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Postgraduate Study

Course closed:

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

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

The course aims:

  • 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;
  • 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;
  • to provide foundations for continuation to PhD research;
  • to offer the opportunity to participate in the research culture within and beyond the Faculty, for example within the Language Sciences community, by attending and contributing to postgraduate seminars and reading groups; and
  • to develop the research skills required to conduct independent research such as:
    • formulating a realistic research proposal, with suitably delineated aims, objectives, methods and scope;
    • preparing written work based on the proposal;
    • mastering the construction of a valid theoretical argument;
    • selecting and mastering suitable research methods;
    • collecting relevant bibliography;
    • using computer databases and corpora;
    • using the relevant software, including statistical packages where appropriate; and
    • presenting well-argued academic material to the wider research community.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the programme students will have developed:

  • a deeper knowledge and understanding of linguistic theories and problems addressed in cutting-edge research in theoretical and applied linguistics and related areas;
  • the skill of critically assessing current research and methods in theoretical and applied linguistics and related areas;
  • the methodological and other technical skills necessary for research in their chosen area;
  • improved presentation skills through presenting their research in progress; and
  • 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

  • The relatively intense timetable of the MPhil demands that students develop exemplary time-management skills. They work in collaboration with their supervisors to devise appropriate plans of study, and have to ensure that they meet all deadlines, formal and informal.
  • 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 students are asked to adhere strictly to word limits, as in most areas of activity.
  • Students are expected to make regular presentations in seminar situations. This develops their oral presentation skills, as does the assessed oral presentation on their "second seminar" at the end of the Lent term.


For those applying to continue from the MPhil to PhD, the minimum academic standard is normally an overall distinction on the MPhil.

Open Days

The Postgraduate Virtual Open Day usually takes place at the end of October. It’s a great opportunity to ask questions to admissions staff and academics, explore the Colleges virtually, and to find out more about courses, the application process and funding opportunities. Visit the Postgraduate Open Day page for more details.

See further the Postgraduate Admissions Events pages for other events relating to Postgraduate study, including study fairs, visits and international events.


This course is advertised in the following departments:

Key Information

9 months full-time

Study Mode : Taught

Master of Philosophy

Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics This course is advertised in multiple departments. Please see the Overview tab for more details.

Course - related enquiries

Application - related enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 4, 2023
Application deadline
Feb. 22, 2024
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2024

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

Course Funding Deadline
Dec. 5, 2023
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 11, 2023

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2024, Lent 2025 and Easter 2025.

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