What opportunities will I have in linguistics?

In our programs you will have the opportunity to:

  • Experience language in an entirely new way
  • Be involved in original research with professors using a broad range of methodologies including cutting-edge labs/facilities
  • Further your passion for language(s)
  • Acquire professional expertise in learning and teaching a second language
  • Explore language-based career options beyond what you might have dreamed of

What skills will I gain through my coursework?

Through your coursework, you will:

  • Gain cultural and cross-cultural competencies in a variety of environments
  • Develop grammatical skills, transferrable from one language to another
  • Gain insight into a variety of ancient and modern societies as they are constructed through language
  • Develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills to analyze sources of all kinds
  • Present ideas in a convincing and structured manner
  • Develop the ability to work independently​
  • Develop your analytical skills by forming and testing hypotheses to account for language data, using evidence and logical arguments
  • Develop your written and oral presentation skills

What skills will I have after completing my program?

All university programs increase your understanding of how to learn, how to do research, and how to think critically. When you leave our programs you will:

  • Have strong transferable academic research and communication skills
  • Possess a solid foundation in the concepts, values, and methodologies of linguistics
  • Be able to articulate an appreciation for the richness and diversity of languages and for how and why they change over time
  • Appreciate the complexity of linguistic representation in the human mind, and how this representation is shaped, as we acquire and use language.
  • Understand the complex role language plays in the lives of individuals, communities, and societies
  • Be prepared to advocate for positive social change as a fully engaged global citizen
  • Have a deeper understanding of social, cultural, and developmental differences, which in turn contributes to the interpersonal skill of communicating effectively with a diverse array of people
  • Have the knowledge and confidence to pursue the exciting range of possible career and life options available to you

What can I do with a linguistics degree?

An undergraduate degree in Linguistics or Applied Linguistics gives you the opportunity to develop valuable analytical, presentation, and interpersonal skills, which you can apply both in your everyday life and in a broad range of careers. 

It can also lay important groundwork for a number of specialized career paths, including careers in 

  • speech pathology and audiology
  • teaching English and other languages
  • doing editorial work, literacy work, or educational research
  • developing language programs for First Nations or other communities
  • developing and editing dictionaries
  • developing language-related software, or systems involving speech technology
  • and post-secondary teaching and research

For more information, please see the descriptions of our different degree programs. You can see what some of our recent graduates are doing on the Alumni page.

What high school preparation do I need to enroll in linguistics?

No special high school preparation is needed to study Linguistics. However, you will need to satisfy the general requirements for entry into the Faculty of Humanities.

You will also find it useful to take one or more language courses in high school. Since these courses invite you to think consciously about a particular language, they provide helpful background for investigating the nature of human language in general.

What should I do in first year?

First year courses

  • LING 100A is our core first-year course, introducing you to key concepts in Phonetics, Phonology, Morphology, and Syntax. This course is required if you plan to pursue an undergraduate degree in Linguistics or Applied Linguistics. The department offers a number of other 100-level Linguistics courses as well.
  • LING 100B gives you the opportunity to apply core ideas from LING 100A to topics in sociolinguistics, language and mind, and other areas.
  • LING 110 invites you to investigate the connection between language and thought.
  • LING 172 gives you a chance to explore unique features of BC's Indigenous languages, and ways to study them further.
  • LING 195 asks you to take a sociolinguistic approach to the question of what underlies people's judgements of language use as "good" or "bad".

Second year courses

You may also wish to take one of the required 200-level courses in the second term of your first year:

  • LING 200 (Introduction to Phonetics and Phonology) - required for all of our Bachelor's degree programs
  • LING 203 (Introduction to Morphology and Syntax) - required for all of our Bachelor's degree programs
  • LING 204 (Research Methods in Linguistics) - required for the BA and BSc programs in Linguistics, and also optionally satisfies a requirement for the BA in Applied Linguistics