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Correct me if I'm wrong...what to study for PhD


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Hello, all

Correct me if I'm wrong but I am getting a very distinct feeling that in the U.S if you want to have an academic career in foreign languages (possibly be tenured) programs seem to favor literature research over language acquisition or linguistics?!


The reason why I'm asking is because I'm considering choices for MA to prepare me for PhD, and just seeing if I will be at a disadvantage if I go the language route-linguistics.


I know there are researchers in this field in foreign language departments, but there seems to be way less of them that lit. researchers.


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Hi Francophile, 


From my experience (granted, in a Linguistics & Asian/Middle Eastern Languages department), there's really room for both literature and linguistics research in foreign language programs. I imagine some departments tend to lean more one way than others, but I actually know plenty of linguists that work in language depts. 


Literature and Linguistics are such different routes, though, that I'd just advise you to chose the one you're most passionate about.  :)

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Since many graduate language programs have a track in linguistics, they obviously need to hire faculty in these areas so no, not every professor studies literature. Granted (and this is field dependent, my background is in Spanish and Latin American Studies), there are more jobs in literature than there are in linguistics and that's largely because every department is going to teach literature and culture, but not all have a linguistics option (furthermore, introductory/intermediate language classes are almost always taught by adjuncts/lecturers or TAs and not TT faculty). Also keep in mind that linguistics PhDs are competing for these jobs as well, not just PhDs in the linguistics track of a language department.

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