UCL Psychology and Language Sciences


MPhil/PhD Linguistics

MPhil/PhD in Linguistics at UCL provides excellent training for anyone intending to pursue an academic career in research/lecturing in the dynamic field of linguistics (or adjacent areas within cognitive science). It gives students unparalleled contact with the top academics in the discipline and opportunities to participate in international conferences.

  • UCL Linguistics is eminent for its work in theoretical linguistics, which has attracted significant AHRC funding.
  • Our staff carry out research aimed at discovering the nature and origin of the abstract principles and representations that characterise the human language faculty and the ways in which this faculty interacts with other cognitive systems in communication (production and perception).
  • Forming part of the UCL Division of Psychology and Language Sciences, we are able to offer enhanced opportunities for cross-disciplinary research.
  • We encourage and facilitate cross-disciplinary interaction among the full spectrum of UCL staff engaged in research on human language and communication, both theoretical and experimental, and we are involved in extensive collaboration with international research groups.

Full-time: 3 years, including the time registered as an MPhil student. If the thesis is not submitted within this time, students may register as Completing Research Students for 1 additional year.

Part time: 5 years, including the time registered as an MPhil student. If the thesis is not submitted within this time, students may register as Completing Research Students for 2 additional years.


In the first instance, you should check that we have staff who can supervise research in the specific academic field you are interested in.  You should make contact with a relevant member of academic staff via email, sending them a brief research proposal and a copy of your CV.

Once you have identified a supervisor and they have agreed to take you on as a PhD student you will need to submit a formal UCL application form through our UCL Prospectus page.

See Scholarships/Funding for all of the funding application deadlines.


Graduate Tutors: Yasu Sudo and Ad Neeleman

PhD Administrator: Alina Konradt

A full list of staff (and their research interests) can be found online.

Research Topics


The first step in the application process is to decide on your research topic.  You may already have something in mind, but it is essential that before applying, you explore ways in which your own research idea fits in with the research topics offered by our staff.

There are five main research areas in the Linguistics department at UCL:

  • Phonetics and Phonology
  • Syntax
  • Semantics
  • Pragmatics
  • Psycholinguistics and Neurolinguistics

For further information and for details of which academic staff members are interested in supervising students from these research areas we suggest you take a look at the Research page on the Linguistics departmental website.

You can also view a full list of all the academics in the Linguistics department and find out more about their research interests and recent publications on the Linguistics departmental People web page.


Recent graduates have pursued careers in academic teaching and research in linguistics; high school teaching; the civil service; speech and language therapy (for children and adults); experimental work on children’s language development and artificial intelligence (human-machine interaction). 

Further details can be found here.

Scholarships/Funding and Application Deadlines

To be admitted as a research student, applicants usually obtain a source of funding from a recognised funding body. To be eligible for any funding opportunities it is essential that you have identified a research supervisor and have agreed a research project with them. Details of the main funding opportunities that are available are listed below.

Graduate Research Scholarships (GRS and ORS)

UCL awards a small number of Graduate Research Scholarships on a competitive basis.  These Scholarships are open to UK/EU (GRS) and Overseas students (ORS).

The Graduate Research Scholarships cover the cost of UCL's tuition fees and provide a maintenance stipend (2020/21: £17,432) for full-time study. The scholarship also includes an allowance for additional research costs of up to £1,200 per year for the stated duration of the programme.

Further information about the Graduate Research Scholarships and other UCL scholarship opportunities can be found here.

ESRC - Economic and Social Research Council

The ESRC Doctoral Training Partnership invites applications for studentships in language sciences (e.g., speech, language and communication; experimental phonetics, linguistics and pragmatics; developmental and acquired disorders; and hearing impairments). The funding can be for three years (+3) of PhD study, or include funding for a masters degree year (1+3).

The preliminary application form and full details about this funding including the eligibility requirements can be found on the UCL, Bloomsbury and East London (UBEL) ESRC Doctoral Training Partnership website.

AHRC - Arts and Humanities Research Council

The AHRC funded London Arts & Humanities Doctoral Training Partnership (LAHP) will be awarding studentships to UK and EU research students studying arts and humanities disciplines. Candidates should be aware that the LAHP studentship competition is a twin-track process, and you will need to apply for a place of study on your chosen PhD programme and to LAHP for a studentship.

Please go to the LAHP website here to find the application form and further information on the application process and eligibility requirements.


The Division often awards a number of Demonstratorships/Teaching Assistantships. These posts involve a set number of hours of teaching or other work each term but  allow time for the completion of a MPhil/PhD programme over 4 years. These awards include a maintenance stipend and the payment of UCL's tuition fees. They are only available to students from the UK.   

Other Funding

Individual members of academic staff may sometimes be able to support students with the help of research funds that they have obtained from the Research Councils, various charities or other funding bodies.  You should ask your prospective supervisor if they have any other funding options available.

Overseas Students

There are several sources of funding available specifically for overseas students to undertake graduate training in the UK. Some funding is awarded on a competitive basis by UCL to students nominated by their Departments (e.g. UCL Graduate School Scholarships above). Other sources of funding require students to apply independently, (e.g. British Council, Commonwealth, Chevening, WHO and NATO Scholarships, Government or Employers' Schemes). It is important to make early inquiries about these independent schemes (up to a year in advance).

Self Funding

It is possible for students to self-fund their PhD studies,  either as a full-time or part time student.  However, students will only be admitted on a full-time basis if they can provide evidence that they will have sufficient funds to support themselves for a minimum of three years.
English resident UK students will have the option of a PhD government loan from 2018 onwards.  Further information about the loans can be found on findaphd.com.

Self funded students should submit an application form by 30 June 2022 in order to start in September 2022.

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