Postgraduate study

Psychiatry

Awards: PhD, MScR

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding available

Programme website: Psychiatry

The Division of Psychiatry is internationally recognised for its research and teaching.

We focus on the mechanisms underlying the development of major psychiatric disorders, including autism, bipolar disorder, depression, dementia and schizophrenia.

Expertise and studies

We have a particular expertise in longitudinal, clinical and biological studies of clinical and population-based cohort studies of people with or at high risk of mental disorders. The studies we have recruited or worked on include:

  • The Edinburgh High Risk Studies of young people at high genetic cognitive risk for schizophrenia
  • bipolar disorder and other related conditions
  • Generation Scotland, a family and population-based study of 24,000 individuals recruited from the general population of Scotland.
  • UK Biobank, a UK- and population-based study of more than half a million people from across England, Wales and Scotland

In psychiatric genetics, we take part in international genome wide association studies of psychiatric disorders - including the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC) and ENIGMA that seeks to identify the genetic causes of psychiatric disorders. out work then utilities the findings in order to identify the environmental risk factors and neurobiological mechanisms of mental disorders, using genetic factors as causal anchors

Research methods

Our work relies on a number of genomic technologies, including genome wide association studies (GWAS), DNA sequencing, DNA methylation and expression analysis, proteomics, structural and functional neuroimaging. In collaboration with others, we also work on stem-cell, cultured tissue (including organoids) and in vivo models of psychiatric disorders and we are also involved in a number of clinical trials of novel interventions.

Major conditions of interest

Our major interests (that span the disciplines of Neurology and Psychiatry) include:

  • Autism and learning disability (Andrew Stanfield)
  • Depression and mood disorders (Andrew McIntosh)
  • Dementia prevention (Craig Ritchie)
  • Schizophrenia (Stephen Lawrie, Mandy Johnstone)
  • Cognition and Behaviour (collaborations with the Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology

We are also closely involved in three philanthropically funded Specialist Centres of Excellence:

Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences

The Division of Psychiatry is a part of the Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences (CCBS) in the Edinburgh Medical School. CCBS integrates laboratory and clinical research to study the causes, consequences and treatment of major brain disorders.

Postgraduate students are mentored and supported by at least two supervisors and receive long-term guidance from their thesis committee.

We offer a transferable skills programme and project-specific courses, including opportunities to become involved in science communication and public engagement. In addition, the Division provides clinical case demonstrations and specialist seminars.

We offer well-characterised cohorts of patients and expertise in a wide variety of techniques to study biological aspects of psychiatric disorders.

A UK 2:1 honours degree or its international equivalent.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

All applicants must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of their English language ability:

  • an undergraduate or masters degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 (at least 6.0 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT: total 92 (at least 20 in each module)
  • PTE(A): total 61 (at least 56 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections; the "Enabling Skills" sections are not considered)
  • CAE and CPE: total 176 (at least 169 in each module)
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components

Degrees taught and assessed in English must be no more than three years old at the beginning of your degree programme. Language tests must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.

Find out more about our language requirements:

Before making an application, you must contact a potential supervisor and discuss your research proposal (see the how to apply section). Funding will need to be secured before you are accepted for a PhD.

Find out more about tuition fees and studying costs:

English and Welsh postgraduate doctoral loans

Applicants resident in England or Wales, could be eligible for a doctoral loan of up to £25,000. Full guidance and information can be found on our Scholarships & Student Funding website:

Find out more about scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Postgraduate Administrator, Brian Burgon
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 465 9581
  • Email: ccbs-phd@ed.ac.uk
  • Postgraduate Advisor for Psychiatry, Professor Andrew McIntosh
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 537 6274
  • Email: andrew.mcintosh@ed.ac.uk
  • Division of Psychiatry
  • The University of Edinburgh
  • Kennedy Tower, Royal Edinburgh Hospital
  • Edinburgh
  • EH10 5HF

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible. We may consider late applications if we have places available, but you should contact the relevant Admissions Office for advice first.

You must submit two references with your application.

Before making your application, you must make contact with a potential supervisor to discuss your research proposal. Further information on making a research degree application can be found on the College website:

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Postgraduate Administrator, Brian Burgon
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 465 9581
  • Email: ccbs-phd@ed.ac.uk
  • Postgraduate Advisor for Psychiatry, Professor Andrew McIntosh
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 537 6274
  • Email: andrew.mcintosh@ed.ac.uk
  • Division of Psychiatry
  • The University of Edinburgh
  • Kennedy Tower, Royal Edinburgh Hospital
  • Edinburgh
  • EH10 5HF