Universiteit Leiden

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Linguistics (research) (MA)

Career prospects

Where do our graduates work?

Our graduates pursue careers at research agencies or in the research departments of companies or government organisations. Many enter PhD programmes at Leiden or another university, both in the Netherlands or abroad.

Outside of research, your knowledge of linguistics and advanced analytical and problem-solving skills can be applied within a range of vocations, from publishing and translating to teaching.

Examples of the diverse roles of our graduates include:

  • PhD Candidate at universities in the Netherlands or abroad, such as the US, the UK, Sweden, France and Germany
  • Junior advisor at an institute for linguistic research and language teaching
  • Editor at a publishing house
  • Freelance translator
  • Consular officer at a ministry of foreign affairs
  • Technical writer
  • Content manager, editor, translator at NGO's
  • Translator within EU organisations
  • Author of digital educational materials
  • Research assistant at an university in Canada
  • Project manager at a translation agency
  • Teacher at a secondary school

Anne-Mieke Thieme


Anne-Mieke Thieme

"What I enjoyed most about my Research Master in Linguistics was the emphasis on critical thinking and academic skills, as well as the ability to tailor the programme to my own interests. My thesis was about the language policy of the multilingual city of The Hague (supervised by professor Ingrid Tieken-Boon van Ostade). I found that the municipality generally takes a monolingual approach, unless expats or internationals are involved. "

Opening new doors "My Research Master opened a lot of new doors for me: I got to present my research at various conferences, I got invited to a debate about multilingualism in The Hague, and I am now researching multilingual daycare at the University of Amsterdam. I hope to continue to contribute to socially relevant matters in linguistics in the future!"

Kim Groothuis

Graduated in Italian Language and Linguistics (MA) and Linguistics (Research Master)

Kim Groothuis

“My masters in Leiden have given me the opportunity to explore my interests in many ways: I combined the master in Italian with the Research Master in Linguistics in order to follow my interests in both Italian dialectology, and theoretical and historical syntax.”

A wide variety of courses

“Both programmes offer a wide variety of courses, which you can combine exactly as you see fit: whether you wish to dive into one specific subfield or combine various interests. All courses are taught by specialists in the field, who are not only very knowledgeable, but also extremely helpful and enthusiastic.”

An excellent preparation

“At the moment I am studying for my PhD in comparative Romance syntax at the University of Cambridge. Apart from doing research, I also teach undergraduates during supervisions (something comparable to small ‘werkcolleges’). My masters in Leiden have been an excellent preparation for this next step, because they combined theory with ongoing research – part of which you will have to do yourself, during the courses and later for your thesis. It is this aspect of the masters which in my opinion is the most valuable, especially if you wish to continue in academia.”

In which sector do students find jobs?

The graphs below are based on alumni data from the Research Master Linguistics 2016-2020.

  • 60 % Research
  • 13 % Education
  • 13 % Government and semi-government organisations
  • 7 % Business services
  • 7 % Information management

Career preparation

Find out how this programme exactly prepares you for your future career and check our career preparation activities.

The development of in-depth knowledge in the field, and the ability to think critically and analytically are key goals of this programme. The research master in Linguistics will introduce you to the history, basic concepts, research methods, and recent developments in linguistics, including  historical, descriptive, theoretical, experimental and corpus-based studies. You will learn to use linguistic concepts and approaches in researching and analysing data. Your thesis work will give you the opportunity to apply these methods in your own research.

We also provide opportunities for you to broaden your experience and professional skills in preparation to excel in a career inside as well as outside of academics.

During your studies you have the opportunity to gain experience studying, working, or conducting research at an organisation or institution. Some of our students choose to do an internship during their study. Internships are a great way to gain invaluable first-hand experience in your area of interest before you decide on making it a career.

In recent years, students from the Research Master have participated in internships at:

  • Meertens Instituut
  • Leiden University Centre for Linguistics
  • Koninklijke Brill NV
  • Nederlands Kanker Instituut
  • Huygens ING
  • CALDI Centre for African Language Diversity
  • Koninklijke Auris Groep
  • Museu Emílio Goeldi
  • Nederlands Helsinki Comité
  • Tatung University
  • Summer Institute of Linguistics - Papua New Guinea

Our staff can help you identify both the career that is right for you, and the necessary steps to get you there. Our team at Humanities Career Service provide all Leiden University humanities students with professional advice and guidance on everything from internships and career planning to job applications. Humanities Career Service also organises regular workshops on topics such as effective interview skills and creating a successful CV.

The Humanities Career Service offers you various (online) workshops, webinars and info sessions. Check our overview of career activities

The Leiden University Career Zone is an online career portal that helps you to prepare for the job market. Here you can find information, tools and tips to help you gain more personal insight, learn about the job market, develop your application skills, plan your academic and professional career, find job vacancies and discover what the Career Service can do for you.

Join the Mentor Network to contact alumni with experience on the labour market and ask them for advice. More than 1200 alumni are happy to help you!

Jelle on finding an internship via Leiden University's Mentor Network

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