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What to do as a Linguistics major grad.....

PXalpinePXalpine Posts: 288Registered User Junior Member
So my major is Linguistics, and I joined the group "I picked a major I liked, and one day I will probably be living in a box" on Facebook... but I don't REALLY want to be living in a box :(

Any fellow Ling majors here? What are some "good careers" for Ling grads? I really want to get my parents off my case about constantly asking me what I'm going to do after graduation. I told them UCLA is #2 in Linguistics, but that's only the graduate problem so I guess it doesn't really matter to me.

Agh someone help!
Post edited by PXalpine on

Replies to: What to do as a Linguistics major grad.....

  • liyana179liyana179 Posts: 2,581Registered User Senior Member
    are you kidding? there's plenty of careers out there- ESPECIALLY if you're interested in speech therapy.

    i'm not kidding- at one point i thought about being a linguistics and psych major, with an education minor
    > speech therapist!

    they get paid a ton, they're always in high demand (especially in school districts), and if you work with kids you get to spend your days playing games (with therapy thrown in lol). i should know. i was in speech therapy half my life xD

    also, i took an honors collegium class called "language as a window to the mind." my TA studied the roots of languages through the ages- it's actually a very interesting field combining language, history, and literature.

    you can definitely find something out there for linguistics. there are certainly more box-destined majors than that! true, it's not as career-oriented as some sort of engineering or science major, but, there's options!

    also, track down a counselor. they can give you some literature on "what to do with a major in..." or you can find that online.
  • mikemacmikemac Posts: 7,430Registered User Senior Member
    There are 2 types of college educations available, and since both are offered in universities (indeed usually at the same U) it can blur the distinction. The first is the vocational-type degree (engineering, accounting, nursing, etc). The other type falls into the umbrella of the liberal arts, and linguistics is one of these majors.

    The reason the distinction is worth keeping in mind is that without it we can end up with mixed metaphors. Asking "what do I do with a major in linguistics" is applying a vocational-education measure to a liberal-arts pursuit. None of the liberal-arts majors lead directly to a career path (except perhaps as a professor in that subject) nor are they intended to. The reason to pick a liberal-arts major is because of a strong interest in the subject. It may also be applicable to some career fields. But that is not the main goal; if you want a degree that prepares you for a job, pick a vocational major.

    Jobs are always a concern for liberal-arts majors, but the way to look at this is that preparing for a career is something that is done in addition to the major rather than being the result of the major. There are plenty of things to do in college to prepare for a career, and UCLA has a good career center. You should become a regular visitor to explore various career fields and select ones of interest to you. They have brochures, workshops, career fairs, counselors, and UCLA even has lists of alums that are happy to talk to you about their job and give you advice once you narrow down areas that interest you. One book I'd recommend you get if the career center doesn't have it is "Major in Success" by Coombs, filled with stories of college kids who identified areas that intrigued them and got experience in them before finishing college. The most important thing you can do are internships so that you get actual exposure to the job and can explain to potential employers why you would be a good fit in the career rather than just hoping its right for you.

    Almost any career field is open to the liberal-arts grad outside of the ones that require specific training (engineering, nursing, etc), and for almost all of these you could go to grad school anyway if you really wanted. That's why books like "jobs for the english major" are too limiting; you can do almost anything. Take the more general approach; say to yourself "I'm going to graduate with a college degree, and this is a base requirement for many employers. But in addition to that, what steps do I need to take to identify a potential career and make myself an attractive hire to prospective employers in that field?" Pursue this approach and you'll do fine no matter what your major.
  • kyledavid80kyledavid80 Posts: 8,093Registered User Senior Member
    Search the "other college majors" forum. There have been threads about linguistics careers.

    As others said, there are many. Linguistics ftw! :)
    That's why books like "jobs for the english major" are too limiting; you can do almost anything.

    So true. I know English majors who ended up highly-paid officials at banks (getting universities to invest their endowment in the bank), some who ended up as editors of newspapers, some who are teachers, some who work as accountants.
  • thesuperjlaithesuperjlai Posts: 187Registered User Junior Member
    mikemac, you're awesome.
  • FarzanaFarzana Posts: 1Registered User New Member
    I guess you need an endorsement to become a speech therapist.
  • UCLA77UCLA77 Posts: 656Registered User Member
    It's also a really good major if you want to go into an investigative or analytical field; say an expert in handwriting or speech analysis; forgeries and the like. People can be determined by their unique speech, language, and handwriting patterns. Very important work for the court system, especially these days with internet and blogging, forged wills and the like.
  • DeucesDeuces Posts: 1,501Registered User Senior Member
    Another option if you want to get a shot at a vocational craft is the Linguistics and Computer Science major. That assumes that you have an interest in programming, or are willing to try PIC 10A/10B.
  • tptshortytptshorty Posts: 558Registered User Member
    I was a Linguistics major and now I am a community college instructor of English as a second language...did my MA in TESL at UCLA. I love Linguistics.
  • PXalpinePXalpine Posts: 288Registered User Junior Member
    Oh wow old thread, I'm the OP, thanks for bumping it back up.

    I started this thread almost 2.5 years ago, and I'll be graduating in a couple of days (as a Linguistics major of course). I guess I should let everyone know that I did find my "true calling." I successfully secured a job as a software engineer, and I'll be developing new apps related to speech recognition/synthesis and voice.

    I seriously hate the major though. Too too geared toward theoretical research at this school, and historical/romance ling for the likes. The only classes that somewhat related to my future career (and that I kinda liked) were LING 104 (Experimental Phonetics, Acoustics) and LING 185A (Computational Linguistics). And of course, LING 199 which is independent research where you can choose your own topics that interest you and pursue after it. I had to sit through 2 years of other classes like Phonology, Syntax, Semantics, Historical Linguistics, Applied Linguistics, etc. I wanted to die in all of those classes. If I can do UCLA again, I would've majored in Computer Science and minored in Linguistics.

    Any Ling majors at UCLA with an interest in computational linguistics/speech recognition/text-to-speech synthesis, feel free to message me.
  • JamesGoldJamesGold Posts: 496Registered User Member
    @PXalpine,

    What do you think about UCLA's linguistics and computer science major?

    http://cis.ucla.edu/studyArea/course.asp?id=135
  • mikemacmikemac Posts: 7,430Registered User Senior Member
    I started this thread almost 2.5 years ago, and I'll be graduating in a couple of days (as a Linguistics major of course). I guess I should let everyone know that I did find my "true calling."
    Congrats, and best of luck in the future!
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