We learn languages to communicate as language is central to our human nature.

The subject matter of Linguistics is language (not any particular language) as a human activity.

Linguistics is the scientific study of human language and its structure, including the study of morphology, syntax, phonetics, and semantics. It deals with both the structure of the language (what language is – Competence) and with the way it functions in different settings (how language works – Performance), as well as the way it relates to social organisation and changes over time. In other words, what to say (how a sentence is structured) and how to say it (which words, grammar, tone of voice – even – to choose according to a particular setting) in any language is at the core of linguistics, and, as such, explains why linguistics has links with different subject matters such as psychology or sociology.

Cambridge’s Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics is persistently high performing. The Department pursues an interdisciplinary approach to theoretical and applied linguistics, and its staff includes many internationally known experts in their respective fields.

Full course details are provided on the Department’s Prospective Undergraduates webpage and the University’s Undergraduate Study webpage.


To find out about admissions, go to Apply | Undergraduates.


Entry Requirements

Course-specific information, including the University’s typical offers and the attainment level of the University’s typical entrants, is available by selecting your course from the University’s Course List then looking at the Entry Requirements tab. Academic offer conditions can vary by College so if you want to apply to Churchill then check out our entries in the by-College list of entry requirements that’s available on the same tab. The University’s Entrance Requirements and International Entry Requirements webpages may contain guidance relevant to you too.

To learn more about the academic profiles of Churchill entrants and our approach to setting conditional offers, see Entry Requirements | Undergraduates.

Submitted Work

If you apply to Churchill, we’ll ask you to submit two examples of teacher-marked written work. These should be taken from your present or most recent studies, and should not be re-written or corrected for your Cambridge application. Ideally, each piece should be 1500 to 2000 words in length, and include some form of language-related discussion.


Admissions Assessment

All Linguistics applicants are required to take a written assessment after shortlisting for interview. There’s more information on and linked from the University’s Admissions Assessments webpage.



The role of academic interviews in Churchill’s admissions process is explained at Interviews | Undergraduates. Our interviewers will be looking for evidence of enthusiasm for and a potential for aptitude in the subjects covered by the Linguistics Tripos.

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