MSc / Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Psychology
Postgraduate Research Options
We currently offer the opportunity to gain a postgraduate degree by research at the level of MSc or PhD. Study can be on either a full-time or a part-time basis. The minimum periods of study for achieving these research degrees are as follows:
- MSc – 1 year full-time or 2 years part-time
- PhD – 3 years full-time or 6 years part-time
The School of Psychology fosters a culture of collaborative, multidisciplinary research and you will join a vibrant community that includes regular work-in-progress seminars to foster an active research environment. You will join one of our four research hubs described below, all of which are engaged in inter-institutional collaborations, including some with non-academic partners such as health-care providers.
We are happy to consider research proposals on a wide range of topics relevant to our hubs, but may also be looking to fill specific research roles in some areas. Click on the link to each hub below to find out more.
In terms of entry qualifications, MSc candidates normally require at least a 2:1 Honours degree in Psychology or an associated subject at Undergraduate level, and PhD candidates would typically be expected to have an MSc degree (or equivalent), though exceptional candidates without postgraduate qualification will be considered. Students are registered initially for the degree of PhD (Doctor of Philosophy), although their status is probationary until the first Annual Review has taken place, normally between 12 and 18 months from first registration. For suitable students, there may be teaching opportunities after upgrade. Candidates must typically be self-funded, although a small number of funded places are occasionally advertised on FindAPhD.
Our Research Hubs
This research area is led by Dr Philip Fine and Dr Kathryn Friedlander together with Dr Gillian Hill and Dr Helen Clegg. The main focus of the centre is the exploration of the drivers of excellence in performance (whether cognitive, creative or practice-based). We welcome applications from potential MSc and DPhil candidates across a wide range of related topic areas, including:
- Insight and creativity
- The drivers of performance excellence and expertise development (e.g. in music, theatre, puzzle-solving, board-games and medicine)
- Hobbies, motivations and characteristics of niche populations
- Psychology of music, choreography and dance
- Time perception and those with ‘natural’ time-keeping abilities
CREATE staff are at the forefront of creativity research in the UK, and are founder members of the UK Creativity Researchers group, which meets annually; we also collaborate with a number of external contacts in the performance fields (such as music conservatoires), as well as internal colleagues in Applied Computing and the University of Buckingham Medical School. More information here.
This research hub, focusing on Health, Relationships and Well-being, is headed up by Dr Katherine Finlay, together with Dr Emily Mattacola, Dr Rhiannon Edwards and Margaret Tilley. The main aim of the hub is to study the impact of the interpersonal world and support structures on health and well-being in clinical and non-clinical settings. This overarching focus has led to the study of topic areas such as:
- Prevalence, impact of and psychosocial challenges facing people following spinal cord injury
- Biopsychosocial understanding of pain and developing interventions for successful pain management
- Social norms as a predictor of health behaviours in young people
- Social factors affecting uptake of health behaviours
- The role of social support in living well with chronic conditions
Together, these projects represent a body of work which seeks to fight patient isolation and to understand health experiences in the context of a social world. The hub aims to identify methods for supporting patients as they live with long-term conditions, including through developing interventions, assessment techniques and knowledge dissemination. We aim to share our findings through the design of downloadable materials, such as patient information leaflets and newsletters, which will allow for research outcomes to be demonstrated to patients and their support networks. With connections and active research work taking part at four local NHS hospitals, we can offer excellent opportunities for research studies with tangible impact.
The CIBR research hub in the School of Psychology is headed by Dr Maša Popovac, together with Dr Alan Martin, Dr. Liam Cross, Dr. Rachel Manning and Dr Philip Fine. CIBR offers diverse research opportunities in the following areas:
- Cyberpsychology, including cyberbullying and other online risks
- Motivations and social effects of gaming
- Cyber versus real world behaviour
- Bystander behaviour, prosocial behaviour and social identities
- Group dynamics and cohesion
- Social inference and emotion regulation
- Mental resilience and its relationship to social support
The aim of the research in this area is to explore human behaviour, social experiences and group dynamics in both online and offline contexts.
To find out more, click here.
This research hub is led by Dr Kathryn Friedlander, together with Dr Maša Popovac and Dr Alan Martin. In this hub, we study the cognitive processes, behavioural issues and developmental factors that affect learning, and how learning environments and individual differences influence educational outcomes. With a focus on the resilience, creativity and happiness of learners, as well as on Specific Learning Difficulties which might impact upon academic performance, we welcome applicants to study a wide range of topics with us, including:
- Children with Specific Learning Difficulties
- Bullying and Cyberbullying in schools
- Educating for Creativity
- Children’s understanding of Science
- Excellence in Performance and Academic achievement
- Resilience, Wellbeing and Positive education
To find out more, click here.
Applicants are normally expected to have the minimum of a 2:1 degree in Psychology or related discipline.
Age is no barrier to learning and we welcome all applications from suitably qualified students.
We are happy to consider all international applications and if you are an international student, you may find it useful to visit our international pages for details of entry requirements from your home country.
The University is a UKVI Tier 4 Sponsor.
If English is not your first language, please check our postgraduate English language requirements. If your English levels don’t meet our minimum requirements, you may be interested in applying for our Pre-sessional English Language Foundation Programmes.
Wherever possible, you will be invited to the University to meet the Admissions Tutor for an informal interview and to have a tour of our campus. If you are an international applicant, it may not be possible for you to visit in person, so if the Admissions Tutor has any queries about your application you may be conducted by skype, email or phone.
The Admissions Team would be happy to answer any questions you may have:
Terms and conditions for prospective students
When you are offered a place at the University you will be notified of the terms and conditions between the University and students on our courses of study. When you accept an offer of a place on the course at the University a legal contract is formed between you and the University on the basis of the terms and conditions outlined in your offer letter. Your offer letter and the terms and conditions contain important information which you should read carefully before accepting any offer. Read the admissions terms and conditions > >
Teaching & Assessment
We offer high quality, traditional Oxbridge-style teaching, which leads to our degrees being recognised around the world. The standards of degrees and awards are safeguarded by distinguished external examiners – senior academic staff from other universities in the UK – who approve and moderate assessed work.
High calibre staff
Most of our academic staff teach for three terms out of four, with the remaining term used for research. Because of this, we have no difficulty in attracting high calibre, highly respected lecturers, many of whom also have a background in business or industry and can offer networking opportunities for students.
Candidates spend a considerable part of their studies undertaking supervised research, at the end of which they submit a thesis embodying the results of that research. This thesis must demonstrate familiarity with, and an understanding of the subject, its principal sources and authorities. It should display critical discrimination and a sense of proportion in evaluating evidence and the judgements of others. The subject should be dealt with in a competent and scholarly manner.
See the Research Degrees Handbook for further information.
After Your Degree
Our graduates have gone on to further study at most of the world’s leading universities, including Harvard, London, Oxford and Cambridge and secured jobs in senior positions around the world. Among our alumni we have a graduate who became the head of his country’s civil service and one who became a leading Formula One motor-racing driver. Another secured a position as the Minister of Sabah and one female law graduate became the first British lawyer to become a French Advocate.
Fees & Scholarships
Postgraduate loan scheme
A new system of postgraduate loans for Masters degrees in the UK was introduced in August 2016 with support from the UK Government. The loan will provide up to £10,609 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas. The loans can be used for tuition fees, living expenses or both. Find out more >>
Details of scholarships can be found on our main Bursaries and Scholarships page. You should make an application to study at the University and receive an offer letter confirming our acceptance of your application before applying for a scholarship.
You may also find it useful to visit our External Funding page.
Due to the mode of study on this course you will not normally need a room in University accommodation during your degree.
However, if you require short-term accommodation in Buckingham we would be happy to provide a list of local bed and breakfast or hotel accommodation. Alternatively, please contact our Accommodation Office for advice.