PhD project

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

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Application deadline

30 June 2024

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. We envisage students have a background in Psychology or Politics, or a relevant subject (e.g., Linguistics, TEFL/TESOL, Sociology). Students without a sufficient relevant background may be offered to undertake one of our MSc programmes, or some of our MSc training modules, in their 1st year.

Diversity statement

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.

How to apply

  1. Email Dr Yuki Kamide to
    • Send a copy of your CV and
    • 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.
  2. After discussion with the lead supervisor, formal applications can be made via our direct application system.
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Principal supervisor

Second supervisor