Two children talking by Ashton Bingham/Unsplash


Linguistics is the systematic study of human language. Linguists explore how we communicate using language and how languages are structured.

Curtis Sharma at WRE linguistics

Part of the appeal of studying linguistics is that it draws on methods and knowledge from an unusually wide range of subjects. For instance, the study of meaning draws on work by philosophers, whereas the part of our course concentrating on the sounds of speech takes place in our phonetics laboratory. Here computers are used to display and analyse the speech signal using methods from physics and engineering. This variety is what makes linguistics fascinating: one day you might be poring over a medieval text for evidence of how the grammar of a language has changed, and the next, learning about how the larynx creates sound energy for speech.

Linguistics Venn diagram

Academic Requirements

The main requirement for studying Linguistics is a lively curiosity about the nature of language.  Linguistics is interdisciplinary so specific A level subjects are not required. We welcome applicants with an outstanding academic profile, whether science-oriented or arts-centered. However, some formal study of language, either through learning languages or through English Language A level, does serve as a good preparation.

See also Entrance requirements for additional advice about general requirements for entry, qualifications and offers.


Applicants can expect a subject interview, to be conducted by our Director of Studies and a general interview, both held in College. The subject interview aims to test your ability to think creatively and logical about language, to work out the structure of examples language, and to establish your motivation for the subject and degree of engagement with it. It may also contain questions on a brief paper given to each applicant to read on the day. 

Applicants invited for interview will be asked to submit two pieces of written work prior to interview. On the day of the interviews you will also sit a written assessment, specifications for this can be found here

The Director of Studies is Dr Bettina Beinhoff.

Find out more about the linguistics course on the department website, and the University Undergraduate Prospectus.