What to Study in a Linguistics Degree? – Exploring Lecture Material and Learning Activities

Learn about the course material, skills, and entry requirements for linguistics degree programs and find the right career path for you. Get complete information about linguistics degrees in this article.

Are you interested in language and how it is structured and develops? If yes, a linguistics degree could be the right choice for you. By studying linguistics, you will study language from a scientific perspective, from language learning to how language influences interactions between people. The field of linguistics is always developing and covers various areas of specialization, so it can open up promising career opportunities. 

What is Linguistics?

Linguistics is the study of how language works and functions. Maybe you think of it as language learning, but actually that’s not quite right. Linguistics explores why we have the languages ​​we do and how languages ​​develop. A linguistics degree helps you to study and understand the form, structure and context of language.

A linguistics degree aims to examine the relationship between sounds and the meaning produced through language. It includes the influence of language on how society is organized, operates, and develops. With a linguistics degree, you will be able to evaluate the various ways in which language is expressed, from literature to music.



What to Study in a Linguistics Degree?


A bachelor’s degree in linguistics can be earned through a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science program . The choice depends on your interests, for example you prefer a technical or analytical approach. Although curricula may differ between universities, there are some basic areas that you will typically study during your undergraduate studies. In the first year, you will learn:

  • Semantics
  • Phonetics
  • Phonology
  • Grammar
  • Pragmatics
  • Language development
  • Theoretical linguistics
  • Syntax


Then, in the second and third years, you will study more focused and detailed areas of linguistics such as:


  • Phonetic science
  • Semantic theory
  • Neuro-linguistics
  • Morphology
  • Sociolinguistics
  • Sign language linguistics
  • Multilingual
  • Psycholinguistics


During your studies, there are several compulsory modules and several elective modules that you must complete. Linguistics programs generally use written assignments, essays, projects, and exams for assessment.


Studying linguistics at postgraduate level allows you to choose a specialization. You can pursue a postgraduate degree as an MA, MSc, or MRes in some cases. Areas of focus may include:

  • Phonology
  • Pragmatics
  • Syntax
  • Cognition
  • Language development
  • Oratory

A master’s degree in linguistics can be completely research based with the submission of a final dissertation, but can also be a mix of taught and research modules. Always check the requirements with the university you are interested in for a linguistics degree.

What Abilities Are Needed to Study Linguistics?

To be able to major in linguistics, the most important thing is an interest in language and its manifestations from a social, psychological and physiological perspective. If you’ve studied humanities subjects such as communications, media studies, philosophy, psychology , or languages, that’s good preparation. Some other skills needed to major in linguistics include:

  • Critical and analytical abilities
  • Good communication skills
  • Organizational abilities
  • Presentation skills
  • Good writing skills
  • Ability to do multitasking
  • Research ability

Sometimes universities recommend a combination of science and humanities-based courses as an ideal foundation. If you’re still unsure, always check the entry requirements or talk to the university.


What are the Entry Requirements for Taking a Linguistics Degree?

For most undergraduate linguistics courses, you will need to have at least an AAB result at A-Level, which is equivalent to a score of 34 on the International Baccalaureate and an SAT score of 1,320. Many universities may also require you to have studied English and mathematics as main subjects. The IELTS score or equivalent required is 7.0 with at least 6.5 for each sub-section.

If you are applying for a postgraduate qualification, universities will require a bachelor’s degree in linguistics or a related subject such as psychology, English, speech science or cognitive science. You must also have achieved at least a 2:1 degree, which is above 65 percent. This result is approximately equivalent to a GPA score of 3.3.

Career After Getting a Linguistics Degree?

Graduating with a bachelor’s degree in linguistics can open up a variety of interesting and varied career opportunities. This degree will give you some skills that are highly desired by employers. Some of these include data analysis skills, information technology competencies, research skills, and critical thinking. Some careers you can pursue include:

  • Speech therapy
  • Management
  • Public relations
  • Teaching
  • Social work
  • Counseling
  • Research
  • Human Resources
  • Marketing

It should be noted, according to the latest statistics, almost 94 percent of graduates find work or continue their studies within a short time after completing their degree (Graduate Prospects) .

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