Postgraduate Research Options
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.
Study can be on either a full-time or a part-time basis. The minimum period of study for achieving your PhD is three years full-time or six years part-time.
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.
Interested in talking to us? Click here to contact us, and we will be back in touch for an informal chat to discuss the opportunities available. For our taught MSc in Health Psychology, click here.
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 PhD 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
Find out more about our MSc (Research) in the Psychology of Creativity and Performance Expertise.
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 Wellbeing, is headed up by Dr Katherine Finlay, together with Dr Emily Mattacola, Dr Rhiannon Edwards, Linda Luckhurst 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.
In addition to postgraduate research in health psychology, we also offer a taught MSc in Health Psychology. Find out more.
The CIBR research hub in the School of Psychology is headed by Dr Maša Popovac, together with Dr Alan Martin, 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.
Find out more about our MSc (Research) in Cyberpsychology.
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, both in school and university educuation. 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.
Full details in the Curriculum Handbook