Taught course

Theoretical and Applied Linguistics

University of Cambridge · School of Arts and Humanities

Entry requirements

Applications for the MPhil course are welcomed from those who have or expect to obtain a good first degree (a first, or at least a high 2.1, in the UK system, or the equivalent elsewhere). Students taking the MPhil are expected have spent some time studying linguistics or related subjects at undergraduate level; but, occasionally, exceptions may be considered.

Months of entry


Course content

The course integrates study of linguistic theory, broadly understood, and applied linguistics, in a single programme. It provides great variety and flexibility of content, with subject-specific training and the opportunity for diverse intellectual interactions. These can occur across the wide range of research specialisms represented in Theoretical and Applied Linguistics (TAL) and beyond - especially elsewhere in the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages (MML). Thus, students can explore theoretical and descriptive linguistics (e.g. the syntactic organization, or sound structure and phonetics, of different languages, or the principles that govern the historical development of languages); they can study how linguistics and phonetics can be applied to areas such as language acquisition, language processing, data mining of language corpora, or forensics; and they can choose to look at linguistics from the point of view of a specific language or language family (e.g. Italian linguistics, Germanic linguistics, etc.). Those who wish to focus their study in a particular language area can select courses that constitute a 'Pathway' in that area, such as Celtic Linguistics or English Linguistics. Most students will pursue the MPhil through the combined route, involving assessed essays as well as a thesis, but some may wish to be considered for the thesis-only route.

The combined route is intended for students who wish to extend and deepen their existing knowledge of the language sciences and their application. It often serves as a bridge between undergraduate study and doctoral research, but is also suitable as a self-contained one-year course of study. The structure of the combined route aims to promote breadth of knowledge in linguistics and depth in selected areas.

The thesis-only route is for students whose knowledge of linguistics is already substantial, and who already know the area they wish to research for their thesis. To be eligible for consideration for the thesis-only route to the MPhil, a student will need (a) a broad foundation in linguistics, with depth in at least some subfields, and (b) a clear idea of the area in which the thesis will be written. Students taking this route will follow some elements of the MPhil programme as described below under ‘Course structure and examination’, but formal assessment is by a 30,000 word thesis alone submitted in June. Progress will be monitored through the year by work submitted according to a schedule specified by TAL.

Information for international students

English Language Proficiency: IELTS 7.5 (minimum of 7 in each unit); TOEFL iBT 110 (minimum 25 in each individual element); CAE Grade A or B (minimum 193 in each individual element) plus a language centre assessment; CPE Grade A, B or C (with minimum 200 in each individual element).

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Cambridge Commonwealth European and International Trusts, Gates Cambridge Scholarships, College Scholarships.

Qualification and course duration


full time
9 months

Further details of qualification

MPhil in Linguistics is a taught course (October-June), assessed by means of two 2,000-word essays, one 4,000-word essay and a 20,000-word dissertation.

Course contact details

Louise Radok
01223 335050