Linguistics is a very broad field offering an array of careers and opportunities. It deals with the scientific study of language, with career opportunities ranging from freelancing to working for the Government. In today’s world, communication and interaction are at the heart of most careers, hence, it does not come as a surprise that the field is rapidly growing.  In the last ten years, the language services market has doubled from 23.5 billion dollars to 49.6 billion dollars and is still growing, owing to globalization. The market offers a diverse range of services like localization, instruction and translation. 

While many people believe that a linguist can speak multiple languages which is true for many linguists, the career is not just limited to that. Linguistics provides an understanding of how cultural interaction, society and human development are shaped by the complexities of language, the relationship between language and thought and the principles underpinning human languages. 

The field includes:

  • Study of the context, structure and usage of language. 
  • Looks at the nature of the language used in communication. 
  • Studies how languages are written and spoken accurately. 
  • Identifies properties and elements common among different languages. 
  • Looks at how languages change over time and language variations. 
  • How the brain processes and stores language, particularly in the early years. 

Linguistics also consists of a number of sub-areas, namely, phonetics (study of speech sounds), phonology (study of systems and patterns of speech sounds), morphology (study of word form or structure), syntax (study of grammar and sentence structure), and pragmatics (study of context of language and its meaning).

Linguistics has a significant impact and contributes to multiple fields like artificial intelligence, sociology, education, philosophy, psychology, among others. 


Educational Requirements

In both national and international domains, linguistics is emerging as one of the most sought after careers. An average annual mid-career salary of USD 73,500 may be expected (Source: Business Insider). 

When it comes to linguistics, being skilled in communication is a must as it is basic to the career. Strong verbal and written communication skills are also necessary. A keen interest in different languages is desirable; being bilingual or multilingual helps along the career path. One may even start preparing for a career in bachelors only.


Masters in Linguistics

A Masters in Applied Linguistics is a 2-year course, encompassing different fields from verbal speech, society, communication in media and language.

  • A Bachelors degree from a recognized university with a minimum of 50% aggregate. 
  • Minimum 50% in 12th boards. 
  • Colleges have their own entrance exams.
Top Colleges for MA in Linguistics





Banaras Hindu University (BHU)



University of Madras



Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU)

New Delhi


Delhi University (DU)



University of Kashmir





Pursuing Ph.D. in Linguistics

You may also consider going for higher studies in the field of linguistics after completing your Master. 

  • A good score in competitive exams like UGC NET, GATE or the university’s own entrances (BHU, DU). 
  • A masters in Linguistics with a minimum 55% aggregate from a recognized university. 
  • A detailed research proposal might be needed by some universities. 
Top Colleges for Ph.D. in Linguistics





Banaras Hindu University (BHU)



Calcutta University



Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU)

New Delhi


Delhi University (DU)



Jadavpur University



Recommended Read: Liberal Arts Subjects and Top Colleges in India

Studying Abroad

A degree in linguistics abroad is one of the best ways in which students may understand using languages in different cultures and countries, spotting and analysing the differences and similarities between the languages, and an in-depth understanding of the field. It gives an experience of how the career would look like in the years to come. Students may pursue their Bachelors, Masters and even Ph.D. in many countries. Some top colleges for pursuing a degree in linguistics abroad are mentioned here. 

United States of America 





California State University

University of New Brunswick

University of Otago

Buckinghamshire New University

Cleveland State University

University of Regina

University of Waikato

University of the West of England (UWE)

Stephen F. Austin State University

University of Saskatchewan

Massey University

Ulster University

State University of New York at Oswego

Trinity Western University

University of Canterbury

University of Portsmouth

Millersville University

Victoria University of Wellington

Rowan University

University of Auckland

University of Utah



Career Options

A degree in linguistics offers a number of career opportunities in diverse fields. 

Linguists can work as a/an:

  • Public Relations officer
  • Lexicographer
  • Speech and Language Therapist
  • Secondary School Teacher
  • Foreign Language Teacher
  • Publishing copy-editor/proof reader
  • Teaching Assistant
  • Talent Agent
  • Marketing Executive
  • Translator
  • Civil Service and other Government jobs
  • Digital Copywriter
  • Academic Researcher
  • Social Researcher
  • Editorial Assistant
  • Information Officer
  • Public Librarian

Publishing companies, IT and telecommunication firms, marketing and PR companies, language schools, civil services, private hospitals, law and accountancy firms, and media organizations are among the top recruiters. 


Expected Salary

The average salary for a linguist in India is around 6 lakh per annum, ranging from a minimum of 3 lakh per annum to the highest of 11 lakhs per annum. 

As linguists work in diverse fields, the employment rates are high in India and abroad. 



Linguistics is an ever-growing field with an increase in globalization, and dependence on communication and interaction among people from different cultures and geographical locations, hence, making it one of the most prominent careers in today’s world. As a cherry on top, it offers an exciting job role, travelling and a desirable lifestyle. It also offers good pay with high employment rates and opportunities in diverse fields.

Recommended Read: Cultural Studies and its Interdisciplinary Career Pathways

If you feel too overwhelmed and need career guidance, then try Career Counselling Online!

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