Psychology at the University of Plymouth

In the Research Excellence Framework, 83 per cent of Research in the School of Psychology was judged to be of a world leading or internationally excellent standard. This places us within the top 20 psychology, neuroscience and psychiatry schools across the country. We have a thriving PhD community with around 70 doctoral students. 

ESRC-funded studentships can be taken up in any of the specialist areas of research supported by the school. The school has a wide range of psychology research interests including cognition, learning, vision, music, developmental, emotion, health, clinical, social and neuroscience. Students have access to extensive, modern and well-equipped laboratory facilities supported by a dedicated team of technical staff. 

There are two routes to an ESRC-funded PhD in Psychology at Plymouth:

  • Psychology (‘1+3’ PhD): A one year MSc Advanced Psychology followed by three years of doctoral (PhD) study.
  • Psychology (‘+3’ PhD): Three years doctoral (PhD) research for students that already hold a master’s degree recognised by the ESRC.

Successful applicants will be part of a large, vibrant, highly collaborative community of PhD students with good interdisciplinary links. Psychology PhD students automatically become members of the interdisciplinary Cognition Institute providing opportunities for research, training and collaboration.

Initial enquiries

The first thing to do is to find a supervisor. To find a supervisor who shares your research interests, follow these links:

You can search through a full list of our staff and their research interests.

Alternatively, you can go to the research groups at Plymouth. These cut across disciplines – you need to identify a supervisor in the School of Psychology. The primary psychology-relevant research groups at Plymouth are the Behaviour, Society and Environment group, Brain and Neural Sciences, Cognitive and Perceptual Systems and Health and Wellbeing group.  

If you would like advice on potential supervisors, please contact Professor Christopher Mitchell.

How to apply

The ESRC SWDTP encourages collaboration across the universities of the partnership and with external organisations.

Start date: 1 October 2020.

Closing date for application is: 21 January 2020 12 noon (UK time).

The studentship is supported for three to four years depending upon the pathway and includes full home/EU tuition fees plus a stipend which is currently £15,009 per annum for 2019/2020. 

Residential eligibility 

To be eligible for a full award (stipend and fees), you must:

  • be ordinarily resident in the UK, meaning there are no restrictions on how long you can stay, and 
  • have been 'ordinarily resident' in the UK for at least three years prior to the start of the studentship grant. This means you must have been normally residing in the UK (apart from temporary or occasional absences), and 
  • not have been residing in the UK wholly or mainly for the purpose of full-time education. (This does not apply to UK nationals and EU nationals who were ordinarily resident in the EU immediately before the period of full-time education). 

Further information on the eligibility criteria for full awards can be found on the UKCISA website.

Application process

You will need to submit the following documentation in order for us to consider your application:

  • Completed University of Plymouth online application form.
  • Completed SWDTP Student Statement.
  • Completed SWDTP Equal Opportunities form.
  • Completed SWDTP Supervisor Statement.
  • Copies of your academic qualifications (both certificates and transcripts of module/course marks).
  • Two references (at least one should be an academic reference from the institution where you gained your highest degree).
  • Please include a CV with your application.
  • If applicable, appropriate proof of English proficiency.
  • Documents not included in the online application form can be emailed to doctoralcollege@plymouth.ac.uk by 21 January 2020.

Your application will only be considered if it contains the above and you have met our minimum criteria. If we need further details or additional documentation we will contact you.

If researchers in the appropriate pathway are interested in your research proposal, we will invite you to a formal interview for a more in-depth discussion about your application.

Your proposal will be initially considered and ranked by the University of Plymouth and other DTP institutions. If your proposal is ranked highly, you will proceed to the next application stage, which is an interview by the psychology pathway leads of all the SWDTP’s institutions. Your application and interview will then be considered by the SWDTP to determine whether a studentship is awarded.

Application pack

Download and complete the SWDTP Student Statement and ensure that you read the guidance notes carefully before submitting your application online. Missing or incorrect information will delay the processing of your application.

South West Doctoral Training Partnership funding roadshow:
6 November 2019

Explore postgraduate research funding opportunities in the Social Sciences.  

Come along to an informal networking event to explore the ESRC funding opportunities available for PhD studentships in human geography and psychology. Both applicants and supervisors are welcome to attend.

Visit the SWDTP funding roadshow webpage for further information.