The basics
Study abroad : Subject Guides

Why study linguistics?

Linguistics is a sometimes misunderstood field, however, it has much to offer. From interesting specialisations to great career prospects, it’s worth investigating.

share image

Do you find yourself interested in languages, how they are structured and evolve? If so, a degree in linguistics would allow you to develop and explore this. When studying linguistics you’ll approach language from a scientific perspective, from how it is learnt to how it can influence the interaction between people. The field of linguistics is dynamic and includes numerous areas of specialisation. We delve into what it takes to study a linguistics degree, what you can expect and what a degree in the subject can lead to.  

 

What is linguistics?

 

Linguistics is the study of how language works and functions. You’ve probably heard people suggesting it’s about learning a language, but this isn’t accurate. Linguistics explores why we have the languages that we do and how they have developed. A linguistics degree helps you to study and understand the form, structure, and context of language.

 

Linguistics aims to examine the relationship between sound and meaning, as produced through language. This includes the effect it has on how society is organised, operates, and develops. With a degree in linguistics, you'll be able to evaluate the different ways in which language is expressed, from literature to music.

 

Discover some of the universities where you could study for a degree in linguistics.

 

What do you learn in a linguistics degree?

 

Linguistics degrees are offered as both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science qualifications. Much will depend on your area of interest, for example, if you enjoy a more technical or analytical approach. While the curricula between universities may differ, there are some fundamental areas that you will likely study during your degree.

At the undergraduate level first year you’ll explore areas including:

 

  • Semantics
  • Phonetics
  • Phonology
  • Grammar
  • Pragmatics
  • Language development
  • Theoretical linguistics
  • Syntax

 

As you progress through your degree into the second and third year you will start moving into more focused and detailed areas of linguistics such as:

 

  • Phonetic science
  • Semantic theory
  • Neurolinguistics
  • Morphology
  • Sociolinguistics
  • Linguistics of sign language
  • Multilingualism
  • Psycholinguistics

 

Throughout your degree, you will have both elective and compulsory modules to complete. Programmes in linguistics mostly use written assignments, essays, project work and examinations for evaluation.

 

Studying linguistics at the postgraduate level means you have the choice of specialising. You can pursue a postgraduate qualification as an MA, MSc or MRes degree in some cases. Areas of focus can include:

 

  • Phonology
  • Pragmatics
  • Syntax
  • Cognition
  • Language development
  • Speech science

 

Master’s degrees in the subject can be entirely research-based with a final dissertation submission but can be a mix of taught modules and research. Always check the requirements with your prospective university for the linguistics degree that you are interested in.

 

What skills do you need to study linguistics?

 

First and foremost, you need to be interested in language and its sociological, psychological, and physiological manifestations. If you have studied a humanities subject such as communication, media studies, philosophypsychology, languages, this is also good preparation. Some of the other traits needed when taking on a degree in the subject include:

 

  • Critical and analytical skills
  • Good communication skills
  • Organisational ability
  • Presentation skills
  • Good writing ability
  • Multitasking
  • Research skills

 

It is also possible that a university may recommend having a mix of science-based subjects and humanities as the ideal foundation. If you’re unsure, always check the entry requirements or speak to someone at the university.

 

What are the entry requirements for a linguistics degree?

 

For most undergraduate degrees in linguistics, you will need to have achieved at least an AAB result at A-Level, which equates to a score of 34 on the International Baccalaureate and an SAT score of 1,320. Many universities may also require you to have studied English and mathematics as major subjects. Your IELTS score, or equivalent, that you will need is a score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 for each sub-section.

 

If you’re applying for a postgraduate qualification a university will ask for a bachelor’s degree in linguistics or a related subject such as psychology, English, speech science or cognitive science. You will also need to have achieved the minimum of a 2:1 degree, which is above 65 per cent. This result is approximately a GPA score of 3.3.

 

Remember that you can check out our article on the UK grading system to get a better idea and read more about English language test scores.

 

What can you do with a linguistics degree?

 

Graduating with a degree in linguistics can lead to several interesting and variable career opportunities. The degree will give you some of the skills that are high on the list of employer’s wish list. Some of these include data analytics skills, information technology competencies, research skills and critical thinking. Careers that you could find yourself pursuing include:

 

  • Speech therapy
  • Management
  • Public relations
  • Teaching
  • Social work
  • Counselling
  • Research
  • Human resources
  • Marketing

 

It’s important to note that, according to recent statistics, almost 94 per cent of graduates find work or are in further study shortly after degree completion.

 

A linguistics degree is challenging but ultimately rewarding. If you want some extra help with deciding on your study path, our guide to matching your career aspirations with your degree choice can help. We also have some insight into how studying abroad can help your career.

 

Must read

article Img

Why study law: Top 10 benefits of becoming a lawyer

What do Margaret Thatcher, Benazir Bhutto, Barack Obama and Mahatma Gandhi have in common? Interestingly, they are world leaders who studied law. One of the oldest academic fields in the world, a law degree is a highly regarded qualification and promises great career opportunities.   For some, to study law is to uphold justice, a noble call that is most commendable (and the world needs more of them); nevertheless, law is not just for lawyers or in the

197.9K
article Img

What are professional degrees?

When evaluating your study options and doing your research you’ll probably have come across qualifications that are categorised as professional degrees. Perhaps you’re not entirely sure what this means or what differentiates such programmes and courses from academic degrees. You may also be asking yourself if they have a particular impact on your career trajectory. We take a closer look at professional degrees for you and examine what they’re all about.  

2.9K