Scholarships and Student Funding

PhD Studentship in Developmental Cognitive Science

Studentships will be offered for 2017-2018 funded by both the ERC and the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences.


You will use experimental techniques to study how pre-school children learn artificial languages, in order to understand how irregularity, redundancy, and other kinds of linguistic complexity help or hinder language learning. You will be supervised by Dr Kenny Smith, Dr Hugh Rabagliati, and Dr Jennifer Culbertson, and will join the thriving PhD programme in the Centre for Language Evolution in the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences. This PhD work forms an integral part of a major ERC-funded project “The Evolution of Linguistic Complexity” (Principal Investigator: Dr Kenny Smith). We aim to explore how complex linguistic structures evolve through learning, use, and the transmission of language in complex social groups.

You will be expected to take a key role in designing, developing and running experimental studies with young children, analyzing the data, and disseminating the results of this research at conferences and via publication. Training in a developmental cognitive science discipline (e.g. linguistics or psychology) is essential; experience of running experiments with young children and conducting statistical analyses of experimental data is highly desirable.


Each studentship covers the UK/EU rate of fee and an annual stipend of £14,057. These are tenable for three years, subject to satisfactory academic progress.


The Successful applicant will have an undergraduate degree in a relevant discipline and will ideally have, or will be studying for, a Masters Degree (or equivalent).

Existing doctoral researchers (i.e. those in their 1st or 2nd year of doctoral study) are not eligible for this award.

Overseas applicants are welcome to apply for this studentship but should note that they will have to pay themselves for the additional tuition fees.


Applications for this scholarship are no longer being accepted for 2017-18 as the deadline of 3rd May 2017 has now passed.

Interviews (by Skype if necessary) will take place in the week beginning 22nd May 2017.

Further Information

Information about Postgraduate Study in PPLS:

Queries regarding the scientific content of this scholarship or the ERC project: Dr Kenny Smith

Queries regarding the application process: Katie Keltie