School of Psychology

PhD by research



A PhD is the basic entry point into academic research and teaching. Postgraduate students undertake an extended programme of experimental research in psychology with two members of our academic staff as supervisors. The PhD culminates in the submission of a PhD thesis describing the work you have undertaken.

A PhD typically lasts either 3 or 4 years, and can take a variety of formats depending upon doctoral programme followed. All programmes allocate 3 years for individual doctoral-level research projects but each route has tailored taught and training components.

PhD page
  • Candidates who are self-funding or who are funded through schemes limited to 3 years of financial support will generally be offered a 3 year PhD programme
  • Candidates funded through the Midlands Graduate School ESRC DTC will generally follow a 1 year MSc in Social Science Research Methods followed by 3 years as a PhD student (1+3). However, candidates who already have this or an equivalent qualification or part of the qualification may be offered a 3 year or 3.5 year programme
  • Candidates who are on the MGS ESRC DTC Digital Society pathway will be on a 4 year programme
  • Candidates who enter through the BBSRC DTP are offered a 4 year PhD programme

Potential supervisors can advise on what options would suit you best.

The PhD degree is assessed by research. Progression also involves satisfactory completion of taught courses. This requires attendance at research training modules, provided both within the School and through the Graduate School. This formal training element is designed to provide students with necessary skills in research, and equip them with transferable skills in writing, oral presentation and the use of information technology. The formal training element can be tailored to the needs of individual students.

There are currently about 10 -15 students registering for research degrees in the School each year, providing the opportunities for cross fertilisation of ideas and peer to peer support that arise naturally in a large cohort of doctoral candidates.

As well as conducting world-class research, PhD students are encouraged to disseminate their findings in journal articles and conference presentations. Funding is available for PhD students to present their research at national and international conferences over the course of their studies. Students contribute posters and talks to an Annual Postgraduate Conference in the School and in their final year of research PhD students give a 30 minute talk about their research findings as part of the School’s internal Research Seminar Series.

Visit our prospectus for further information

Research Facilities

We have first class lab facilities and equipment available for research.

  • Dedicated laboratories for human communication, human-computer interaction, social interaction and child development
  • An extensive library of test materials
  • Observation studio with one-way mirror
  • Dedicated system for motion capture used in behaviour analysis
  • A multiple video camera rig for facial behaviour analysis
  • Wide selection of eye-tracking equipment
  • Full-motion driving simulator
  • Anechoic chamber for hearing research
  • Laboratories for work on the physiological, psychophysical and computational investigation of the visual system
  • Dedicated experimental labs for research in neuroscience, fitted with EEG and TMS facilities
  • Doctoral candidates in psychology can also gain access to the world class facilities for brain imaging (7T fMRI and MEG) at the Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre in the University
  • Laboratories for the study of animal behaviour through located in the University Biomedical Services Unit in the Queen's Medical Centre
  • Behavioural laboratories are equipped with state of the art skinner box and maze environments. 


The School maintains a network of Apple Macs and Windows based PCs, with access to file servers, laser printers, and the campus wide University computing network. All are preloaded with standard software such as MS Office, scientific software such as SPSS and more advanced scientific packages such as Matlab, R and Labview. The School is the home of PsychoPy, a world-leading open source tool for designing and running psychology experiments.


Home of Psychopy



School of Psychology

University Park
The University of Nottingham
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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