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Early emotions and concepts about nature arising from play in outdoor settings

   School of Social Sciences

This project is no longer listed on and may not be available.

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  Dr Lynne Duncan, Dr A Barrable  No more applications being accepted  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

A connection between a child’s early language development and the learning environment is well established. What is less clear is the manner in which specific environments affect the linguistic skills of young children with resulting effects on their emotional and conceptual growth. Of particular interest in this project will be the effects on language development of interaction with the natural world via outdoor play. It is envisaged that the project would compare the effects of play in outdoor settings with other types of play activities in the early years. The focus of interest will be determined through discussion with the student but possible topics of interest would include: emotional expression, environmental empathy, anthropomorphism, green vs. built outdoor environments, and scientific or spatial thinking about the natural world. This is a highly interdisciplinary PhD project and so we invite applications from strong and motivated candidates with backgrounds in a relevant subject, such as Psychology, Education, Linguistics, Speech & Language Therapy or another related discipline.

For informal enquiries about the project, contact Dr Lynne Duncan ([Email Address Removed])

For general enquiries about the University of Dundee, contact [Email Address Removed]

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/or a Masters degree in a relevant discipline. For international qualifications, please see equivalent entry requirements here:

English language requirement: IELTS (Academic) overall score must be at least 6.5 (with not less than 6.0 in writing and 5.5 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 Lynne Duncan ([Email Address Removed]) to (1) send a copy of your CV and (2) discuss your potential application and any practicalities (e.g. suitable start date).

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

Apply for the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in Psychology on our direct application system : Psychology : Study : University of Dundee.

This project is suitable for the three-year route or the four-year route as agreed with the lead supervisor.

 Please select the 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.

Education (11) Languages, Literature & Culture (21) Psychology (31)

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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