Psychology PhD


Fact file

Psychology PhD
Three to four years full-time
Entry requirements
2:1 (or international equivalent) in a subject relevant to the chosen research area
6.5 (6.0) If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses are available
Start date
University Park Campus
Other requirements

Research overview

You can expect to join a School of Psychology that is focused on research excellence. In the recent Research Excellent Framework (REF 2014) the School was ranked in the top 10 in the UK for research power. The majority (80%) of the research outputs submitted were judged to be internationally excellent or of world-leading quality in terms of originality, significance and rigour.

Research in the School is structured around six research groupings (Behavioural Neuroscience; Cognition and Language; Human Learning and Development; Perception and Action; Personality, Social Psychology and Health; Visual Neuroscience). You can find a list of the associated academics and their research interests here.



There are first class lab facilities and equipment available for research, supported by well-staffed mechanical and electrical workshops and by other technical and administrative services. There are dedicated laboratories for human communication, human-computer interaction, social interaction and child development and an extensive library of test materials. There is an observation studio with a one-way mirror, a dedicated system for motion capture used in behaviour analysis, a multiple video camera rig for facial behaviour analysis, and a wide selection of eye-tracking equipment. In addition, there is a full-motion driving simulator and an anechoic chamber for hearing research.

The School has several laboratories for work on the physiological, psychophysical and computational investigation of the visual system. There are 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.

The School also has access to laboratories for the study of animal behaviour through the physiological laboratories 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 campus is home to a number of dedicated libraries, with recently refurbished spaces and extensive current catalogues. These include the George Green Science Library, the Greenfield Medical Library, the Djanogly Learning Resource Centre and the Hallward Social Science library.


Research support

A PhD is the entry point into academic research and teaching. It also provides a wonderful opportunity to conduct a substantial world class research project of your own over a period of three years. The School of Psychology at the University of Nottingham offers an ideal academic environment for pursuing a higher degree by research, either full-time or part-time. Postgraduate students undertake an extended programme of experimental research in psychology with two members of our academic staff as supervisors (one primary supervisor and one secondary supervisor).

All students benefit from research training modules, both delivered within the School and through the Graduate School. This formal training element is designed not only to provide students with the necessary skills in research, but also to 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. To promote the research atmosphere there are two Psychology Research Seminars each week (one for talks given by researchers from Nottingham, and one for talks by visiting external speakers), and there are additional research seminars and reading groups arranged by individual research groups.

As well as conducting world-class research, PhD students are encouraged to disseminate their findings in journal articles and conference presentations. Towards the end of their first year of research PhD students present their findings and future plans at a Postgraduate Poster Evening. In the second year of research PhD students give a 20 minute talk at the Postgraduate Conference. 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. Funding is also available for PhD students to present their research at national and international conferences over the course of their studies.


Find a supervisor

We encourage you to get in touch with a member of academic staff about your research proposal before submitting an application. They may be able to help you with your proposal and offer support to find funding opportunities in your area. Details of research supervisors at the University can be found on our research A to Z.



UK/EU Students

There are many opportunities for funding through Doctoral Training Programmes at the University of Nottingham. Applications to relevant Doctoral Training Programmes need to be made by the deadlines advertised by those programmes. Currently the School hosts students funded through the Midlands Graduate School ESRC DTP, BBSRC DTP, MRC IMPACT and the EPSRC Horizon CDT – My Life in Data.

From time to time School studentships in particular research areas may be advertised, with associated deadlines. Candidates should first contact potential supervisors in the School of Psychology who can advise on routes to funding.

The University Graduate School operates two schemes of its own to help support current postgraduate research. The Graduate School Travel Prize and Universitas21 funding. For prospective students the University has introduced a new funding database. The Graduate School also holds a list of other sources of fundingStudentship opportunities are also available. 

Government loans for doctoral study

The Government plans to introduce doctoral student loans of up to £25,000 for PhDs and equivalent research programmes from 2018. Applicants must ordinarily live in England and more details are expected to be announced in due course.

Doctoral training programmes

Linked to research councils, doctoral training programmes offer funding opportunities connected to our research priorities.

International and EU students

Research scholarships are available for outstanding international and EU students. You must already have an offer to study at Nottingham to apply. Please note closing dates to ensure your course application is submitted in good time.

Information and advice on funding your degree, living costs and working while you study is available on our website, as well as country-specific resources.



Visit the department page for additional opportunities.

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2016, 97% of postgraduates from the School of Psychology who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £29,212 with the highest being £50,000.* 

*Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates 2015/16. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Career Prospects and Employability

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers* and can offer you a head-start when it comes to your career.

Those who take up a postgraduate research opportunity with us will not only receive support in terms of close contact with supervisors and specific training related to your area of research, you will also benefit from dedicated careers advice from our Careers and Employability Service

Our Careers and Employability Service offers a range of services including advice sessions, employer events, recruitment fairs and skills workshops – and once you have graduated, you will have access to the service for life.

The Graduate Market 2013-2016, High Fliers Research.


This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

Postgraduate Administrator School of Psychology
University of Nottingham University Park
NG7 2RD 

Student Recruitment Enquiries Centre

The University of Nottingham
King's Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

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