Linguistics at Homerton
Homerton College has been taking students for Linguistics since the undergraduate degree began, and we have a fine track record of success in the subject. We generally take two students per year, as the subject has limited space for undergraduates, despite (and also because of) Cambridge’s strength in the field. Our Director of Studies, Dr Roberto B Sileo, is a Fellow of the College. He is also an Affiliated Lecturer in Theoretical and Applied Linguistics and the Academic Director of the MSt. in English Language Assessment, a blended learning programme delivered by the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Continuing Education in collaboration with different faculties and departments within the university.
Linguistics is the systematic study of human language. Superficially, there is huge variation among the world’s languages, and linguists not only describe the diverse characteristics of individual languages but also explore properties which all languages share and which offer insight into the human mind. Situated within the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages, the Theoretical and Applied Linguistics Section emphasises an interdisciplinary approach to language, since the study of linguistics draws on methods and knowledge from a wide range of academic fields. For instance, the study of meaning draws on philosophy, the analysis of the speech signal uses methods from physics and engineering, and the study of language acquisition draws on psychology. This variety 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, or how we can record brain responses in a categorisation task. Linguistics courses at Cambridge are taught at undergraduate, MPhil, and PhD levels and they generally top national and international university league tables.
There are no essential subjects but English Language, English Literature, a modern or ancient language are potentially useful — but so too might be a more scientific and mathematical oriented route.
For 2022 entry, all applicants to Linguistics will take an at-interview written assessment, further details of which can be found via the course page here. You do not need to register in advance for this, and will be sent full details about the assessment if called for interview. There will be two interviews for Homerton applicants, one of which will be a specialist interview conducted by our Director of Studies and colleagues in the Department (though no formal knowledge of linguistics as a subject will be presumed). The second will be a more general academic interview.
The offer to those who are successful will be A*AA at A-level (IB 40-42 points with 776 in Higher Level subjects) or the equivalent.