Supervision for PhD Psychology within our Department of Psychology is available in the fields of cognitive psychology, sensory and cognitive neuroscience, and social psychology. You study in a stimulating and vibrant research environment, and we provide excellent research facilities. In general, our PhD students enjoy the same access to neuroscience and other research equipment as our academic staff, and access to our research participant pool, which is essential for your experimental research. You also benefit from the supportive supervision given by our staff, and the friendly and collegiate atmosphere provided by fellow students. This ensures that we have an exemplary record in supporting our PhD students to produce high quality theses within three years.
Please note, part-time research study is also available.
We also offer an Integrated PhD in this subject, which enables you to spend your first year completing a Masters-level qualification followed by a full-time PhD studied over 3-4 years.
Our academic staff include award-winning teachers and prize-winning researchers who are international experts in their own research areas. We are 17th in UK for research power in psychology (Times Higher Education research power measure, Research Excellence Framework 2021).
Within our Department of Psychology, you will be allocated a supervisor whose role it is to guide you through the different stages of your research degree. In some cases, you may have joint supervision by two members of our staff.
The support provided by your supervisor is a key feature of your research student experience and you will have regular one-to-one meetings to discuss progress on your research. Initially, your supervisor will help you develop your research topic and plan.
Twice a year, you will have a supervisory panel meeting, which provides a more formal opportunity to discuss your progress and agree your plans for the next six months.
Within our Department of Psychology, we provide excellent state-of-the-art facilities for your study, with extensive laboratory space for experimental psychology and special facilities for visual and auditory perception, developmental psychology and social psychology.
We also have our Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, a state-of-the-art research facility dedicated to the study of brain activity in relation to psychological processes. This provides a dynamic resource with specialised laboratories for investigating behaviour and brain activity including: two eye tracking labs for recording eye movements, four electroencephalography (EEG) labs for recording cortical oscillatory activity, event-related potentials (ERP) and functional connectivity; two near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) labs for measuring changes in blood oxygenation levels; four neuromodulation labs including transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), repetitive TMS (rTMS), transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and neuro-navigation facilities.
With the skills and knowledge you acquire from studying within our Department of Psychology, you will find yourself in demand from a wide range of employers. Our graduates have been employed in clinical psychology, educational psychology, criminal and forensic psychology.
We also have excellent links with the research community and our PhD students have taken up post-doctoral positions in other top UK universities and internationally (including in the US, Italy and Australia), as well as being appointed to lectureships.
You will need an upper second class honours degree (2:1), or equivalent, in psychology or a related subject. A well-developed research proposal is also essential.
You will normally be required to attend an interview/Skype interview for acceptance, and acceptance is subject to research expertise in the department.
We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.
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A research degree doesn't have a taught structure, giving you the chance to investigate your chosen topic in real depth and reach a profound understanding. In communicating that understanding, through a thesis or other means, you have a rare opportunity to generate knowledge. A research degree allows you to develop new high-level skills, enhance your professional development and build new networks. It can open doors to many careers.
We understand that deciding where and what to study is a very important decision for you. We’ll make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities as described on our website. However, if we need to make material changes, for example due to significant disruption, or in response to COVID-19, we’ll let our applicants and students know as soon as possible.
Components are the blocks of study that make up your course. A component may have a set module which you must study, or a number of modules from which you can choose.
Each component has a status and carries a certain number of credits towards your qualification.
|Status||What this means|
||You must take the set module for this component and you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
|Core with Options
||You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component but you must pass. No failure can be permitted.|
||You must take the set module for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.|
|Compulsory with Options
||You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
||You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.|
The modules that are available for you to choose for each component will depend on several factors, including which modules you have chosen for other components, which modules you have completed in previous years of your course, and which term the module is taught in.
Modules are the individual units of study for your course. Each module has its own set of learning outcomes and assessment criteria and also carries a certain number of credits.
In most cases you will study one module per component, but in some cases you may need to study more than one module. For example, a 30-credit component may comprise of either one 30-credit module, or two 15-credit modules, depending on the options available.
Modules may be taught at different times of the year and by a different department or school to the one your course is primarily based in. You can find this information from the module code. For example, the module code HR100-4-FY means:
The department or school the module will be taught by.
In this example, the module would be taught by the Department of History.
|The module number.||
The UK academic level of the module.
A standard undergraduate course will comprise of level 4, 5 and 6 modules - increasing as you progress through the course.
A standard postgraduate taught course will comprise of level 7 modules.
A postgraduate research degree is a level 8 qualification.
The term the module will be taught in.
The award of a PhD signifies an original and substantial contribution to knowledge that means you can be considered an expert in your field. The majority of your learning comes from ‘hands on’ experience of designing, conducting and analysing your original research, as well as from the demanding process of writing and submitting a PhD. To help in this process, you attend several taught courses in your first year and all our research students are required to undertake postgraduate research training modules as part of their studies.
At the end of your first and second years you will prepare a 10,000 word document that contains a review of relevant literature and summarises findings from your empirical work conducted in that year. You will also take part in a Post Graduate Research conference in which you make an oral presentation of this work to the Department. The submission of the 10,000 word document in particular helps you prepare for the writing of your thesis.
Students within our Department of Psychology submit a dissertation of up to 80,000 words. We take pride in our completion record with our PhD students. We achieve this, in part, by ensuring from the outset that you follow a clear path to ensure completion within three years – with specific appropriate milestones at the end of your first and second years.
We hold open days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you the chance to:
If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.
We encourage you to make a preliminary enquiry directly to a potential supervisor or the Graduate Administrator within your chosen Department or School. We encourage the consideration of a brief research proposal prior to the submission of a full application.
We aim to respond to applications within four weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.
For information on our deadline to apply for this course, please see our ‘how to apply’ information.
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