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Master's Options for Linguists

Written by Emily de Boer

As a third-year student, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about what I want to do next year, and for the rest of my life after that. For me, the biggest question in all of this has been whether or not I want to do a Master’s degree that is purely linguistics-based. I love linguistics and am glad I chose to do my Bachelor’s in Linguistics, but I’m not sure that a career as a full-blown linguist is the choice for me. Luckily for me, and all of you who are dealing with the same things, there are a lot of options that you might not have considered for degrees that are related to the courses you’ve taken during the BA Linguistics. UvA has many options (including many taught in English!), but some possible courses from other universities in the Netherlands feature on the list as well. Please also remember that some of the options on the list will accept a degree in linguistics automatically, but others might require you to have taken certain subjects or pre-masters to be enrolled.

If you enjoyed Sociolinguistics you could consider going into sociology or social science. UvA has the Masters Language and Society where you specialise in one language, but you could also do a Master’s in Sociology or a Research Master’s in Social Science.

If you enjoyed First Language Acquisition you might like a career in child development. Options include Child Development and Education, and Pedagogical Sciences.

If you enjoyed Psycholinguistics, Neurolinguistics, or Language and Speech Disorders, you could consider going into cognitive science, for example, the Brain and Cognitive Science and Psychology: Brain and Cognition. If you’re more into the clinical side, then Radboud University Nijmegen has a Master’s in Language and Speech Pathology.

If you enjoyed Second Language Acquisition or Language X, you could consider a career in education! There are many options for educational degrees at UvA and other universities, Educational Science, Language, Literature and Education, or a teaching degree in the language of your choice are all options.

If you enjoyed Semantics and Pragmatics, but especially semantics, you could consider a Master’s degree in Logic.

If you enjoyed Speech Processing you could consider going into Computational Linguistics! The Master’s in Linguistics at Leiden University includes a Computational Linguistics track, but you might also enjoy a degree in Artificial Intelligence.

If you enjoyed Philosophy of the Humanities, you might also like the Master’s in Philosophy of the Humanities.

There are some other options for Master’s degrees that are related to language but aren’t connected to BA Linguistics courses at UvA. For example, Historical Linguistics and Forensic Linguistics are fields that aren’t really covered at UvA, but Leiden University’s Linguistics Degree offers courses in both. You could also think about going into Translation, Journalism, Book Science, or other courses that deal with language, but in different ways than we do in Linguistics.

These are just some of the options that are open to you, if the course for you isn’t on this list, don’t worry about it! There are so many possibilities out there, including not getting a Master’s Degree at all, or pivoting into another field entirely. Choosing might be stressful, but no matter what you end up doing, I’m sure you’ll be just fine!

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