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Department of Modern Languages - Out of Our Minds

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  • Funded PhD Programme (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Programme (Students Worldwide)

Profile Description


The Department of Modern Languages and the Department of English and Linguistics at The University of Birmingham invites applications for one funded PhD studentship to commence in 30th September 2019. The position is open to applicants who hold a BA qualification in English or Polish Language & Linguistics and will hold (by the start date) an MA, preferably in Teaching English or Polish as a Foreign Language.

The funded studentship is intended for writing a PhD dissertation in the framework of a Leverhulme-funded project led by Professor Dagmar Divjak in collaboration with Dr Petar Milin. Over five years the team will develop new, accurate ways of describing speakers' linguistic knowledge, by combining experimentation with computational simulations that mimic the way in which humans learn. The aim is to lead a step-change in research on language and language learning by capturing the linguistic knowledge adult speakers build up when they are exposed to a language in natural settings. These insights will help with the development of strategic language teaching materials to transform the way in which we teach foreign languages.

More information about the project can be found here:

The post offers the opportunity to join a multidisciplinary team consisting of linguists, psychologists and computer scientists. You will receive training and development in corpus linguistics and psycholinguistics, in advanced statistical data analysis as well as in computational modelling and software engineering, according to your interests and future career plans.


The successful candidate must:
• hold an undergraduate and postgraduate degree in English language/linguistics and document proficiency in Polish
• hold an undergraduate and postgraduate degree in Polish language/linguistics and document proficiency in English

In addition, it is an advantage but not a requirement that the candidate has one or more of the following:
• experience in teaching foreign languages (English or Polish)
• a background in Usage-based Linguistics, Psycholinguistics or Corpus Linguistics
• experience in designing and running classroom intervention studies
• experience collecting data using a range of behavioral and computational methods
• knowledge of statistics for language-data analysis


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

Applicants are required to submit:

• A CV listing any publications
• A max 1500-word project proposal that describes how you would test the effect that two different methods of teaching grammatical aspect may have on students' learning
• A copy of your MA certificate and transcripts or a letter from your MA supervisor
• An electronic copy of your MA dissertation or the most current draft
• The names and contact details of two academic references
• If English is not your official language, evidence of English proficiency needs to be submitted (an IELTS score of at least 7 overall, with 6.5 in each component part)
• If Polish is not your native language, evidence of relevant courses taken and/or relevant certificates and other supporting documents need to be submitted

Only complete applications submitted before the deadline will be considered.The deadline to apply is Wednesday 10 April 2019.

Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed by Skype towards the end of April 2019.

Contact for enquiries:

For informal enquiries about posts and the recruiting department, contact: [email protected]
For details on the application process, contact the College of Arts and Law Graduate School on [email protected]

Please note that you will have to demonstrate knowledge of English and Polish as you will have to teach Polish to native speakers of English as part of the data collection process and write a dissertation in English.

Funding Notes

Successful candidates will commence study on 30th September 2019.

The scholarship is available for three years full-time and will cover PhD tuition fees for UK/EU students, plus a stipend £14,777 per annum (2018/2019 Research Council rate). 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.

The grant also includes an annual allowance to attend conferences.

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