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March 5, 2012 / NextStepU

Major Monday-Linguistics

Language is a part of our everyday lives but did you know that there’s actually a major that studies the structure of language and how languages relate to each other and change over time? You do now! If you have a passion for language and want to learn more about its processes you might want to consider majoring in linguistics.


According to the College Board, the linguistics major is offered at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Typical courses include cultural anthropology, philosophy of language, phonology and phonetics (the science of speech sounds) and history of linguistics. Introductory linguistics courses often give students a feel for the diversity of the major by getting students to demonstrate the regional variations of speech as well as discovering the way people learn language in the first place.

Hello linguistics.

What to know before applying

Some things to consider when applying to schools that offer linguistics is to figure out whether you’ll be getting a B.A. (Bachelor of Arts) or a B.S. (Bachelor of Science) degree when you graduate. Also consider whether the major stands alone or is part of the anthropology or speech-language department. Students should look into the school’s study abroad program that allows for immersion in a foreign environment and language.

Is it right for you?

Linguistics majors tend to study in another country for either a whole semester or for just a summer. They often interact with unfamiliar languages and sometimes have to do an analysis on a language they’ve never seen before. Linguistics can also involve computer programming and the ability to translate these kinds of programs. Most important though is an interest in the way that language works and learning more about how language functions in society.


There are several career options that linguistic majors can take including anthropology and translation. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, anthropologists earned a mean salary of $53,910 as of May 2008 whereas interpreters and translators earned a median of $38,850.

Laura the Intern
Message me on the Community Boards! (I’m InternLaura)


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