Psychology PhD / MPhil
The Department of Psychology at City has a long and rich tradition of excellence in research and teaching, as well as service to the field of psychology. As a Department, we are strongly committed to rigorous intellectual and empirical work, building upon the traditions of the discipline and advancing new approaches, also involving interdisciplinary collaboration.
Our faculty members conduct cutting edge research on a variety of topics, including:
- Autism Spectrum Disorder - research on the cognitive and neurobiological characterisation of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) with some focus on learning, memory and emotion-related processes. In addition, however, research also explores attention, perception, decision making and language in this disorder. For further details see the Autism Research Group (ARG) website.
- Coaching Psychology - developing the theory and practice of coaching psychology, effectiveness of coaching and coaching psychology practice, ROI of coaching in organisations, boundaries and the coaching relationship, leadership development, reducing stress and enhancing performance, internet coaching, health and wellbeing, positive psychology and coaching psychology.
- Cognitive Neuroscience - neurocognitive mechanism underlying attention, action perception, memory, emotion-related processes and aesthetics. In our research we work with neurologically normal individuals and people with expertise or acquired skills (e.g. dancers, musicians), as well as people with brain damage (e.g. neglect or split-brain patients) or sensory deficits (e.g. the blind). For more information see the Cognitive Neuroscience Research Unit (CNRU) website.
- Cognitive Psychology - memory, concepts and categorisation, decision-making, emotion-related processes, writing and spelling.
- Counselling Psychology - research into the psychological factors in family dysfunction, stress, pregnancy, miscarriage.
- Developmental Psychology - psychosocial development across the life course, parent-child relationships and the psychological development of children raised in non-traditional families, risk and resilience; language acquisition and developmental disorders such as autism.
- Health Psychology - pre-menstrual syndrome, health policy, health promotion, smoking, dementia, patient experience of revascularisation, the experience of caring for someone with a chronic illness, discursive constructions and sexual health in the context of HIV/AIDS.
- Organisational Psychology - power and politics in organisations; developing political leaders; barriers to career progression; leadership and diversity; employee and organisational innovation; empathy and emotional intelligence in the helping professions; employee engagement; promoting pro-environmental behaviour in the workplace; candidate perceptions of recruitment and selection processes; mindfulness-based worksite interventions; workers' leisure time recovery processes; understanding and enhancing employee resilience. For further details see the Organisational Psychology Group website.
Specialist Research Centres
All members of the Department have research interests that fall broadly into these areas, with a number having interests that cut across them. Based on the international profile of our research and to facilitate collaboration we have developed a number of specialist Research Centres and Groups that link closely to our main areas of research specialisation:
- Autism Research Group (ARG)
- Coaching Psychology Unit
- Cognitive Neuroscience Research Unit (CNRU)
- Developmental Psychology Research Group
- Health Psychology Research Group
- Memory and Cognition Research Group
- Memory Research Unit
- Organisational Psychology Group
The Department also has close links to the following Research Centres in the Department of Sociology, highlighting the interdisciplinary nature of its research activities:
- The Social Research Methodology Centre, which has a strong interest in the application of both qualitative and quantitative social research methods to empirical and methodological issues.
- The Centre for Comparative Social Surveys which hosts the multi-nation European Social Survey (ESS) funded by the European Commission, European Science Foundation and national funding agencies.
The MPhil/PhD programme is a research training doctorate mainly aimed at students who wish to pursue a career in academic research. In addition to attending formal courses in advanced research methods, PhD students carry out an extended piece of original, empirical research under the direction of one or more members of academic staff. The degree of PhD is awarded on successful completion of the research methods courses, the submission of a thesis embodying the results of the programme of research and successful performance in an oral examination based on the thesis.
Applicants should have a track record of high academic achievement, demonstrated by a good undergraduate degree with at least a second class (upper division) pass or equivalent, Applicants should note that while possession of a good Masters level degree with at least a pass with merit (or equivalent) is preferred, it is not a mandatory criterion.
For students whose first language is not English, the following qualifications will meet the English language requirement for entry to a postgraduate course of study:
- A first degree from a UK university or from the CNAA.
- A first degree from an overseas institution recognised by the University as providing adequate evidence of proficiency in the English language, for example, from institutions in Australia, Canada or the USA.
- GCE O-level/GCSE English language or English literature, grade C minimum.
- Cambridge ESOL CPE (Certificate of Proficiency in English) at grade C or above.
- An overall score of 6.5 in the English Language Testing System (IELTS) with a minimum of 6.0 for each subtest.
- A score of 600 minimum (computer score 250, internet-based score 100) in the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
- Satisfactory standard in the verbal section of the Princeton Test (GMAT).
- US SAT with 500 in verbal performance.
- Warwick English Language Test (WELT) with pass grades of BBC minimum.
- Other evidence of proficiency in the English language which satisfies the Board of Studies concerned.
City University London retains Highly Trusted Status from UKBA, enabling us to sponsor international students to study in the UK.
The way that you apply may vary depending on the length of your course at City, there are different rules for:
- Students on courses of more than 6 months
- Students on courses of less than 6 months
- Students on a pre-sessional English Language course
For more information see our main Visa page.
Admissions take place in late September each year.
Duration of Studies
The minimum period of registration is two years for full-time students and four years for part-time students. The maximum period of registration is four years for full-time students and seven years for part-time students.
Students on graduate research programmes are initially registered for an MPhil award. Promotion to registration to PhD is not automatic, but contingent on the satisfactory outcome of a review process. This normally takes place towards the end of the first year of registration for full-time candidates and towards the end of the second year for part-time candidates. Students submit a report to an academic panel and present at the annual research colloquium. If the outcome is satisfactory, the student will be upgraded to PhD.
The programme will conclude with submission of your research in the form of a PhD thesis and attendance at a viva voce examination in front of at least two examiners, at least one of whom will be external to the University.
For full details about the City PhD programme structure, please see the Guide for Research Students.
The current research interests of our staff can be found on our staff profile pages.
- Full-time EU: £4,200 per year (2013 entry)
- Part-time EU: £2,100 per year (2013 entry)
- Full-time Non EU: £10,000 per year (2013 entry)
- Part-time Non EU: £5,300 per year (2013 entry)
Fees for doctoral candidates are charged annually and cover registration, supervision and examination. Fees are subject to review each year and may vary during your period of registration.
Details are available at: http://www.city.ac.uk/research/research-degrees/fees/research-council-funding
The University offers a number of doctoral studentships on a competitive basis each year. For further information please visit http://www.city.ac.uk/research/research-degrees/fees/university-doctoral-studentships
The Department also offers a number of doctoral studentships on a competitive basis each year. Further details will be published in March 2012.
When considering potential applicants, we attach great importance both to the applicant's academic profile and record of achievement, and to the fit between the proposed research and the interests of the supervisor. It is therefore essential that potential applicants identify staff with relevant research expertise, and then contact an individual member of staff to discuss their willingness to offer supervision for their particular topic before submitting a formal application to undertake a research degree. Please consult individual staff webpages for our specialist research profiles and interests.
Please note that we will not consider applications unless the applicant has initially discussed their proposal with a member of staff.
How to Apply
We accept applications on an ongoing basis for entry in September. To apply, you should submit the following documents:
- One copy of the Research Degree Application Form
- Your research proposal
- Testimonials from at least two academic referees sent by email from an official work (not private) email account
- Copies of your degree transcripts and certificates (originals or certified copies). If your application is successful we will need to verify the original hard copies before a final offer is made
- Proof of your English language proficiency (if English is not your first language)
- A non-technical summary of the proposed research of no more than 400 words.
Completed applications should be submitted to Mary Wright by email: Mary.Wright.email@example.com
Please note that we will not consider incomplete applications.
Instructions to referees
Thank you for your contribution to our admissions process; reports from academic referees are a vital part of our information gathering about applicants for Research Degrees. In your testimonial, please focus your report on the following issues:
- Give evidence of the applicant's capacity to undertake high quality research in psychology
- Explain any particular features of the applicant's prior training that you consider to be of particular importance
- Comment on the applicant's determination and motivation for studying for a research degree
- Indicate whether or not the applicant has discussed their research interests with you prior to applying to City
- Comment on the applicant's honesty and integrity.
Writing Your Research Proposal
Your research proposal should be no mored than three sides of A4. It should specify (a) your research question, (b) an indication of the research literature you have consulted, (c) the research methods you intend to use, (d) an outline work plan and (e) any research ethics implications.
Research students are appointed a supervisory team consisting of at least two supervisors. One of these will be designated as the first point of contact with personal responsibility for ensuring that effective supervision is provided so that students can develop the skill and knowledge to contribute to research as professionals in a supportive research training environment.
It is part of the ethos of the Department of Psychology that students in their first year should follow taught modules that are offered within the MSc course in Research Methods and Psychology or other specialist Masters programmes offered in the Department. At the beginning of your studies your supervisor will agree with the Senior Tutor the range of courses you will take in order to enhance your knowledge of particular research methods or substantive areas related to your research.
You may be exempt from courses that cover material and skills already acquired in your undergraduate studies or other previous training. Evidence required to make this decision include includes degree transcripts together with course descriptions, statements of course completion and examination certificates. Your supervisor will evaluate this submission against the Department's current requirements and define a programme of study for the student. When deciding from which components a candidate could be exempt, the research committee takes particular notice of a number of issues: the recency of the courses taken, their content in terms of depth and breadth of study, their relation to ESRC guidelines and on whether or not they were formally assessed either by coursework and/or examination. In cases where it is not clear that either the standard or the content of the courses taken meet the current departmental requirements, students will be required to enrol and be assessed formally on the appropriate courses. In any case students are required to update previous training with more advanced and state-of-the-art training provision provided within the programme.
We encourage all our students to take modules relevant to their studies from the following list:
- PSM403 Research Design and Statistics
- PSM511 Contemporary Issues in Psychological Research
- SGM202 Analysing Media Discourses
- SGM203 Research Design, Methods and Methodology
- SGM204 Data Collection and Measurement
- SGM205 Data Analysis using SPSS
- SGM206 Rationale and Philosophical Foundations of Social Research
- SGM207 Qualitative Research Methods
- SGM209 Multivariate Data Analysis
- SGM211 Statistical Modelling.
We also offer a range of Master's courses in more specialised areas such as research in organisations, psychometrics, and health studies.
The Department will provide you with supervision, feedback and facilities to conduct research in a way that meets the University requirements for the MPhil or PhD degrees. It does not guarantee that, having been provided with these facilities and supervision, you will be successful in this enterprise, as the outcome depends primarily on the quality of your own contribution.
Students have dedicated space on the 4th floor of the Social Sciences Building. The room is equipped with networked computers and a printer.
With the permission of relevant staff members and under their guidance, students can make use of the dedicated laboratory facilities offered by the department. These include the Behavioural Neuroendocrinology Laboratory, the Social Psychology Laboratory, Memory and Cognitive testing rooms, an Electrophysiology lab, a Psychometrics library, a PC lab, an Eye-Movement Lab, and the BabyLab. The Department also has a suite of general-purpose testing rooms, which are equipped with computer hardware supporting a range of experimental software. The move of the Department into new, purpose-built accommodation provides state-of-the-art equipment for experimental and observational studies of babies, children and adults. The Department employs 3 technical staff, who are available to offer advice to research students regarding the construction of apparatus for research, programming of experiments and for hardware and software support.