There are roughly 6,500 spoken languages in the world today. While it is true that about 2,000 of those languages have fewer than 1,000 speakers, the fact remains that degree programs in the field offer a vast choice of studies. And once you choose a language or language group on which to focus, you can specialize further on either its linguistics or its literature.

If you are fascinated by the structure of language, how it evolves over time, how it is processed and stored in the human brain, linguistics may be the right path for you. If you love poetry, novels, short stories, plays, and examining how they can both reflect and influence societies, cultures, and politics, then a literature concentration could be a fit. Regardless of the choice you make, a foreign language education will lead you to understand what American journalist Flora Lewis said many years ago: ‘Learning another language is not only learning different words for the same thing, but learning another way to think about things.’

Pro Tip
Still unsure if a degree in foreign languages, literatures, and linguistics is your calling? Take the career test

With so many categories within foreign languages, literatures, and linguistics programs, it can be a bit daunting when trying to decide which best fits your interests or career aspirations. To help you decipher the diversity, we're breaking down 4 popular options below: