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Cambridge Language Sciences

Interdisciplinary Research Centre

Language sciences sharable options are taught courses which are part of one MPhil programme but which may be followed by students registered with any language sciences-related MPhil (subject to approval). Listed below are examples of sharable options available in previous years:


MPhil in Theoretical and Applied Linguistics

Introductory taught courses

History and varieties of English
Phonological Theory
History of Ideas on Language
History of English
First and Second Language Acquisition
Computational Linguistics


Research seminars

Phonological theory
Topics in Syntax
Diachronic syntax
History of Ideas on Language
Language acquisition
Computational linguistics


MPhil in Advanced Computer Science

Overview of Natural Language Processing
Introduction to Natural Language Syntax and Parsing
Machine Learning for Language Processing
Advanced Topics in Natural Language Processing
Discourse Processing
Biomedical Information Processing


MPhil in Biological Sciences by Research

MPhil in Biological Sciences by Research is one year of full-time research followed by examination of a research thesis in an oral examination. There is no formal teaching as part of this MPhil. However, all candidates are expected to take part in the Psychology Department’s Graduate Education Programme and the Graduate School of Life Sciences’ Skills Training Programme.

Although there are no formal courses, interested MPhil students from other departments would be welcome to attend the seminar programme for graduate students, and other departmental seminars.


MPhil in Education, Research in Second Language Education

Learning Context: Second Language Learning Theories across Disciplines

In this module, we examine two broad strands of theoretical approaches of language learning. In the cognitive and psycholinguistic strand, we look at bilingual cognition, language processing and cross-linguistic influence in SLA in various educational contexts. In the sociocultural and sociolinguistic strand, we examine issues such as language mediation and scaffolding in relation to language development, as well as the theme of variation in relation to language use, identity and attitude. Other sub-themes examined in this module include motivation, learner strategy, interaction and corrective feedback.

Pedagogical Context: Second Language Classroom Pedagogies across Cultures

In this module, we analyse the concept of L2 pedagogy and review key pedagogical approaches that have been dominant in recent years. These include language immersion, Communicative Language Teaching (CLT), Task-Based Learning (TBL), Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL), processing instruction and Focus-on-Form Instruction. We problematise some of the assumptions of these pedagogies and critically debate what constitutes an 'appropriate pedagogy'. Other sub-themes in this module include language teacher cognition, media genre and new technology in language teaching.

Policy Context: International Perspectives on Language Education Policy and Multilingualism

In this module, we examine various issues in relation to superdiversity and interculturality in different multilingual and multicultural settings. The course starts with a discussion of the theoretical and national policy frameworks for language planning and policy making. Subsequent sessions move from an analysis of the issues relating to medium of instruction in schools, to analysis of language diversity and multilingual practice in the classroom, and finally to examination of the relationship between language and identity at the individual level. Other sub-themes covered in this module include language and migration, intercultural communication, community/heritage language education and English as an additional language.

Research Context: Multiple Approaches to Researching Language, Learning and Education

In this module, we examine various approaches, methods and techniques that are often used to collect, analyse and present language-related data. This module complements the generic research methods strand and aims to consolidate students' knowledge of research and ethics and facilitate translation of such knowledge into empirical work. Hands-on sessions on statistical analysis and discourse analysis are provided for the students to work with real data. Another aim of this module is to provide opportunities for the students to develop their professional skills and scholarly identity as an emerging researcher, through attending research conferences, seminars and workshops.

What we do

Cambridge Language Sciences is an Interdisciplinary Research Centre at the University of Cambridge. Our virtual network connects researchers from five schools across the university as well as other world-leading research institutions. Our aim is to strengthen research collaborations and knowledge transfer across disciplines in order to address large-scale multi-disciplinary research challenges relating to language research.