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Being a non-native speaker in a dynamic world: Language-related policy and its effects on people's cognition, wellbeing and other aspects of their lives

   School of Social Sciences

  , Dr Dejan Stjepanovic  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

PLEASE NOTE: This project is for self-funded or externally sponsored students only.

It is quite common that a country or community has only one official language, or one overwhelmingly dominant official language amongst a few. Yet the political community often comprises a non-negligible proportion of people who are not a native speaker of the language. For example, immigrants (including refugees, economic migrants, international students etc) can move to a new country in which their level of proficiency in the local language is not sufficient. Consequently, they could struggle in various aspects of their lives on a daily basis. In other cases, native speakers of a minority language might have sufficient proficiency in the majority language, yet their linguistic and cognitive related achievements (e.g., academic achievements) do not allow them to fulfil their goals in a highly competitive world. Public administration could potentially make a significant impact on the quality of life in non-native speakers, by, for example, setting explicit language-related policies. However, due to its complexity, the issue of language inequality has proved to be far from straightforward to resolve despite numerous official and unofficial efforts made across the world.

Our project explores critical issues related to ‘non-nativeness’ (or multilingualism) and language policy in this dynamic world in which people with a diverse range of native languages communicate with other and work together. We ultimately aim to provide both scientific evidence and implications for more ‘healthy’ language equality and inclusivity in our society in future. This highly complex issue requires multidisciplinary approaches.

We invite applications from strong and motivated candidates who are prepared to take the leading role in our project.

For more details about the supervisory team, please see the profiles of Dr Yuki Kamide and Dr Dejan Stjepanovic.

For informal enquiries about the project, contact Dr Yuki Kamide ()

For general enquiries about the University of Dundee, contact

Our research community thrives on the diversity of students and staff which helps to make the University of Dundee a UK university of choice for postgraduate research. We welcome applications from all talented individuals and are committed to widening access to those who have the ability and potential to benefit from higher education.


Applicants must have obtained, or expect to obtain, a UK honours degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent for non-UK qualifications), and a good Masters degree, in (a) Psychology or (b) Politics / International Relations (depending on their background and interests).

For international qualifications, please see equivalent entry requirements here:

In certain circumstances candidates may be asked to spend a year completing one of our Master's degrees before commencing their doctoral research. The decision about the suitability of their qualifications is made by the supervisor and the School’s postgraduate advisor.

English language requirement: IELTS (Academic) overall score must be at least 6.5 (with not less than 6.5 in writing and not less than 6.0 in reading, listening and speaking). The University of Dundee accepts a variety of equivalent qualifications; please see full details of the University’s English language requirements here:


Step 1: Email Dr Yuki Kamide () to (1) send relevant documents (your CV, transcripts, research proposal), and (2) discuss your potential application and any practicalities (e.g. suitable start date).

This project is suitable for a three- or four-year PhD in Psychology or Politics & International Relations, or for a Professional Doctorate in Social Sciences (DSSci); the supervisory team will decide the most appropriate route based on the candidate’s background and the details of their research proposal.

Step 2: After discussion with the lead supervisor, formal applications can be made via our direct application system. When applying, please follow the instructions below:

Please select the degree, study mode (full-time/part-time) and start date agreed with the lead supervisor.

In the Research Proposal section, please:

-       Enter the lead supervisor’s name in the ‘proposed supervisor’ box

-       Enter the project title listed at the top of this page in the ‘proposed project title’ box

In the ‘personal statement’ section, please outline your suitability for the project selected.

Funding Notes

There is no funding attached to this project. The successful applicant will be expected to provide the funding for tuition fees and living expenses, via external sponsorship or self-funding.

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