PhD project

Language development in early childhood: Precursors of the transition to literacy

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Application deadline

30 June 2024

Early language skills are known to contribute to later reading acquisition. This project will examine how variation in early language affects the transition to literacy 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: vocabulary acquisition, meta-linguistic awareness, emergent literacy, shared reading, digital technology/personalised books, phonological/morphological development, late talkers, executive functions or syntactic knowledge.

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.

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.

PhD support

See applying for a research degree for more information on the different stages of the PhD application process.

PhD fees

Fees for PhD and other research postgraduate courses

How to apply

  1. Email Dr Lynne Duncan to:
    • send a copy of your CV
    • discuss your potential application and any practicalities (e.g. suitable start date).
  2. After discussion with Dr Duncan, you can apply via our direct application system.
Learn more about applying for a research degree


Principal supervisor