About us

About the Psychology department

The Psychology department at the University of Edinburgh was established in 1906 by the estate of George Combe. The first permanent post was known as the Combe lectureship in General and Experimental Psychology. The first incumbent, Dr W.G. Smith, was a PhD student of Wilhelm Wundt, a founding father of modern psychology. The second incumbent, James Drever, became the first Professor of Psychology in Scotland. After a philosophically oriented start, the appointment of a biologist, Professor D.M. Vowles, as chair in 1968 saw psychology develop strongly as a scientific discipline. 

The department was incorporated into the School of Philosophy, Psychology, & Language Sciences in 2003. We currently have around forty members of academic staff spanning all major areas of academic psychology: cognition, development, individual differences, neuroscience, and social psychology. We offer both undergraduate and postgraduate training, including several taught and research Masters, and PhDs.

The quality of our research and researchers have been recognized as world leading:

  • Psychology research at Edinburgh ranks 1st in Scotland and 11th in the UK as part of a joint submission for psychology, psychiatry and neuroscience in the THE ranking by subject of the REF 2014.

  • Our research environment is rated as 100% conducive to producing world-leading research, and 81.5% of our research is rated as outstanding in terms of its reach and significance (REF 2014).

Equality and Diversity

Since 2012, the School has been building awareness and support of policies and actions to improve experience of the workplace for all staff and students. These actions are in line with the University of Edinburgh's Equality and Diversity policy:

We in PPLS align with the University’s condemnation of all racism:


Learn more

Find out more about psychology at Edinburgh

Contact us

Getting in touch and how to find us