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All academic programs offered at the UM help students develop valuable transferable skills. Linguistics applies the social sciences, the natural sciences, and the humanities to the study of all aspects of spoken and written language. It studies the sound patterns of language, how they are produced, perceived and used to give rise to words, how sentence structure is built and assigned complex meaning. It explores language use and its evolutions in diverse social and cultural settings, and how different language systems, including sign languages, develop throughout the world and through history.

As a Linguistics concentrator, you will develop academic, professional and technical skills that are useful across a wide range of professional settings. You will also receive a solid foundation for advanced work in graduate and professional school programs.  Representative skills acquired by Linguistics students are listed below.

Related fields include Psychology, English, Foreign Languages, Education, Philosophy, Anthropology, Communication Studies, Computer Science, and Classical Studies.


Cross-Cultural Skills

Relating language to social, cultural and historical contexts
Understanding local and global perspectives
Adapting to and functioning in different cultural settings
Working effectively with individuals from diverse backgrounds

Communication Skills

Dealing with complexities of meaning and social uses of language
Understanding the properties of discourse
Understanding language change and variation
Organizing and explaining complex ideas
Presenting information effectively in speech and writing
Gaining insight into human-computer interaction

Analytical Skills

Critically interpreting spoken and written language
Analyzing and interpreting data
Identifying patterns
Observing people and their behavior
Evaluating evidence
Comparing interpretations

Research Skills

Constructing and applying theories
Using data as evidence, comparatively or historically
Working with research subjects
Applying methodologies from many disciplines
Working in interdisciplinary settings


Employers seek out individuals who can demonstrate excellent verbal and written communication skills, teamwork and interpersonal skills, initiative, and a strong work ethic. Linguistics students further develop such skills by combining their coursework with on and off-campus work, and by participating in research groups and projects, internships, and volunteer work outside the classroom.

Participation in the Linguistics Club and other academic or student organizations offer valuable opportunities to add to your skills. Study abroad experiences are particularly helpful to improve language proficiency and hone intercultural skills. Finally, a professional internship is an excellent way to test out a career field and develop marketable skills.


In our increasingly interconnected world, the skills you gain as a Linguistics concentrator will strongly prepare you to succeed in a number of careers, such as research, business, and other professional fields. A representative list of occupational areas chosen by linguistics graduates can be seen below. Many graduates also go on to academic graduate programs in fields ranging from linguistics to psychology to languages, or to professional or masters programs in speech pathology, language education, information science, business, medicine, or law.

Cross-Cultural Skills

Anthropologist open book icon
English as a Second Language instructor
Foreign language teacher
GED instructor
International affairs specialist
International student support staffer
Translator / interpreter

Communication Skills

Advocate (non profit organizations)
Adult literacy instructor
Business communication specialist
Dialect coach
Editor / publisher
Language teacher
Speech pathologist open book icon
Technical writer

Analytical Skills

Cryptographer / cryptanalyst open book icon
Information science specialist
Marketing consultant
Lawyer open book icon
Neuroscientist open book icon
Physician open book icon
Psychologist open book icon
Software developer
Speech Recognition / synthesis specialist

Research Skills

Computer programmer
Lab manager
Market researcher
Research associate
Research scientist open book icon
Technical writer

open book icon = Further Study Required

For more career information, see O*Net at


Students concentrating in Linguistics take a 200-level prerequisite course and three required courses, one each in the core areas of phonetics/phonology, syntax, and semantics, in addition to 21 other credits of Linguistics courses. The Department also offers a fifteen-credit minor (with a 200-level prerequisite) along with an Honors concentration. For more information about the concentration and minor, contact the Linguistics Department.

Department of Linguistics
440 Lorch Hall

Newnan Advising Center
1255 Angell Hall


To learn more about the Linguistics undergraduate program, undergraduate research and internship opportunities, visit the undergraduate section on the department’s webpage:

To begin connecting to professionals in fields that interest you, create your own LinkedIn account:

To identify internships or job opportunities, visit Handshake:

Maize Pages list hundreds of organizations for students to get involved in:

On-campus jobs (work-study and non work-study jobs) are listed at:

The Career Center
3200 Student Activities Building

The Career Guide series was developed by the University of Michigan Career Center, Division of Student Affairs, in cooperation with the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. ©2011 Regents of the University of Michigan