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MPhils in Theoretical and Applied Linguistics

Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics


MPhil in Theoretical and Applied Linguistics by Dissertation

University of Cambridge

MPhil by Dissertation (MLM9)

The MPhil by Dissertation is for students whose knowledge of linguistics is already substantial, and who already know the area which they wish to research for their dissertation. It allows students to carry out focussed research on a specific topic in a way that foreshadows a potential PhD. To be eligible for consideration for the MPhil by Dissertation, a student will need:

  • a broad foundation in linguistics, with depth in at least some subfields
  • a clear idea of the area in which the dissertation will be written.

Students taking the MPhil by Dissertation will follow some elements of the MPhil by Advanced Study as agreed with their supervisor, but formal assessment is by a 30,000 word dissertation alone, submitted in June. Progress will be monitored through the year by work submitted according to a schedule specified by TAL.

Applicants may find it useful to look at the following lists of people to find out more about potential supervisors in their fields of interest:

Please direct any enquiries regarding entry requirements and academic matters to the Linguistics Graduate Secretary in the MML Graduate Office:, and any enquiries regarding the technicalities of applying to the Graduate Admissions Office

Michaelmas Term

All students are required to follow a course in research methods and a statistics course to acquire skills needed for research and 'transferable' skills. Beyond that, each student will follow his or her own 'training plan', which allows the individual interests, needs, and strengths of the student to be met. At the start of the course the student draws up a Training Plan for the Michaelmas and Lent Terms (October to March), with advice (if needed) from the Course Director of the MPhil and subject specialists.

Lent Term

In the Lent Term students research forums, which might be PhD seminars, MPhil seminars, or other appropriate research seminars and courses in Linguistics or elsewhere in the university, as agreed with their supervisor.  

A proposed title and summary for the 30,000 word dissertation, formulated in discussion with the supervisor, must be submitted in mid-February, and this will be subject to approval by the Linguistics Section, the supervisor, and the Faculty's Degree Committee. The dissertation demands independent study under the guidance of the supervisor and will involve a substantial piece of original research. 

Easter Term

The dissertation is submitted on the seventh Thursday of Easter Full Term, and about two to three weeks later there is an oral examination on the dissertation.