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Postgraduate Admissions

Linguistics at Cambridge is unique in the UK in that study and research in theoretical and applied linguistics are integrated within in a single academic unit. We provide great variety and flexibility in course contents as well as subject-specific training and diversity of intellectual interactions.

The PhD in Computation, Cognition and Language is a PhD track for students who conduct basic and applied research in the computational study of language, communication, and cognition, in humans and machines. This research is interdisciplinary in nature and draws on methodology and insights from a range of disciplines that are now critical for the further development of language sciences, including (but not limited to) Linguistics, Cognitive Science, Computer Science, Engineering, Psychology and Neuroscience. A variety of PhD topics that fall within this remit are accepted. Our current primary areas of research are:

• natural language processing

• computational and corpus linguistics

• computational models of human language acquisition and processing

• information extraction, mining, and presentation

• multilingual technology

• educational and assistive technology

• text data technology for health

• computational digital humanities

In British universities, the PhD is traditionally awarded solely on the basis of a thesis, a substantial piece of writing which reports original research into a closely defined area of enquiry. The completion of the PhD thesis is generally expected to take three to four years, and most funding is based on this assumption. While the PhD is not a taught course, students will benefit from the availability of courses and seminars offered both within the MMLL Faculty and by other departments concerned with language science in Cambridge (e.g. Computer Science and Technology, Education, Engineering, Psychology, MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit). All research students also benefit from a programme of professional training run at various levels within the School of Arts and Humanities and enabling cross-disciplinary interactions. The programme includes seminars and workshops on e.g., giving conference papers, publishing, applications and interviews, teaching skills, specialist linguistic training. If you wish, you are likely to be given the opportunity of gaining experience in small group teaching for colleges. There may also be opportunities to gain some experience in teaching in the Faculty.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the programme, candidates will have acquired excellent skills, experience and knowledge to undertake postdoctoral work (research and teaching) or another related profession.


For those applying to continue from MPhil to PhD, the minimum academic standard is an overall distinction on the MPhil. If the applicant is continuing from an  MPhil programme other than the  MPhil in Theoretical and Applied Linguistics, the MPhil programme ought to contain a substantial Linguistics component.

Open Days

The Open Day usually takes place at the beginning of November. The event is suitable for those considering applying for postgraduate study at the University. It provides opportunities to meet with academics, explore the Colleges, and find out more about the application process and funding opportunities. Visit the Postgraduate Open Day page for more details.


This course is advertised in the following departments:

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Key Information

3-4 years full-time

Doctor of Philosophy

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:

Michaelmas 2021

Applications open
Sept. 1, 2020
Application deadline
June 2, 2021
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2021

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

Applications open
Sept. 1, 2020
Application deadline
Oct. 4, 2021
Course Starts
Jan. 5, 2022

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

Graduate Funding Competition
Jan. 7, 2021
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 14, 2020

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