What Can I Do with My Linguistics Major?

Linguistics majors engage in the scientific study of language, and view languages as an integral part of a cultural, social, and psychological identity. The program examines how languages are structured, learned, and used, and looks at both the unique and shared features of various languages

There are many different specializations within the study of linguistics, ranging from understanding sound and syntax, to the examination of language teaching and learning, to the study of how language use varies depending on place, group or situation, and more. Research into these areas spans many disciplines, including the humanities, social sciences, logic and mathematics, and natural sciences. Students who major in linguistics tend to explore the following career paths and industries: User Experience Research & Design (UX/UI), voice and speech technology, international government, artificial intelligence, social cause communication, nonprofit leadership and advocacy, applied research, marketing & branding, health care communication, business & consulting, higher education.

In addition to the major in linguistics, the department offers a 5-year accelerated bachelor’s/master’s program.

The study of linguistics develops a core set of skills sought after by employers in a wide range of occupational settings. Throughout your experience in the program, you will obtain the following skills:

Critical Thinking Skills

  • Approaching problems from multiple perspectives
  • Thinking collaboratively
  • Comparing and contrasting interpretations
  • Offering diverse perspectives
  • Assessing cultural differences
  • Synthesizing themes
  • Analytical ability

Effective Communication Skills

  • Cross-cultural communication
  • Expressing and understanding multiple viewpoints
  • Presenting information logically
  • Reading critically
  • Writing effectively
  • Linguistic sophistication

Problem Solving Skills

  • Assessing needs
  • Defining problems
  • Understanding alternative perspectives
  • Gathering information from a variety of sources
  • Weighing alternatives
  • Generating creative solutions

Human Relations Skills

  • Appreciating relationships between groups and nations
  • Understanding diversity
  • Identifying and crossing cultural boundaries
  • Understanding multicultural human relationships

You can use the examples above, and experiences from classes or research projects to enhance your resume. Try plugging in some of your experiences or skills gained into this formula: Accomplished (X) as measured by (Y) by doing (Z).

Sample Resume Class 1, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
Member of Class, taught by Prof. _____

  • Explored topics in intercultural communication, such features of conversation, ideology and power in miscommunication, and relationships between language use and identity, through close readings and discussions of articles and texts in LING 496.
  • Researched and analyzed the structure and use of digital social media discourse and the effects of communicating via these media on social activities and presented findings of research through (insert class assignment) in LING 405.
  • Developed a professional portfolio, including a resume, cover letter sample, online presence suite on social media platforms, narratives, and other works related to professional goals to demonstrate own linguistic skill set and perspective in LING 487.

Georgetown Alumni have taken their linguistics degree across multiple different industries and have applied the skills they learned in linguistics across multiple disciplines. 

Additional information about these outcomes can be found in Cawley’s Post Graduation Outcome Report

“Linguistics challenged me to practice and strengthen different ways of thinking. It honed areas of my intellect that weren’t naturally as strong (I’m a Humanities person!) and trained me to see patterns, use logic, pay attention to detail, and seek solutions. I use these skills every day in my role as a clinical social worker.” – 2008 Georgetown College Graduate, Linguistics

“With Linguistics, you learn about all different languages and the unique cultural elements each word and sound contain. It gives you an appreciation for the innate wisdom of human beings, and the incredible feats our brains are capable of from day one.” – 2008 Georgetown College Graduate, Linguistics

“I work in Forensic & Integrity Services at EY. I’m surrounded by many people with business backgrounds, but from studying Linguistics I can leverage my computational skills to support email and document reviews and conduct keyword searches to find the missing pieces of an investigation. Meanwhile, my experiences studying sociolinguistics have contributed to my active listening skills and interpersonal understanding with my many new colleagues and our clients.” – 2021 Georgetown College Graduate, Linguistics 

Helpful Keywords to Improve Searches
There are lots of ways to find good keywords to help your job or internship search process, or even just to learn more about the types of jobs you can do within a specific major. One way to explore this is by checking out the job search tool on Google. 

Once you are in, type in something generic like your major and the world internship afterward. Once you hit enter, it will give you lots of options to explore, but if you want to explore titles, possible career paths, or keywords, hover your mouse over the ‘Title’ tab on the top of the page. This will give you a ton of ideas and options to explore possible keywords. 

Sample Internship Opportunities

  • U.S. State Department
  • Embassy (U.S. and foreign)
  • Museums (e.g., Smithsonian Institutions)
  • Educational Programs (e.g., Summerbridge)
  • Consulting firms
  • Media (e.g., ABC Nightline, Dateline NBC)
  • Research Institutes 
  • Communications & Entertainment (e.g., Spotify)

The Georgetown Linguistics Department Website is rich with additional information on studying Linguistics.

GU Linguistics Department 

Professional Associations are a great place to go to dive deeper into the field of linguistics and learn more about what post grad life might look like. 

Vault is a fantastic resource to learn more about specific career fields in linguistics. Vault has information such as salary information, work environment, education and training requirements, outlooks, and specific tips for entering into the field. 

Professors & Academic Deans
Georgetown professors and faculty members can be a wonderful resource for Georgetown students. If you are still curious to learn more about the disciplines of a specific major, we’d encourage you to connect with your professors! Outside of office hours, Georgetown has an online interface called GU360 where students can explore and connect with faculty members that are eager to mentor and support students. You can use this interface to learn more about specific department research, specialties, and areas of study within a major.  

You can also connect with your academic dean or counselor to further discuss opportunities within a given major. 

Lastly, each department has a dedicated Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS). This is the individual in charge of coordinating the major program or department as a whole. You can find the Director of Undergraduate Studies by exploring the faculty and staff pages of individual departments websites.

Connecting with alumni is a fantastic way to explore a day in the life of any given major student. There are several different ways to connect with Georgetown Alums. Hoya Gateway is Georgetown’s premier networking platform which connects alumni and students to have meaningful conversations and build a strong network of support. This is a platform alumni opt into with the sole purpose of supporting current students, which means there is an extremely high response rate. 

You can also utilize LinkedIn to connect with Georgetown Alum. A simple alumni search on Georgetown’s LinkedIn profile will help you get connected to approximately 130 thousand alumni, which you can then filter to meet the location, major, industry, or skills that you are interested in exploring.

You can also check out our Post Graduation Outcomes to learn more about what Georgetown alumni in specific majors are up to after graduation. We survey our seniors at the end of each year and into the following year to learn about jobs they secured, service opportunities they committed to, or graduate schools they decided to attend. You can filter by first major to get an idea of what life after Georgetown looks like. You’ll see in many cases that alums are using majors in a wide variety of ways, and your major doesn’t always equal your career path. 

Career Center Staff
You can also connect with career center staff to talk through the possible outcomes of one major over another. In short, there are endless opportunities no matter what major you choose. However, connecting with someone might help you navigate your decision making process a little bit easier. 

At the career center, you have the opportunity to meet with either a Career Exploration Counselor or an Industry Advisor. Career Exploration Counselors can help you talk through concerns, goals, the big picture, and strategies to move forward. You can think of them as generalists and a great place to get started. Industry Advisors can help you think through specific questions about a given career path and provide specific industry information and trends. You can think of them as specialists for once you start to narrow down your possible path. If you think an appointment with one of these individuals would benefit you, you can make an appointment on Handshake.

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