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?
  • understanding the basic mechanisms of sensory perception
  • 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 Researcher Academy deliver these.

The school core compulsory training consists of one 20-credit module in Professional Skills in Behavioural Science. This is taken in the first year of your PhD. The module focuses on skills that are useful for your PhD and your future career and include a series of workshops covering topics such as research ethics, time management, presentation skills, and the publication process. In addition, you are required to write reports about six of the external seminars.

The School requires you to undertake mandatory Research Integrity training. Training for Research Integrity at Nottingham exists to educate and protect individual researchers, the participants in research activities, and the University of Nottingham, as well as guiding and contributing to the quality of the work.

The research programme aims to provide you with skills and knowledge relating to your PhD topic, and beyond this to your needs as a future academic or researcher. Training 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 2024 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. Interviews can be done in person or online through a 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.

Visa restrictions

International students must have valid UK immigration permissions for any courses or study period where teaching takes place in the UK. Student route visas can be issued for eligible students studying full-time courses. The University of Nottingham does not sponsor a student visa for students studying part-time courses. The Standard Visitor visa route is not appropriate in all cases. Please contact the university’s Visa and Immigration team if you need advice about your visa options.

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.

Find a supervisor

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

How to apply


Home / UK£5,100

Additional information for international students

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you may be asked to complete a fee status questionnaire and your answers will be assessed using guidance issued by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA).

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

All students will need at least one device to approve security access requests via Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). We also recommend students have a suitable laptop to work both on and off-campus. For more information, please check the equipment advice.

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

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

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

International students

We recommend that you discuss funding options with your supervisor before applying if you are not self-funding. International students can now apply directly to several of the CDTs/DTP directly for funding support (e.g MGS and BBSRC both accept international applications).

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 have a minimum of 10 documented review meetings with your supervisor each 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
  • data science

Related courses

Research Excellence Framework

The University of Nottingham is ranked 7th in the UK for research power, according to analysis by Times Higher Education. The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is a national assessment of the quality of research in UK higher education institutions.

  • The School of Psychology is ranked top 10 in the UK for research power
  • 90%* of our research is classed as 'world-leading' (4*) or 'internationally excellent' (3*)
  • 100%* of our research is recognised internationally
  • 51% of our research is assessed as 'world-leading' (4*) for its impact**

*According to analysis by Times Higher Education ** According to our own analysis.

This content was last updated on 01 August 2023. 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.