Kersti Börjars has degrees from Uppsala University (Filosofie Kandidat), the University of Leiden (Doctorandus) and a PhD from the University of Manchester.
From 1990 to 1994 she worked as Research Assistant to the Subordination and Complementation group of EUROTYP, a large European typological project. Since 1994, she has been a member of staff at The University of Manchester, where she was promoted to professor in 2002. During 2002, she was a visiting professor at Göteborg University, and she is currently Professor II at the University of Oslo.
She was appointed Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs in the newly formed Faculty of Humanities in January 2004 and remained in this role until January 2008. She was Head of School of Languages, Linguistics and Cultures from 2009 until 2012. She is currently Associate Vice-President for Teaching, Learning and Students.
She was the President of The Linguistics Association of Great Britain from 2005 until 2011. She was a member of the RAE 2008 panel 58 for linguistics and is Chair of sub-panel 28 'Modern languages and linguistics' of REF2014. She is the editor of Journal of Linguistics. Since January 2017, she is Professor II in Nordic Languages at The University of Oslo.