The South West Doctoral Training Partnership (SWDTP)

The South West Doctoral Training Partnership (SWDTP) is accredited by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to provide postgraduate research training in the social sciences. The SWDTP is one of the UK’s largest centres of postgraduate research training for social scientists and comprises of staff and students from the Universities of Plymouth, Bath, Bristol, Exeter and the University of the West of England.

Pathways available at Plymouth:

The University of Plymouth joined the SWDTP in 2016 to provide research expertise in the human geography and psychology pathways. We have a wide range of opportunities for research study in these pathways based in relevant research centres and groups. Plymouth’s research is characterised by its partnerships with external organisations and provides excellent opportunities for placements during study and for research with impact. The ESRC SWDTP encourages collaboration across the universities of the partnership and with external organisations.

The SWDTP delivers a number of research training pathways. Each pathway may comprise two parts: a one year MSc course, followed by the three-year PhD research degree (1+3) or a stand-alone three-year research degree (+3).

Discipline-specific pathways (as part of the SWDTP):

Pathway Programme
Human geography (‘1+3’ PhD) A one year MSc Social Research Methods followed by three years of doctoral (PhD) study
Human geography (‘+3’ PhD) Three years doctoral (PhD) research for students that already hold a master’s degree recognised by the ESRC
Psychology (‘1+3’ PhD) A one year MSc Psychological Research Methods 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

Research relevant to the human geography pathway at Plymouth is primarily associated with the Environment, Governance and Development and Culture, Society and Mobility groups. Details of our staff and their research interests can also be viewed on our school’s webpage.

The psychology pathway relevant research at Plymouth is primarily located in the Behaviour, Society and Environment group, Brain and Neural Sciences, Cognitive and Perceptual Systems and Health and Wellbeing groups.  View our full list of staff and their research interests.

Initial enquiries

We strongly encourage you to discuss your proposed research topic with an academic staff member in your field. You can explore the member lists of Plymouth's research groups and centres or search staff profiles using subject-area search terms (e.g. citizenship) or an individual's name.

If you would like advice on potential supervisors, please contact Professor Richard Yarwood (ryarwood@plymouth.ac.uk) for the human geography pathway and Professor Christopher Mitchell (christopher.mitchell@plymouth.ac.uk) for the psychology pathway.

We encourage applications from candidates who share research interests with any of our staff as detailed in the links above.

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

Funding from the South West Doctoral Training Partnership

The University of Plymouth provides research expertise for the SWDTP in the human geography and psychology discipline pathways. We have a wide range of opportunities for study in these pathways based within the relevant research centres and groups.

The closing date for applications for this current round is 12 noon Tuesday 21 January 2020, with studentships starting on 1 October 2020.

Find out more about the PhD opportunities

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.


SWDTP staff

SWDTP students