Linguistics Careers

This page provides information about the careers of undergraduate and postgraduate UCL Linguistics alumni.

Scroll down for details of the career paths of some of our alumni, or click on one of the links below:

Academic  |  Business  |  Consultancy  |  Education  |  HR Information Technology  |  Internal Communications  |  Interpreting  |  Journalism   |   Law  |  Marketing  |  Publishing PR Speech and Language Therapy  | Teaching Translating  |

Academic

Degree Programme: MA Linguistics Year of Graduation: 2010
Career: Academic

Summary of career path:

  • PhD student in Linguistics at the University of Connecticut, following the MA Linguistics

Benefits of degree in Linguistics:

  • Provided me with a thorough introduction to linguistics and equipped me with sufficient expertise to conduct research on my own.

Top tip:

Sit in as many classes as you want to, get exposed to different fields, and you will find your niche.

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Degree Programme: PhD Linguistics Year of Graduation: 2005
Career: Academic

Summary of career path:

  • Teaching Assistant at the University of Vienna
  • Part-time lecturer at Birkbeck and Queen Mary Westfield College, University of London
  • Research Assistant at Lancaster University
  • Lecturer at Strathclyde University
  • Lecturer, then Senior Lecturer, University of Roehampton
  • Visiting Assistant Professor, University of Cyprus
  • Research Associate, University of Bangor
  • Visiting Professor at the University of Graz
  • Reader at the University of Roehampton

Benefits of degree in Linguistics:

  • being able to spend a lot of time working on something that is fascinating and we all do all day and every day
  • knowing quite a lot about something everybody is affected by (e.g. parents whose children are acquiring language, cares of aphasic etc)

Top tip:

Try to be as clear as possible about the career paths that are available and what is required for each of them.

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Degree Programme: MA Linguistics Year of Graduation: 2005
Career: Academic

Summary of career path:

  • Several years within UK primary and secondary schools, specialising in students with Special Educational Needs (and behavioural difficulties, in particular). During that time, I also volunteered for two summers with an SOS Children’s Village in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, both working with the children and delivering workshops on Special Educational Needs to staff at the attached SOS school.
  • For the last few years, I have been undertaking a PhD in Education at the University of Exeter. This comprises a corpus-based analysis of the relationship between spoken and written grammar, hoping to better understand how adolescents develop their ability to put their underlying grammatical knowledge to work.


Business

Degree Programme: MA Linguistics Year of Graduation: 2011
Career: Business

Summary of career path:

Business growth associate at Facebook

Benefits of degree in Linguistics:

  • Critical thinking, notably problem solving
  • Heightened awareness that context is a driving force behind meaning and decision-making

Top tip:

Let your dissertation be your calling card. There are endless topics that are interesting to research, but choose one that will open doors for where you want to go next.




Consultancy

Degree Programme: BA Linguistics Year of Graduation: 1994
Career: Literacy and Language Consultant

Summary of career path:

  • Clinician and mentor at Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes in Sydney from 1995-1997
  • Clinician at the Speech, Language and Literacy Centre in Sydney from 1997-1999
  • Clinician and teacher trainer at the Dyslexia Assessment Centre in Melbourne from 1999-2000
  • Own consultancy business and literacy/language clinic in Melbourne since 2000

Benefits of degree in Linguistics:

  • Phonetics and phonology, which I majored in, was a subject that continues to be my most valuable knowledge base.
  • Dick Hudson’s ‘Word Grammar’ provided the inspiration for my Grammar for Life text and training.
  • Linguistics taught me to be descriptive, at a time when education is very prescriptive.

Top tip:

Work closely with careers advisors and continue networking with peers.

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Education

Degree Programme: MA Linguistics Year of Graduation: 1992
Career: Education

Summary of career path:

  • 1994-2007: Publishing: lexicography, book authoring, book editing, translating
  • 1994-2007: Teaching
  • 2007- present: Head Linguist at an American company offering online language & culture lessons

Benefits of degree in Linguistics:

Knowledge of Linguistics helped in all sectors of my career: Pragmatics and Semantics helped a lot in lexicography; Awareness of language(s) and Syntax helped design language lessons, decipher how languages work, and tailor translations based on the audience needs; Sensitivity to language helped understand and communicate with people with different mother tongues.

Top tip:

Get involved in many activities and follow many courses in order to find out what you like doing most. Try out freelancing and company work to see where you fit best.


HR

Degree Programme: BA Linguistics Year of Graduation: 1986 Career: HR and Organisation Development

Summary of career path:

  • Training Officer at national DIY store chain, dealing with recruitment and training
  • Management and leadership training at large insurance company
  • 2001 Part-time MA in Organisational Development
  • 1994-present Worked in the NHS for 19 years, currently the Head of Organisation Development

Benefits of degree in Linguistics:

  • Sensitivity to language is very important when observing the way people work and talk in a team and to give them feedback on the language they use and how they communicate. It is also essential for proofreading reports for ambiguity and nuances that may be missed.
  • Psycholinguistics, Sociolinguistics and Pragmatics were particularly relevant.
  • Time and project management were some of the most important skills developed during the degree.

Top tips:

  • Students should be clear about what they can offer, not only in terms of education, but also in terms of all the extracurricular experiences they have. Students should think about gaining experience in other ways even if they are unable to be appointed to a job/internship while studying, for example, volunteering and other self-initiated projects.
  • Lots of preparations for interviews, and researching of the target organisation, the interviewers, their interests, etc. and showing an interest in them


Information Technology

Degree Programme: MA Linguistics Year of Graduation: 1998
Career: IT

Summary of career path:

  • MSc in Computer Science at UCL in 2000
  • Technical positions within an international software company based in Paris since 2000 - initially as a web developer before moving to the development of Business Intelligence (BI) solutions and coordination of virtual global development teams. BI focuses on the transformation and display of data in such a way as to help businesses to make better decisions.

Benefits of degree in Linguistics:

  • The concepts of syntax and semantics are found in the areas of programming and Business Intelligence respectively. In reporting solutions we have the notion of a “semantic layer” that separates the underlying technical implementation from front end display where data objects must be rendered meaningful to the end user.
  • Working remotely with people with different first languages, an increased awareness of the possible impact of written and spoken communication is a real advantage.

Top tips:

  • Ensure you get the opportunity to explain to potential employers what the study of “Linguistics” actually covers, since many people appear to associate this subject with teaching languages only.
  • Punctuality and appropriate dress for interviews and read up on the company beforehand.


Internal Communications

Degree Programme: BA Linguistics Year of Graduation: 1992
Career: Internal Communications

Summary of career path:

Having been sponsored by BT during my course I returned to the company on graduation and spent the next few years working in process and quality management. I developed a bit of a sideline in internal communications, and from 2000 moved to a full-time employee comms role and have been working in that field ever since.

Most recently I’ve spent four years as editorial manager for BT Global Services, which involved drafting many of the CEO’s communications and being editor-in-chief for the internal comms channels.

Benefits of degree in Linguistics:

The degree gave me a restored sense of intellectual self-confidence that I’d lacked for some years before. Having a good grasp of language and grammar has helped me become an effective business writer and editor, especially in a global organisation. As editorial manager I was frequently consulted on points of grammar and usage, and having such a firm theoretical basis was a big help.

Top tip:

I totally agree with this tip someone else offered: “Linguistics graduates should recognise and position themselves as being able to command language. Companies working in all sectors need people who can talk, write, and communicate well at all levels... Even if some employers do not really understand what the study of linguistics is about, the impression that linguists have a good command of language and communication can be taken advantage of.”

Also: make sure you do some interesting extra-curricular activities that you can talk about and that demonstrate capabilities. I’ve done some grad recruitment and it’s hard work getting a full picture of candidates if they just focus on the academic side.



Interpreting

Degree Programme: MA Linguistics Year of Graduation: 2003
Career: Interpreting

Summary of career path:

  • Conference interpreter and interpreter trainer in Brazil

Benefits of degree in Linguistics:

Studying Pragmatics and Semantics at UCL got me interested in interpreting research and allowed me to teach at university and go on to get an MAS in Interpreter Training at the University of Geneva.

Top tip:

Unless you want to go on to research in linguistics, try to think of your MA from an “applied” point of view, and write your dissertation accordingly. This way you will have in depth knowledge about how linguistics can be a useful tool to understand a different field, such as marketing, publishing, journalism, psychology, policy making, environmental sciences, conference interpreting, computer science, or whatever it is you want to do in life.


Journalism

Degree Programme: BA Linguistics Year of Graduation: 1995
Career: Journalism

Summary of career path:

  • Involvement with student publications during studies
  • Postgraduate diploma in periodical journalism
  • Trainee sub-editor, becoming Sub-editor at international newspaper for EFL teachers, EL Gazette
  • Sub-editor, becoming Production editor with various financial magazines at FT Business
  • Deputy production editor, becoming Production editor for The Guardian’s media website
  • Network production editor for theguardian.com (formerly guardian.co.uk)
Benefits of degree in Linguistics:
Modules in semantics, sociolinguistics and psycholinguistics, which all focus on the importance and power of language, are still relevant now. The final year project was also in a relevant area, political correctness in language.
Top tip:
Extracurricular activities are very important. University provides an opportunity to pursue interests beyond your current career path, or that support it, and to discover new skills. Get involved in societies relevant to jobs you'd like to do, such as getting involved with student publications if you want to get into journalism, or that provide you with skills that with would put you at an advantage when applying, such as language learning.

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Degree Programme: BA Linguistics Year of Graduation: 2002 Career: Publishing/Journalism

Summary of career path:

  • 2003-2005 Project Coordinator with a design agency
  • 2005-2007 Part-time MSc in Science Communication
  • 2007-present Editor of scientific newsletter and website

Benefits of degree in Linguistics:

  • awareness of language and communication
  • ability to approach language critically
  • general analytical skills, writing and communication skills
  • essay writing skills did helped to process large amounts of information and put them into short pieces that are easily understandable

Top tip:

Students hoping to go into publishing or journalism would really benefit from doing work experience whilst at university and keeping a portfolio of their writing, e.g. write for the student newspaper or keep a blog. These pieces can be put into the portfolio and provide excellent opportunities to develop your writing skills, whilst also demonstrating to prospective employers that you’re serious about a career in journalism.


Law

Degree Programme: BA Linguistics Year of Graduation: 2011 Career: Law

Summary of career path:

  • MA in Law at the University of Bristol (2011-2013)
  • Intern at Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP
  • HQ Paralegal, Lawyers On Demand

Benefits of degree in Linguistics:

  • Lots of transferable skills, notably problem solving.
  • Linguistic acuity: the ability to spot ambiguity or vagueness is extremely valuable for certain fields, particularly law.
  • Spoken language skills where applicable – capitalise on your ability to sell yourself as an expert in communication, both in English and any modern foreign languages.
  • The chance to stand out at interview as someone who studied something different (and explain why that makes you a better candidate)

Top tips:

  • Don’t confine yourself to the obvious paths; think about the skills your degree equips you with and how those could be valuable in different sectors.
  • Seek out work experience and positions of responsibility during your degree to help demonstrate the skills your employers will be looking for - teamwork, leadership, attention to detail, time management, problem solving, lucid communication and the ability to handle pressure.
  • Join LinkedIn – the pre-set categories for your profile info will give you an idea of the areas in which your CV is lacking.
  • Put together a CV, get the Careers Service to check it over for you and seek advice from them on how to make yourself more employable.
  • If you’re interested in law, attend UCL’s law fair. Read a bit about the firms attending before you go, draw up a shortlist of firms you’d like to speak to and write down some interesting questions to ask.


Marketing

Degree Programme: BA Linguistics Year of Graduation: 2013 Career: Marketing

Summary of career path:

  • Freelanced as a content writer and journalist in the final year of my degree, then found a job as a marketing executive with plans to progress.

Benefits of degree in Linguistics:

  • Linguistics allowed me to clarify my understanding of language and communication in general, particularly the pragmatics modules.
  • It has also improved my ability to manipulate language for the desired effect in my marketing materials, and sociolinguistics has been useful for understanding and tailoring my writing to different audiences.

Top tip:

Be proactive – before I worked in marketing I was marketing myself as a freelancer. Don’t be afraid to ask for work experience and get your name recognised in the industries in which you think you might like to work.

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Publishing (see also the Publishing Case Study)

Degree Programme: BA Linguistics Year of Graduation: 2002 Career: Publishing

Summary of career path:

  • After leaving school and before undertaking degree – administrative work, including in publishing
  • During degree – work in publishing during summer break
  • Since 2003 – editor at a university publisher, first in history, then in linguistics

Benefits of degree in Linguistics:

Knowledge of linguistics is, of course, absolutely essential for the work of a linguistics editor

Top tips:

  • Work experience is extremely important – it is important to show that you are keen about the industry you are intending to go into. Even a few weeks working in the industry over the summer holidays is extremely useful.
  • It is important to find out about the company and research what they do before an interview and application process.
  • Think of the way you come across in a interview – confidence is very important.

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Degree Programme: BA Linguistics Year of Graduation: 2008 Career: Publishing

Summary of career path:

  • 2008-2009: MA in Publishing at UCL
  • 2009-2010: First job as a researcher and writer for a legal publisher, interviewing lawyers and writing editorial
  • 2010-2012: Production coordinator, overseeing and organising legal publications
  • 2012-now: Production manager for a financial publisher

Benefits of degree in Linguistics:

  • It’s a degree that leaves your career path open since the skills acquired are multidisciplinary
  • In an increasingly international environment, employers will value your ability to be aware of and adapt to linguistic differences
  • Being part of the ‘cool’ crowd who can actually read the phonetic transcriptions in dictionaries

Top tip:

Whether you end up working within the field of linguistics itself or selling teacups in China, you get out what you put in. Work hard, and everything else will fall into place.

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Degree Programme: BA Linguistics Year of Graduation: 2004 Career: Publishing

Summary of career path:

  • PA in a government-funded education organisation providing support for teachers and students on the gifted & talented programme in schools
  • Sales rep for 2 publishing houses visiting independent and chain bookshops in North and central London
  • Key Account Manager for children’s publishing house selling to main nationwide high street bookshop chain
  • Special Sales Manager selling to non-traditional book outlets nationwide

Benefits of degree in Linguistics:

Range of transferable skills including keeping to deadlines, keeping to a formal structure and staying organised. The essay experience from the degree also helps to construct a good covering letter, for example.

Top tips:

  • Make the most of the Careers Service
  • Career fairs are very useful to get an idea of what you want to do.

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Degree Programme: BA Linguistics Year of Graduation: 2002 Career: Publishing/Journalism

Summary of career path:

  • 2003-2005 Project Coordinator with a design agency
  • 2005-2007 Part-time MSc in Science Communication
  • 2007-present Editor of scientific newsletter and website

Benefits of degree in Linguistics:

  • awareness of language and communication
  • ability to approach language critically
  • general analytical skills, writing and communication skills
  • essay writing skills did helped to process large amounts of information and put them into short pieces that are easily understandable

Top tip:

Students hoping to go into publishing or journalism would really benefit from doing work experience whilst at university and keeping a portfolio of their writing, e.g. write for the student newspaper or keep a blog. These pieces can be put into the portfolio and provide excellent opportunities to develop your writing skills, whilst also demonstrating to prospective employers that you’re serious about a career in journalism.


PR

Degree Programme: BA Linguistics Year of Graduation: 2002 Career: PR

Summary of career path:

  • 2002 – entry level PR job
  • 2006 – went freelance, working for a number of PR agencies
  • 2012 – started own scientific and healthcare PR company

Benefits of degree in Linguistics:

  • communication skills (oral and written)
  • heightened awareness of how language and communication can be used to advantage in professional situations
  • study of syntax helped in the support of colleagues’ language / communication skills

Top tip:

Linguistics graduates should recognise and position themselves as being able to command language. Companies working in all sectors need people who can talk, write, and communicate well at all levels. Graduates should take advantage of this. Even if some employers do not really understand what the study of Linguistics is about, the impression that Linguists have a good command of language and communication can be taken advantage of.


Speech and Language Therapy

Degree Programme:

  • BA Linguistics
  • MSc Speech and Language Sciences

Year of Graduation:

  • 2010 (undergraduate)
  • 2013 (post-graduate)
Career: Speech and Language Therapy

Summary of career path: 

Being bilingual I have always had an interest in languages and what comes with them: from their different sounding properties to identity, behaviours and way of thinking. My undergraduate degree in linguistics was well structured to address these issues in language not by a means of learning a particular language but rather by understanding what properties underlie all languages of the world and how these properties massively contribute to and shape our perception of the world we live in.

Wondering how I can apply the knowledge and skills I gained from my degree more practically, I looked into the career path of speech therapy. I did this by volunteering with the Stroke Association and working as a speech and language therapy assistant. My experience here in addition to my undergraduate degree helped me to learn more around how to help people who have lost their language and communication skills we so often take for granted.

These experiences really helped me in applying for the UCL masters programme in Speech and Language Sciences where I was then equipped with both a theoretical, research and practical background in this career path.

Benefits of degree in Linguistics:

  • So much of what you learn from the linguistics course is introduced in the Msc Speech and Language Sciences course. Moreover the depth you go into subjects such as syntax, pragmatics and phonetics in undergraduate linguistics is far greater than the amount of detail you need to know to succeed in the masters course. Therefore, you really do have already a lot of skills and knowledge that you will use in your endeavour as a speech and language therapist.
  • Linguistics doesn’t just look at one language. This makes the course more challenging but equally more rewarding. As we are now living in an ever more global society with bilingual speakers being the norm, you will be able to apply the skills you learnt from this course to help you whenever you endeavour to learn any world language.

Top tip: 

  • If you want to pursue a career in speech and language therapy, I can’t stress enough how important it is to gain experience. Look into volunteering for charities if you can’t find a job relevant to the field as I believe that this will help you not only in being accepted for the masters course but also in entering the profession after finishing.
  • I think if you are unsure if Linguistics is right for you as a degree, it would help to read into the subject with more contemporary literature as this will give you an idea of the kind of points and issues you will be looking at in the course.

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Degree Programme: BA Linguistics
Year of Graduation: 2003
Career: Speech and Language Therapy

Summary of career path: 

Following my Linguistics degree, I took some time to think about what career I wanted to pursue. I worked part time as a Learning Support Assistant in various schools as I was interested in paediatric language development. I then became a Research Assistant at UCL in the Human Communication Department working on a project looking at very early processing skills as predictors of later language impairment. I loved research and collecting the data from the clients and worked with a SLT on the team. However, I lacked an understanding of the clinical relevance of the data I was collecting and this was a huge issue. I therefore applied for the MSc in Speech and Language Sciences at UCL. I enjoyed my first year (paediatrics) but found my passion for working with adults in my second year. I qualified in 2006 as a Speech and Language Therapist and now specialise in Head and Neck Oncology. I am still keen to return to research and carry out some small scale studies as part of my clinical role which I am hoping to publish. My dream would be to apply for a PhD at some point.

Benefits of degree in Linguistics:

  • I already had a good understanding of semantics and pragmatics which was really helpful when learning about autism, right hemisphere and frontal stroke and so on.
  • Linguistics gave me an excellent grounding in phonetics and phonology- I didn’t have to revise at all for this part of my MSc and my transcription skills are like second nature to me compared with my colleagues who did not come from a Linguistics background!!
  • I was really interested in language development when I studied Linguistics and was particularly interested in critical periods, modularity, modularisation, and so on. Having a grounding in theoretical thinking about language development was invaluable to me as I was already aware of theories and studies in the area which I could link to what I was seeing clinically.

Top tip: 

Get some varied work experience in the area for example stroke clubs; learning support in schools; charities; communication partners schemes. Few SLT departments allow people to come in and observe as we already have to take so many students and are inundated with requests but are very short staffed most of the time. Therefore, the best thing to do is to look for work through which you will be exposed to working alongside SLT’s. For example, by working as a Learning Support Assistant, I carried out SLT programmes for the children I worked with. By working in research, I worked alongside an SLT and learned how to carry out many SLT formal assessments within a research context. Think outside the box. The course is hard work, and work is becoming harder to find in the face of NHS reforms. Make sure the job is for you before you apply as it is not an easy road, and I believe it is harder now than when I qualified from what students and newly qualified practitioners tell me. If it is the job for you, it is extremely rewarding.


Teaching

Degree Programme: BA Linguistics (International Programme)
Year of Graduation: 2010 Career: Teaching

Summary of career path: 

After my BA in Linguistics I have pursued a Master’s in Modern Greek and then went back home to Lithuania where I am now teaching at a university. I started off as a lecturer of Business English but now I mainly teach translation courses (from English to Lithuanian) which I enjoy a lot.

Benefits of degree in Linguistics:

During my degree, I have gained a better understanding of how languages work which certainly makes it easier to teach languages. Studying in UK and Italy has enabled me to see different teaching methods that I am now able to apply at my job.

Top tip:

Patience and enthusiasm are the two qualities that you need to have if you are considering a career in teaching.

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Degree Programme: MA Linguistics
Year of Graduation: 2007 Career: Secondary school teacher of Mandarin

Summary of career path: 

After graduation, I decided to discover more job opportunities in the UK as a teacher of Mandarin. I’ve found that it is a promising career in this country as the teaching of Chinese is still developing and growing year by year. Therefore, I applied for the PGCE in Community Languages, straight into education. It has been a very rewarding job but nonetheless requires serious hard work

Benefits of degree in Linguistics:

I can say happily that my study at UCL Linguistics has given me an advantage in job applications. In addition, I feel that my expertise in syntax enables me to explain Chinese grammar clearly and analytically to pupils, especially useful given the fact that there is a big disparity between Mandarin and English.

Top tip:

Explore every aspect of university life and be adventurous.

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Degree Programme: BA Linguistics
Year of Graduation: 2006 Career: ELT (English Language Teaching)

Summary of career path: 

I graduated in 2006 and in my 3rd year of study I took the UCL Language Centre’s TEFL course as a course module. It turned out to be the course module that defined my career path! I went straight to Japan to start my first teaching job and since then have taught in Vietnam, Costa Rica, the UK, Argentina and now Ecuador. While I was in Argentina I took the Cambridge DELTA course (Diploma of English Language Teaching to adults) which is equivalent to a Masters degree. I have worked mostly with an organisation called International House which has quality English schools all around the globe and which offer excellent training and professional development (ihworld.com). I’m experienced in teaching young learners, general and Business English, one to one as well as English for international exams and teacher development. I am also an examiner of Cambridge English oral exams. I hope to get more experience training teachers and eventually become a CELTA/DELTA tutor while still teaching regular classes, which is the best part of it all.

Benefits of degree in Linguistics:

Sets you in good stead immediately for a career in ELT since a lot of the topics I studied are directly relevant to my work context. For example, I teach phonology and use the phonemic chart in classes. (However I wish I had taken the syntax module at uni since I think this would have helped even more to get to grips with English grammar). I have also been teaching local Ecuadorian teachers about spoken/written discourse and pragmatics which help them help their own students express themselves better.

Top tip:

Although it’s incredibly easy to get into ELT especially with a linguistics degree and CELTA/TEFL certificate, don’t limit yourself once you’re in. Make sure you continue to have professional development projects and take as many courses available as possible. Your students will definitely appreciate it and you will feel a great sense of achievement when you can see how much they’re learning.

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Degree Programme:

  • BA (Hons) Linguistics
  • MSc Speech and Hearing Sciences
Year of Graduation: 1998 & 2000 respectively Career: Secondary English Teacher

Summary of career path: 

I went to the University of Reading after my MSc, to do a PhD in Psycholinguistics (Perception) and to work in the Linguistics department there, teaching Phonetics. I decided a PhD wasn’t for me, so left there and started a PGCE in English (with Drama) at the University of York, a few months later.

I qualified in 2002 and got my first job at a school in Southampton. I stayed there a year, completed my NQT Induction and achieved Qualified Teacher Status. I then moved to a large, ‘Outstanding’ secondary school in Winchester, where I happily worked for 6 years. I gained a couple of responsibility posts during that time and I was also given the chance to teach French and Italian to Year 7 pupils, which I loved.

In 2009, I decided I wanted to ‘spread my wings’, get married and have an adventure! So, I managed to secure a job working for ‘Service Children’s Education’ in British Forces Germany. I have worked at two ‘Outstanding’ schools in Germany since then, but am returning to the UK this year because the school is closing, as part of the draw – down of troops.

I’m looking forward to my next position, despite the current educational climate! At the end of the day, teaching is one of the most challenging, but also most rewarding, professions to be in.

Benefits of degree in Linguistics:

When I trained, the ‘National Literacy Strategy’ was being piloted in secondary schools. It subsequently became practice in all schools (for a few years!) and my Linguistics degree certainly helped me get onto my PGCE course at that particular time. The course was a competitive one, with many of us having higher degrees, so I have UCL Linguistics to thank for my acceptance, I think!

Most English teachers have English degrees and, consequently, a specialism in Literature. My Linguistics background has always helped me to stand out, because many departments are keen to have ‘a Language / grammar specialist’ in their teams.

Top tip:

If you are interested in becoming a teacher, try to get some experience as a Teaching Assistant or a Cover Supervisor, as this will help you stand out in any PGCE application (as will your Linguistics degree, of course!)

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Degree Programme: Postgraduate Diploma and then PhD Year of Graduation: Left 1986; PhD awarded 1990 Career: Teaching

Summary of career path: 

When at UCL I lectured part-time in Historical Linguistics at the (then) Polytechnic of Central London and in Linguistics at Goldsmiths’ College. In 1986 I worked full time on the EUROTRA Project in the department of Linguistics at the University of Essex. In 1990 I became a teacher of French and German in the private school system and have been there ever since.

Benefits of degree in Linguistics:

Linguistics has provided an excellent background for teaching languages. Having an awareness of structure in language gives a great advantage in terms of explaining grammar in a much more systematic way. It is really good to be able to get the system across rather than just trying to explain apparently unrelated phenomena. Phonetics has helped greatly in aiding pupils to get to grips with pronunciation and it is very useful to be able to fill in detail of historical aspects of language for the pupils. It makes it a much more rewarding process all round.

Top tip: 

Listen to what they tell you on a PGCE course but do not be hide bound by courses and text books. Dare to teach grammar explicitly!


Translating

Degree Programme: MA Linguistics
Year of Graduation: 2013 Career: Translating

Summary of career path: 

  • after completing the course, started working for an agency as a translator: Translating documents, broadcasting on ITV and simultaneous interpreting.

Benefits of degree in Linguistics:

Knowledge of logic and pragmatics, phonetics and syntax is directly used for my employment. 

Top tip: 

To study Linguistics in theory is not for the sake of knowledge itself, it is related to employment when the job is related to languages.

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