What Careers are Available with a Master’s in Linguistics Degree?

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LinguisticsThe systematic study of languages is of interest to many, but some would like to know about the careers available with a master's degree in linguistics. Linguists are on a quest to gather scientific evidence about how languages are acquired and how they evolve across geographic regions. The scope of their work could be the study of the patterns relating to language sounds and meanings for various dialects of a single language or an assessment of several languages. The results of their work give the world greater insight into the history and culture of some of the most fascinating regions and ethnic groups on earth. Linguists practically apply analytical, statistical and critical thinking skills to their research assignments, and these skills are transferable to a variety of careers. Here are some examples of typical careers for linguists with advanced degrees in the discipline as well as some uncommon ones.

Corporate Trainer

Communication skills are some of the primary ones studied, developed and implemented by linguists. The results of their intensive study of their native tongue, human behavior and often several other languages help to qualify them for positions as corporate trainers. These linguists are sometimes called upon to develop training curricula for adult learners that emphasize the effective use of language. Employers know the value of implementing great communication skills throughout their business operations, and many are willing to pay language experts to get their star employees' written and verbal communication skills in top form.

Archaeology and Anthropology Research Team Member

Some linguists are polyglots and use their knowledge of languages to act as interpreters. While they could work as translators in corporate environments, many have specialized language analytical abilities that make them valuable members of archaeological and anthropological research teams, according to Popular Archaeology. These linguists can help to make the finds of archaeologists come to life as they sift through ancient texts found carved on stone or written on hidden parchment scrolls like those found near the Dead Sea in Jordan. Linguists who are familiar with ancient languages can give details about the time period of the findings as well as point out some of the differences in modern and ancient dialects that are associated with cultural shifts that may have occurred during that time period.

Technical Writer

The scientific study of their native language often make linguists more aware of the impact of their verbal and written word choices. This analytical approach to communication is often just what is needed to make linguists successful technical writers. Technical writing requires succinct, fact based communication that often involves a degree of preliminary research. The academic projects undertaken by linguists at the graduate level prepare them well for this type of career.

Acting Coach

An unusual career path for linguists can lead to Hollywood. Film directors and producers are always pushing the envelope when it comes to making their movies more realistic and believable. Movies that feature foreign language speakers or that depict English as a second language speakers need linguistic advisors and coaches to make sure that foreign language words and phrases are pronounced correctly. They can also make sure that the language mistakes that are common among non-native English speakers are captured within a film's dialogue even if the actors are native speakers.

Related Resource: Oral Exams in Graduate School


It turns out that linguists do not necessarily have to sacrifice a passionate interest in languages to broaden their career options. Those who excel academically in linguistics are usually prepared to find and succeed in a number of careers available with a master's degree in linguistics.