Individual Differences, Language and Cognition - Humboldt PhD Studentships

Level of study
Doctoral research
Subject area
English Language and Linguistics, Modern Languages and Cultures
EU, Overseas (Non-EU), UK
Type of Award
Deadline for applying
Closed 17/06/2019 (Note: competition closed for this year)

Award Description

The Department of Modern Languages and the Department of English and Linguistics at the University of Birmingham invites applications for two funded PhD studentships to commence on 30 September 2019, or as soon thereafter as possible. The studentships are intended for writing a PhD dissertation in the framework of the "Individual Differences, Language and Cognition" project led by Prof. Ewa Dąbrowska and funded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. The students will work on the following projects:

PhD Project 1: Cognitive predictors of individual differences in language acquisition

This project will examine the role of speed of proceduralization in language development, focusing in particular on children with Specific Language Impairment.

PhD Project 2: Later language development

This project will focus language development between the ages of 5 and 15. Depending on the student's interests, this could involve, for example, examining the effects of literacy on the development of complex syntax, the entrenchment and restructuring of early-acquired structures in later childhood and adolescence, or the later acquisition of a heritage language.

The post offers the opportunity to join an international multidisciplinary team (based partly at the University of Birmingham and partly at the Friedrich Alexander University in Erlangen, Germany) consisting of linguists, psychologists and neuroscientists. You will receive training and development in linguistics and psycholinguistics, research methods and statistics and will have the opportunity to spend time at the Linguistics Lab in Erlangen.

These are four-year positions, and the students will spend 80% of their time working on their project.

Value of Award

The successful candidate will receive an annual grant of £12,327 (£8,000 maintenance and £4,327 for fees). There is an opportunity to be employed for up to one day per week, collecting data for other projects conducted by the group. The renumeration for this work will be approximately £8,250 per year.

Eligibility Criteria

The successful candidate must:

  • hold an undergraduate degree in linguistics, psychology or a related discipline;
  • demonstrate a strong interest in language acquistion. 

In addition, it is an advantage but not a requirement that the candidate has one or more of the following:

  • a postgraduate degree in linguistics, psychology or a related discipline;
  • a background in usage-based linguistics or psycholinguistics;
  • experience collecting data using a range of behavioural methods;
  • knowledge of statistics for language-data analysis.

The scholarship is available for three years full time and will cover PhD tuition fees for UK/EU students as well as a living stipdend and renumeration for the work undertaken totalling £20,500 per annum. International students are also eligible to apply, but would be expected to cover the difference between the international and the UK/EU tuition fees themselves. Only Overseas candidates who confirm availability of funding can be considered. In addition, the candidate will be awared an annual allowance to attend conferences and other research-related travel. 

How to Apply

Applications for this studentship should be sent to the College of Arts and Law Graduate School:

Applicants are required to submit:

  • an up-to-date CV containing details of previous research experience;
  • a cover letter explaining how you could contribute to the groups' research;
  • copies of your degree certificate(s) and transcripts;
  • an electronic copy of your BA and/or MA dissertation or the most current draft;
  • the names and contact details of two academic referees.

If English is not your official language, you must also provide evidence of English proficiency (an IELTS score of at least 7 overall, with 6.5 in each component part).

Only complete applications submitted before the deadline will be considered. The deadline to apply is Monday, 17 June 2019.

For informal enquiries about the positions and the recruiting department, contact:

For details on the application process, contact the College of Arts and Law Graduate School on


Professor Ewa Dabrowska