Language Degrees GuideAre Language Degrees Worth It?

Are Language Degrees Worth It?


Every day we notice how obtaining a degree in languages somehow puts a candidate in better stead with a leverage over other candidates when jostling for a honey job. And sometimes you wonder, are language degrees worth it? 

Why are people who have a language degree valued by employers across all sectors? 

We will be exposing the secrets behind language degrees as we explore the topic holistically in this article. 

What are Language Degrees all about? 

Of course, what are Language Degrees? 

Language degrees are academic degrees obtained from the study of a chosen specific language in order to improve proficiency in speaking and writing the language and to understand the people and cultures affiliated to the language. 

Language Studies is an academic program in which at completion the student gets awarded a language degree. The program combines courses from two close but different disciplines, Languages and Linguistics. 

Many popular and commonly spoken languages are studied in tertiary school. These include, French, English, Mandarin, Spanish, Italian, German and Russian amongst many other languages. 

Sometimes, some previously popular languages which are currently not in use are still studied to understand the people and cultures of the time at which it was popular. A common example of this is the Roman language Latin. 

When a student enrolls for a language degree, he/she learns one (or multiple) foreign languages and explores how these languages work. They study the language with human communication and how it affects the society. 

Most of the time, the degree will also involve study of the history, politics and literature of the area of the language. 

However, language programs are primarily embarked on to gain fluency, to gain the ability to read, write and speak the language studied. 

A degree program in Languages prepares employees for career change, business moguls for global trade and leaders for global leadership. 

This is some packed stuff! 

If you still ask, are language degrees worth it? 

Here’s why they are. 

Why are Language Degrees Worth it? 

Obtaining a language degree gives you so many benefits.

Here you will get to know some of the more pertinent ones for you as a student, an employee, a business owner or a global leader. 

  1. Study in any University around the Globe – When applying to study for a language degree, you may decide to choose a host university in the country where the language of focus is the primary language. In this way you do not only learn the language but you will get fully immersed into the culture of the people by the time you are done with the study. This gives you a better grasp of the people and the culture of the language. 
  2. Improve your First Language Skills – Learning a new language makes you improve in an understanding of your first language. Commonly known as the mother tongue, one gets insight by drawing parallels from the new language to his/her own indigenous language. It’s just how the human brain works. 
  3. Make Better Decisions – Learning about other people and other cultures helps you make better personal decisions as you tend to view problems from different cultural perspectives before making a decision. 
  4. Get involved in a Multicultural World – As a language degree holder, you can be able to fit almost perfectly in a place where people of other cultures are, communicate and discuss matters of interest. 
  5. Add a Boost to your Brain – Studies have shown that people who learn new languages open gateways in the brain. Being able to understand and interpret a new language improves your intelligence. It’s not surprising that after learning a language which is not your primary tongue, learning another becomes much easier. Although this is more common for multilinguals and polyglots, language degree holders sometimes feel it too. 
  6. Additional Skills for your CV – Who doesn’t know that having learnt a new language is another boost to the CV/Resume. Employees most times seek for staff who are able to communicate across language barriers. Therefore obtaining a language degree sets you apart. 
  7. Business Diversity – As a business person seeking to enter into a foreign market, if you already have a language degree then striking deals with partners will take a lot less time and you will have an idea of how the people in the location view your business, first-hand. 

Best Institutions that offer Language Degrees across the World 

Here, we have listed the top six tertiary institutions in the globe which offer language degrees, 

  • Stanford University
  • Yale University
  • University of California
  • University of Wisconsin
  • Indiana University
  • Vanderbilt University.

What Professional Careers does a Language Degree prepare you for? 

Now you may be wondering about the careers for which a language degree prepares you for. 

We’ve made a list which can guide you. Here are some of the professional careers you can gun for;

  • Logistics 
  • Broadcast Journalism 
  • Diplomacy
  • Finance/Accountancy
  • Translator
  • Interpreter
  • Marketing
  • Advertising 
  • Public Relations (PR)
  • Business Owner
  • Flight Attendant
  • Human Resources Specialist
  • Hospitality Manager
  • Customer Service Representative
  • Foreign Language Teacher
  • Social Worker
  • Healthcare Professional
  • Writing.

Do you Have to Obtain Language Degrees to be a Polyglot?

Some people sometimes mistake language degree holders for multilinguals and polyglots. 

A multilingual is a person who has been able to master two or three languages and gain fluency in them to be able to hold both formal and informal conversations. When a multilingual learns up to four languages or more, he/she becomes a polyglot. 

A polyglot does not need to attend a university to learn or obtain a degree in language. 

For most polyglots it’s just about the passion of learning new languages, they may or may not be thinking of using it career wise. It’s just for fun and not for academic studies. 

Difference between a Language Scholar and a Polyglot

So we can see that being a language scholar is similar to being a multilingual/polyglot. So is it all still necessary to enroll for a language degree when you can just learn from home? Are language degrees worth it? 

Well, despite their similarities, being a language scholar is quite different from being a multilingual/Polyglot, here are the differences. 

  1. Studying languages does not really make you fluent in them. It however helps you recognize flaws in grammar structures and Syntax. A polyglot is fluent but may not recognize those errors. 
  2. Many language students study with the aim of getting the most out of their degree, in terms of practical application to get paid. However polyglots may not necessarily be seeking financial gains from learning a language, they do it just for fun. 
  3. A person can accidentally become a polyglot by living in a multicultural environment. However, studying for a language degree is an intentional step. 
  4. Polyglots learn languages, Linguists study the peoples and cultures in addition to the language.
  5. Linguists are not required to learn or to speak as many languages as polyglots do.


So what do you think, are language degrees worth it? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below. 

If you are a senior in high school, we have an answer to that question which you’ve asked over and over again, Why Should I Go To University? 

Check it out. 

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