MPhil/PhD in Linguistics

Information About | Other Programmes in the Division

Content

Information about Research in the Linguistics Research Department

The Research Department of Linguistics has an eminent reputation for its work in theoretical linguistics, which has attracted significant AHRC funding. Its members carry out research aimed at discovering the nature and origin of the abstract principles and representations that characterise the form, acquisition and use of human language. The group is interested in many aspects of language, ranging from core grammatical knowledge (phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics) and the interpretation of utterances in context (pragmatics) to aspects of normal and abnormal language development (language acquisition, infant communicative development, and specific language impairment) and language impairments in aphasia and dementia.

For more information about the Research Department, including a list of members of staff and their research interests, please see http://www.ucl.ac.uk/psychlangsci/research/linguistics

What current students say

Undertaking a PhD in linguistics at UCL is a fantastic opportunity to become part of a diverse, international community of researchers. The wealth of activities on offer, including seminars and discussion groups, means that, whilst your research may be specific, your knowledge of linguistics will be wide-ranging.

                                                                                Kate S.

Structure

General Information about Studying for an MPhil/PhD in our Division

The MPhil/PhD programme commences in late September/early October for full-time students. As a research student in the Division you will find yourself using 'state-of-the-art' techniques in a very active research environment. You will be part of a lively and friendly group of graduates. There is a wide range of technical assistance available when needed, as well as library and computing facilities.

The UCL regulations require that initial registration as a research student is (with rare exceptions) for the MPhil degree. As part of the programme students take a range of courses designed to equip them for research. In particular, they take a selection of research methods courses appropriate for different backgrounds, designed to help them develop key research skills, such as the ability to evaluate critically the literature in an area or to perform advanced statistical analyses.

The full-time PhD typically lasts for 3 years, including the time registered as an MPhil student, and if the thesis is not submitted within this time then students may register as Completing Research Students for 1 additional year. The Division is assessed on how many PhD students finish on time.

A research student works with a staff member who is their principal supervisor, responsible for directing their research training, and a second supervisor. Other staff members, as part of a research group, may be closely involved with their work and students are encouraged to discuss their research widely with anyone having relevant experience. The Division of Psychology and Language Sciences contains expertise on a wide range of topics, so that students usually have little difficulty in finding someone who can give good advice. The Graduate School also offers a range of skills development courses for graduate students. Many full-time research students take some part in departmental teaching by giving tutorials and/or demonstrating in practical classes; payment is made for this work.

Each Research Department has a Graduate Tutor who is in charge of academic and pastoral arrangements for MPhil/PhD students. They can provide advice, support, and if necessary action, if any problems arise with respect to research, supervision or other academic problems.

For information on part-time study for a research degree in the division, click here.

Application

Applying for the MPhil/PhD in Linguistics
Eligibility


Before applying, you should:

  • Have or expect to have a relevant first degree or Master's degree of 1st class or 2.1 standard in UK system, or equivalent for overseas degrees.
  • Have a commitment to and demonstrated ability in research. Often your previous experience and performance, such as in an undergraduate or a Master's research project, will show whether research is right for you and you are right for research.
  • Overseas applicants also need to satisfy the English Language requirement


If you meet the above criteria, the next step is to check whether we can supervise research in your chosen area. We only take MPhil/PhD students to whom we can offer expert research supervision from one of our academic staff. Therefore, your research question needs to engage with the research interests of one of our staff. You can find details of the areas of research activity and research interests of staff via the links at https://www.ucl.ac.uk/psychlangsci/research

Select one or at most two potential supervisors whose research interests are related to yours, and send them an email containing:

  •  a brief CV
  • a clear statement that you are interested in studying for a PhD, stating when you would start, and how you would plan to fund the research
  • a brief statement of your research question or interest, and how you think the question could be investigated.

Our academic staff are quite happy to receive approaches like this, in order that they can liaise with you to identify a potential research focus of mutual interest.

The potential supervisor should get back to you within a couple of weeks. They may invite you to apply formally. If they do not, there can be several reasons such as a full quota of research students, planned sabbatical leave and so on.

If you have difficulty identifying an appropriate supervisor, you can contact the relevant Graduate Tutor or Graduate Secretary in the Department to which you are applying. If you are invited by the potential supervisor to apply, you need to submit a formal application.  

Formal Application

You need to complete:

  • The standard UCL graduate application form at: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate-study/application-admission/ (Please note that we prefer online applications.)

  • a Research Proposal of 1000-1500 words in length, to be submitted with the UCL graduate application form. This is an extremely important part of your formal application. It should clearly state the research question, and its importance. It should provide the specific details of experimental or other kinds of studies and data that will be used to address the research question. Logical thinking, clear design of research studies, and relevant methodological knowledge are all key parts of a good research proposal. Where appropriate, the research proposal should explain how initial experiments or studies will lead onto further questions and studies in a coherent progression. The research proposal should be your own work, though the supervisor may give some advice. The word limit (minimum 1000 words, maximum 1500 words) includes all sections and appendices. Only key references rather than a lengthy reference list should be included.


In addition to the Research Proposal, we suggest that you use the 'Personal statement' section of the UCL graduate student application form to give any details on why you think you are particularly suited for your chosen area of research.

You will also need to submit a transcript for previous qualifications, references and, where applicable, an English Language test certificate.

Application deadlines


Applications to the Division for competitive funding awarded by UCL must arrive by  31 January in the year you wish to start. Applications must be complete with references, so please allow time for references to be completed and submitted. At that point you need to have identified a member of staff who has agreed to supervise you, should you be accepted. All applications are rated by 2 academic staff members. Suitable candidates are offered an interview, where they briefly present their research proposal and are questioned by academic staff. Offers of places are generally made within a month of interview. The MPhil/PhD programme starts at the beginning of the UCL autumn term.

If other sources of funding are being considered, it is still in your interest to apply by 31 January deadline, but later applications can sometimes be considered. Applications should be made as soon as possible, and not later than the last day of June for entry in September/October. Interviews for places not funded by UCL may take place at any time until late summer.

Careers

What do people do with a MPhil/PhD in Linguistics?

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Contact

Linguistics
Our FAQ may answer some of your questions, please click here. For any further information about a research degree in Linguistics, please contact Natalie Wilkins.

Funding

The Department has one AHRC Doctoral Studentship to award to a student embarking on an MPhil/PhD in the department starting in October 2012. The studentship comprises three years' full-time fees and maintenance.  If you are interested, you should send your application for the Linguistics PhD  programme to UCL Admissions by 31st January 2012 at the latest, indicating on your UCL application that you wish to be considered for an AHRC award. In order to ensure your eligibility, please also consult the AHRC guidelines

For scholarship opportunities for UCL research degree programmes, please select the link below:
http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/scholarships/graduate

Successful applicants for an MPhil/PhD in Linguistics are automatically considered for the Linguistics Department Entrance Scholarship. There is one award of £1000 annually.

The Linguistics Department also currently has available two Yip Scholarships, of £1500 each, to be awarded to exceptionally promising applicants in the area of Phonology

FAQs

Q: What are the fees for the research programmes?


Please go to this link here for more details for fees for 2011-2012/