Research overview

Psychology at Nottingham is dedicated to the study of the psychological and biological basis of behaviour. Our research spans many sub-disciplines in psychology. These range from personality to neuroscience to developmental psychology.

Our research is organised into different themes as listed below. However, PhD projects can involve collaborations across these or with different faculties.

Research groups:

 Example project areas include:

  • investigating theoretical and applied aspects of language comprehension
  • public perceptions of climate change and energy futures
  • the psychology of driving
  • understanding the causes and treatment of schizophrenia
  • effects of errors on memory performance
  • when does overcoming adversity, challenge or failure lead to personal growth?
  • social perception in people with autism and driver cognition
  • hippocampo-prefrontal-subcortical circuit in cognition and behaviour

Course content

Your PhD will be in an area of research you have chosen. Alongside this, you will do research training modules. The school and the Graduate School deliver these.

This formal training element is designed to provide you with transferable skills in writing and oral presentation needed to support your PhD. These modules can be tailored to your needs.

You will complete a written thesis of up to 100,000 words, with expert support and advice from your academic supervisor(s). You will also take a verbal examination called a viva voce where you explain your project in-depth to an examination panel.

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2021 entry.


Typically 2:1 or a 2:2 with a masters in a subject relevant to the chosen research area

Additional information

Most applicants are interviewed. It is preferred they are done in person but if that isn't practical they can be done through a telephone call or video call.


Typically 2:1 or a 2:2 with a masters in a subject relevant to the chosen research area

International and EU equivalents

We accept a wide range of qualifications from all over the world.

For information on entry requirements from your country, see our country pages.

Additional information

Most applicants are interviewed. Interviews can be done online through a video call.

IELTS6.5 (6.0 in each element)
English language requirements

As well as IELTS (listed above), we also accept other English language qualifications.

This includes TOEFL iBT, Pearson PTE, GCSE, IB and O level English.

Meeting our English language requirements

If you need support to meet the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional English course. Presessional courses teach you academic skills in addition to English language. Our Centre for English Language Education is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

If you successfully complete your presessional course to the required level, you can then progress to your degree course. This means that you won't need to retake IELTS or equivalent.

For on-campus presessional English courses, you must take IELTS for UKVI to meet visa regulations. For online presessional courses, see our CELE webpages for guidance.

We recognise that applicants have a variety of experiences and follow different pathways to postgraduate study.

We treat all applicants with alternative qualifications on an individual basis. We may also consider relevant work experience.

If you are unsure whether your qualifications or work experience are relevant, contact us.


Use our research webpages and find a supervisor search to find a research topic that we work on. You should contact a potential supervisor before applying.

Supervisors are often happy to discuss alternative projects within their area of expertise.

If you are not applying for a specific project, you need to provide a proposal. The proposal should describe the field of research in which you are interested, include one or more examples of specific research questions in the topic, and an indication of how these questions would be addressed. You should discuss this with your potential supervisor who can help you develop the proposal.

Start dates

  • 1 October 2021
  • 1 February 2022
Find a supervisor

Our step-by-step guide contains everything you need to know about applying for postgraduate research.

How to apply


Home / UK£4,496 (estimate) per year

Additional information for international students

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you will pay international tuition fees in most cases. If you are resident in the UK and have 'settled' or 'pre-settled' status under the EU Settlement Scheme, you will be entitled to 'home' fee status.

Irish students will be charged tuition fees at the same rate as UK students. UK nationals living in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will also continue to be eligible for 'home' fee status at UK universities until 31 December 2027.

For further guidance, check our information for applicants from the EU.

These fees are for full-time study. If you are studying part-time, you will be charged a proportion of this fee each year (subject to inflation).

Additional costs

As a student on this course, we do not anticipate any extra significant costs, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses. A research training grant is available which can be used to cover printing, travel and conference costs. 


UK students

Some of the funded projects we offer are advertised on the University's studentships page

We recommend that you discuss funding with your supervisor. 

UK/European students

The School of Psychology has a studentship opportunity available to further the understanding of brain-to-brain synchrony through mother-infant interactions. This studentship is funded as part of a Research Project Grant by the Leverhulme Trust. Visit the FindaPhD website for more information. 

Centres for Doctoral Training and Doctoral Training Programmes (CDTs/DTPs)

These are the current CDTs and DTPs at Nottingham that have projects related to

International students

We recommend that you discuss funding options with your supervisor before applying if you are not self-funding.

There are many ways to fund your research degree, from scholarships to government loans.

Check our guide to find out more about funding your postgraduate degree.

Postgraduate funding


We hold two psychology research seminars each week. One is given by researchers from Nottingham and one is for external speakers. There are extra research seminars and reading groups arranged by individual research groups.

Other events we hold include:

  • a Postgraduate Poster Event in the first year
  • a Postgraduate Conference in the second year where you'll give a 20 minute talk
  • the school’s internal Research Seminar Series where you'll give a 30 minute talk about your research findings

A research training grant is available for you to present your research at national and international conferences over the course of your studies.

You will meet with your supervisor at least 10 times per year. 

Researcher training and development

The Researcher Academy is the network for researchers, and staff who support them. We work together to promote a healthy research culture, to cultivate researcher excellence, and develop creative partnerships that enable researchers to flourish.

Postgraduate researchers at Nottingham have access to our online Members’ area, which includes a wealth of resources, access to training courses and award-winning postgraduate placements.

Student support

You will have access to a range of support services, including:

  • academic and disability support
  • childcare services
  • counselling service
  • faith support
  • financial support
  • mental health and wellbeing support
  • visa and immigration advice
  • welfare support

Students' Union

Our Students' Union represents all students. You can join the Postgraduate Students’ Network or contact the dedicated Postgraduate Officer.

There are also a range of support networks, including groups for:

  • international students
  • black and minority ethnic students
  • students who identify as women
  • students with disabilities
  • LGBT+ students

SU Advice provides free, independent and confidential advice on issues such as accommodation, financial and academic difficulties.

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Where you will learn

University Park Campus

University Park Campus covers 300 acres, with green spaces, wildlife, period buildings and modern facilities. It is one of the UK's most beautiful and sustainable campuses, winning a national Green Flag award every year since 2003.

Most schools and departments are based here. You will have access to libraries, shops, cafes, the Students’ Union, sports village and a health centre.

You can walk or cycle around campus. Free hopper buses connect you to our other campuses. Nottingham city centre is 15 minutes away by public bus or tram.


Whether you are considering a career in academia, industry or haven't yet decided, we’re here to support you every step of the way.

Expert staff will work with you to explore PhD career options and apply for vacancies, develop your interview skills and meet employers. You can book a one-to-one appointment, take an online course or attend a workshop.

International students who complete an eligible degree programme in the UK on a student visa can apply to stay and work in the UK after their course under the Graduate immigration route. Eligible courses at the University of Nottingham include bachelors, masters and research degrees, and PGCE courses.

There are so many careers you can go into with a psychology PhD. You may choose to continue with an academic career. It is common for graduates to work as a postdoctoral researcher or get a teaching fellowship as their first roles. 

 Outside of academia, the knowledge and transferable skills you've gained can be used in:

  • education
  • business
  • healthcare
  • industrial research

80.0% of undergraduates from the School of Psychology secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £32,000.*

* HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.

Related courses

Research Excellence Framework

We are ranked 8th in the UK for research power (2014). The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the system used by UK higher education funding bodies to assess research quality in universities.

  • The school is ranked top 10 in the UK for research power in our unit of assessment
  • 80% of the school research outputs submitted were judged to be internationally excellent or of world-leading quality in terms of originality, significance and rigour
  • More than 97% of research at Nottingham is recognised internationally
  • More than 80% of our research is ranked in the highest categories as world-leading or internationally excellent
  • 16 of our 29 subject areas feature in the UK top 10 by research power

This content was last updated on 02 November 2020. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, but changes are likely to occur between the date of publishing and course start date. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply.