The Linguistics PhD 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 intellects in the discipline and opportunities to participate in international conferences.
Modes and duration
Tuition fees (2018/19)
- £5,060 (FT) £2,530 (PT)
- £18,240 (FT) £9,290 (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 Current Students website.
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
Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.
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 language, its acquisition by children and its use in communication. We encourage and facilitate cross-disciplinary interaction with psychologists, cognitive scientists and philosophers working on language and communication. 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.
The research department is pre-eminent in theoretical 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: relation between syntax and information structure (topic/focus); interactions between different movement types; syntactic and morphological deficits in aphasia and other syndromes; (research is carried out in a broadly Chomskyan framework).
Applications for UCL competitive funding must arrive by late December/early January for entry in September/October the following year. See Graduate Research (GRS) and Overseas Research Scholarships (ORS).
You are strongly advised to contact and work with your potential supervisor when completing your application for funding.
See also: UCL, Bloomsbury and East London Doctoral Training Partnership and London Arts and Humanities 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.
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).
Recent career destinations for this degree
- Postdoctoral Researcher, Université Paris Diderot (Paris Diderot University)
- Teaching Fellow in Linguistics, University of Leeds
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.
Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
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 & Language Sciences, cross-disciplinary training and joint supervision is possible (with scholars in psychology, neuroscience, speech science, etc.). We run a weekly graduate school, 'Advanced Core Training in Linguistics', and a summer school, both taught by eminent scholars from the UK and Europe.
Student / staff numbers
› 16 staff
Staff/student numbers information correct as of 1 August 2017.
Research Excellence Framework (REF)
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: Linguistics
83% rated 4* (world-leading) or 3* (internationally excellent)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.
What our students and staff say
"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 BelkLinguistics MPhil/PhD
"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 PaolazziLinguistics PhD
"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 PollockLinguistics 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.
- All applicants
- 30 June 2018
- Scholarship applicants
- 8 January 2018
Applications for competitive funding awarded by UCL must arrive by December 2017 or early January 2018. If other sources of funding are being considered, it is still in your interest to apply by this deadline, but later applications can sometimes be considered. Applications should be made as soon as possible, and not later than 30 June for entry in September/October.
For more information see our Applications page.Apply now