What can I do with a degree in English Language and Linguistics?

Find out where the range of skills you develop studying English language and linguistics can take you. Here we list potential careers and tell you how you can find a job in this sector.

English Language and Linguistics careers

The jobs listed below are a selection of those which may interest English Language and Linguistics students and graduates and offer the opportunity to use your degree directly.

Speech and Language Therapy 

Speech and language therapists help patients of all ages with varying levels of speech, language and communication problems, or difficulties in swallowing, drinking or eating.

Prospects job profile: Speech and Language Therapist

Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists: How to become a speech and language therapist


Speech technology, automatic translation, intelligent search engines, computer-mediated language learning and other areas hire linguists.  Success in these jobs will require different degrees of technical experience, some possible relevant roles include:

Prospects job profile: Technical author

Computer science: Information architect

Media bistro: Content strategist

Zippia: Computational linguist

Prospects job profile: Data scientist

Secondary School Teacher

To teach in state schools (excluding academies and free schools) in England and Wales, you must complete a period of “initial teacher training”, such as a one-year Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) course or school-centred training, which leads to Qualified Teacher Status. Drama is a popular subject so it is important to build up teaching-related experience during your undergraduate degree and to apply each for teacher training.

Prospects job profile: Secondary school teacher

Get into Teaching: Life as a teacher

Teacher of English as a Foreign Language

English as a foreign language (EFL) teachers help adults and children to learn or improve their English in the UK and in other countries

Prospects job profile: English as a foreign language teacher

Translation and interpreting

Additional training may be required for roles in Translation and Interpreting.

Prospects job profile: Translator

Prospects job profile: Interpreter


As a copy-editor or proofreader you'll ensure that material is clear, consistent, complete and credible, and that text is well written, grammatically correct and accessible.

Prospects job profile: Publishing copy editor / proofreader    

Publishers Association: Work in publishing – publishing careers       


Solicitors take instructions from clients (who may be individuals, groups, public sector organisations or private companies) and provide expert legal support on a range of personal and commercial issues.

Prospects job profile: Solicitor
The Lawyer portal: What is a solicitor? What does a solicitor do?


Barristers are specialists in advocacy, presenting clients' cases in Court. Generally, they are hired by solicitors to represent a case in court and only become involved once advocacy before a court is needed.

Most barristers work in sets of chambers on a self-employed basis. Others are employed in public sector bodies such as the Crown Prosecution Service and the Government Legal Service, and in the in-house legal departments of companies

Prospects job profile: Barrister

Bar Council: Becoming a barrister


Chartered Legal Executive

The work of Chartered Legal Executives is similar to that of solicitors. They are qualified lawyers who usually specialise in one area of law, some of the most common being property, family, employment, personal injury, civil and criminal litigation, wills and probate, and public law (such as welfare benefits or immigration).

Prospects job profile: Chartered Legal Executive
The Lawyer Portal: Chartered Legal Executive

Advertising Account Executive (also known as Account Handler; Client Services Executive)

Advertising account executives are the bridge between the client and the agency. Account Executives are responsible for ensuring the smooth running of client accounts within the agency. They need to develop effective working relationships with client contacts. They will get involved with solving problems, drafting internal and external communications, and documenting progress on a variety of agency projects.

Prospects job profile: Advertising account executive
Institute of Practitioners in Advertising: Account Executive


Many government agencies employ language and linguistics experts (e.g. MI5Diplomatic Service)

MI5: Graduate development programmes
MI5: Technology at MI5
MI5: Language careers
MI5: Specialist roles at MI5
MI5: Corporate roles at MI5
MI5: Working with intelligence

Prospects job profile: Diplomatic service officer


Lexicographers have a fascination for words and how their meanings develop and change over time. The work involves writing, compiling, and editing dictionaries for print and online publication.

Prospects job profile: Lexicographer

Forensic Linguistics

In its broadest sense, “forensic linguistics” covers all areas where law and language intersect.

International Association of Forensic Linguistics: Forensic linguistics


Journalists research, write and present stories, features and articles across a range of media platforms – newspapers, magazines, television, radio and internet. Experience gained in student journalism will be helpful in breaking into this area.
Target jobs: Journalist
National Council for the Training of Journalist: Journalism career guide 

University Lecturer

As well as teaching through lectures and seminars, academic staff in higher education also carry out research and a wide range of administrative and pastoral tasks. Although a teaching qualification is not required, you will need a higher degree, normally a PhD. Competition is strong for entry-level academic posts.
Prospects job profile: Higher education lecturer
Target job profile: Higher education lecturer

Please note that some of these careers may require further study.

You may be interested in graduate roles outside of English Language and Linguistics. There are many employers who are looking for graduates with good degrees but that do not have a preference for the subject studied. To explore different career options, see:

Other careers

A degree in English Language and Linguistics may be useful in the following career areas:


Library and information staff manage, organise, evaluate and disseminate information. In specialist libraries and information units, such as those in law firms and the Inns of Court or universities, law graduates may be able to use their subject knowledge directly.

Prospects job profile: Academic librarian
Prospects job profile: Public librarian
Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals: Career support toolkit


Arts Administrator

An arts administrator manages activities and services which support the arts sector, involving projects and initiatives provided by arts organisations.

Prospects job profile: Arts administrator
Target jobs: Arts administrator

Civil Service Fast Streamer

The Civil Service Fast Stream is a leadership development programme for those wanting to become senior leaders within the Civil Service

Prospects job profile: Civil Service Fast Streamer

Read about the 15 different Fast Stream schemes


Charity Officer

There are a range of different roles within charities including project management, volunteer co-ordination and fundraising.

Prospects job profile: Charity officer
Charity Job: Careers in the Charity Sector



A runner is an entry-level position, the most junior role in the production department of a broadcast, film or video company.
Prospects job profile: Runner
Screen Skills: Production runner

Chartered Accountant

Chartered accountants are never limited to one discipline. You can take your career into a diverse range of specialist areas including auditing, taxation, corporate finance, forensic accounting and business recovery.

Prospects job profile: Chartered Accountant
Inside Careers: Chartered Accountancy
The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales

Human Resources Officer

Human resources officers develop, advise on and implement policies relating to the effective use of staff in an organisation. Responsibilities include hiring, developing and looking after employees. This involves functions such as training and monitoring performance.

Prospects job profile: Human resources officer
Chartered Institute for Personal Development: HR generalist roles

Retail manager

Retail managers are responsible for the day-to-day running of stores or departments. This may involve responsibility for a wide range of business functions, depending on the size of the store and company structure, such as human resources, marketing, logistics, IT, customer service and finance.

Prospects job profile: Retail manager
Target jobs: Retail manager

You may be interested in graduate roles outside of English Language and Linguistics. There are many employers who are looking for graduates with good degrees but that don’t have a preference for the subject studied. To explore different career options see:

Target Jobs: Information on career sectors

Skills gained

English Language and Linguistics graduates develop a wide range of skills that are valuable to graduate employers.

Skills specific to English

Graduates who have studied English are able to:

  • Read closely and critically
  • Analyse texts and discourses, and respond to the affective power of language, using appropriate approaches and terminology
  • Develop independent and imaginative interpretations of literary, critical, linguistic or creative material
  • Articulate a critical understanding of complex texts and ideas (and of their historical relations where appropriate)
  • Write clearly, accurately and effectively
  • Apply scholarly bibliographic skills appropriate to the subject.

Generic and graduate skills

Graduates who have studied English are effective researchers, good communicators and active learners. They contribute to society and are highly sought after by employers. They are able to:

  • Discover and synthesize complex information and diverse evidence
  • Respond creatively and imaginatively to research tasks
  • Initiate projects of their own
  • Present information within wider contexts
  • Test, interpret and analyse information and evidence independently and critically, producing from that analysis cogent arguments and decisive judgements
  • Plan, organise and report to deadline.

 English graduates possess advanced communication skills. They are able to:

  • Articulate their own and other people's ideas concisely, accurately and persuasively both orally and in writing
  • Develop working relationships with others in teams, especially through constructive dialogue (for example, by listening, asking and responding to questions)
  • Understand the role of narrative and emotion in decision-making
  • Be sensitive to cultural contexts when working with others.
  • English graduates are active, lifelong learners. They are able to:
  • Adapt to different demands and tasks
  • Appreciate the benefit of giving and receiving feedback
  • Evaluate and reflect on their own practices and assumptions
  • Look beyond the immediate task to the wider context, including the social and commercial effects of their work
  • Initiate and take responsibility for their own work

Skills specific to linguistics

  • Hypothesis formulation and testing
  • Experimental design; the design of research projects
  • Critically evaluating the merits of contrasting theories, explanations and evidence
  • Distinguishing descriptive systems from the data they describe
  • Abstracting and synthesising information; collecting, analysing and manipulating data of diverse kinds
  • Constructing and developing coherent lines of argumentation within a scientific discipline
  • Acquiring and organising complex information taken from a variety of sources
  • Recognising problems and developing problem-solving strategies, and evaluating their effectiveness
  • Using a variety of methodologies, and assessing the advantages and disadvantages of each
  • Communicating both in writing and in oral presentation in a well-structured, fluent, concise and precise manner
  • Constructing substantial pieces of prose such as essays and research reports, using the appropriate register and style and with proper referencing, and exhibiting advanced literacy and, where appropriate, numeracy
  • Using the necessary computational tools and software packages wherever appropriate for the analysis of data
  • Understanding of and compliance with the ethical and legal issues involved in data collection and data storage
  • Working independently; demonstrating initiative and self-motivation; having effective organisational skills and time management
  • Working with others to negotiate and achieve common goals, and engaging with stakeholders in a constructive and respectful manner
  • Being intellectually prepared for effective learning of unfamiliar materials
  • Organising conferences and seminars
  • Developing presentation skills using current technology, including website design

Source: QAA subject benchmark

This is not an exhaustive list of skills - you will develop many skills from your course, extra-curricular activities, and work experience. 

Find a job

The Careers and Employability Service provides information and advice on job searching to University of Kent students and recent graduates. This includes a vacancy database advertising a range of graduate jobs, sandwich placements and vacation work/internships. The websites listed below may also be useful when searching for a job and when looking for further information on this sector.

You may also find useful reviews and application/interview tips for specific organisations on the following websites:

Further Study

Postgraduate study may enable you to explore aspects of English Language and Linguistics in greater depth or to study a new subject.

A postgraduate qualification, either academic or vocational, is required to enter many fields of work related to history, such as archive work, museum work, historical research or teaching. If you are interested in other careers, some of these, such as teaching or law, will require study for a relevant professional qualification while in some others, such as journalism, a postgraduate degree is not a requirement, but may be an advantage. However, many careers will not require further academic qualifications. The “Types of Jobs” section of the Prospects website will tell you whether postgraduate study is essential, useful or not needed for a specific career.
There is no equivalent of UCAS for postgraduate study, so investigate courses early, using the resources listed below.

If you are already a student on a taught Master’s degree, you may wish to continue your studies by research, in the UK (at Kent or elsewhere) or overseas. Again, early planning is important. You should seek advice from your supervisor as to the possible options

There are many reasons for choosing to continue into postgraduate study. You may wish to obtain a higher degree purely for interest rather than for career reasons. Whatever your motivation, you need to consider issues such as your suitability for further study, the options available to you and the costs involved.

More information on these issues, and on postgraduate study generally.

Looking for Careers Advice?  

The Careers and Employability Service is open to all University of Kent students and recent graduates. We support students from the moment they start their course, throughout their student life and up to three years after their graduation.   

Book an appointment with a Careers Advisor today 

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