Our postgraduate community
Get to know our vibrant, international and welcoming community.
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 and 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.
Research and impact in Psychology
Our vibrant research community focuses on brain and mind across the lifespan, with particular strengths in cognitive neurosciences, the psychology of individual differences, language and communication, and theoretical and applied work in social interaction and child development. Our research has influenced, among others, the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), clinical guidelines for the assessment and management of motor neurone disease (MND), and developed the psychological theory of Interactive Alignment, which underpins methods for teaching English as a second language in China. The impact resulting from our research has been uniformly rated outstanding in terms of reach and significance.
As a Psychology student, you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in research at Edinburgh by attending regular seminars and reading groups to discuss a range of topics relating to your study interests alongside faculty staff and students. The department also hosts regular professional development seminars where members of faculty share advice about research, teaching, and other skills required for an academic career.
Your student experience
As a Psychology student, you will be part of a thriving and diverse community within the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences (PPLS). Students are invited to join WhatsApp and/or Discord groups to connect with fellow classmates, and our Psychology society, PsychSoc, organises regular events throughout the year.
You will have access to a range of dedicated labs and facilities, many of which include state-of-the-art software and equipment, to support your studies and enable cutting edge research.
With around 80 students across all our psychology MSc programmes, there are plenty of opportunities to meet new people, develop your subject-area knowledge and have fun in a welcoming and supportive environment.
Life after graduation
Review our alumni profiles and find out what students do after their pyschology degree.
Get in touch
If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch with our School Postgraduate Office who deal with admissions as well as on-programme administration. If you would like to meet staff and students to find out more about studying philosophy and student life at Edinburgh, check dates for upcoming open days and visits.