Career outlook

A degree in languages

A degree in languages will prepare you to communicate with people around the world and understand other cultures—key skills in a global society. Our programs are not just about learning a new language, though developing fluency is one of the goals. Our students learn to think critically about our globalized world and to see it through many different cultural, historical, and political lenses.

You will be equipped with the skills you need for a diverse array of professions and for responsible global citizenship. Not only can you teach or be an interpreter or translator, but language can take you all over the globe and down different career paths such as in business, law, medicine, journalism, and tourism. When you partner language with another area of interest, you add a global piece to your resumé.

Transferable skills

A language degree offers:

  • critical thinking 
  • communication
  • creativity
  • adaptability
  • time management
  • increased understanding of global, economic and political matters 
  • rapport and relationship building skills

Some careers in languages

Career Median salary Market growth
Foreign Service Officer  $94,170 10%
Post Secondary Teacher $61,380 9 – 13%
Interpreters and Translators  $44,190 14%
Bilingual Educator K-12 $50,434 10%
International Law $115,820 5 – 8%
Business Intelligence Analyst $85,240 2 – 4%
Journalism $36,360 < 1%
Human Resources Managers $104,440 9 – 13%

Source: O*NET Online, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration

Graduate study

This degree also provides a solid foundation for graduate study.

  • M.A. or Ph.D. in area studies, language, second language acquisition, sociology, psychology, etc. 
  • M.A. or Ph.D. in higher education K-12 or student affairs
  • Medical school
  • Law school
  • M.B.A.

Notable people with a language major

  • J.K. Rowling majored in French; novelist, film producer, author and writer. She is most famously known for the Harry Potter series. 
  • Bill Clinton studied German; 42nd President of the United States, and gave a speech in Germany, speaking in German, in 1994
  • W.E.B. Dubois majored in Classics; social activist and co-founder of NAACP
  • Mayim Bialik majored in Hebrew, Jewish Studies and neuroscience; actress most famously known for role in Big Bang Theory
  • Miriam Rivera majored in Spanish; business owner and advisor Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford
  • Condoleezza Rice studied Russian language and political science; First female African-American secretary of state and the second female secretary of state (after Madeleine Albright, who also studied Russian)
  • Andrew Nagorski studied in Poland; award-winning journalist who served as Newsweek's bureau chief in Hong Kong, Moscow, Rome, Bonn, Warsaw, and Berlin, and the author of many books, his most well-known being The Nazi Hunters (2016)