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Linguistics Degree London
BA Linguistics UCL
The department is a centre for linguistic study in an unparalleled range of languages, many of which we are documenting for the first time. They include languages of Africa, the Near and Middle East, South Asia, South East Asia, Central Asia, Australia, the Pacific, and Siberia. The department has close academic ties to the rest of our faculty, the Departments of Africa, China and Inner Asia, Japan and Korea, the Near and Middle East, South Asia, and South East Asia, as well as the Language Centre.
Modern linguistics is the scientific study of all aspects of the world’s languages from their sound systems and grammatical structure through to the interaction of language with culture, the study of meaning in language, and the use of language in modern technology. Linguists try to establish what types of structures are shared by different languages and the extent to which languages may differ from each other.
The list of possible subject combinations for the BA Linguistics and… degree is given in the combinations section. SOAS is unique in the UK for being able to offer a range of subject combinations that include the opportunity to study the languages, literature, and cultures of Africa, Asia and the Near and Middle East. The study of linguistics may also be combined with a range of other disciplines in which the School has proven excellence such as music, law, development studies, economics, politics, religious studies, anthropology, art and archaeology and history. SOAS offers students an unparalleled range of options in choosing their second subject of study.
The linguistics component of the combined subject degree is designed to develop a comprehensive understanding of the way that languages are universally structured and trains students to master all the basic skills necessary for the analysis of different sound systems and semantics (the study of meaning in language). In addition, students may also take modules dealing with language and social communication (focusing on the interaction of language and social groups), morphology (the structure of words), historical linguistics (the historical development of languages), phonetics and the structure of an African or Asian language.
Introduction to Linguistics
Linguistics is the principle study of language, from how sentences are constructed to how language can influence and direct. A keen analytical mind is required as students learn about the sound, grammar and meaning of different languages, spoken by different people and cultures. Topics range from the analysis of advertising and marketing to the political rhetoric of world leaders, and students will learn the most effective ways of looking at and dissecting language.
Linguistics is the study of the capacity to use language. At UCL students investigate the sound patterns (Phonetics and Phonology) and grammatical structures (Syntax) of the world’s languages, and how meanings are expressed through language use (Semantics and Pragmatics). They can also explore a broad range of questions including language acquisition and processing, multilingualism, sociolinguistics, language evolution, and animal communication.
In each year of your degree you will take a number of individual modules, normally valued at 15 or 30 credits and adding up to 120 credits per year in the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). Modules are assessed in the academic year in which they are taken. The balance of compulsory and optional modules varies from programme to programme and year to year.
In the first year your modules are all compulsory, providing a broad foundation in linguistics and helping you assess where your own interests and strengths lie. In addition to compulsory modules in core areas of semantics and pragmatics, phonetics or phonology, and syntax, students on the BA Linguistics pathway will take a module in language acquisition while students on the BSc Experimental Linguistics pathway will take a module in research methods.
In year two, students on the BA Linguistics pathway take at least four intermediate modules covering the core areas of linguistics. They will also take two 15-credit elective modules in Linguistics, and two 15-credit UCL-wide elective modules.
On the BSc Experimental Linguistics pathway, students take at least three intermediate modules from the core areas of linguistics. They will also take modules on research methods, language acquisition, psycholinguistics, and neurolinguistics, as well as one 15-credit UCL-wide elective module.
In their final year, students on both pathways undertake a 30-credit research project, involving a deep and sustained study of a subject in which they are especially interested.
Students in the BA Linguistics take three advanced modules from the core areas of linguistics, one intermediate or advanced module offered in any area of linguistics, and two further Linguistics or UCL-wide elective modules. Students in the BSc Experimental Linguistics take one laboratory-based module, two optional modules in Linguistics and three further UCL-wide elective modules.
The elective modules you take in years two and three may include modules offered outside Linguistics, for example, many students choose to take language courses taught by the UCL Centre for Languages & International Education.
Upon successful completion of 360 credits, you will be awarded a BA (Hons) in Linguistics.
- You will develop a broad foundation in linguistic analysis and theory, while being able to pursue chosen areas in greater depth, and also to study language and linguistics in a broader context.
- You will develop a wide range of transferable skills: a broad understanding of language and languages; data collection and analysis; hypothesis testing; critical reading and argumentation. Through optional modules, students may gain experience with experimental design and statistical analysis.
- Our focus on small-group teaching helps develop a friendly and supportive atmosphere. LingSoc, the linguistics student society, runs a mentoring scheme whereby second-year or final-year students support new students.
- UCL Linguistics is known worldwide for its teaching and research excellence and the work of our staff appears in internationally acclaimed journals and books. You will also have access to extensive computer facilities and to a specialized on-site library in addition to UCL’s main library.
Graduates from the School of Languages, Linguistics and Film go on to work in a variety of roles. Some apply their degree knowledge directly, entering sectors such as journalism, teaching and the creative arts, while others transfer skills gained during study into areas such as marketing and public relations. Some go on to further study, for instance choosing the School’s highly regarded MA in Linguistics.
Demonstratorship in Linguistics
The demonstrator will be paid for a total of 180 hours per year, and in return their tuition fees will be paid at Home/EU rate and they will receive a full stipend. The position involves teaching and administrative support related to the BA, BSc and MA programmes in Linguistics. The post-holder will provide assistance with a variety of aspects of the programmes.
The skills and knowledge gained from this research degree include: specialist knowledge of phonology, syntax, semantics or pragmatics as required to become a teacher/researcher in academic linguistics; expert grasp of specific language issues or problems leading to a range of linguistically oriented careers, for example being a legal court interpreter, a speech and communication therapist, a field linguist, translator or recorder of endangered languages; expertise in experimental techniques for studying language processing, equipping graduates for research work in a language lab; precise knowledge of computational techniques leading to potential work with IT businesses.
The opportunities for networking are vast as we invite many eminent international linguists and enable our students to attend seminars and conferences in the UK and overseas. Completion of a research degree with us will give you excellent credentials for entry into the competitive international linguistics job market.
Recent graduates have been hired by:
- BBC London
- Cabinet Office
- Embassy Language School
- Progressive Digital Media
- Teach First.
Linguistics UK Entry Requirements
- Typical International Baccalaureate requirements: 30 points.
- Typical A-levels requirements: ABB.
- Typical IELTS requirements: 6.5 overall, with no lower than 6.0 in any one component.
What you’ll study
Depending on your background and research aims, you can choose from one of four pathways:
- The Conversion pathway is designed to offer postgraduate level training in the core subject areas of linguistics, at a pace that is tailored to students who have little or no prior background in this field
- The General pathway is designed to offer students postgraduate level training across the areas of Formal and Sociolinguistics, and to explore the exciting interactions between the two
- The Specialisation in Formal Linguistics is designed to offer students postgraduate level training in the area of Formal Linguistics
- The Specialisation in Sociolinguistics is designed to offer students postgraduate level training in the area of Sociolinguistics
You’ll have practical experience in both conducting and applying linguistics research. In addition to your dissertation, you can work as a research assistant on one of our research projects.
Along with the wide range of elective modules offered on each pathway, you can choose up to two undergraduate linguistics modules. You can take any combination of options if you can make a convincing academic case for your choices.
what is a linguistics degree
What can you do with a linguistics degree?
Why study linguistics? Our essential guide to what you will learn on a linguistics course, the subjects you’ll need to study to obtain a place on a degree programme and the jobs that will be open to you once you graduate
What is linguistics?
Linguistics is the scientific study of language. It involves analysing the many different aspects that make up human language by looking at its form, structure and context. Linguistics also looks at the interplay between sound and meaning, and how language varies between people and situations.
A degree in linguistics can open the door to many careers owing to the emphasis on critical thought, analysis and communication skills.
What do you learn in a linguistics degree?
Linguistics degrees cover a multitude of topics relating to the analysis of language and the way it is structured. They can also cover the way that language changes over time, how it varies between different groups of people and situations and how people learn or acquire language.
The first year of your course will focus on an introduction to linguistics, including grammar, meaning (semantics), syntax (sentence formation), sounds (phonology) and words (morphology). The course content for the second and third years of study will vary widely between universities but can cover anything from typology, experimental phonetics, language acquisition, child bilingualism, modern foreign languages, the study of regional speech, the history of language and neurolinguistics, among many others.
Linguistics courses may also incorporate aspects of psychology, sociology, anthropology, communications studies and science.
Some universities will offer the option of international study in the second or third year.
It can also be studied as a joint honours degree as it complements many other subjects.
Why Major in Linguistics?
If you are considering becoming a linguistics major, you probably know something about the field of linguistics already. However, you may find it hard to answer people who ask you, “What exactly is linguistics, and what does a linguist do?” They might assume that it means you speak a lot of languages. And they may be right: you may, in fact, be a polyglot! But while many linguists do speak multiple languages—or at least know a fair bit about multiple languages—the study of linguistics means much more than this.
Linguistics is the scientific study of language. Many topics fall under this umbrella. At the heart of linguistics is an understanding of:
- the unconscious knowledge that humans have about language
- how children acquire language
- the structure of language in general and of particular languages
- how languages vary
- how language influences the way in which we interact with each other and think about the world
What exactly do we mean by this?
When you were born, you were not able to communicate with the adults around you by using language. But by the time you were five or six, you were able to produce sentences, make jokes, ask questions, and so on. In short, you had become a fluent native speaker. During those first few years of your life, you accumulated a wide range of knowledge about at least one language, probably with very little conscious effort. If you studied a foreign language later on, it’s likely that you discovered that it was not nearly as easy.
Speakers of all languages know a lot about their languages, usually without knowing that they know it. For example, as a speaker of English, you possess knowledge about English word order. Perhaps without even knowing it, you understand that Sarah admires the teacher is grammatical, while Admires Sarah teacher the is not, and also that The teacher admires Sarah means something entirely different. You know that when you ask a yes-no question, you may reverse the order of words at the beginning of the sentence and that the pitch of your voice goes up at the end of the sentence (for example, in Are you going?).
However, if you speak French, you might add est-ce que at the beginning, and if you know American Sign Language, you probably raise your eyebrows during the question. In addition, you understand that asking a wh-question (who, what, where, etc.) calls for a somewhat different strategy (compare the rising intonation in the question above to the falling intonation in Where are you going?). You also possess knowledge about the sounds of your language—for example, which consonants can go together in a word, and how they go together. You know that slint could be an English word, while sbint and lsint could not be. And you most likely know something about the role of language in your interactions with others. You know that certain words are “taboo” or controversial, that certain contexts might require more formal or less formal language, and that certain expressions or ways of speaking draw upon shared knowledge between speakers.
linguistics degree jobs
Computational linguist in the tech industry
The job: An interdisciplinary field combining computing and rule-based modeling of natural language, computational linguistics can solve problems in many areas, including artificial intelligence, machine translation, natural language interfaces, document processing, grammar and style checking, and computer-assisted language learning.
Salary: As a computational linguist, you could expect to work for blue chip companies, labs, universities or big software brands and earn an average salary of US$75,519 in the US and £54,521 (~US$68,150) in the UK.
Specifications: You’ll need to follow your undergraduate linguistics degree with a master’s degree in computational linguistics or a related field, and gain knowledge of programming. In some cases, a foreign language may also be necessary.
The job: Pursue an academic career and use your expert knowledge to teach in university departments such as linguistics, philosophy, psychology, speech and communication sciences or anthropology.
Salary: This will really depend on your years of experience and the country and establishment in which you decide to teach. A lecturer in the US with less than a year’s experience could expect to earn on average between US$38,000 and $52,772, while a professor with more than 10 years of experience could hope to earn between US$65,141 and $160,000 with bonuses included.
In the UK, a junior lecturer could hope to earn on average between £33,943 and £41,709 (~US$42,700-52,500), while a professor with more experience might make between £41,709 and £107,244 (~$52,500-135,000). Bear in mind you’ll need to fund about six to seven years of study before cashing in your first pay check – though you may be able to obtain a funded PhD place.
Specifications: For academic roles, you’ll need to complete a master’s degree, PhD, and in some cases also a professional teaching certificate.
The job: Working in translation, you’ll be expected to churn out 2,000 to 3,000 words every day. Your typical day will involve liaising with clients, consulting specialist dictionaries and using reference books to find precise translations for industry jargon. Whether freelance or in-house, you’ll typically be expected to specialize in one area (such as commerce, education, law, literature or science).
Salary: Starting salaries for translators are calculated based on word count and degree of specialism and vary based on your employer. The average translator in the US earns between US$20,545 – $73,413, while in the UK the figures drop to £16,807 and £38,855 (~US$21,150-$48,900).
Specifications: A degree and thorough knowledge of two languages in addition to your mother tongue are expected. A postgraduate qualification, such as an MA in translation, could significantly increase your chances of getting hired, especially within international bodies.
Teach a foreign language
The job: As a foreign language teacher, you’ll spend your days preparing lesson plans, marking student work, ordering material, instructing pupils either one-to-one or in the classroom, liaising with parents and attending administrative meetings. You’ll be expected to impart your pupils with a degree of proficiency in a new language, as well as knowledge of the culture, history and culture of the language in question.
Salary: This would again depend on your experience and location. UK salaries for a high school teacher range between £22,243 and £40,372 (~US$28,000-$50,800) depending on the city and years of experience, while US salaries fluctuate between US$33,000 and $76,000 based on skill, experience and city.
Specifications: You’ll need a bachelor’s degree with evidence of classes and extensive coursework in your chosen language as well as completion of a teacher-education program or a PGCE if in the UK.
The job: Forensic linguists perform language analysis on emergency calls, suicide letters, threat communication and social media during legal proceedings for law firms, the police and/or the government, in order to help solve crimes.
Other areas you may be involved in as a forensic linguist include trademark disputes, author identification and language analyses of asylum seekers. Forensic linguists working with the CIA or FBI in the US work on matters of national security. While the average forensic linguist works a regular nine to five, those working with governments may have to work slightly more irregular hours.
Salary: One of the main perks of the job is that your salary can stack up high, with the average forensic linguist in the US making somewhere between US$40,000 and $100,000. In the UK, you can expect to earn between £25,000 and 35,000 (~US$31,450-44,000), with experienced forensic linguists earning up to £60,000 (~US$75,500).
Specifications: You’ll need a bachelor’s, master’s and PhD in linguistics, as well as knowledge of legal procedures.
The job: Technical writers produce content in close collaboration with graphic designers, user experience designers, software developers and testers. The role chiefly involves collecting information, planning content and writing technical documentation to educate consumers about a product or service in the form of manuals, whitepapers, business correspondence, et cetera.
Working hours are usually a regular nine to five, though schedules may vary based on deadlines. Flexible work (freelance or home-based) is possible once you have gained more experience.
Salary: US salaries range between US$40,000 and $86,000, depending on the city, experience, skill and employer, while in the UK, a technical writer will earn between £20,000 and £46,000 (~US$25,150-$57,900) based on skill, city and experience.
Specifications: A bachelor’s degree in IT, communications, English or journalism is needed, as well as knowledge of publication software such as Word, Adobe, Photoshop, Paint, and CSS.
The job: Lexicographers write, compile and edit dictionaries for native speakers, learners of English, professionals and bilingual speakers. They monitor and record new words and check the accuracy of their own texts, performing a wealth of editorial tasks.
Salary: UK salaries may range between £18,000 and £45,000 (~US$22,650-$56,600), while US salaries fluctuate somewhere between US$51,000 and $55,000.
Specifications: A degree in linguistics, English, modern languages, history/politics, or classics will be needed. A postgraduate qualification in foreign languages or linguistics may also be useful for aspiring bilingual lexicographers.
For those aspiring to work on English teaching titles, some previous work experience teaching English as a foreign language may be essential. Some essential general skills needed for the role include an excellent command of English, grammar, an eye for detail and time management.