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Linguistics courses

How do children learn language? Why do people have accents? What causes a stammer? If these questions fascinate you, linguistics could be for you. Linguistics is the study of the structure of language, speech sounds and how we use language to convey meaning. Linguistics can be used in a variety of careers, such as helping adults regain speech after a stroke, supporting children who have difficulty communicating or developing computers that recognise or produce speech.

Studying linguistics at university

Example course modules

  • The structure and grammar of English
  • Text analysis: genre and style
  • Semantics
  • Language and psychology
  • Corpus linguistics
  • Pragmatics, meaning and truth
  • Non truth-conditional semantics
  • Elements of linguistics: sound, structure and meaning
  • Applications of linguistics
  • Sound and voice

Teaching hours / week

Average for this subject


Average for all subjects

The time you'll spend in lectures and seminars each week will vary from university to university, so use this as a guide.

More on studying and contact hours at uni

Who studies this subject

  • Female : 67%
    Male : 33%
  • Mature : 18%
    School leaver : 82%
  • Full-time : 98%
    Part-time : 2%

What students say about linguistics

What you need to get on a course

Subjects you need

A-levels (or equivalent) usually required

  • No Specific Requirements

Useful to have

  • Mathematics
  • Modern foreign language
  • English literature and language
  • English language

Application checklist

Here's a guide to what to expect from the application process - also check individual university entry requirements, as these may differ.

  • January application
  • October application
  • Personal statement
  • Portfolio
  • Interview
  • Entry test
  • Work experience
  • Audition

Personal statement advice

Your personal statement is a core part of your university application, and getting it just right takes time. Before you start work on yours, take a look at our five quick tips on writing a personal statement. We'll help you past that writer's block!

Career prospects

Sources: HECSU & KIS
Linguists are in demand across the economy, from marketing to IT, so this type of degree has a better than average employment rate. Graduates from language subjects are, not surprisingly, more likely than most others to get jobs working overseas, with Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) a popular option. Linguists are particularly likely to get jobs in marketing, finance, education and in management, but remember – whilst employers say they rate language skills, you need to have them as part of a whole package of good skills.
Professional and accrediting bodies:

Six months after graduating

Typical graduate job areas
  • Sales, marketing and related associate professionals

Longer term career paths

Jobs where this degree is useful

  • Translator
  • Teacher of English as a foreign language (TEFL)
  • Education or learning support officer

Other real-life job examples

  • Recruitment consultant
  • Advertising executive
  • Publications editor

What employers like about this subject

Linguistics students can expect to pick up subject-specific skills during their study that include an understanding of how language is acquired and used; how language is used and the principles of phonetics, phonology and linguistic analysis, syntax and semantics. Students of linguistics can also learn a number of useful transferable skills including communication, time management, research and critical thinking, and project management, and these skills are in demand from employers, including PR agencies, schools, hospitals, management consultancies, libraries, banks, translation agencies and IT companies.