Linguistics at Cambridge introduces students to the study of language as a phenomenon from a wide range of exciting perspectives. In the first year you will acquire the building blocks for analysing languages, while during the second and third years you can explore more specialized subjects such as Language Acquisition, the History of Ideas on Language, Computational Linguistics or the Psychology of Language Processing. You can also focus on the structure and history of a particular language such as French or German. Your final year dissertation enables you to research in depth an aspect of linguistics which fascinates you. More detail about the course can be found on the University website.
At the intersection of humanities, social and natural sciences, linguistics equips students with a wide range of analytical methods and quantitative skills that can be useful for many different careers. Some graduates will want to stay closely involved with linguistics (such as speech therapy, language teaching, documentation or testing), whilst others will be keen to apply the skills and attributes they have developed while studying here to a wide range of opportunities (e.g. language technology, communications).
Studying Linguistics at Murray Edwards
We aim to admit two Linguistics students each year, making it a small but vibrant community of up to six undergraduate students in the College at any one time. We also typically have 1-2 postgraduates in Linguistics in the College, who meet with the undergraduates at dinners and other events. First year supervisions for all Linguistics students are organised by the Faculty, so that you will have a chance to meet from the beginning with students of other colleges.
At Murray Edwards College, no specific subjects are required, and we welcome applications from students with either a predominantly humanities or science background. The study of Linguistics suits both those who enjoy literature and those who prefer a more structural approach to language learning.
Linguistics students are encouraged to develop their interests and participate to the meetings of the Gabe Society which comprises of MML undergraduates, graduates and Fellows and aims to provide a focus for academic exploration and inquiry at undergraduate level. The meetings of the society have proven to be a good opportunity for our students to meet and chat informally and to get to know students in other years.
Murray Edwards is unique among Cambridge Colleges in having three Fellows in Linguistics. Their combined expertise spans the majority of core Linguistics modules, allowing for many supervisions to be conducted in-house. Professor Wendy Ayres-Bennett works on the history of the French language, on the history of ideas on language, on language policy, and on multilingualism. Dr Dora Alexopoulou works on linguistic theory, language learning and experimental syntax. Dr Nigel Collier works on machine learning for Natural Language Processing and is a University Lecturer in Computational Linguistics and EPSRC Fellow.
Admissions Assessment and Interview arrangements
As with all applicants for Linguistics, if you apply to Murray Edwards and are interviewed then you will be required to sit the Linguistics Admissions Assessment in Cambridge at the time of your interviews. You will have two interviews at Murray Edwards. One will be subject specific and with our Fellows in Linguistics, while the other will be a general academic interview with a senior Fellow of the College, usually one of our Directors of Studies in Modern Languages.
At interview we will be looking for a genuine interest in the way language and languages function, an ability to think analytically, and a capacity to see patterns in new data. In preparing for interview, it would be helpful to read one of the books recommended by the Linguistics Section and to think about which areas of linguistics might be of particular interest to you.
If you receive an offer from Murray Edwards College then it will usually be the standard University offer of A*AA at A Levels, 42 points in the International Baccalaureate (IB) with 776 at Higher Level (HL) or equivalents in other qualifications. We are likely to specify the subject in which we wish you to achieve the top grade.