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Subject Benchmark Statement

Subject Benchmark Statements describe the nature of study and the academic standards expected of graduates in specific subject areas. They show what graduates might reasonably be expected to know, do and understand at the end of their studies.

Below you will find the full Subject Benchmark Statement for Linguistics. Alongside it, we have also published a summary designed to provide a short and accessible overview of the main Statement for students, employers and academics.


Subject Benchmark Statement: Linguistics

Publication date: 20 Sep 2023

About this subject

Linguistics is concerned with the knowledge, structure and use of language. The discipline involves the study of the human capacity for language in all its expressions (spoken, signed and written). This includes a structural dimension that asks what the universal building blocks of human language are and how these elements - sounds, signs, words - combine to generate meaning; the cognitive dimension of how the brain processes these; and the social, cultural and historical dimensions of how these systems form.  

Linguistics graduates understand core areas such as phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics and discourse. These tools allow them to gain significant knowledge and comprehension of the domains within which these systems arise and exist.  The ability of Linguistics graduates to analyse complex data, evaluate communicative functionality and apply a range of analysis techniques makes them highly employable across a wide range of sectors.
Dr Khawla Badwan - Chair of the Advisory Group
Reader in TESOL and Applied Linguistics, Manchester Metropolitan University

This new Statement is intended to take account of the development of Linguistics as a discipline characterised by considerable conceptual breadth, methodological diversity and inherent interdisciplinarity. It was developed by an advisory board of subject experts and has received considerable support and feedback from across the subject community. The Statement features the richness and innovation of our disciplinary field, as well as our commitment to EDI, accessibility, sustainability and employability. We feel very proud of the resulting Statement that truly pioneers innovation and enhancement across Linguistics programmes, with a strong emphasis on social justice. We hope that it will be a valuable resource for different audiences and contribute to a better understanding of what Linguistics is and what Linguistics can do.

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