Swansea University Bilingualism ESRC Wales Doctoral Training Partnership (PhD)

  • Phd
  • Full cost of tuition fees and stipend
  • 4 April 2022

Bilingualism: ESRC Wales Doctoral Training Partnership (PhD) – Collaborative Studentship: ‘Budding Citizens of a Bilingual Wales in a Multilingual World? Exploring the Role of Early Years Education in the Framework of the New Curriculum for Wales’ – in collaboration with Mudiad Meithrin.

Begin your postgraduate research journey at Swansea University: a top 30 research university (REF 2014) producing internationally recognised research that makes a real difference to society. We provide a welcoming environment for PhD researchers with specialist training, advice and development opportunities. As an ESRC Wales DTP researcher, you will also benefit from cohort-based networking events and dedicated ESRC Wales DTP student representatives at each campus.

Swansea University values diversity and equality at all levels and encourages applications from all sections of the community.

Funding providers: ESRC (50%); Mudiad Meithrin (50%)

Subject areas: Bilingualism

Project start dates:

  • +3 Course - 1 October 2022 (enrolment open from mid-September)
  • 1+3 Course - 26 September 2022 (enrolment open from mid-September)


Please note that the work will be jointly supervised by Dr Lublin and Dr Lovell – together with Dr Mirain Rhys (Cardiff Metropolitan University) and Dr Gwenllian Lansdown Davies (Mudiad Meithrin).

This studentship is a ‘collaborative’ award. Applicants should carefully consider the working title and description of the project and may wish to contact the named supervisor and/or the Swansea pathway contact for a discussion prior to applying. They are:

  • Main Supervisors: Dr Geraldine Lublin and Dr Alex Lovell
  • Pathway contact: Professor Nuria Lorenzo-Dus

Aligned programme of study: PhD in Applied Linguistics *This project can be studied through the medium of Welsh.

Mode of study: Full or part-time study is possible. We welcome applications for both full- and part-time study.

Please note that full-time ESRC studentship award holders cannot hold either a full-time job or a permanent part-time job during the period of their award. Part-time ESRC studentship award holders cannot hold a full-time job.

Project description:

The New Curriculum for Wales (implemented from Nursery to Year 7 from September 2022) brings together language learning and teaching in a single Area of Learning and Experience called ‘Languages, Literacy and Communication’. Curriculum guidelines state that learning in this Area aims to ‘enable learners to become multilingual, able to use Welsh, English and at least one international language, and develop an openness to and curiosity about all languages and cultures of the world’. The Curriculum highlights languages as being ‘a key to social cohesion’ – a cornerstone to developing learners’ own sense of identity and understandings of other people’s.

The role of Early Years Education in providing a firm foundation in the 3 to 16 learning continuum cannot be understated. Considering the particular emphasis the Welsh Government’s Welsh Language Strategy ‘Cymraeg 2050’ places on the contribution of the Early Years towards reaching the goal of one million Welsh speakers by 2050, Welsh-English bilingualism is set to provide the basis for further language learning. Whether they may operate through the medium of Welsh or English, all funded non-maintained nursery settings in Wales are tasked with introducing the Welsh language to those young learners the Curriculum wants to see become ‘citizens of a bilingual Wales in a multilingual world’.

This project will focus on Welsh- and English-medium Early Years provision in the framework of the ambitious goals set out by the Curriculum for funded non-maintained nursery settings in the ‘Languages, Literacy and Communication’ Area. Key questions include:

  • What practices may effectively encourage young learners to develop as bilingual and multilingual speakers with ‘positive dispositions towards learning’ as envisaged in the Curriculum?
  • Considering the Curriculum’s inclusive ethos, what learnings may be drawn from the interplay between the linguistic and cultural identities of the diverse populations of modern Wales and its underrepresented groups? Using a mixed-methods approach, appropriate case studies will be conducted to gain an understanding of learners’ and practitioners’ experiences in different contexts. Qualitative data will be gathered via ethnographic observation (site visits), group activities and interviews with practitioners, parents and children. If feasible, bilingual and multilingual settings beyond Wales may be considered.

Anticipated project outcomes include improved understandings of and best practice guidance on how bilingual young learners from a range of social and ethnic backgrounds may be most effectively encouraged to learn additional languages, and what impacts such a multilingual and plurilingual approach may have on their linguistic and cultural identities.


ESRC studentships are highly competitive. Candidates should have an excellent background in the social sciences, holding a first- or strong upper-second-class degree, or equivalent recognised by Swansea University (please consult https://www.swansea.ac.uk/postgraduate/apply/entry-requirements/); applications from those also holding a relevant research training master’s degree (or an equivalent background in research training) will be considered for a ‘+3’ /PhD award.

English language requirements: if applicable, a minimum overall IELTS score of 6.5 (with a score of no less than 6.5 in any individual component) or Swansea University-recognised equivalent is required.

A fully-funded Wales DTP studentship is available to both UK and international (including EU and EEA) students. All applicants will be eligible for a full award consisting of a maintenance stipend and payment of tuition fees at the UK research organisation rate. Applicants must satisfy studentship eligibility requirements. For further details, please see the UKRI website. Successful international student applicants will receive a fully-funded Wales DTP studentship and will not be charged the fees difference between the UK and international rate.

Pending qualification study: to meet Swansea University's concurrent study regulations, current study is required to be awarded/completed (as appropriate) prior to the course/scholarship start date. Please note that this date supersedes any current course of study schedule/submission deadlines.

NB: If you hold a non-UK degree, please see Swansea University degree comparisons to find out if you meet the eligibility criteria.


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The studentship provides the full cost of tuition fees and an annual stipend.

There will be additional funds available for research expenses.

Studentship awards commence in October 2022 and will cover your tuition fees as well as a maintenance grant (currently £15,609 per annum for 2021/22 for full-time students, updated each year) and include access to an additional Research Training Support Grant (RTSG).

A ‘1+3’ studentship provides funding for four years (or part-time equivalent), completing a research training master’s in the first year, followed by 3 years’ research funding for a PhD. A ‘+3’ studentship provides funding for the three years of PhD research study only (or part-time equivalent).

There are other opportunities and benefits available to studentship holders, including an overseas fieldwork allowance (if applicable), internship opportunities, overseas institutional visits and other small grants.


Please visit our website for more information.

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