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Becoming a Linguistics MPhil Student

Lady Mitchell Hall

There are two possible routes to our MPhil

The Advanced Study 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 Advanced Study route aims to promote breadth of knowledge in linguistics and depth in selected areas.

The by Dissertation 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 by Dissertation 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. Formal assessment is by a 30,000 word thesis alone submitted in June. 


Applications for the MPhil course are welcomed from those whose undergraduate degree includes a significant element of linguistics and who have, or expect to obtain, at least a high 2.1 or the equivalent. Many students move straight into the MPhil after their first degree, but others come to it after a number of years away from formal study, sometimes in teaching posts related to languages, but also in other careers. Students taking the MPhil are expected have spent some time studying linguistics or related subjects at undergraduate level; but, occasionally, exceptions may be considered. Non-native English speakers must have passed an English Language Proficiency test at the required level. The following examinations with minimum scores are accepted: IELTS 7.5 (min 7 in each unit), TOEFL internet based test 110 (min 25 for each section - Listening, Writing, Reading and Speaking). No other English language examinations are accepted.

The course is divided into three terms and runs from the beginning of October to the end of June the following year.

Things You'll Need

In order to apply for this course you'll need to think about getting a few things ready before you apply.

  • Two academic references  
  • Transcript  
  • Evidence of competence in English   
    If required - you can check using this tool
  • Sample of work (max. 1)

Your sample of work should be in English and approximately 3,000 words. This could be an essay from your undergraduate course, or an extract from your undergraduate dissertation. If you are returning to study and do not have a recent sample of academic writing, you may submit something written especially for the application process. It must be a single-authored work.


Gates Cambridge Scholarships

If you wish to be considered for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship you will also need to provide the following:

  • Gates Cambridge Reference  
  • CV/resume
  • Research Proposal (PhD applicants only)

See Gates Cambridge for more information.

Candidates are advised to apply in well advance of the funding deadlines listed on the Graduate Office 'Applying to MML' page. Graduate funding is increasingly difficult to obtain. As a guide, for home students, a first class degree is no longer a guarantee of winning a maintenance grant from the AHRC. It helps to have a top first or a very strong performance in the area of your proposed research. 

Whether or not you wish to be considered for funding, you are advised to submit your application sooner rather than later. The closing date for applications is 31st May 2018, although this may be brought forward if the cap for offers has been reached before that date. 

Cambridge ESRC DTP Studentship

Linguistics is pleased to participate in a new ESRC Doctoral Training Partnership at the University of Cambridge.  A range of studentships are available across the social sciences at Cambridge; if you are interested in how society works and how it can handle global challenges, a DTP studentship will give you a world-class training programme, with access to leading international scholars both at Cambridge and other DTPs, and a wide community of fellow social scientists.

You can find out more about ESRC DTP studentships here:

Please contact Professor Ianthi Tsimpli to discuss your interest in applying for a DTP studentship.

The funding deadline for the submission of applications for MPhil and PhD courses starting in October 2018 is 4 January 2018.


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