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. 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. 

If you would like advice on potential supervisors, please contact Dr Patricia Kanngiesser.

How to apply

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

Closing date: 19 January 2021 (12:00 noon UK time)

Start date: *1 October 2021 (*dependent on +3 or 1+3 route)

The studentship is supported for three to four years depending upon the pathway and includes full home tuition fees plus a stipend which is currently £15,285 per annum for 2020/2021. 


Information on the eligibility criteria for full awards can be found on the South West DTP 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 Studentship Application form.
  • 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 by the application deadline.

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.