Careers in Linguistics and Languages

Where can a degree in Linguistics and Languages take you?

Communication and public relations

Graduates are in high demand for roles in communication, as almost all organisations from big corporations to small charities and NGOs employ staff in communications, public relations and marketing roles, who need awareness of the principles of communication.

Language, culture and heritage

Many graduates find employment in the culture and heritage sector, including Ministries of Culture, museums, national culture centres, policy advisory bodies, and regional organisations.

Language teaching

The Pacific region desperately needs good language teachers for both English and the vernacular languages. There are clear employment pathways for those signing up to BAGCED and BEd degrees with Literature/Language and Pacific Vernaculars.

Academic research

Many graduates from Linguistics programmes choose to pursue careers as academics, by undertaking postgraduate studies and research degrees.

Sign language interpreting

Sign language interpreters are essential for accessibility and inclusion. They interpret at every level from national parliament to press conferences to classrooms to community events.

Mainstream media

A common combination for those seeking mainstream media roles is a double major in Journalism and Linguistics or Journalism and Literature/Language. The BA in Communication and Media is also available for those pursuing this pathway.

Curriculum development

A priority need is regional expertise in curriculum, assessment and policymaking. This is critical in the areas of language and culture, to ensure that regional education initiatives are relevant and appropriate for the context, driven by local priorities. Graduates from our programmes have taken up roles in various sections of their national Ministries of Education.

Language documentation

With more than a quarter of all the world’s languages used in the Pacific region, there is serious scholarly work to be done. These languages are foundational to wellbeing, identity, cultural sustainability, as well as success in formal education and the global economy. Many of these languages have never been formally studied, and valuable knowledge is rapidly being forgotten due to language shift.

Speech language pathology

Speech language pathologists, or therapists, are university trained allied health professionals with expertise in the assessment and treatment of communication and/or swallowing difficulties. Speech language pathologists are essential support services for ensuring the health and inclusion of people with developmental and acquired communication and swallowing difficulties.


A translator is a professional who knows two or more languages fluently enough to turn written text from one language into another, in order to communicate the same content message accurately and precisely, while still sounding ‘natural’. This is very skilled work, especially when the texts are about technical content such as health updates during a global pandemic, witness statements for a court case, or international agreements to which multiple countries are signatories.

Language technology

Search engines, coding languages, and generative Artificial Intelligence models are all language-based, and an understanding of how natural language and coding language are connected is essential in the emerging and expanding world of IT. Computer scientists with linguistic backgrounds, and linguists with computing backgrounds, are at the forefront of areas from speech recognition to language learning apps to automated transcription to spell checkers. With so many ‘small’ languages in the Pacific not yet represented on the ‘big’ platforms such as Google and Meta, this is a field in which the region is crying out for skilled professionals.

Policy, research and admin

There are so many other areas in which the analytical, research and communication skills gained on a USP Linguistics degree can be put to use.

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