Western Sydney University

The ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language, based within MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development at Western Sydney University with links to the School of Humanities and Communication Arts and the School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics, invites applications from students interested in pursuing PhD projects across lab-, field- and community-based settings in language processing, learning, documentation and technologies.

Students will be required to win their own PhD scholarship (Australian Postgraduate Award or international equivalent) but will be guided through this process. They will also receive fieldwork and travel (conferences etc) funding, as well as opportunities to attend the annual CoEDL Summer Schools and other workshops through the year. 

Information for PhD applicants to Western Sydney University

International applicants: If you are a student from outside Australia, please contact the relevant supervisor (see list below) via email at any time to discuss your ideas and your potential scholarship support (e.g. Endeavour Fellowship applications close 31 May 2016).

Australian applicants: Please contact the relevant supervisor asap so that we can prepare you for the competitive 2016 APA application process (for PhD enrolments in 2017).

Other enrolment opportunities at Western Sydney (MPhil, MRes)

Applications are also welcome from those interested in applying to MPhil (1 year full time, research thesis only) or MRes (2 years full time, coursework + thesis). Both MPhil and MRes are pathways at Western Sydney to enrolment into PhD. For more information see: http://www.westernsydney.edu.au/future/future_students_home/research

Current project openings

Here are current project openings, please feel free to contact the supervisors directly to discuss your ideas:

Processing projects (Anne Cutler, Heather Kember)

We are interested in applications from students wishing to work in the Processing program at Western Sydney University. Our research program takes a cross-linguistic perspective to investigate the role that prosody plays in speech processing. Current languages under investigation include English, Korean, German and Mandarin Chinese using a range of experimental paradigms. We would welcome project proposals that expand these lines of enquiry using languages already under investigation by our group, or others that complement them.

To discuss your project idea further, please contact Anne Cutler, a.cutler@westernsydney.edu.au.

Learning / Shape / Technology projects (Caroline Jones)

Applicants are welcome to discuss their interests in language learning, documentation and research / end-user technologies. Potential topics include:

  • Aspects of segmental phonology and/or prosody of Barunga Kriol (creole variety spoken near Katherine NT), drawing on new corpus materials. Possible angles include intergenerational change, stylistic variation
  • Speech development in Barunga Kriol (and English) by young school-aged children using new longitudinal dataset. Possible angles include speech production in relation to differing hearing profiles, different family varieties.
  • Aspects of phonetics/phonology of Ngarinyman (spoken in Yarralin and other westside communities of central NT) e.g. prosody of pronominal clitic system, drawing on existing corpus materials in context of Ngarinyman dictionary project with the community
  • Investigations into how users interact with language technologies e.g. online and paper dictionaries for Indigenous languages, apps
  • Exploration and evaluation of improvements in efficiency in language documentation e.g. transcription speed, crowdsourcing and collaboration

Interdisciplinary co-supervision for many of the above topics is available in the vibrant community of MARCS Institute, with e.g. computer science, human-machine interaction, music psychology. Co-supervision from CIs across ANU, UQ, UMelb is also possible. To discuss your project idea further, please contact Caroline Jones, caroline.jones@westernsydney.edu.au



  • Australian Government
  • The University of Queensland
  • Australian National University
  • The University of Melbourne
  • Western Sydney University

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