Explore an English—Linguistics… | University of Northwestern, St. Paul
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Department of English & Literature
English—Linguistics Concentration
Translated Bible text
Department of English & Literature

English—Linguistics Concentration

  • Bachelor of Arts
  • Undergraduate

125 credits

required for program

125 credits

125 credits

required for program

Explore the intricacies of language. Understand that God made all humans in His image. Learn from ancient texts and people who speak contemporary languages. English with a concentration in linguistics prepares you to pursue graduate work in linguistics, as well as careers in intercultural studies, translation, anthropology, and comparative studies. Electives allow you to pursue sub-fields that interest you.

This might be the right degree for you if you

  • Enjoy reading and writing
  • Have a passion for language and culture

Why study English with a concentration in linguistics at Northwestern?

Northwestern partners with Best Semester to provide you with semester opportunities in Uganda, Costa Rica, or the Middle East.

You will also complete one summer of course work either with CanIL at Trinity Western University in Canada (CanIL-TWU) or at Dallas International University (DIU).

As an English major, you can assist professors, tutor students in the Writing Center, or take internships. You can write promotional media or work with Northwestern’s grant writer. Off campus, students have interned with Bethany House Publishers, Minnesota Public Radio, and Redleaf Press.

Our alumni have been accepted into graduate programs across the country: Georgetown University, University of North Dakota, and Trinity-Western University, British Columbia.

What will I learn?

You will learn to analyze, think critically, and develop effective written and verbal communication skills.

Probably the most satisfying work we did was in language analysis and Bible translation for a special people group of Brazil. These people did not speak any other language, so we had to learn their language monolingually while figuring out the sound system and grammar. In doing so, we had the joy of seeing God’s great creativity and diversity in the incredible complexities of languages and cultures. God not only displayed His creativity in this beautiful language, but He also shared his creativity with us, His children, allowing us to discover the intricacies of the language. It has a complex tonal system, with only 3 vowels and 8 consonants. The tones fluctuate across word and syllable boundaries. These things and others brought many truly profound 'aha' moments as we learned, with God’s help, how to speak the language and share Jesus with these dear friends. We learned a great deal spiritually in all of this as well, including wonderful lessons from the people themselves.
Steve Sheldon
Department of History & Related Fields - Class of 1961

Careers in linguistics

There are a variety of career and academic pathways that begin with a degree in English with a concentration in linguistics.

What types of work are related to this degree?

  • Research
  • Curriculum development
  • Foreign language instruction
  • Information/library science
  • Search engine optimization
  • Database development
  • Language documentation
  • Text mining research
  • Translation
  • Interpretation
  • Forensic linguistics
  • Speech pathology
  • Research
  • Editing
  • Teaching

Who employs people with this degree?

  • Universities and colleges
  • Language institutes
  • Testing companies
  • Search engine companies
  • Computer companies
  • Software developers
  • Police departments
  • Federal Government
  • Hospitals
  • Speech, language & learning centers
  • Developmental learning centers
  • Consulting firms
  • Publishers
  • International businesses
  • Law firms
View Career Guide

of seniors received relevant and appropriate preparation for their field


of seniors believe the faculty are genuinely interested in their welfare


of seniors grew in their relationship with God during their time at Northwestern

Preparing for a Career

College graduation rates continue to increase each year making competition for jobs even greater. Set yourself apart from the crowd with the following strategies for getting started, networking, and gaining experience.

Strategies for success:

  • Depending on your desired line of work, a Master’s or Doctoral degree could be required. Be sure you learn about the graduate school admissions process in order to prepare yourself appropriately.
  • Electives allow space for you study a particular area in more depth. Common areas of study that are paired with linguistics include: foreign language, computer science, and psychology.
  • Conduct informational interviews with professionals in your desired line of work and learn more about their career journey. This will help inform your career and professional development.
  • Consider studying abroad as a supplement to your education.
  • Read professional journals and educate yourself on current trends in the field.
  • Pursue an internship that gives you relevant experience.

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