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The Linguistics Department at Northeastern was established in the early 1970s, in the heyday of modern linguistics. Since that time, the department and program have evolved to keep in step with changes in the field and in our student population. What has remained consistent is the quality education, the dedicated faculty and a challenging and exciting curriculum students have come to expect.


For nearly four decades, our students have used their M.A. in Linguistics to pursue and further their careers in many areas including curriculum design, publishing, academia, forensics, language documentation and revitalization, among other careers

M.A. Program Brochure

Minor Program Brochure

We understand that students who embark on the journey to mastery in a discipline do so for a variety of reasons: career enhancement or change, curiosity and love of learning, self-discovery and ultimately personal fulfillment.  Our program provides depth and breadth in the discipline of linguistics—offering opportunities for personal and professional growth; developing students' knowledge, expertise and skills; and building confidence.

Our carefully designed curriculum provides students with a solid foundation in the study and understanding of human language as a convergence of genetic, psychological and social systems, and networks. We train students to critically examine and analyze the world within and around them—a skill that can be applied to teaching, curriculum development, corporate cultures, legal contexts, intercultural communication, forensics, artificial intelligence, publishing, counseling and child development. Knowledge of how and why we communicate brings us closer to understanding who we are and how we can affect our worlds.

Through their course work and hands-on research, students will be introduced to:

  • The nature and structure of language
  • The principles and methods of language analysis
  • The relationship between language and cultural, national, social, and personal identity
  • The role of language as a mediator of intercultural understanding

Through their active professional development and research, our faculty brings rich and varied expertise to the program. Our faculty’s areas of expertise and interest include Discourse Analysis and Identity studies, Multiple Language Acquisition, Language Contact, World Englishes, Origins of Language, Syntax/Semantic Interface, and Historical Linguistics—as well as work in the structure of a variety of languages such as French, Persian, Japanese, Crow and Lakhota.

Career Opportunities

CNN reports that linguistics is one of the 10 overlooked majors that can get you a job:

"Linguistics majors study language -- its structure, how it's acquired, how people use it, its history, etc. As globalization continues as an emerging trend in business, those with a linguistics background will become more valued in several fields." See Full Article

An M.A. in linguistics is a recognized asset for careers within social and behavioral sciences, especially those concerned with language policies and practices in multilingual settings as well as in the following professions from the Linguistics Society of America's Website:


Career Opportunities in Linguistics

Work in the computer industry

Training in linguistics can equip you to work on speech recognition, text-to-speech synthesis, artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and computer-mediated language learning.

Work in education

People with a background in linguistics and education can develop materials for different populations, train teachers, design assessments, find effective ways to teach language- related topics in specific communities, or use the language of a community effectively in instruction. Many applied linguists are involved in teacher education and educational research.

Teach English as a Second Language (ESL) in the United States or abroad

If you want to teach ESL in the US, you will probably need additional training in language pedagogy, such as credentials in Teaching English as a Second or Other Language (TESOL). Many teaching positions abroad require only an undergraduate degree, but at least some specialized training in the subject will make you a much more effective teacher. Linguistics can give you a valuable cross-language perspective.

Teach at the university level

Teach in departments such as Linguistics, Philosophy, Psychology, Speech/Communication Sciences, Anthropology, English, and departments focused on specific foreign languages.

Work as a translator or interpreter

Skilled translators and interpreters are needed everywhere, from government to hospitals to courts of law. For this line of work, a high level of proficiency in the relevant language(s) is necessary, and additional specialized training may be required.

Work on language documentation or conduct fieldwork

Some agencies and institutes seek linguists to work with language consultants in order to document, analyze, and preserve languages (many of which are endangered). Some organizations engage in language-related fieldwork, conducting language surveys, establishing literacy programs, and translating documents of cultural heritage.

Teach a foreign language

Your students will benefit from your knowledge of language structure and your ability to make certain aspects of the language especially clear. You will need to be very proficient in the relevant language, and you may need additional training in language pedagogy.

Work in the publishing industry, as a technical writer, or as a journalist

The verbal skills that linguists develop are ideal for positions in editing, publishing, and writing.

Work for a testing agency

Linguists help prepare and evaluate standardized exams and conduct research on assessment issues.

Work with dictionaries (lexicography)

The development of good dictionaries requires the help of qualified linguistic consultants. Knowledge of phonology, morphology, historical linguistics, dialectology, and sociolinguistics is key to becoming a lexicographer.

Become a consultant on language in professions such as law or medicine

The subfield of forensic linguistics involves studying the language of legal texts, linguistic aspects of evidence, issues of voice identification, and so on. Law enforcement agencies such as the FBI and police departments, law firms, and the courts hire linguists for these purposes.

Work for an advertising company

Companies that specialize in advertising often do extensive linguistic research on the associations that people make with particular sounds and classes of sounds and the kind of wording that would appeal to potential consumers.

Work for the government

The federal government hires linguists for the Foreign Service, the Federal Bureau of Intelligence (FBI), the National Security Agency (NSA), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Department of Defense, the Department of Education, and so on. Similar opportunities may exist at the state level.

Become an actor or train actors

Actors need training in pronunciation, intonation, and different elements of grammar in order to sound like real speakers of a language or dialect. They may even need to know how to make mistakes to sound like an authentic non-native speaker.


Undergraduate Advisor

Dr. Richard W. Hallett
Professor, Undergraduate Advisor
Office: LWH-2030, Phone: 773-442-5879, email address:

Graduate Advisors

Dr. Judith Kaplan-Weinger
Professor, Graduate Advisor
Office: LWH-2029, Phone: 773-442-5877, email address:

Dr. Shahrzad Mahootian
Professor, Program Coordinator, Graduate Advisor
Office: LWH-2028, Phone: 773-442-5875, email address:


National and International Conferences

Linguist List offers a list of national and international conferences.


Linguist List offers a list of internship opportunities in the field of linguistics.


Contact Us

T (773) 442-5871

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