The LSA is pleased to announce the publication of the eighth edition of its Annual Report on the State of Linguistics in Higher Education [pdf]. The 2020 Annual Report provides data and information on careers in linguistics, trends in linguistic teaching positions, gender and ethnicity breakdowns within linguistics, and topics of specialization in linguistics programs, among other areas. The report features data provided by linguistics departments and programs throughout North America, federal government surveys, the American Academy, and the LSA's internal membership directory.

Highlights from the report include:

  • The most common career outcome for linguistics PhDs is a position at an institution of higher education. There are, however, a significant number of linguists who work in industry or business careers. A small proportion of linguists pursue a career with the government after they graduate with their PhD.
  • Within higher education, departments report that 26.6% of their faculty are full professors, and the non-professorial category continues to grow, particularly for women in other part-time positions.
  • Additionally, women are almost on parity with men for tenure-track jobs, but still fall slightly below men in the number of full professor positions, with reporting departments showing an average of 2.27 male full professors to an average of 2.21 female full professors. This is an improvement over 2019’s disparity of an average of 2.9 male professors for every 2.27 female full professors.
  • More linguistics doctoral degrees are awarded to women, who represent over half of graduate students in linguistics. This trend has remained consistent over the past eight years. Overall, the number of linguistics PhDs rose in 2018 for both men and women according to the NSF Survey of Earned Doctorates; however, the long-term trends for men are relatively flat, while the trends for women being awarded doctorates in linguistics is increasing over time.

For the 2020 Report, there continues to be decreased numbers of departments providing data regarding their students, faculty, and programs (2018 saw 102 departments reporting, 2019 had 47, and 2020 had 43). However, there was an increase in 2020 of the number of LSA members who chose to update their profiles with demographical data. To improve the quality of our data for future Annual Reports, the LSA encourages all LSA members to update their member profile (available upon login) and for all linguistics programs to do the same in the LSA Directory of Linguistics Departments and Programs. Thanks to all members who help us continue to study and report on ongoing trends within linguistics.

The 2020 Annual Report was compiled by LSA Intern, Angela Schrader, and overseen by LSA Executive Director Alyson Reed. The current report and previous reports are also available on the LSA website.