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Linguistics MPhil/PhD

The PhD 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 thinkers in the discipline and opportunities to participate in international conferences.

Key Information

Modes and duration

  • Full-time: 3 years
  • Part-time: 5 years

Programme start date

September 2016

Tuition Fees (2016/17)

£4,770 (FT) £2,385 (PT)
£17,190 (FT) £8,755 (PT)

Application dates

All applicants
Close: 30 June 2016
Scholarship applicants
Close: 16 January 2016
Fees note: All fees quoted are for new students only for 2016 entry. Fees for subsequent years are subject to increase by approximately 3-5%.

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

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:


Doctoral research in Linguistics may be carried out in any of the areas listed below (pragmatics, semantics, syntax, phonology, language-acquisition, etc.). As well as offering supervision at the cutting-edge of theoretical work in all these domains, there are exciting opportunities for experimental testing of theories, as the department is rapidly developing training programmes in experimental design and techniques.

Research areas

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
  • 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).


Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed (where available) below. 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).


The skills and knowledge gained from a research degree in Linguistics 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, e.g. 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, which equip the graduate for research work in a language lab; precise knowledge of computational techniques, enabling the graduate to work in 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 taking on the competitive international linguistics job market.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The UCL Linguistics department is both outstanding itself and 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 a weekly graduate school, ‘Advanced Core Training in Linguistics’ (http://www.actl.ucl.ac.uk/), and a summer school, both taught by eminent scholars from UK and Europe. We run regular graduate research seminars in the specialist areas (syntax, phonology, pragmatics/semantics) and conf

Student / staff ratios › 16 staff including 2 postdocs › 20 research students

Department: Linguistics

Degree reviews

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 data sets to look for is creative, and lets me play with language in a more artistic way."

Zoe Belk

Linguistics MPhil/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.

Application deadlines

All applicants
30 June 2016
Scholarship applicants
16 January 2016
Applications for competitive funding awarded by UCL must arrive by December 2015 or early January 2016. 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.

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Contact Information


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