The study of linguistics is superb preparation for work in a wide variety of fields where skill in the production and interpretation of language from a cultural standpoint is central—in business, communication, or government and public service, for example. Many linguistics majors go on to graduate study in law, psychology, languages, and other fields. For additional information regarding Linguistics, why major in Linguistics, and careers in Linguistics please see Linguistic Society of America's "Why major in Linguistics" website. You can also contact KU Career Services for assistance/guidance.
The following list of occupations pursued by linguistics majors offers a glimpse of the wide-ranging career paths for which the major provides preparation. This list was compiled from national data and from Major Options by Nicholas Basta (1991, New York: The Stonesong Press), which is available for use at University Career and Employment Services. For some of the occupations listed below, such as teacher of English as a second language, additional skills and/or related training may be necessary. Additional graduate study is generally expected for those occupations marked with a * on the following list.
|U.S. Agency for International Development officer||Publisher representative||Professor||Speech pathologist|
|Cryptographic specialist||Travel agent||Teacher of English as a second language (TESL)||Caseworker, protective services|
|State reference librarian||Intelligence systems designer||School psychologist||Physician|
|Legislative aide||Market research analyst||University research scientist||Agency program manager|
|Policy analyst||Overseas trade representative||Human resources trainer||Child development specialist|
|Speechwriter/press liaison||Information systems manager||International student advisor||Clergy|
|City manager||Speech synthesis specialist||Museum educational program coordinator||Advocate (e.g. aging, ethnic groups)|
|U.S. Census Bureau researcher||Technical writer||Lexicographer||Attorney|
|Salesperson||content 3||Human resources manager|
|Bank administrator||Marketing researcher|
Skills and Abilities
The skills and abilities one learns as a linguistics major can be more generally applied to any career requiring expertise in the use of language as a means of communication. For example, despite their differing responsibilities, librarians, computer programmers, and legislative aides all use their skill with language and the ability to synthesize theories on a regular basis to perform their jobs. Representative skills and abilities of holders of degrees in linguistics are listed below.
|Emphasizing a global perspective||Listening/reading for meaning and social use||Reading critically||Observing people/data|
|Relating language to social context||Applying knowledge about language||Identifying patterns||Synthesizing novel theories|
|Identifying relationships between language groups||Understanding historical language change||Analyzing discourse||Acknowledging historical perspectives|
|Adapting to/functioning in other cultures||Writing clearly||Evaluating evidence||Working with research subjects|
|Working with persons from other backgrounds||Informing/explaining ideas||Weighing values||Identifying areas for research|
|Presenting information effectively||Comparing interpretations||Applying methodologies from many disciplines|