Linguistics, the science of language, is an interdisciplinary field which relates to the diversity of the cultures and languages of the world. It is an integral part of most serious pursuits dealing with aspects of language study and analysis. As the boundaries of the world change, an understanding of individual languages and cultures becomes increasingly important. Communication in this complex society requires knowledge of the workings of languages, as well as their interrelationship within their respective cultures. 

“I’ve always loved languages and dialects, but linguistics really opened up an entire world I never knew existed, and because the field is young, that world keeps getting bigger and more diverse. The complexity of languages we speak without even thinking is absolutely, mind-blowingly incredible.”

-Lauren Gage, Student

Beyond the Classroom

Linguistics students and language enthusiasts have the opportunity to join the Linguistics Club to learn, discuss, and host/attend events related to language studies. The Linguistics program hosts a variety of speakers via the Let’s Talk lecture series, and conducts workshops to introduce students to opportunities in the field and graduate programs. Students are active participants in the university’s Scholar’s Week, showcasing their active research agendas, and have presented their work at linguistics conferences.

Careers and Graduate Studies

Western’s Linguistics students are regularly accepted into some of the top graduate programs in North America, including, most recently:

  • New York University
  • University of California Los Angeles
  • University of Arizona
  • Purdue University
  • University of Washington
  • University of British Columbia
  • University of Minnesota

Western Linguistics students are also accepted into International graduate programs including:

  • University College London
  • University of Edinburgh (Scotland)
  • University of Groningen (Netherlands)
  • University of Sussex (UK)

Students who study linguistics acquire valuable intellectual skills, such as analytical reasoning, critical thinking, argumentation, and clarity of expression. They can make insightful observations, formulate clear and testable hypotheses, generate predictions, make arguments and draw conclusions, and communicate findings to a wider community. Linguistics students are therefore well-equipped for a variety of graduate-level and professional programs and careers. Opportunities may be found in the  high tech industry, in K-12 education, in higher education, as speech language pathologists, as computational linguists, as English teachers around the world, as writers and editors, as translators, and in many more areas.

Recent Graduate Employment Positions:

  • Enrollment Analyst: Aerotek/Premera Blue Cross
  • English and Spanish Instructor: Berlitz Languages Inc.
  • ESL Teacher: Feirschule Institute (South Korea)
  • Writing Tutor: Smart Thinking

“The Linguistics Program offers a multidisciplinary degree that prepares students for a variety of professional careers. Students can specialize in both applied and theoretical aspects of language study, and combine linguistic study with specialization in a dozen world languages, including English.”

-Edward Vajda, Faculty


Sample Jobs

  • Higher Education Research and Teaching
  • K-12 Teaching (World Languages, ESL, literacy)
  • Computer Industry (Speech Recognition, Natural Language Processing)
  • Translating and Interpreting
  • Language Documentation and Fieldwork
  • Publishing (Editing, Writing)
  • Lexicography (Dictionary Research and Editing)
  • Law (Forensic Linguistics)

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.