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Graduate Admissions

In view of the COVID-19 public health emergency we may need to make changes to the course details outlined on these pages. Offers holders will be notified of changes. Please see this page for further information.

Course closed:

Theoretical and Applied Linguistics by thesis is no longer accepting new applications.

The MPhil by Thesis is offered by the Linguistics Section within the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics (MMLL) as a full-time period of research and introduces students to research skills and specialist knowledge.

The course aims:

  1. to give students with a strong background in linguistics the opportunity to experience the kind of independent, focused research they would pursue in a PhD;
  2. to provide students with the necessary background in linguistic theory and related topics at an intermediate and advanced level using a range of approaches and methodologies;
  3. to give students the opportunity to acquire expertise in their specific research interests in part by offering the opportunity of specialisation through pathways in the linguistics of particular languages (eg English, Romance, Celtic etc.), or areas such as applied linguistics;
  4. to provide foundations for continuation to PhD research;
  5. to offer the opportunity to participate in research culture within and beyond the Faculty, by attending and contributing to postgraduate seminars and reading groups; and
  6. to develop the research skills required to conduct independent study such as:
    1. formulating a realistic research proposal, with suitably delineated aims, objectives, methods, scope and expected outcome;
    2. preparing written work based on the proposal;
    3. selecting and mastering suitable research methods;
    4. collecting relevant bibliography;
    5. using computer databases and corpora;
    6. using the relevant software, including statistical packages where appropriate; and
    7. presenting well-argued academic material to the wider research community.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the programme students will have developed:

  1. a deeper knowledge and understanding of linguistic theories and problems addressed in cutting-edge research in theoretical and applied linguistics and related areas;
  2. the skill of critically assessing current research and methods in theoretical and applied linguistics and related areas;
  3. the methodological and other technical skills necessary for research in their chosen area;
  4. improved presentation skills through presenting their research in progress; and
  5. the skills and confidence to engage in scholarly debate.

These outcomes are achieved through participation in lectures, research seminars, individual supervisions, and additionally through subject reading groups, discussion groups and meetings of scholarly societies.

In addition to these subject-specific skills, the following general transferable skills are also acquired.

General transferable skills

  1. The MPhil by Thesis, with its focus on independent scholarly enquiry, demands that students develop exemplary organisational and time-management skills. They work in collaboration with their supervisors to devise an appropriate research plan, including research questions, methodology, and timetable. They have to demonstrate originality and initiative in pursuing their line of enquiry, and have to ensure that they meet all deadlines, formal and informal.
  2. The compulsory research methods course includes transferable skills, such as how to organise writing, how to formulate research questions appropriate to different methodologies, and general problem-solving skills. Written work is required to be concise, cogent, appropriately structured, and to adhere strictly to word limits, as in most areas of activity.
  3. Students may be expected to make presentations in seminar situations. This develops their oral presentation skills, and prepares them for academic activities such as presenting conference papers.


For those applying to continue from the MPhil to PhD, each application will be assessed individually on its merits, taking into account supervisors' and examiners' reports.

Open Days

The University of Cambridge will be hosting its Cambridge Postgraduate Open Day on Friday 1 November 2019. Visit the Postgraduate Open Day page for more details.


This course is advertised in the following departments:

Key Information

9 Months full-time

Master of Philosophy

This course is advertised in multiple departments. Please see the Overview tab for more details.


Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 2, 2019
Application deadline
May 26, 2020
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2020

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Graduate Funding Competition
Dec. 3, 2019
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 14, 2019

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