It is a common belief that "if you want to learn/study English, you must go to an Anglophone country." This belief is compounded by the fact that English teaching franchises are constantly advertising ELT as a commodity and their authority on that commodity. Some language schools do not even recruit language teachers other than the native speakers.

But, my question is about academia.

So, if someone acquires a Ph.D., say, in English 1 (linguistics) from a university, say, in Israel 2 (where the native tongue is Hebrew), would he be considered on par with a Ph.D. from an anglophone country in an anglophone country?

What kind of problems may he face if he moves to an Anglophonic country to be in academia either as a researcher or a professor?

Note: 1 might be any language other than [2] and vice versa.

Note-2: I am talking about academia.

Edit: the context is the following:

  • 11
    What do you mean by "worth it?" People do not get PhDs in literature for their financial benefits. Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 7:33
  • 2
    to cash --- This probably does not convey what you intended, and perhaps a more appropriate phrase is "to take advantage of". Also, I think your research and ability to contribute/fit the needs of a specific academic department are much more important than a satisfying a checklist of the type you're asking about. Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 7:39
  • 1
    After revision, it is unclear what you mean by "worth" or "advantage," so I have voted to close. Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 8:36
  • 13
    Also, "linguistics" and "literature" are totally different. Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 8:37
  • it seems extremely broad. Compare to "is it worth it to get engineering degree in Germany to work in America". It depends Commented Jan 3, 2020 at 16:28

4 Answers 4


A Ph.D. in a field is a recognition of having done publication-worthy research in that field, and in being prepared to start an independent career in that field. When that field is "Language L", it refers to research in some facet of its language, application, pedagogy, or literature (though your mention of 'linguistics' seems to imply that is not the case here). It is not intended as an advanced credential in applied language ability in that language (though one would assume some moderate language ability would be part of the skillset needed to have completed the Ph.D.).

All of that means that there is no inherent reason for such a Ph.D. to be devalued for an academic job in the field, anywhere.

That being said, while publication pedigree is the most important, pedigree of the degree granting institution, the specific department, and the supervisor do matter in the initial post-Ph.D. job. For English, I don't know, but I suspect more respected departments and advisors tend to be in the Anglophone word. I'm sure that's not universally true, and definitely not true for all world languages, but it is am issue to think about in whatever is the specific situation prompting your question.


What kind of problems may he face if he moves to an Anglophonic country to be in the academia?

No matter where he did his Ph.D., he is likely to face an extremely tight job market, with many more extremely qualified job candidates than open tenure-track positions.

In general, to get hired, it is to his advantage to make himself and his work known to whatever sort of department he hopes will hire him. So, for example, it is a good idea to attend (and speak at) conferences in countries where he intends to apply for jobs.

It is also a good idea to take steps to "understand" the sorts of universities where one intends to apply. For example, from what I can tell, the "small liberal arts college" model seems to be uncommon outside the United States and Canada. If he were to apply to such jobs, it would be to his advantage to learn in advance about how they operate, and to learn something about what they value.


The question relies on the common misconception that the institution where one does their PhD matters a lot for their future career.

What will matter at the end of any PhD is the work which has been done: quality of the publications and of the dissertation itself, ideally projects and/or contacts made with the international community in the field, involvement in the academic life in general (although this is usually after the PhD), etc.

As long as one contributes to their field and establishes contacts with their scientific community, their work will be recognized everywhere. On the contrary, an isolated PhD without international publications/contacts is a hard sell even from a prestigious university.

  • 7
    I wish this was true, but it's wrong. Commented Jan 3, 2020 at 3:03
  • 3
    This is probably true for job #2+ in most fields. But it is certainly not true for job #1 in many fields, among them math (me), social sciences (my spouse) and literature (cousin). Indeed, in some fields, one is lucky if at graduation one has any publications at all, beyond a dissertation manuscript, maybe a paper/preprint, and/or a conference poster. It is hard to decouple institution (and advisor) reputation from "contacts with community", of course. But also conditions at job #1 influence research support/time, and so cascade to job #2+.
    – Houska
    Commented Jan 3, 2020 at 10:21
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    The question isn't about the institution, it's about getting a degree dealing with a language from a country where that language isn't the first official language versus one where it is.
    – Cell
    Commented Jan 3, 2020 at 13:57

I have got my PhD right this way.

My group was international in composition and language L was the one used as working horse. The whole university there also encouraged some use of language L.

Under these circumstances the answer is yes. And so it might be even in less favorable ones.

This is for the PhD title per se.

For the life out I think it very much depends on what is the L non-L pair, the knowledge of the candidate of one or both languages (I knew none :)), and other cultural aspects. Be prepared for rather hard moments, out of the lab.

Not sure about specific language related fields, such as literature or so.

edit I did not get the point. OP is asking about a language related field, so that I think the answer should be more like those by Academic, Erwin and Houska. Still my experience might be useful for a young student considering to move to an institution within the L non L situation.

  • 1
    OP is asking about specific language related fields.
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 19:39
  • @Bryan Krause edited. Thx.
    – Alchimista
    Commented Jan 3, 2020 at 9:07

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