Language development in early childhood: Exploring the quality of interactions with adults and peers

   School of Humanities, Social Sciences and Law

  Dr Lynne Duncan  Sunday, June 30, 2024  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 how specific environments and experiences affect the linguistic skills of young children with resulting effects on their later conceptual understanding and language use.

Of particular interest in this project will be the quality of interactions and (proto-)conversations. It is envisaged that the project would investigate these emerging skills in the context of play among children developing typically or atypically due to factors such as neurodiversity or socio-economic status.

The focus of interest will be determined through discussion with the student, but possible topics would include: gestures, shared reading, digital technology/personalised books/songs, linguistic variation, late talkers, question use, morphological development or self-regulation.

We invite applications from strong and motivated candidates with backgrounds in a relevant subject, such as Psychology, Psycholinguistics, Linguistics, Speech & Language Therapy or another related discipline.

For informal enquiries about the project, contact Dr Lynne Duncan,

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/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 5.5 in reading, listening, speaking and 6.0 in writing). The University of Dundee accepts a variety of equivalent qualifications and alternative ways to demonstrate language proficiency; please see full details of the University’s English language requirements here:


Step 1: Email Dr Lynne Duncan, , 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:

Candidates must apply for the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in Psychology (3 or 4 Years) using our direct application system: apply for a PhD in Psychology.

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.

Linguistics & Classics (23) 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.

Register your interest for this project

Where will I study?

Search Suggestions
Search suggestions

Based on your current searches we recommend the following search filters.