The Department of Psychology at City has a long history of excellence in research that builds upon the traditions of the discipline whilst advancing new approaches. Over 30 members of faculty carry out cutting edge research in purpose built facilities that include two state-of the-art Electroencephalography labs, a Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation lab, a baby lab and about a dozen behavioural labs with access to eye-trackers, psychophysiological recording suits and a comprehensive psychometrics test library.
Our research students form an integral part of the department’s research culture. We currently support a vibrant community of approximately 40 students and can offer supervision on a variety of topics.
Members of the Cognitive Neuroscience Research Unit (CNRU) carryout world-leading research concerning the neurocognitive mechanisms underlying attention, sensory processing and multi-sensory integration, action perception, memory, emotion-related processes and aesthetics. The work of the unit involves research with neurologically healthy individuals, people with specific expertise or acquired skills (e.g. dancers, musicians), as well as people with brain damage (e.g. neglect or split-brain patients), sensory impairments (e.g. the blind) or psychiatric illnesses (e.g., schizophrenia).
Research in the areas of counselling and health psychology covers a broad range of topics including factors concerning family dysfunction, stress, pregnancy and miscarriage, 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.
The group's research activities focus on questions concerning how individuals make decisions in various situations, why these decisions are sometimes not consistent with standard models of rationality, what the outcomes of these decisions are and how these outcomes influence future decisions. Particular topics of interest include health-related decision making (e.g., how much to eat or exercise), financial decision making including the psychology of taxation, decision making under conditions of risk, uncertainty and ambiguity and how individual differences in motivation influences the decisions people make.
The Developmental Psychology Research Group comprises researchers dedicated to the understanding of human development. Research focuses on issues that affect the development of children's memory, and the social and emotional development of young children and the psychological mechanisms involved in the development of language. Furthermore, members of the Autism Research Group carry out research to understand the psychological and neurocognitive underpinnings of autism, with current projects focusing on learning and memory, emotional cognition, decision-making, meta-cognition, the processing of time and the influence of aging.
Research activities of the Memory and Cognition group cover a broad range of topics including the perception of food risk, the dependability of software design, the stability of category representations and conceptual combination and all facets of human memory with particular emphasis on the influence of perceptual factors, cue overload, aging and on aspects of memory over the short term. The department’s Centre for Memory and Law furthermore carries out work to further our understanding of the role of memory in legal settings, particularly how it serves as evidence. Research in this context is far reaching but currently focuses on witness memory reports in the media, legal cases, accounts of war, political oppression and applications for immigrant status.
The Organisational Psychology Group is focused on producing high impact research in a broad range of applied areas, including: employee selection and assessment; diversity in the workplace, including gender equality; employee well-being and resilience; individual differences; mindfulness-based interventions in workplace settings and the promotion of pro-environmental behaviour at work.
In addition to the above core areas of research, the Department also has close links to Research centres in the Department of Sociology, highlighting the interdisciplinary nature of our activities:
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 demonstrate the following:
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:
If you are not from the European Economic Area / Switzerland and you are coming to study in the UK, you may need to apply for a visa or entry clearance to come to the UK to study.
The way that you apply may vary depending on the length of your course. There are different rules for:
For more information see our main Visa page.
The PhD programme in Psychology is designed to develop your skills as an independent scholar and give you transferable skills for the years after you finish. With these aims in mind the PhD programme is structured as follows:
In year one students take a number of MSc level modules to furnish their core research methodological skills (see our Research Methods MSc) and subject-specific knowledge (see our MScs in Organisational Psychology, Behavioural Economics, Health Psychology and Clinical, Social and Cognitive Neuroscience). They will also develop a systematic review of the literature in their field of study and begin to implement the first stages of their empirical and analytic work.
In year two students will finalise their literature review, develop an outline of the overall shape of their thesis and carry out the bulk of their empirical and analytic work. Students will have the opportunity to take advantage of several advanced level training courses to build expertise in subject-specific research methodologies such as Eye-tracking, Electroencephalography and Psychophysiology (please see the next section for further details of available advanced level training courses).
In year three students will conclude their empirical work and focus on writing up their thesis. They will also seek to disseminate their work in the form of peer-reviewed publications and/or conference presentations and identify opportunities for the next stage of their career.
The fourth year is only used for the final preparation and submission of the thesis, the viva voce examination by at least two examiners (at least one external to City) and the completion of any amendments that may be requested.
It is important to note that all 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, which normally involves an oral presentation in May and the submission of a formal progress report at the end of the first year of registration (or the second year in case of part-time students). An academic panel comprising the candidate’s supervisor(s) and the Senior Tutor for Research will evaluate progress against the expected milestones of Year 1 outlined above. If the outcome is satisfactory, students will be upgraded to PhD. Progress in subsequent years will continue to be monitored through the annual review process and any failures to meet expected target milestones may lead to the withdrawal of candidates.
For the award of a PhD candidates are required to demonstrate the following:
The research thesis/dissertation must contribute to the advancement of knowledge and the understanding of the subject, either through the communication of substantial new information as a result of the research, or through a significant and novel reinterpretation of previous research and/or knowledge.
For full details about the City PhD programme structure, please see the Guide for Research Students.
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. Where eligible, PhD applicants to the department of Psychology may apply for the following fee-waiver studentship:
The Worshipful Company of Saddlers will fund one studentship in interdisciplinary psychology (e.g. autism and health; counselling and health; decision making and economics; memory and law; brain processes and cognition; nutrition and health behaviours; mathematical psychology) for up to a maximum of four years commencing 2018/19.
Criteria for the Studentship:
Details: £4,500 per annum for up to a maximum of four years offset against tuition fees.
Application Deadline: 14th May 2018.
Please follow the standard application procedure, but indicate near the top of the research proposal that you wish to be considered for this fee-waiver studentship, and include a paragraph that specifically addresses the criteria listed above.
All research students will have a supervisory team of at least two members of faculty. At least one of them will have experience in seeing research students through to successful completion and both will be actively engaged in an area of research relevant to the student’s field of inquiry. Normally one of the supervisors will take primary responsibility of mentoring the student with the second supervisor lending subsidiary support although it is not uncommon for both supervisors to share equal responsibility because of their complementary areas of expertise.
For details about our faculty and their areas of expertise, please consult the staff web-pages.
Besides our MSc level courses the department also offers a number of advanced level training workshops for specific research methodological skills. Moreover, wider transferable skills are developed through provisions within the department and through City’s Graduate School.
A induction on ethical and health and safety issues related to cognitive neuroscience methods including issues related to methodologies such as Electroencephalography (EEG), Transcranial electrical stimulation (TES), and Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and issues related to work with vulnerable patient groups. This induction is obligatory for any student working with these methods or wishing to attend the available courses relevant to these methods.
Convenors: Dr. Elliot Freeman, Dr. Kielan Yarrow & Dr. Sebastian Gaigg
This full-day workshop in one of the department’s EEG laboratories will teach students how to prepare participants for testing, how to collect data and how to filter, reduce and analyse data including event-related and frequency analysis techniques.
Convenors: Prof. Bettina Forster, Dr. Corinna Haenschel & Dr. Beatriz Calvo-Merino
On this full-day workshop students will learn how to prepare participants for testing, how to collect data and how to filter, reduce and analyse relevant behavioural, neurophysiological and neuromuscular data.
Convenors: Dr. Kielan Yarrow & Dr. Elliot Freeman
This 2-day workshop provides training on eye-tracking methodologies with a focus on Tobii eye-trackers. Students will learn how to implement experiments in Tobii studio as well as through interfacing with E-prime. Day 1 will focus on experimental design and data-collection, including gaze-contingent paradigms. Day 2 will focus on data analysis using pre-set Tobii studio functions as well as MatLab routines.
Convenor: Dr. Sebastian Gaigg
Dates: 18th – 19th January; 10am – 4pm on each day.
Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) are used to obtain a reliable evaluation of treatment effectiveness in healthcare interventions. They can also be applied to other types of intervention, for example in educational or organisational settings. This half-day workshop will provide an introduction to the design, analysis and reporting of RCTs. Topics are likely to include the need for RCTs, exploratory trials, cluster trials, trial size, randomisation, blinding, process analyses, assessment of mediators and moderators, intention-to-treat analysis, and CONSORT guidelines.
Convenor: Dr. Katy Tapper
This half-day course will provide training in the use of discourse analytic methods of data analysis which can be used to develop a systematic understanding of the ways in which talk and text are constructed through discourse and to trace their social and psychological effects and consequences.
Convenor: Prof. Carla Willig
Dates: Friday in the autumn term
IPA is an approach to psychological qualitative research with an idiographic focus, which means that it aims to offer insights into how a given person, in a given context, makes sense of a given phenomenon. Usually these phenomena relate to experiences of some personal significance - such as a major life event, or the development of an important relationship. This workshop will discuss main philosophical and epistemological positions of the methodology together with a brief historical account concluding with a discussion between IPA’s phenomenology and Neurophenomenology.
Convenor: Dr. Pavlos Filippopoulos
To foster our students’ broader academic and communication skills, they are required to attend a fortnightly research student seminar at which they are expected to present on their work at least once a year. The seminar is chaired by the Senior Tutor for Research (the PhD programme director) and takes the format of an oral conference session in which two students typically present for 20 minutes, with 10 minutes allowed for questions and discussion. Students are also expected to be immersed in the wider research culture of the department and attend laboratory and departmental research seminars including an external speakers programme that runs throughout the academic term. Students are also offered opportunities to acquire experience in teaching. Depending on their level of experience, they may help run small-group seminars or contribute to lectures on our undergraduate programme, or they may host stats clinics and run laboratory sessions on statistical analyses. All teaching activities are supervised by a senior member of academic staff who provides guidance and feedback and students wishing to obtain formal qualifications can take advantage of the MA in academic practice offered centrally by City.
Outside the department, students are also encouraged to avail of opportunities to learn a foreign language through City’s Centre for Language Studies and to engage with the Researcher Skills Development programme offered by the Graduate school, which hosts events to foster communication skills to a wider audience (e.g., Research Development Days, Research Symposium). Students wishing to hone their programming skills can also take advantage of a University wide MatLab club.
To apply, you should submit the following documents:
Please note that we will not consider incomplete applications.
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: