Study modes: Full-time, Part-time
Programme website: Psychology
The Psychology unit is rapidly establishing itself as a centre of excellence for interdisciplinary research. We host five major research groups:
- Developmental Science
- Human Cognitive Neuroscience
- Language, Cognition and Communication
- Differential Psychology
- Social Psychology*
We also have strengths in the supervision of projects in history and theory of psychology and visual cognition.
Research in the Developmental Science group examines how different developmental factors interact across the lifespan, from before birth into adolescence and old age. The group comprises a diverse but well-integrated set of researchers, with expertise in cognitive, social and linguistic development, differential psychology and genetics, and computational modelling.
Human Cognitive Neuroscience
This research group comprises academics with core interests in memory, attention, executive function, visual memory, sensory integration and perceptuo-motor control in both normally functioning adults and people with neurological disorders. The group uses traditional behavioural measures, neuroimaging techniques such as fMRI and ERP, eye-tracking, motion tracking, computational modelling and clinical assessment.
Language, Cognition and Communication
The Language, Cognition and Communication Research Group is internationally recognised for its work on the psychology of language. We have wide expertise in such areas as spoken and written comprehension, production, dialogue, bilingualism, language development, and the cognitive neuroscience of language.
The Differential Psychology group examines how thinking, behaviour and feelings differ from person to person, attempting to understand their psychological similarities and how psychological characteristics vary. Research includes the psychometric structure of intelligence; genetic and environmental effects on intelligence differences; associations between intelligence and information processing speed; and brain imaging and intelligence
The Social Psychology group examines how we think about the self, others, and groups. The research group cover qualitative and quantitative methodologies, spanning processes like identity, relationships, crowds, and inter-group relations. We employ a range of methods such as questionnaires, interviews, social cognitive techniques, observation, and physiological measures.
Psychology postgraduate students typically receive formal research training through assessed courses.
You will be assigned at least two supervisors who provide expert academic guidance on your research. Each student is assigned to a research group, each of which hosts a regular programme of research activities.
Many PhD students will gain undergraduate teaching experience, for which you will be given training and mentoring.
Psychology houses extensive facilities including several eye-trackers, EEG recording equipment, an fMRI simulator, celspot recording equipment and a suite of dedicated computers running experimental software. Students additionally have access to excellent computer and video facilities which service laboratories designed for research with adults, children and infants.
A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a related subject.
Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:
English language requirements
You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.
English language tests
For 2021 entry we will accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:
- IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.5 in each module)
- TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition): total 100 (at least 23 in each module). We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
- CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 176 in each module)
- Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components
Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.
Degrees taught and assessed in English
We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:
We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.
If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.
Find out more about our language requirements:
UK government postgraduate loans
If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments. The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on your programme, the duration of your studies, and your residency status. (Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.)
Other funding opportunities
Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:
Select your programme and preferred start date to begin your application.
PhD Psychology - 3 Years (Full-time)
PhD Psychology - 6 Years (Part-time)
|Programme start date||Application deadline|
|13 September 2021||15 March 2021|
We operate a gathered field approach to PhD applications.
This means that all complete applications which satisfy our minimum entry requirements will be held until the nearest deadline. The admissions panel will meet to consider all applications received together after that date.
Applications are held for processing over two deadlines:
|Round||Application deadline||Places awarded|
|1||23 November 2020||Mid-January 2021|
|2||15 March 2021||Mid-May 2021|
First deadline: Monday 23 November 2020
In order to ensure full consideration of your application we ask that you submit your complete application including all supporting documentation by this date.
The outcome of applications will be confirmed by mid-January 2021. This is in order to meet the external funding deadlines.
Final deadline: Monday 15 March 2021
The outcome of these applications will be confirmed by mid-May 2021.
You must submit two references with your application.
It is often a good idea to contact potential supervisors prior to making an application, and we strongly encourage you to do so, and to indicate potential supervisors in your application.
You will be asked to add contact details for your referees. We will email them with information on how to upload their reference directly to your online application.
Alternatively, referees can email their comments to:
In addition to the supporting documents requested on the application form, you should include a research proposal.
Your prospective supervisors, in conjunction with the relevant subject Postgraduate Adviser, will consider your research proposal to assess whether they are able to take you on as a student.
Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:
- PPLS Postgraduate Office
- Dugald Stewart Building
- 3 Charles Street
- Central Campus
- EH8 9AD