What’s Next?

Our alumni value the skills acquired in a linguistics degree and go on to a wide, varied range of careers. Just check out the testimonials below:



My DPhil course at the Faculty of Linguistics, Philology  and Phonetics enabled me to carry out acoustic-phonetic research into topics I  had long been interested in. Obtaining and reporting my results was a highly  rewarding experience. In my journey towards earning a DPhil, I developed a  host of invaluable skills in experimentation, statistical analysis and  modelling, and also vastly expanded my knowledge of general phonetics. This  has been instrumental in finding jobs and working as Departmental Lecturer in  Phonetics and Phonology at Oxford, as College Lecturer in Phonetics and  Phonology at Keble, St Catz and St Hughes, and as Teaching Associate in  Phonetics at Cambridge. 


What did you enjoy about the course(s) you took?  
I really enjoyed the flexibility of the MPhil, with a structured first term followed by a much looser second year in which everyone pursues their individual options. I have a lot of interests across different subfields of linguistics, and it was great to be able to follow these interests and define my own projects. I think a lot of people might be intimidated by the lack of structure in the second year of the MPhil compared to the first, but I really enjoyed this element because it allowed me to go down those interesting rabbit holes that you can’t quite do when you’re on a very structured linear course.
I also got involved with a lot of other things in the faculty outside of the MPhil, including reading groups and some eye-tracking studies in the Language and Brain Lab. Basically, if you want to try something, just ask – there is always an opportunity to get involved somewhere! 

How did it help you with your career afterwards?
I’m currently a designer with an educational startup that’s building an AI coaching system. There are so many ways my MPhil feeds into this: my thesis was about how teenagers build identity and community on the internet – perfect background work for developing a digital coaching platform that needs to feel real and authentic to students. Managing my time and workload in the loose MPhil structure prepared me well for the startup world. More generally, Oxford trains you rigorously in research and writing, two things which are very important in my job now as I am helping to design a research-based coaching model.
Plus, people are always super interested to hear about my thesis and option papers. I wrote about YouTube, bad words and body language – everyone is interested in this stuff and it’s relevant in so many contexts. I used my MPhil as an opportunity to really dive into those rabbit holes that I find fascinating, and now I have an endless supply of interesting stuff I can bring to pretty much any context.


As a humanities student at heart, I enjoyed the gentle and yet effective training in quant-type research that helped me not only pursue my academic interest in better understand how language works, but also give that curiosity a business environment in which to thrive. The strong foundations of linguistics theory and the faculty’s encouragement to independent research have given me the competency and confidence to develop a career in digital research consultancy where I unpack online conversations to help international clients answer their research questions.


How did the course help with your career afterwards?
I’m currently a postdoctoral researcher working on a project investigating the properties that make letter shapes belonging to the same writing system distinct from one another, which draws on aspects of my research background in Hangul, so the topic I chose to pursue for the DPhil put me in good stead to take on this role. More broadly, the PhD experience made me a more resilient and proactive researcher and pushed me to be creative in my problem-solving, all of which I think continue to serve me well in my career post-DPhil. 

What did you enjoy about the course you took?
I did both the MPhil and the DPhil, and while of course the research was exciting, I think in both cases, it was the cohort of people I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by that made both experiences enjoyable. 


How did it help you with your career afterwards?
The skills in Research that I gained during my MPhil and DPhil have been invaluable in my current role. I decided early on in the DPhil that I didn’t think that a post-doc was for me- I wanted to experience a change after 10(!) years at University. I now work on a Design team in the Civil Service, using Agile methods and user-centric, evidence-based research to transform the way that health-related benefits are awarded. I use the skills I learnt in Oxford every day, whether it’s data-mining or presenting ideas to stakeholders. A PhD is valuable work experience, and the skills that it awards you shouldn’t be undersold.

What did you enjoy about the course(s) you took?
I loved the freedom to experiment with new ideas and hypotheses. Being able to test out my theories in a robust manner, using such brilliant facilities, was fantastic. Having a small, close-knit, lab of colleagues to discuss all of this with was also great as it made me feel as though my own research was part of something bigger.