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More in this section Postgraduate research (PhD)

PhD in Psychology

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The Department of Psychology at Royal Holloway, University of London invites applications for PhD studentships. 

The Department has an active and expanding postgraduate research community, is well-equipped for research, and is situated on a beautiful campus close to London. We were ranked 6th out of 82 UK Psychology Departments in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), with 93% of our research classified as world-leading or internationally excellent. Research in the Department spans a breadth of topics across psychological sciences and neuroscience and is supported by excellent facilities. These include a research-designated functional neuroimaging unit (fMRI), EEG and TMS labs, tDCS, a psychophysiology lab, a psycho-linguistics lab, eye-tracking, and a baby lab. Further information on our research environment can be found here. Information about the research interests of individual staff can be found here.

Each year our Department offers a number of Departmental scholarships in specific areas that will enhance our Department’s research capabilities.  Applications for a 2017 start date have now closed. However if you are interested in applying please keep an eye on this page (see tab “Psychology Department Studentships” below) as this will be updated with new studentships as they become available.

Our Department is also part of two prestigious doctoral training centres: the ESRC SeNSS Doctoral Training Partnership and the Leverhulme Magna Carta scheme. Further details can be found in the tabs below.

We are committed to providing excellent training and career development opportunities for our PhD students. Successful applicants engage in Departmental training to develop both research-related and transferable skills. Students tailor their own experience, choosing from a wide variety of courses covering career development, communication skills, and specialised research methods. Students are strongly encouraged to attend and contribute to research group seminars, Departmental colloquia and our annual Postgraduate Convention. In addition to Departmental training, research students can take advantage of the College-led Researcher Development Programme. 

Enquiries for further general information should be directed to:

Prof Johannes Zanker j.zanker@rhul.ac.uk, Director of Graduate Studies

Dr Catherine Sebastian catherine.sebastian@rhul.ac.uk, Deputy Director of Graduate Studies

General Applications Process

All PhD positions (whether self-funded or not) may be applied for only after consultation with a proposed supervisor.  That is, before you make an application you will need to find a supervisor by contacting a member of academic staff (with research interests similar to yours), to discuss your proposal.  For some funding types, potential supervisors will be detailed within the relevant funding tab below.  You will find the research interests of all our academic staff by clicking here.  If you find a member of academic staff who is prepared to supervisor you, then they will able to answer any questions that you have and help you with your application.

 

Studentships are available from several sources, which may vary, from time to time, in terms of eligibility and application procedures. Please see specific guidance by clicking on the appropriate funding source tab(s) shown below. 

Note: we are currently advertising a "Matched College Funding" studentship, click on Tab 4 below to view the details.

Applicants may also have alternative sources of funding and overseas students may receive direct support from overseas organisations, such as the Pakistan Higher Education Commission.  

Psychology Department Studentships

 

Each year funding is available for PhD studentships funded by the College (September start date) and allocated to the Department of Psychology. Applications are invited in specific areas that will enhance our Department’s research capabilities. Applications for a September 2017 start date closed on 9th December 2016.  If you are interested in pursuing one of these studentships in the future, please keep checking this website as the studentships for September 2018 entry will be posted here in the autumn term, 2017.  Once applications are invited you can contact the relevant primary supervisor (details will be provided) to discuss the possibility of submitting an application. 

Such studentships provide an annual stipend for a period of three years and cover the tuition fees for UK/EU students.

Overseas applicants are welcome to apply but would be required to pay the difference between UK/EU and overseas student tuition fees. There may be opportunities to compete for scholarships to cover the overseas element of the fees. 

Eligibility

Applicants should have the equivalent of a 2.1 honours in Psychology, or a related discipline, and meet College requirements for English (for international students). The chance of obtaining a studentship are increased for applicants holding a first class Bachelor’s degree and/or a relevant MSc. Overseas applicants are welcome to apply but would be required to cover the difference between UK and overseas tuition fee rates

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How to apply (once studentships have been advertised)

Step 1

Take a look at the advertised project areas and read the profiles of the associated staff members. If you are interested in applying for one of the project areas, please contact your intended supervisor and find out whether they would be prepared to supervise you. You can then start to carve out your specific ‘research plan’ with advice from your potential supervisor. We expect a one-to-one match between student and project, so each primary supervisor can only support one project/student and each student can only prepare an application with one supervisor. 

Step 2

Your application must be submitted through Royal Holloway Direct, the College’s on-line applications portal.  The online application system provides a lot of detail, including a list of documents that are required for each PhD application. You will need to nominate two referees, neither of which should be your proposed supervisor.  They will be contacted by the College directly, but it is always a good idea that you contact referees before you submit your application to make them aware of your plans, and so they can respond to the College request swiftly.

As part of your Royal Holloway Direct application you will need to provide: 

  • An up-to-date CV;
  • A degree transcript (plus certificate if available) and copies of any other qualifications;
  • Copies of English language qualifications (if English is not your first language);
  • Contact details for two references;
  • Your Research Proposal;
  • A detailed financial plan (drawn up with your potential supervisor); and
  • A supporting statement from your potential supervisor (a letter, which you must attach to your online application).

Once you have carefully checked your application press the submit button. Your application is on its way! 

What happens next?

After completeness and validity checks, your electronic submission will be sent to the Department of Psychology, together with the references obtained by the College. Once the Department is happy that all the required information is attached to your application, it is passed to the Postgraduate Research Committee, along with those of other applicants, for their consideration. The Committee may, at this stage, request further information from individual applicants. 

 If you are unsuccessful at this stage you will be notified via email. If you are shortlisted then, you may be invited to an interview, which under certain circumstances may be done by video link.

More guidance on some of the requested documents

Research Proposal (to be completed by applicant with input from potential supervisor) - maximum 10,000 characters including spaces and references. 

The research proposal should include: 

  • A brief introduction of the research topic, including a review of the relevant literature, and a description of the main research questions to be addressed;
  • A methods section stating how this question will be investigated (design, techniques, analysis);
  • A succinct outline of the first studies, including contingency plans showing how potential problems will be addressed, such as recruitment of participants, obtaining external ethical approval, development of new equipment and methods etc; and
  • A timeline showing how the planned research can be completed within a three year timescale (six years if part-time study. 

Note, it is important that the expertise of your potential supervisors and the facilities available at RHUL (e.g. specialist equipment) are highlighted in relation to your research proposal. 

The financial plan (completed by potential supervisor with applicant):

This should be detailed in nature and as accurate as is possible because awareness of project costs will play a crucial part in the Department’s decision making process. The financial plan should include, as a minimum, the following: 

  • How you intend funding yourself (your day to day living expenses and tuition fees) during the three year period (six years, if part-time) of study. In this instance it will be via a Departmental studentship (annual maintenance grant plus UK/EU fees waiver). However, if you are a Home/EU student you may also be eligible to be put forward to the ESRC SeNSS Doctoral Training Partnership competition (see Tab 2 below). We would strongly advise you to include this possible option in your financial plan and on your application form. The application process for both types of studentship are the same in the first instance; and
  • A statement from your intended supervisor showing how any specific costs associated with the research project (such as participant payments, travel costs, MRI scanning, or other equipment costs) are to be met during the study period. 

A supporting statement completed by your potential supervisor:

Your potential primary supervisor will need to indicate, in writing, their willingness to supervise you. If there are any specific issues to be addressed (such as using techniques outside the supervisor's area of expertise) then some indication of how this will be achieved must be included. Their statement should include their academic record and the relevance of his/her research to the proposed project, and to the Departmental research strategy. 

ESRC SeNSS Doctoral Training Partnerships

 

The Department of Psychology is part of South East Network for Social Sciences (SeNSS) Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP), which unites research-intensive universities in south east England by providing outstanding postgraduate training through ESRC funding. More information about the Network can be found here

This competition has its own (additional) application portal. However, all applications will be submitted by the participating institution, not by the individual. Therefore, all applicants interested in applying to this scheme should apply to the Department using the process described for "Department Studentships" (see tab above), by the same deadline. 

The Department’s Postgraduate Research Committee will decide which applications will then be put forward to the SeNSS DTP competition. 

Please note that you may submit an application for a project not listed within the "Departmental Studentships" and ask that it be considered for the SeNSS DTPcompetition only however it would not be eligible for a Department Studentship. You must contact the proposed supervisor(s) in advance to ensure they are prepared to supervise you, and so that they may provide input to your project proposal and application.

Applications for a September 2017 start date closed on 9th December 2016.  If you are interested in pursuing one of these studentships in the future, please keep checking this website as the studentships for September 2018 entry will be posted here in the autumn term, 2017.  

Leverhulme Magna Carta Studentships 

 

Royal Holloway hosts the Leverhulme Magna Carta doctoral programme, details of which can be found here. Specific projects will be advertised below, as they become available. 

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Applications are invited for a Leverhulme Magna Carta Doctoral Scholarship. The PhD will be supervised by Dr Dawn Watling (lead supervisor, Psychology), Dr Alana James (Psychology) and Prof Ravinder Barn (Sociology, School of Law). The topic of the PhD will be ‘Children’s understanding of the risks associated with SNS use’. Applicants should hold a 1st Class Undergraduate Degree in Psychology or a related discipline, and ideally also have postgraduate training and experience working with children in schools. Applicants should send their CV, together with a maximum 1000 word proposal outlining how they would address this topic, to PsyOffice@rhul.ac.uk, no later than 5pm on Friday 26th May 2017. 

Matched College funding for external partners from industry or charities

 

From time to time the College provides matched funding for a PhD studentship and UK/EU fees if a partner is found from industry or the charity sector.  Any such studentships will be advertised below.

1.     Macular Society PhD Studentship

 

Please click here to view full details of this Studentship.

Closing date: 5pm on Monday 12th June 2017.

 

How to apply

Step 1

Take a look at the advertised project. If you are interested in applying and have any questions about the project, please contact robin.walker@rhul.ac.uk who will be the supervisor.  Robin’s research profile can be found by clicking here

Step 2

Your application must be submitted through Royal Holloway Direct, the College’s on-line applications portal. The online application system provides a lot of detail, including a list of documents that are required for each PhD application.

Note, as this is a pre-determined project you will not be required to submit a Project Proposal. You should however provide a summary (1 page) describing your research interests and skills and why this particular project is of interest to you.

You will need to nominate two referees, neither of which should be your proposed supervisor.  They will be contacted by the College directly, but it is always a good idea that you contact any referees before you submit your application to make them aware of your plans, and so they can respond to the College request swiftly.

As part of your Royal Holloway Direct application you will need to provide: 

  • An up-to-date CV and personal statement;
  • A degree transcript (plus certificate if available) and copies of any other                  qualifications;
  • Copies of English language qualifications (if English is not your first language);
  • Contact details for two references; and
  • A 1 page summary of your research interests describing why this project is of interest to you.

Once you have carefully checked your application press the submit button. Your application is on its way! 

Closing date: 5pm on Monday 12th June 2017.

 

What happens next?

After completeness and validity checks, your electronic submission will be sent to the Department of Psychology, together with the references obtained by the College. Once the Department is happy that all the required information is attached to your application, it is passed to the Postgraduate Research Committee, along with those of other applicants, for their consideration. The Committee may, at this stage, request further information from individual applicants. 

If you are unsuccessful at this stage you will be notified via email. If you are shortlisted then, you may be invited to an interview, which under certain circumstances may be done by video link. These will be held on Monday 3rd July 2017. 


 

There are more studentships to come in the next few months - keep checking this page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 
 
 
 

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