirements for Linguistics courses. Grades and subject requirements differ depending on the university or college and course. Make sure you confirm what they are for your chosen institution.

What degrees can you study?

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

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.

How will you be assessed?

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 are the postgraduate opportunities?

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

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