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Why Linguistics?

Perhaps the most frequently asked question after "what is linguistics?" is "what can I do with a linguistics degree?"

Although many people choose to pursue a graduate degree in linguistics or a related discipline, one must be aware that teaching and research positions at colleges and universities are becoming more and more scarce and competition more fierce. However, even if one chooses not to go into academia, there are many more career options for a linguistics major other than teaching languages or becoming a translator.

Many graduate schools offer programs in applied and computational linguistics. In addition to that, linguistics majors are well prepared for analyzing data, creating strong arguments and writing clearly because of the nature of linguistics. And since linguistics is the study of language, a bachelor's degree in linguistics prepares students for any job related to language: journalism, editorial jobs, advertising, and so on.

If you want to know more about linguistics, please feel free to e-mail Professors John Haiman and Christina Esposito. We also recommend that you take a look at the Linguistic Society of America's Why Major in Linguistics? page, which contains a lot of basic information on studying linguistics and using it in your career.


The collaborative nature of this department means that courses draw on the expertise of many faculty members outside the program. Some such courses include:

  • Psychology of Language
  • Native Languages of America
  • Endangered and Minority Languages
  • Theory of Translation Structure of Sanskrit