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  A linguistic ethnography of displaced and refugee-background students’ integration into higher education and university life

   Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences

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  Prof Gordon Ade-Ojo, Dr Erika Kalocsanyiova  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The successful candidate will be expected to design and conduct a linguistic ethnography study focussed on refugee-background students’ language learning trajectories and lived experience of educational transitioning in the context of UK higher education. The work to be undertaken is expected to:

-contribute to the field of adult language learning, particularly at advanced levels of language proficiency required for university-level studies,

- produce new insights into how to best foster general and academic language development in disadvantaged learners throughout their higher education journey.

In addition to the online application form, candidates should submit a PhD research project proposal of up to 1500 words. The project should fall within the general framework of linguistic ethnography. We welcome proposals that draw on participatory research methods and include also one or more of the following: ethnographic interviews and feedback sessions with participants, recordings of social interactions in face-to-face and online environments, and participant observation.

The exact scope and approach will be determined on the basis of the successful candidate’s proposal. The thesis can take the form of a monograph, or it can be article based.

The PhD student will be supervised by Professor Gordon Ade-Ojo and Dr Erika Kalocsányiová from the Centre for Thinking and Learning in the Institute for Lifecourse Development.  


3 years full time study or 6 years part time study

Bursary available (subject to satisfactory performance):  

Year 1: £16,062 (FT) or pro-rata (PT) Year 2: In line with UKRI rate  Year 3: In line with UKRI rate

In addition, the successful candidate will receive a contribution to tuition fees equivalent to the university’s Home rate, currently £4,596 (FT) or pro-rata (PT), for the duration of their scholarship. International applicants will need to pay the remainder tuition fee for the duration of their scholarship. This fee is subject to an annual increase.

Person Specification:

·        1st Class or 2nd class, First Division (Upper Second Class) honours degree or a taught master’s degree with a minimum average of 60% (merit) (UK or UK equivalent) in a relevant area to the proposed research project

 ·        For those whose first language is not English and/or if from a country where English is not the majority spoken language (as recognised by the UKBA), a language proficiency score of at least IELTS 6.5 (in all elements of the test) or an equivalent UK VISA and Immigration secure English Language Test is required, if your programme falls within the faculty of Engineering and Science a language proficiency score of at least IELTS 6.5 overall with a minimum of 6.0 in all elements of the test or an equivalent UK VISA and Immigration secure English Language Test is required. Unless the degree above was taught in English and obtained in a majority English speaking country, e.g. UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand, etc, as recognised by the UKBA.

  ·        Previous experience of undertaking research (e.g. undergraduate or taught master’s dissertation) within the areas of linguistic ethnography/anthropology, language teaching and learning, sociolinguistics or applied linguistics.

  ·        Excellent oral and written communication skills

  ·        Familiarity with one or more of the languages spoken by refugee communities in the UK

  ·        Experience in qualitative research methodologies relative to the candidate’s career level

  ·        Demonstrable skill in and knowledge of language description and analysis (e.g., conversation analysis, discourse analysis, corpus-based approaches etc.)

  ·        Experience/knowledge of participatory research methods

  ·        Understands the fundamental differences between a taught degree and a research degree in terms of approach and personal discipline/motivation

  ·        Able to, under guidance, complete independent work successfully

  ·        Has existing links with refugee charities and communities in the UK

  ·        Excellent collaborative skills and interest in mentorship, knowledge sharing, and partnership building with refugee and student communities for research

  ·        This scholarship may require Academic Technology Approval Scheme approval for the successful candidate if from outside of the EU/EEA

  ·        The scholarship must commence before 1st January 2023

  Please read this information before making an application. Information on the application process is available at: Applications need to be made online via this link. No other form of application will be considered.  Please ensure that you select ‘MPhil/PhD Education’ from the list to ensure prompt processing of applications.

All applications must include the following information. Applications not containing these documents will not be considered.

•       VC Scholarship Reference Number (Ref)– included in the personal statement section

•       Personal Statement - outlining your motivation for applying for this PhD, and your previous research experience (e.g., as a research assistant or completing a dissertation).

•       Academic qualification certificates/transcripts*

•       IELTS/English Language certificate if you are an international applicant or if English is not your first language or you are from a country where English is not the majority spoken language as defined by the UK Border Agency *

•       Research Proposal* (ca. 1500 words- please use template available from:

•       Your complete CV*

•       Two reference letters (one ideally from a dissertation supervisor)*

*upload to the qualification section of the application form. Attachments must be in PDF format.  You will need to submit this as 1 single PDF, to be uploaded as attachment

Before submitting your application, you are encouraged to liaise with the Lead Supervisor on the details above.

Education (11)

 About the Project