PhD Fellowships in Phylogenetics and Language Evolution in the Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution 2019, Germany


September 01, 2018


Opportunity Cover Image - PhD Fellowships in Phylogenetics and Language Evolution in the Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution 2019, Germany

We are offering positions for doctoral students with a strong background in historical linguistics, linguistic typology, evolutionary biology, computational linguistics or related discipline.

The Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution aims to answer big picture questions about human history. Our focus is on describing and explaining the major patterns of linguistic and cultural variation across the globe. We tackle these questions by developing novel language documentation methods, global linguistic and cultural databases, and analyses using evolutionary theories and computational methods.

As a doctoral student in the DLCE, you will have the chance to explore human prehistory, to actively assist the development of new methods for quantitative historical linguistics and typology, and to shed light on general processes of language change and evolution.

Possible topics include:

  1. Computational phylogenetic analysis of language families to infer human prehistory in the Americas or Asia-Pacific.
  2. Testing hypotheses about large-scale process shaping linguistic diversity.
  3. Developing new quantitative or phylogenetic methods for modelling, investigating, and understanding language evolution and human prehistory.

Selection Criteria:

  • A master-degree (or equivalent) in either linguistics, biology, computer science, statistics or related field with an outstanding academic record.
  • Strong proficiency in both spoken and written English.
  • Strong analytical skills and the self-motivation to complete a PhD.
  • Strong team player qualities (you will work in an interdisciplinary and international team where communication is crucial for the success of the project).
  • Good computational skills with a knowledge of R, Python or Java is beneficial.

Please submit your application in English, including the following:

  • Cover letter, explaining research experience and reason for interest in this project, along with a proposed research project (max. two pages).
  • Your CV and copies of degree certificates (Bachelor’s/Master’s diplomas or transcripts).
  • Names and contact information (including email and phone) for 2-3 referees. Note these individuals will be automatically contacted to provide a reference letter.

The students will be part of the newly founded International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS) for Human history. The Max Planck Institute is not itself part of a university, but is affiliated to the Friedrich Schiller University, in Jena Germany. Doctoral degrees will be granted by the affiliated university.

Doctoral candidates enrol in a 3-year fully-funded graduate program that provides excellent research conditions. Graduate courses and all other degree requirements necessitate proficiency in English.

The Max Planck Society is committed to employing individuals with disabilities and especially encourages them to apply. The Max Planck Society seeks to increase the number of women in areas where they are underrepresented and therefore explicitly encourages women to apply.

For queries, please contact: Simon Greenhill (

For more information click "LINK TO ORIGINAL" below.

Eligible Countries
Host Country
Study Levels
Publish Date
August 13, 2018
Link To Original