Career Prospects

Photo by James Clifford

After graduating, some of our linguistics and language studies majors go on to pursue advanced degrees in linguistics and closely related fields. Most majors go on to careers outside of academia, in fields such as communications, the computer industry, speech and language therapy, government, journalism, law, and teaching.

Applying to Graduate Programs

Our department has a strong record of placing students into the best graduate linguistics programs in the country. UCSC graduates have gone on to PhD programs at the following institutions, among others:

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Rutgers University
  • UCLA
  • University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  • University of Washington, Seattle

If you have a strong academic record and want to learn more about possible graduate programs in linguistics or closely related fields, make an appointment to talk to any of the Linguistics faculty. 

Announcements about graduate school open houses and application deadlines are posted regularly to the Postgraduate Opportunities Database.

The Department welcomes applications from its own majors to the MA program in linguistics. Through the BA/MA degree pathway, the MA degree can be completed in one year of study after the BA, instead of the normal two.

Other Career Paths

Because of their rigorous and interdisciplinary training, linguistics, and language studies majors are well-prepared for a variety of career paths.

Our programs emphasize data analysis, hypothesis testing, and argumentation based on evidence. More than many programs, ours also emphasize writing. It is hard to overstate the importance of these skills, which transfer to any endeavor, for advancement in many careers.

Our majors are well-prepared for careers in language teaching, international studies, speech-language pathology, law, forensics, writing and editing, and translation. Our training in the structure and use of language prepares our graduates for data analysis positions in language technology industries, including speech synthesis and recognition, search engines, interactive agents, and other work pertaining to the human-computer interface.

At least once per quarter, the department sponsors a career workshop with guest speakers who talk about specific career paths. Majors should watch for announcements.

When the department receives job announcements, we post these on a bulletin board outside the department office.

Interviews with Alumni

Students approaching graduation can feel overwhelmed. What's next? There are many career options for linguistics and language studies majors. But how do you get there?

To help you think about possible careers, we include the profiles from some of our alumni from diverse careers, drawn from the department newsletter and other media sources:

  • Jane Kintz (BA 2023), Kintz to attend graduate program in Speech-Language Pathology (WHASC, April 9, 2023)
  • Karen Lowe (BA 2021), WHASC’s White House Correspondent (WHASC, Feb. 4, 2022)
  • Melanie Esver (BA, 2019), Esver to University of Colorado Boulder (WHASC, June 9, 2020)
  • Ivona Borissova (BA, 2019), Borissova to Post-baccalaureate at the University of Washington (WHASC, June 1, 2020)
  • Anne Sturgeon (update), Agent IQ Software Project Manager and Linguist (WHASC, March 11, 2020)
  • Katia Kravtchenko, Data Scientist at Fraugster, Berlin (2019)
  • Lindsay Ress, Speech Language Pathologist (WHASC, October 9, 2017)
  • Anne Sturgeon, Linguist at Leidos (WHASC, April 25, 2016)
  • Carol Figueroa, Language Researcher for Amazon Lab 126 (WHASC, January 19, 2016)
  • Lotus Goldberg, Associate Professor of Linguistics at Brandeis (WHASC, January 19, 2016)
  • Nicholas Ilacqua, Lead Java Developer for the School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis (WHASC, December 6, 2015)
  • Rachelle Boyson, Contractor for the Search Editorial team at Yahoo (WHASC, December 6, 2015)
  • Noah Kopito, chef and owner of the pop-up restaurant Mortal Dumpling (Santa Cruz Sentinel, July 22, 2015)
  • Robyn Perry, Master's student in Information Management and Systems at UC Berkeley's School of Information (WHASC, January 25, 2015)
  • Anthony Shore, owner of the naming company Operative Words (New York Times Magazine, January 15, 2015)
  • Tamara (Tami) Schuyler, Linguist at H5 Inc. (WHASC, October 20, 2014)
  • Nathan Sanders, Visiting Assistant Professor at Swarthmore College (WHASC, May 20, 2014)
  • Tristan Thorne, English and ESL Teacher in New York (WHASC, May 5, 2014)
  • Micah Smith, Speech Pathology graduate student at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston (Biannual Department Newsletter, January 2014)
  • Jenny Simon, Professor of English as a Second Language

See Also