Michigan State University
Michigan State University
Department of Linguistics & Germanic, Slavic, Asian and African Languages

What can I do after graduation?

Linguistics is unusual in being simultaneously a technical field that requires analytical thinking and one that focuses on language. These skills prepare students for a variety of career opportunities. Government and nonprofit language research institutions, school systems, social service organizations, and the computer and communications industries all employ linguists. A linguistics degree can prepare you to teach English or foreign languages, and to do so with an rare depth of understanding. It can help prepare you to work in computational areas such as natural language processing, speech recognition, and computer-mediated language learning. It can equip you for government work in the foreign service or in national security, or for a work in the educational testing industry (designing tests such as the SAT), or for a career as a translator or technical writer. And of course, linguistics is an excellent foundation for careers open to anyone with a solid liberal-arts education that emphasizes rigorous reasoning and clarity of linguistic expression, such as law and public relations.

If you choose to pursue graduate studies, you are not limited to linguistics. Past graduates of our program have pursued graduate degrees in foreign languages, psychology, audiology, philosophy, anthropology, and computer science. Our faculty are knowledgeable about opportunities for graduate study and are ready to assist you in your search for such programs.

To enhance your employment prospects, you might choose to double-major and make your linguistic work part of an interdisciplinary program of study. A secondary specialization in an area such as psychology, computer science, the speech sciences, education, journalism, philosophy, or a foreign language is a natural complement to a linguistics major.

For an extensive presentation of what you can do with a linguistics degree, see the Linguistic Society of America’s discussion of the topic.