Major Description

Language is central to our being human and represents perhaps the most worthy subject for intellectual investigation. Linguists are interested in many aspects of language: phonology, syntax, semantics, morphology, phonetics, sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, computational linguistics, and historical linguistics.

Linguistics courses focus on empirical and theoretical issues connected with how languages are structured, how they are used, and how they change through time. These courses are of interest not only to linguistics majors, but to students in any field where the analysis of languages is important: anthropology, speech and hearing science, psychology, philosophy, computer science, foreign languages, and others.

Courses That Introduce the Major:
  • LING 100 - Introduction to Language Science
  • LING 210 - Language History
  • LING 222 - Language in Globalization
  • LING 225 - Language, Mind and Brain
  • LING 250 - Language Diversity in the USA

Students should consult with an academic advisor regarding course selection prior to the advanced registration period.

Possible Career Opportunities:

Linguistics opens the door to careers in diverse industries. Possible career opportunities include working as a linguist, application developer, bilingual engineer, data analyst or as a research technician.

  • Comparing interpretations
  • Evaluating evidence
  • Identifying patterns
  • Reading critically
  • Applying knowledge about language
  • Identifying patterns
  • Presenting information effectively
  • Understanding historical language change
  • Adapting to/functioning in other cultures
  • Emphasizing a global perspective
  • Identifying relationships between language groups
  • Relating language to social context
  • Advertising Account Executive
  • Attorney
  • Business Manager
  • Campaign Manager
  • Claims Examiner
  • Community Relations Director
  • Copy Writer
  • Corporate Trainer
  • Critic
  • Customer Relations Rep.
  • Editor
  • Education Director
  • Government Agency
  • Historian
  • Human Resources Spec
  • Information Systems Manager
  • Insurance Underwriter
  • Intelligence Systems Designer
  • Journalist
  • Legislative Assistant
  • Lexicographer
  • Lobbyist
  • Management Trainee
  • Marketing or Sales Manager
  • Market Research Analyst
  • Media Buyer
  • Non-profit Administrator
  • Overseas Trade Representative
  • Personnel Trainee
  • Policy Analyst
  • Production Assistant
  • Professor
  • Public Relations Specialist
  • Public Administrator
  • Publicity Assistant
  • Research Assistant
  • Researcher or Writer
  • Sales Representative
  • School Psychologist
  • Special Events Coordinator
  • Speech Pathologist
  • Speech Synthesis Specialist
  • Speech Writer
  • Teacher
  • Technical Writer
  • Television Producer
  • Underwriter
  • Volunteer Coordinator
  • Writer or Author

Some careers may require education beyond an undergraduate degree.

Enhancing Your Academic Experience:
  • Participating in undergraduate research
  • Applying for a study abroad experience
  • Utilizing resources of The Career Center
  • Joining a Registered Student Organization (RSO) related to this major, such as:
    • League of Linguists: We are the undergraduate linguistics student organization at UIUC. Our mission is to stimulate social interaction and academic enrichment throughout the Department of Linguistics. We hold fundraisers, weekly meetings, and various academic and social events in order to promote the study of language as a science, a hobby, and an academic institution.
    • Linguistics Student Organization: We foster academic and social interaction among the undergraduate and graduate students in the Linguistics department and related disciplines, as well as to enrich the discipline through invited speakers and linguist-related events.
Further Information:

There are several professional organizations dedicated to Linguistics.  Their websites might be able to provide a glimpse in the world of Linguistics.  These organizations include Linguistic Society of America and Modern Language Association.