UCL Graduate degrees


Linguistics MPhil/PhD

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.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2021

Modes and duration

Full time: 3 years
Part time: 5 years

Application dates

All applicants
Open: 9 November 2020
Close: 30 July 2021

Tuition fees (2021/22)

£5,525 (FT)
£2,765 (PT)
£20,710 (FT)
£10,550 (PT)

Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.

Location: London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

Normally a minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree or a Master’s degree in a relevant discipline from a UK university, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

English language requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.

The English language level for this programme is: Good

Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level. International Preparation Courses

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

International students

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.

Select your country:


The UCL Linguistics research department is known internationally for its outstanding work in all areas of theoretical linguistics and for its growing strength in experimental work. Our staff carry out research aimed at discovering the nature and origin of the principles and representations that characterise human language, its acquisition by children, its neural basis in the brain, and its use in communication. We encourage and facilitate cross-disciplinary interaction with psychologists, cognitive scientists and philosophers working on language and communication both at UCL and elsewhere. Undertaking a research degree in this department means you will be supervised by scholars who are leaders in their field with the expert up-to-date knowledge needed to guide you in shaping your own original research contribution.

Research areas

The research department is pre-eminent in theoretical and experimental linguistics, especially in syntax, semantics and pragmatics, phonology, and normal and abnormal language development.

  • Language development: language acquisition (syntax morphology and lexicon); development of communicative and pragmatic abilities; experimental pragmatics; pragmatics and atypical development
  • Neurolinguistics: semantic, syntactic and morphological deficits in aphasia; noun-verb differences in different populations; British Sign Language
  • Phonology: relation between phonological representations and the speech signal; syllable typology; phonological variation and change
  • Semantics and pragmatics: relevance theory; philosophy of language; the semantics/pragmatics interface; formal semantics and pragmatics; foundations of communication; semantic/pragmatic deficits in autism and other syndromes
  • Syntax: ellipsis, word order typology, syntax of phi-features, syntax-semantics interface, syntax-morphology interface; syntactic and morphological deficits in aphasia and other syndromes; (research is carried out in a broadly Chomskyan framework).
More information can be found on the department website: Linguistics MPhil/PhD

About this degree

Additional costs

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble accessable.co.uk. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.


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.

Applications for UCL competitive funding must arrive by late December/early January for entry in September/October the following year. 

You are strongly advised to contact and work with your supervisor on your application for funding.

Funding opportunities include:

•       Demonstratorship in Linguistics

•       UCL Graduate Research Scholarships:

•       GRS

•       ORS

•       CSC-UCL

•       AHRC-LAHPDoctoral Training Partnership 

•       ESRC-UCL, Bloomsbury and East London Doctoral Training Partnership

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.


Demonstratorship in Linguistics

The demonstrator will be paid for a total of 180 hours per year, and in return their tuition fees will be paid at Home/EU rate and they will receive a full stipend. The position involves teaching and administrative support related to the BA, BSc and MA programmes in Linguistics. The post-holder will provide assistance with a variety of aspects of the programmes.


The skills and knowledge gained from this research degree include: specialist knowledge of phonology, syntax, semantics or pragmatics as required to become a teacher/researcher in academic linguistics; expert grasp of specific language issues or problems leading to a range of linguistically oriented careers, for example being a legal court interpreter, a speech and communication therapist, a field linguist, translator or recorder of endangered languages; expertise in experimental techniques for studying language processing, equipping graduates for research work in a language lab; precise knowledge of computational techniques leading to potential work with IT businesses.


The opportunities for networking are vast as we invite many eminent international linguists and enable our students to attend seminars and conferences in the UK and overseas. Completion of a research degree with us will give you excellent credentials for entry into the competitive international linguistics job market.

Why study this degree at UCL?

UCL Linguistics is outstanding in itself and also has wide-ranging links with other excellent linguistics departments across London. Our doctoral students are supervised by world leaders in the field. Located within the Division of Psychology and Language Sciences, cross-disciplinary training and joint supervision is possible (with scholars in psychology, neuroscience, speech science, etc.). We run additional graduate-level training, 'Advanced Core Training in Linguistics', taught by eminent scholars from the UK and beyond.

Department: Linguistics

What our students and staff say

Student review

"I love the problem-solving aspect - finding a set of data and trying to work out an analysis. In some ways my work is very scientific, almost mathematical, and I enjoy spending time thinking in the abstract. At the same time, coming up with good datasets to look for is creative, and lets me play with language in a more artistic way."

Zoe Belk

Linguistics MPhil/PhD
Student review

"The multidisciplinary nature of my degree programme is definitely its most attractive and exciting feature. Linguistics can really cut across several fields: philosophy, medicine, machine learning..."

Caterina Paolazzi

Linguistics PhD
Student review

"There are lots of chances to do interdisciplinary work with the way that the Psychology and Language Sciences division is set up. I started out doing philosophy, then linguistics, and now I'm learning techniques from experimental psychology. These different skillsets have been really useful for my PhD work."

Lewis Pollock

Linguistics PhD

Application and next steps


Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

This programme requires two references. Further information regarding references can be found in our How to apply section.

Application deadlines

All applicants
30 July 2021

For more information about the application process, see our Applications page.

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

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Page last modified on 28 August 2021