The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences offers a BA, as well as a MA and a PhD in Linguistics. Linguistics provides a basic understanding of human language and communication by examining features of language that underlie the human capacity to express concepts, communicate ideas, and address the connections between language, brain, mind, and history. It is a basic understanding of the human capacity to acquire, perceive, and produce language and of language's role in contemporary society.
Sample of Related Skills
- Grasp the complexity of language as a communication system shaped by cognitive, biological, cultural, and social factors
- Demonstrate understanding of the concepts theories, and methodologies used by linguists in qualitative and quantitative analysis of linguistic structure, patterns of language use
- Demonstrate understanding of processes of language change and variation, the role of language in reflecting and constructing social identities, and the distinctive properties of human language
- Collect, organize, and analyze linguistic data from diverse languages, to form hypotheses about language structure/use and test those hypotheses against new data
- Acquire the technical vocabulary and theoretical tools of the field, necessary to read published linguistic research
- Effectively utilize a standard scientific research methodology appropriate to linguistic analysis
Popular Career Paths
Computational Linguistics: Involves combining language and computer programming to create technology that responds to voice commands, produces speech, and converts speech into typed text.
Foreign Language Teachers: Embodies knowledge of linguistics to help students grasp the grammar and pronunciation of new languages.
Historical Linguistics: Entails the study of how the diverse languages of the world come into being and how they have progressed.
Phonology: Involves the study of the how the sound systems of a language behave and how sound patterns differ between languages.
Speech Pathology: Includes working with individuals who have speech, reading, and/or writing difficulties.
Explore More Career Paths
- American Translators Association - local charter of a national organization for translators
- Center for Applied Linguistics - national organization for those interested in the field of applied linguistics
- GradSchools.com - resource for general information on preparing for a graduate school career in linguistics
- International Pragmatics Association - international organization containing Pragmatics Quarterly as well as information about research in pragmatics
- Modern Language Association - resource on career and job market information from a professional organization in linguistics
- MyMajors.com - general information concerning the background of linguistics and the career path involved
- North American Association for the History of the Language Sciences - national professional organization that promotes the studies of the histories of the many disciplines in linguistics
- The International Phonetics Association - international organization for students and professionals in the field of phonetics
- United States Army - overview on available jobs and subsequent requirements in the field of linguistics
Jobs to Consider
Places to Seek Employment
Central Intelligence Agency
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Immigration & Nationalization
National Endowment for the Humanities
Elementary & Secondary Schools
The United States Armed Forces
The United States Department of State
View specific employers by state.
- Identify areas of interest in linguistics so you can focus your academics and experiences toward these fields.
- Become familiar with the required professional qualifications associated with careers that interest you (i.e. advanced degrees, licensure and/or certifications).
- Gain direct experience within the areas that interest you most through research projects, independent study, internships, part-time jobs, student organization involvement, or volunteering.
- Register for HireJayhawks.com and subscribe to the Internship Newsletter to receive automated weekly emails with specific internship information.
- Consider joining a professional organization related to your area of interest in linguistics, and, if possible, attend local and/or regional conferences to make connections with professionals working in your field.
- Earn a minor or take additional coursework outside your major when relevant.
- Maintain a strong GPA if you are considering pursuing graduate or professional education.
- Consider getting involved with a student organization at KU related to your area of interest: KU Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association, English Club ESL, Speech-Language & Hearing & Child Language Program GSO, and Students Tutoring for Literacy.
- Develop your resume and tailor it to your area(s) of interest: sample resume (pdf).
Job and Internship Search Resources
- Ask a Linguist - resource of answers to career and education questions explained by a professional Linguist
- Federal Bureau of Investigation - job information for those wishing to pursue a job in the FBI as a linguist
- Foreign Languages & International Resources - more from career.ku.edu
- Government & Non-Profit Resources - more from career.ku.edu
- Linguistic Funland - list of international of professional organizations for teachers of English
- Linguistic Society of America - national organization detailing important information for anyone interested in pursuing linguistics as well as a national job board
- Masters in ESL - information on programs, jobs, and scholarships
- The Linguist List - information for students on internships in the field of linguistics from a international online community