Linguistics, Applied: Be a Better Communicator

Man shouting at wall

As anyone standing in a line, smartphone in hand, at an airport, or waiting to cross the street of a busy urban metropolis can tell you, the world in which we live is becoming increasingly connected and diverse. The ability to communicate effectively is no longer just a talent reserved for the eloquent among us; it’s a necessity. Ashford’s Bachelor of Arts in Applied Linguistics program offers students a comprehensive path to becoming effective communicators and linguists.


Linguistics is the scientific study of language, and the Ashford Applied Linguistics program prepares students to take the linguistic knowledge they acquire and put it to use within career contexts that match their passions and skills. The program helps students become better communicators by teaching them the fundamentals of language and how they operate.


According to Dr. Adrianne Hanson, Associate Professor and Program Chair of the Bachelor of Arts in Applied Linguistics at Ashford, “Students study the structure and meaning of language, how language is acquired by children and adults, the intersection of language and technology in the workplace, the sociological impact of language use, and how language influences policy and power dynamics within society. Profound implications for real-world change arise as a result of increasing one’s linguistic proficiency.”


One only has to watch the media coverage of the 2016 election to see the powerful role that language plays in shaping our perceptions and, ultimately, our reality. By gleaning a behind-the-scenes understanding of how language works and how communication transpires, graduates of the Applied Linguistics program head into the modern workforce equipped with the tools they need to make a difference in their own lives and the lives of others.


The Applied Linguistics program prepares students for professional careers after college by giving them broad skillsets for working within linguistic workplace contexts, as well as specific skills desired by employers in the modern workforce. Just look at some of the career paths of Applied Linguistics graduates. They have gone on to do post-graduate academic work, preparing for careers in fields such as ESL teaching, translation, and speech/language pathology. They have also gone on to work in a remarkably diverse range of other contemporary and emerging fields, including marketing, communications, and business.


For example, many Applied Linguistics graduates have, during their studies, focused on computational linguistics—broadly speaking, linguistic applications within the tech sector—and, upon graduation, have gone on to work for tech companies doing a variety of things such as designing voice-recognition software or reviewing the language of intra-organizational directives and protocols.


As the “Applied” in “Applied Linguistics” indicates, one of the great features about this unique program is that it allows students to gain a broad, comprehensive understanding of the fundamentals of linguistics and then take that knowledge and apply it in ways that fulfill their academic interests and are also applicable in sought-after career roles. These roles can be in fields as diverse as education, technology, business, law enforcement, and others. Qualified individuals with the language and communication skills provided by the Applied Linguistics program are able to successfully carve career niches across an impressively wide range of fields.


Written by Matthew Lewerenz, Assistant Professor of Applied Linguistics at Ashford University

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Are you currently a licensed RN?

This program requires you to be a current licensed registered nurse. Please check out other programs to reach your education goals such as the BA in Health and Wellness.