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 three state-of the-art Electroencephalography (EEG) labs, a Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) 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.
The Joint PhD in Psychology and Social Neuroscience is a 3 year, multi-centre, international Ph.D. program that aims to investigate, within the framework of cognitive, social and affective neuroscience different topics spanning from embodied cognition, the neural correlates of cognitive, social and affective functions including empathy, intention, action, and emotion understanding. These topics are studied in healthy subjects, along development and in subclinical, clinical and neuropsychological patients (i.e. autism, patients with brain lesions affecting cognitive affective and social functions). All the activities of the curriculum (from students’ selection, research activities, writing and discussion of the thesis) are performed in English in both institutions.
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 Joint PhD in programme in Psychology and Social Neuroscience 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 will be assigned a tutor in each institution (City, Sapienza), who will supervise the work and support the student’s growth along the three years. A research topic will be chosen in accordance with the training program, and it will constitute the subject of the Joint PhD thesis. Research topic and technique are chosen by considering student's interests, resources and lab's priorities at City and Sapienza. Students are trained in responsible conduct of research with human participants.
When at City, may 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 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 Electroencephalography, Eye-tracking, 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. At the end of this year they should be ready for the final preparation and submission of the thesis.
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 supervisors 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.
The School of Arts and Social Sciences is offering 1 fully funded doctoral scholarships for 2019 entry (UK/EU only).
Application Deadline form 30th Sept 2019
The Government has introduced a new Postgraduate Doctoral Loans scheme which can provide a loan of up to £25,000 over three years to support study for a doctoral degree. A Postgraduate Doctoral Loan can help with course fees and living costs while you study and can be used alongside any other forms of support you may be able to receive, for example from industry or business or through your PhD supervisor.
All research students will have a supervisory team of at least two members of faculty (one based at City, one based at Sapienza). The supervisory team at City is led by Dr Beatriz Calvo-Merino and Sebastian Gaigg and includes members of the Cognitive Neuroscience Research Unit. The supervisor team at La Sapienza is led by Prof Salvatore Aglioti and Prof Matteo Candidi. At least one of the two supervisors 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 supervisors’ role and involvement will increase when performing research in their correspondent institution. Every year, one of the supervisors will take primary responsibility of mentoring the student when in their own institution, 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.
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.
To foster our students’ broader academic and communication skills, students at City 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.
When based at La Sapienza students are also required to attend regular seminar, lab meetings and courses planned within the programme.
Applications are now open.
To apply, you should submit the following documents:
Please note that we will not consider incomplete applications.
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