Learn how much more you can do when you attend one of these best schools for linguistics.
Linguistics (the scientific study of language) is one of the most interesting topics one can study while pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree. Language influences almost all aspects of our lives, a linguistics degree program is naturally highly interdisciplinary.
Moreso, Linguistics is one of the most multi-faceted areas of study, hence, there are diverse concentrations and emphasis you could choose to examine.
However, to be successful in the field, you have to go for the affordable linguistic programs that offer high-quality instructions and resources. Therefore, to aid your search; whether you’re interested in language acquisition, historical linguistics, language documentation, or computational linguistics, we’ve compiled a list of the following best schools for linguistic in the world.
Table of Contents
- History Of Linguistics
- List of best schools for linguistics in the World
- #1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- #2. Stanford University
- #3. Yale University
- #4. Harvard University
- #5. Brown University
- #6. Rice University
- #7. Dartmouth College
- #8. Cornell University
- #9. New York University
- #10. University of Pennsylvania
- #11. University of Rochester
- #12. Bucknell University
- #13. Carnegie Mellon University
- FAQs on best schools for linguistics in the World
- How many years does it take to become a linguist?
- What is taught in linguistics?
- Is linguistics a science?
- Are linguists in demand?
- Where can linguists work?
History Of Linguistics
Linguistics is the scientific study of language. It involves an analysis of language form, language meaning, and language in context.
Around the 6th century BCE, the father of Linguistics Pānini an Indian scholar began to systematically study Linguistics. Formal linguistics later originated in Ancient Greece as well. Starting around the 4th century BCE, China also established its own grammatical traditions. Traditions of Arabic grammar and Hebrew grammar developed during the Middle Ages, also in a religious context.
Modern linguistics started to evolve in the 18th century with work almost entirely focusing around Indo-European studies and leading to a highly detailed and steady reconstruction of the Proto-Indo-European language.
The first half of the 20th century was marked by the structuralist school, based on the work of Ferdinand de Saussure in Europe and Edward Sapir and Leonard Bloomfield in the United States. The 1960s saw the emergence of many new fields in linguistics, such as Noam Chomsky’s generative grammar, William Labov’s sociolinguistics, Michael Halliday’s systemic functional linguistics, and also modern psycholinguistics.
What Is Linguistics?
Linguistics is the scientific study of language. It involves examining language form, language meaning, and language in context. Linguists traditionally examine human language by recognizing an interplay between sound and meaning.
In other words, linguistics is the study of language, how it works, how it is gained and how people use it to interact. Furthermore, linguists are often interested in and can speak a diversity of languages. Hence, linguists know more about how language works, rather than having the capacity to speak and understand multiple languages. A polyglot is a person who speaks a multitude of languages. So if linguistics doesn’t teach you distinct languages, why study it?
Why Study Linguistics?
Linguistics helps us understand our world
Every language captures unique conceptualizations of the world and has its own ways of composing words, phrases, and sentences for relating ideas. As we compare the words and structures of different languages, we come to a greater knowledge of our world. Apart from simply knowing the difficulties of world languages, this knowledge can be applied to advancing communication between people, contributing to translation activities, helping in literacy efforts, and handling speech disorders. And, of course, linguistic training is valuable for studying and learning languages.
Linguistics helps us empower people
Because language captures how we see the world around us and how we associate with one another, it defines who we are. The Mother tongue language we grow up with is the one used to reveal what is in our hearts. Many minority language communities are marginalized because of their cultural background, or because their heart language is not the language of power.
As a result, thousands of minority language communities do not have access to education in a language that they can understand. They become confined in a cycle of poverty and discrimination, simply because they are not part of the majority language and culture.
How much does a Linguist make?
Some linguistics majors who pursue a Ph.D. find work in academia, teaching courses in English, linguistics or foreign languages. English, literature and linguistics professors earn an average of about $67,980 per year, according to the BLS. Foreign-language professors earned an average of $66,730 per year.
The estimated average salary of a Linguist is about $55,592 per year in the United States. Salary estimates are based on 327 salaries submitted anonymously to Indeed by Linguist employees, users, and collected from past and present job advertisements on Indeed in the past 36 months. The typical tenure for a Linguist is 1-3 years.
What can you do with a degree in linguistics?
The skills gained through a linguistics degree can be adapted for most industries. Direct career paths that can be followed are lexicographer, speech and language therapist, language teacher, copy editor, proofreader or a role in communications.
How long does it take to get a linguistics degree?
Linguistics degrees normally take three or four years to complete depending on the country, or if you wish to study linguistics alongside a modern language, you may get the opportunity to offer a longer course with one year spent studying abroad.
Can I study Linguistics Online?
YES. For anyone who is working but wishes to study linguistics, then attending a traditional on-campus linguistics program can disrupt your work, life, and family. Online linguistic programs let you complete your education on a flexible schedule that works for you while still earning the same degree that residential linguistics students earn.
List of best schools for linguistics in the World
Just as important as making a decision on your major is, so is deciding the university or college that will be the most beneficial to the career path you’ve chosen. With thousands of higher education institutions in the world, where do you start to look as you narrow down your choices on where to study language and linguistics? Have no fear.
We’ve compiled a list of 13 best schools to study languages and linguistics in the world, combining schools from all across the country. This list will give you just enough options to make an educated decision about where you want to further your schooling in the fields of languages and linguistics
Here is a list of 13 best schools to study linguistics
#1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MIT is an elite private college located in Cambridge, Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Boston Area. It is a small school with an enrollment of 4,510 undergraduate students. Admissions are very competitive as the MIT acceptance rate is only 7%. Common majors include Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering, and Mathematics. Graduating 94% of students, MIT alumni go on to earn a starting salary of $82,200.
The Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is profoundly rated for its research efforts. Student research is the prime focus of the department’s linguistics degree program. While preference is given to graduate students, there are some research assistantships open to undergraduates.
Much of MIT’s linguistics analysis is carried out at the on-campus Language Acquisition Lab, which partners with local preschools and similar centers. The department also sponsors many activities, including fieldwork, colloquium series, and discussion groups.
Net Price: $22,212
#2. Stanford University
Stanford is also an elite private university located in Stanford, California in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is a mid-size institution with an enrollment of about 7,064 undergraduate students. Admissions are notably competitive as the Stanford acceptance rate is only about 5%. Common majors include Computer Science, Biology, and Engineering. Graduating 94% of students, Stanford alumni earn a starting salary of about $70,400.
Stanford University grants a diversity of degree programs for students interested in studying linguistics. In addition to an undergraduate major and minor in linguistics, the school offers a unique joint major in Computer Science and Linguistics.
Exceptionally motivated students may also apply to Stanford’s selective Coterminal Master’s program, which enables them to pursue a BA in linguistics and an MA in linguistics at the same time. For graduate students, the university has a stand-alone MA program as well as a doctoral program and a Ph.D. minor.
Net Price: $17,952
#3. Yale University
Yale is an elite private university located in New Haven, Connecticut. It is a moderate size institution with an enrollment of about 5,743 undergraduate students. Admissions are highly competitive as the Yale acceptance rate is only about 7%. Common majors include Economics, Political Science and Government, and History. Graduating 97% of students, Yale alumni go on to earn a starting salary of about $56,600.
The Department of Linguistics at Yale University offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate degree programs with interest in fields of study such as phonetics, phonology, syntax, historical linguistics, and more. Undergraduate students pursuing a bachelor’s in linguistics frequently participate in research alongside faculty members through paid positions, independent study, and assistantships. Ph.D. students receive individualized attention from faculty to ensure adequate progress as well as financial support from the university throughout the five-year program.
Net Price: $19,317
#4. Harvard University
Harvard is one of the best private universities in the world located in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the Boston Area. It is a moderate size institution with an enrollment of about 7,147 undergraduate students. Admissions are highly competitive as the Harvard acceptance rate is only about 5%. Common majors include Economics, Computer Science, and History. Graduating 96% of students, Harvard alumni earn a starting salary of about $70,300.
The Department of Linguistics at Harvard University prides itself on its extensive variety of available courses, its small size, and its special opportunities. Linguistics degree students are encouraged to combine linguistics with a linked field or partake in the Mind/Brain/Behavior program, an interdisciplinary program that enables students to take specific courses, conduct research, and partake in events.
In fact, many opportunities are accessible outside of special programs, including department-sponsored workshops, seminars, and friendly discussions among faculty and students.
Net Price: $15,095
#5. Brown University
Brown is a special private university located in Providence, Rhode Island. It is a moderate size institution with an enrollment of about 6,666 undergraduate students. Admissions are very competitive as the Brown acceptance rate is only about 8%. Common majors include Biology, Economics, and Computer Science. Graduating 95% of students, Brown alumni averagely earn a starting salary of about $52,500.
Brown University offers a Ph.D. in Linguistics and an undergraduate Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences degree program with a focus in Linguistics. These programs are extremely interdisciplinary, mainly in regards to research. Both graduate and undergraduate students are capable to partake in research, even independent research. This independent research is promoted by the department’s honors program, which is accessible to exceptional linguistics degree students. Other advancement opportunities are also available through seminars and events sponsored by the department.
#6. Rice University
Rice is a highly rated private university located in Houston, Texas. It is a small institution with an enrollment of 3,916 undergraduate students. Admissions are competitive as the Rice acceptance rate is 16%. Popular majors include Economics, Information Science, and Chemical Engineering. Graduating 91% of students, Rice alumni go on to earn a starting salary of $56,600.
The Department of Linguistics at Rice University offers a BA in the linguistics degree program and a Ph.D. degree program. As one of the best schools for Linguistics in the world, students in these two programs are able to customize their education by picking one of many available specializations or focus, such as cognitive science, laboratory phonology, language, culture, and society.
Outside of the classroom, students can partake in a student organization or the events hosted by the department. These events include a weekly colloquium series and the biennial Symposium on Language and Linguistics.
Net Price: $20,512
#7. Dartmouth College
Dartmouth is an elite private college located in Hanover, New Hampshire. It is a small institution with an enrollment of 4,360 undergraduate students. Admissions are very competitive as the Dartmouth acceptance rate is 10%. Common majors include Economics, Political Science and Government, and Computer Science. Graduating 96% of students, Dartmouth alumni earn a starting salary of $58,900.
Dartmouth College’s linguistics degree program offers its students a customizable education with many interesting chances to put this education into practice before graduation. The linguistics major can be modified with any other major, and students are able to pick courses that meet their needs and interests.
Students have ample opportunities for research through Presidential Scholarships, honors thesis research, and grant-funded research assistantships. Students also frequently present their research at events such as the Harvard University Undergraduate Linguistics Colloquium and the Linguistic Society of America Annual Meeting.
Net Price: $21,277
#8. Cornell University
Cornell is a renowned private university located in Ithaca, New York. It is a large institution with an enrollment of 14,898 undergraduate students and one of the best schools for linguistics in the world. Admissions are very competitive as the Cornell acceptance rate is 13%. Common majors include Biology, Computer Science, and Business. Graduating 93% of students, Cornell alumni earn a starting salary of $64,800.
Cornell University is a large special research university that offers its linguistics degree students many high-quality resources and interesting opportunities. Despite the size of the university, the Department of Linguistics is small. This allows students to enjoy smaller classes and individual attention without giving up the chances available at a large university.
The department has various linguistics research labs, including the Computational Linguistics Lab, the Phonetics Lab, and the Language Documentation Lab. It also sponsors an honors program, student organizations, and an annual colloquium.
Net Price: $28,537
#9. New York University
NYU is a special private university located in Manhattan, New York in the New York City Area. It is a large institution with an enrollment of about 25,347 undergraduate students. Admissions are competitive as the NYU acceptance rate is 28%. Common majors include Liberal Arts and Humanities, Business, and Economics. Graduating 84% of students, NYU alumni go on to earn a starting salary of about $48,900.
Linguistics students at New York University have access to various resources and opportunities, most of which are available to both graduate and undergraduate students. NYU is home to numerous high-tech research labs that facilitate student and faculty research in areas such as Morphology, Experimental Phonology, and Sociolinguistics.
Students may study abroad, partake in internships, and attend events hosted by the department. Exceptional linguistics degree students can also apply to the Honors Program, which offers chances for independent study and advanced courses. Obviously, it is one of the best schools for Linguistics in the world.
#10. University of Pennsylvania
Penn is a special private university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is a very large institution with an enrollment of 10,496 undergraduate students. Admissions are very competitive as the Penn acceptance rate is only 9%. Common majors include Finance, Nursing, and Economics. Graduating 96% of students, Penn alumni earn a starting salary of about $71,600.
Founded in 1947 by Zellig Harris, the Department of Linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania is the oldest modern linguistics department in the nation. For undergraduates, the school offers two minors, a major in linguistics, and an accelerated degree program resulting in a master’s degree in just four years.
Graduate students seeking the university’s Ph.D. program may choose areas of focus such as American Sign Language, Computational Linguistics, and Semantics, among others. UPenn is home to both the Institute for Research in Cognitive Sciences and the Linguistics Data Consortium.
Net Price: $22,694
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#11. University of Rochester
Rochester is a special private university located in Rochester, New York. It is a medium-sized institution with an enrollment of about 6,250 undergraduate students. Admissions are fairly competitive as the Rochester acceptance rate is 34%. Common majors include Nursing, Biology, and Economics. Graduating 85% of students, Rochester alumni go on to earn a starting salary of about $44,800.
The University of Rochester is home to strong undergraduate and graduate linguistics programs. While undergraduates may declare a minor or a major in linguistics, graduate students can seek an MA in linguistics, an MA in language documentation and description, an MS in computational linguistics, or a doctoral degree through the university’s interdepartmental PhD program. All linguistics degree students experience a supportive and knowledgeable faculty who make significant research contributions in experimental syntax, experimental semantics, language documentation, and neuroscience.
Net Price: $32,996
#12. Bucknell University
Bucknell is an elite private university located in East Buffalo Township, Pennsylvania. It is a small institution with an enrollment of 3,585 undergraduate students. Admission is fairly competitive as the Bucknell acceptance rate is 31%. Common majors include Economics, Psychology, and Political Science and Government. Graduating 90% of students, Bucknell alumni earn a starting salary of $57,700.
The linguistics degree program at Bucknell University offers its students a diversity in their education. Experiential learning is a priority at Bucknell. This means that during their time in the program, students learn through non-traditional study, seminars, advanced courses, and research. Some professors even include opportunities for real-world experience as part of their more traditional classes. A particularly interesting aspect of Bucknell is its learning communities. Affinity Housing and Residential Colleges are housing options built around students’ academic interests. This allows students to connect across disciplines and learn in a more casual environment.
Net Price: $33,127
#13. Carnegie Mellon University
Michigan is one of the best schools for linguistics. It is an elite public university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the Detroit Area. It is a very large institution with an enrollment of about 28,702 undergraduate students. Admission is competitive as the Michigan acceptance rate is 27%. Common majors include Information Science, Business, and Research and Experimental Psychology. Graduating 92% of students, Michigan alumni go on to earn a starting salary of about $49,800.
Michigan State University is home to the Department of Linguistics and Germanic, Slavic, Asian, and African Languages. The department’s linguistics degree program offers its students a unique atmosphere in which to learn as well as a rigorous curriculum.
This program is designed to educate students in the core areas of theoretical linguistics rather than applied linguistics. This is ideal for students only interested in researching or teaching linguistics. Students have various areas of specialization to pick from, and most of these areas have related research groups and labs.
Net Price: $14,791
FAQs on best schools for linguistics in the World
How many years does it take to become a linguist?
Master’s degree programs in linguistics are designed to provide a professional, rather than strictly academic, credential in an area with many practical applications, like computational linguistics or sociolinguistics. Some of these programs may be completed in 12 months, instead of the normal two years.
What is taught in linguistics?
Linguistics is a major that gives you insight into one of the most intriguing aspects of human knowledge and behavior. Majoring in linguistics means that you will learn about many aspects of human language, including sounds (phonetics, phonology), words (morphology), sentences (syntax), and meaning (semantics).
Is linguistics a science?
Linguistics is the science of language, and linguists are scientists who apply the scientific method to questions about the nature and function of language. Linguists conduct formal studies of speech sounds, grammatical structures, and meaning across all the world’s over 6,000 languages.
Are linguists in demand?
Receive a B.A. in Linguistics, coupled with excellent multilingual skills, and work as a translator. For example, translators of American Sign Language are in demand in many places in the U.S. In recent years, the demand for people with such backgrounds has exploded, and linguists are in high demand.
Where can linguists work?
Linguistics graduates also go into jobs where they can use their knowledge of linguistics directly, such as working for dictionary compilers or as proofreaders and editors. Others train as speech and language therapists or as teachers, or find work teaching English as a foreign or second language.
Linguistics is one of the most interesting topics one can study while pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree. Language influences almost all aspects of our lives, a linguistics degree program is naturally highly interdisciplinary.
Furthermore, linguistics is the scientific study of language. It involves examining language form, language meaning, and language in context. Hence, linguists traditionally examine human language by recognizing an interplay between sound and meaning.
So, this article throws great light on career opportunities open to you as a linguist and helps you choose the best school for you. Considering the program type, acceptance rate, and tuition fee of these universities, I bet you will be sought after upon completion of your academic degree