Linguistics MPhil/PhD

London, Bloomsbury

The Linguistics MPhil/PhD programme 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.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
3 calendar years
5 calendar years
Programme starts
October 2024
February 2025
May 2025
Applications accepted
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

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.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 2

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.

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

Equivalent qualifications

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. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

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.

Who this course is for

If you meet the entry requirements, it is important 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 learn more about our research themes and the projects within these themes in our Research section.

What this course will give you

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.). UCL students may attend additional graduate-level training, 'Advanced Core Training in Linguistics', which is taught by eminent scholars from the UK and beyond.

The foundation of your career

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).


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.

Teaching and learning

Students will typically audit taught modules at appropriate doctoral levels, depending on their training needs.

Each student has an Upgrade Viva at the midpoint of their PhD. For full-time students this is usually between 9 and 18 months after initial registration; for part-time students this is usually between 15 and 30 months after initial registration. The purpose of the Upgrade Viva is to assess the student’s progress and ability to complete their PhD programme in a reasonable time frame.

At the end of their PhD, each student has to submit a written thesis of not more than 100,000 words, followed by a viva voce examination with two examiners, one who is internal to UCL and another who is external.

A typical full-time PhD student will spend approximately 36.5 hours per week working on their PhD.

The contact time that a student spends with their supervisory team, thesis committee members and on training courses varies from student to student depending on need throughout their PhD. Part-time student hours are pro-rata.

Research areas and structure

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).

Research environment

Linguistics is based in Chandler House. Here there are facilities for psychology and language science research including, but not limited to, eye-tracking, electroencephalography (EEG/ERP), functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS), ultrasound, and transcranial electrical stimulation (TES), as well as several sound treated booths for behavioural studies and audiovisual recordings. There is a dedicated Experimental Officer to support research.

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 (CRS) for 1 additional year.

Part-time students are normally required to be registered for 5 years, with 2 additional years in CRS if needed.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support and Wellbeing team.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2024/25) £6,035 £3,015
Tuition fees (2024/25) £25,900 £12,950

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website:

Additional costs

This programme has no 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.

Funding your studies

Please contact potential supervisors and the department in the Autumn (Sep-Oct) to discuss application procedures and deadlines for all of the funding opportunities.

Applications should be made as soon as possible and not later than 30 June for September entry.

Funding opportunities include:

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.

Next steps

Deadlines and start dates are usually dictated by funding arrangements so check with the department as early as possible to see if you need to consider these in your application preparation. In most cases you should identify and contact potential supervisors before making your application. For more information see our Applications page.

Please contact potential supervisors and the department in the Autumn (Sep-Oct) to discuss application procedures and deadlines for all of the funding opportunities. If other sources of funding are being considered, it is still in your interest to apply early, but later applications can also be considered. Applications should be made as soon as possible and not later than 30 June for September entry.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

Year of entry: 2024-2025

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