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PhD students

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The Department of Psychology at Royal Holloway, University of London invites applications for PhD studentships starting in the academic year 2018-19.

 

Our Research Strengths

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. We are supported by excellent facilities including a research-designated functional neuroimaging unit (fMRI), EEG, TMS, tDCS and eye-tracking; as well as labs dedicated to sleep, vestibular-multisensory integration, psychophysiology, psycholinguistics and infant cognition. You can find out more about our research environment on our Pure Profile and the research interests of individual staff on our directory.

Departmental Scholarships

Each year our Department offers a number of scholarships in specific areas that will enhance our research capabilities.

Our Department is also part of the prestigious ESRC SeNSS Doctoral Training Partnership.

Develop your skills

We are committed to providing excellent training and career development opportunities for our PhD students. Successful applicants engage in Departmental training to develop both their research-related and transferable skills. You can tailor your own experience, choosing from a wide variety of courses covering career development, communication skills, and specialised research methods.

Our 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.

How do I apply?

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 are listed within the relevant funding tabs shown below. If you find a member of academic staff who is prepared to supervise 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. We are currently advertising the following opportunities:

Psychology Department Studentships:

Deadline 12 pm (GMT), Monday 8th January 2018 - click on relevant tab below for information and how to apply.

ESRC SeNSS Doctoral Training Partnership Studentships:

Initial internal Deadline12 pm (GMT), Monday 8th January 2018 - click on relevant tab below for information and how to apply.

Leverhulme Trust Funded studentships:

Deadline 5pm (GMT), Monday 12th February 2018 - click on relevant tab below for information and how to apply

ESRC SeNSS Collaborative Studentships:

Deadline 23:59 pm (GMT), Sunday 21st January 2018 - click on relevant tab below for information and how to apply.

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Applicants may also have alternative sources of funding for example, overseas students may receive direct support from an overseas organisation.

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

Psychology Department Studentships

Funding is available for PhD studentships funded by the College and allocated to the Department of Psychology. This year, applications are invited in specific areas that will enhance our Department’s research capabilities and develop new collaborations across research areas. If you are interested in pursuing one of these PhD projects, please contact the relevant primary supervisor (shown at the end of this page) to discuss the possibility of submitting an application.

Available studentships provide a stipend in the region of £15,500 per annum for three years, and also cover the tuition fees for UK and EU students. Overseas applicants are welcome to apply but would be required to pay the difference between UK/EU and overseas tuition fees. There may be opportunities to compete for scholarships to cover part of the overseas fees.

The deadline for applications is 12 noon on Monday 8th January 2018

 

How to Apply

Eligibility

Applicants should have the equivalent of a 2.1 honours degree 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.

Step 1

Take a look at the advertised project areas (shown below) and read the profiles of the associated supervisors. If you are interested in applying for one of these project areas, please contact the primary 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, because each primary supervisor can only support one project/student, and each student can only submit an application with one supervisor.

Step 2

Your application must be submitted through the College online application system – Royal Holloway Direct. 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) on this online form. They will be contacted by the College directly, but it is always a good idea for you to contact referees before you submit your application to make them aware of your plans, and so they can respond to the College request swiftly. Please provide:

  • an up-to-date CV;

  • all degree transcripts and copies of any other qualifications (in English);

  • 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!

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:

  1. 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;

  2. A methods section stating how this question will be investigated (design, techniques, analysis);

  3. 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

  4. 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 supervisor(s) 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:

  1. How you intend to fund your day to day living expenses during the three year period (six years, if part-time) of study. For this application this will be a Departmental studentship.If you are a Home/EU student you may also be eligible to apply to the ESRC SeNSS Doctoral Training Partnership competition. If so 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. The Department will decide in January 2018 which eligible applications will be put forward for ESRC funding.

  2. 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.

 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. Interviews will likely take place in late January 2018.

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Psychology Department Studentships: Potential Projects and Supervisors

If applying for a Psychology Department studentship, applicants must apply for one of the projects shown below, through the College’s on-line application accessed by clicking here, in collaboration with the named primary project supervisor (also shown below).

The applicant must contact the primary supervisor before starting their on-line application.

 Available Supervisors and projects by research area:- 

Health and Well-Being 

Michael Evangeli

Developing and evaluating a psychological intervention to reduce the impact of HIV disclosure anxiety in people with HIV

Learning, Memory and Attention

 

Jessie Ricketts & Jakke Tamminen   

Impact of naturally shifting sleep patterns on memory and educational outcomes in adolescence

Perception, Action and Decision Making

Elisa Ferre & Narender Ramnani                       

Altered Gravity, Movement Control and the Brain: how vestibular-gravitational information impacts on behaviour and brain activity

Steve Hammett & Jonas Larsson               

Natural image statistics, cortical filters and image classifiers

Petra Vetter                                                              

Modulation of human visual perception

Robin Walker & Angelika Lingnau     

Reading with an acquired visual field defect

Johannes Zanker & Szonya Durant  

Exploring aesthetic experience in virtual gallery spaces

Social and Affective Processes

 

Rebecca Brewer & Manos Tsakiris

Investigating interoceptive abilities in Eating Disorders

Nick Furl, Ryan McKay & B. Averbeck             

Using functional magnetic resonance imaging to study how the brain represents the social reward value of faces when making decisions

Catherine Sebastian & Ryan McKay

Adolescent decision-making under conditions of ambiguity

Dawn Watling & Szonya Durant                        

Detection of genuine emotion and trustworthiness across the lifespan

Hanna Zagefka               

The influence of attachment security on intergroup attitudes

Applicants may only apply for one Psychology Department Studentship.  Supervisors will only be able to support one applicant.

If an applicant wishes, they may also apply for a studentship with a different funding scheme (again in collaboration with a supervisor) but if successful they would not be eligible for a Psychology Department studentship. This includes but is not limited to SeNSS DTP studentships where eligibility criteria exist.

The deadline for all applications is 12 noon on Monday 8th January 2018.

ESRC SeNSS Doctoral Training Partnership
 

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 in providing outstanding postgraduate training through ESRC funding. More information about the Network can be found here.

All applications to the DTP will be submitted via the participating institution (RHUL) and not by the individual. However the Department will still require applicants to complete an on-line application via the College’s online applications system – Royal Holloway Direct.

Applicants interested in applying for this scheme should apply to the Department using the process described in the “Psychology Department Studentships” tab, by the same deadline of noon on Monday 8th January 2018.

The selection panel will decide in January 2017 which applications the Department will put forward to the DTP competition.

Please note if you are applying for a DTP studentship only then you may submit an application for a project not listed within the “Psychology Department Studentship” tab, and ask that it be considered for the DTP competition only noting that their application would not later be eligible for a Psychology Departmental studentship. However, you must contact your proposed supervisor(s) in advance to ensure that they are prepared to supervise you, and so that they can provide input to your project proposal.

2 x Leverhulme Trust funded PhD studentships

Please click here to view full details of this studentship and the advert.

Closing date:  5pm (GMT) on Monday 12th February 2018

How to apply

Step 1

Take a look at the advertised projects (insert hyperlink to College Vacancy pages). If you are interested in applying for one or both and have any questions about the project(s), please contact carolyn.mcgettigan@rhul.ac.uk who will be the supervisor. Carolyn’s research profile can be found by clicking here

Step 2

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

Note, although there is a core set of studies proposed for each project, it will be possible for the successful candidates to shape the PhD within the themes of voice perception and/or voice production and ownership. Applicants are therefore encouraged to propose their own ideas within the application for this position. It is strongly advised that applicants contact Prof Carolyn McGettigan in advance with queries about the projects, and for informal discussion on ideas.

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

  1. A personal statement (maximum 2 pages A4) describing why you want to do a PhD and your suitability for the position, including a statement of research interests relevant to the advertised project(s). Within this document please make clear which of the projects you are interested in (“SONOVOX A: Perception of personally familiar voices” or “SONOVOX B: Production and ownership of the self voice”) – you may apply for both;

  2. Academic transcripts (in English);

  3. English language qualifications, if your first language is not English;

  4. 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;

  5. Resume or CV;

  6. A detailed financial plan (drawn up with the potential supervisor). The financial plan should include, as a minimum, the following:
  • How you intend to fund your day to day living expenses during the three year period (six years, if part-time) of study. For this application this would be the advertised stipend; If you are an overseas applicant this should also include details/evidence of your ability to pay the difference between UK and overseas tuition fees; and

 

  • A statement from the potential 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; and

 

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

Closing date:  5pm (GMT) on Monday 12th February 2018

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.  Interview dates will be mid-February 2018. 

Applications are invited for a fully-funded collaborative PhD studentship between the Department of Psychology at Royal Holloway, University of London and                    Transport Research Laboratory (TRL).

Project Title: Situation awareness in remote vehicle operators

Supervisors: Professor Polly Dalton (Dept. of Psychology), Dr Szonya Durant (Dept. of Psychology) and Dr Shaun Helman (TRL)

Project overview: Driverless cars will need to be operated remotely under some circumstances. For example, a remote human operator may need to take over control when a problem arises that prevents a driverless vehicle from navigating independently. The remote operator will need to control the car, potentially in busy traffic, using information conveyed “second hand” from the scene. This project examines the factors influencing situation awareness in these contexts. How long is required for an operator to develop situation awareness when they have not previously been monitoring the scene? And which types of scene information best support situation awareness?

This is a collaborative project between Royal Holloway’s Department of Psychology and Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), funded by the ESRC through South East Network for Social Sciences (SeNSS).

Please click here to view further details.

ESRC SeNSS Doctoral Training Partnership: The Department of Psychology is part of South East Network for Social Sciences (SeNSS), which unites research-intensive universities in South East England by providing world-class interdisciplinary postgraduate research and training through the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funding.  More information about the Network can be found here

How to apply

Step 1

Take a look at the advertised project. To discuss your application and whether you might be considered a suitable candidate for this studentship, please contact Polly.Dalton@rhul.ac.uk who will be the lead supervisor.  She will also be able to answer any questions that you might have about the project.

Polly’s research profile can be found by clicking here.

Step 2

Your application must be submitted through the College online application system – Royal Holloway Direct.  As part of your Royal Holloway Direct application you will also need to provide: 

  1. An up-to-date CV and personal statement;

  2. All degree transcripts and copies of any other qualifications (in English);

  3. Copies of English language qualifications - if English is not your first language. Note, overseas students are not eligible for this award;

  4. Contact details for two academic references. You will need to nominate two referees (neither of which should be a supervisor of this project) on the online form.  They will be contacted by the College directly, but it is always a good idea for you to contact referees before you submit your application to make them aware of your plans, and so they can respond to the College request swiftly;

  5. As this is a pre-determined project you will not be required to submit a Project Proposal with the college application form;

  6. A detailed financial plan (drawn up with the potential supervisor). The financial plan should include, as a minimum, the following:

  • How you intend to fund your day to day living expenses during the three year period (six years, if part-time) of study. For this application this would be the SeNSS ESRC funding. 

  • A statement from the potential 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; and

  1. 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 to the Department for consideration!

Closing date: 23:59 GMT on Sunday 21st January 2018

 

What happens next?

After completeness and validity checks, your application and references, along with those of the other applicants, will be passed to the project supervisory team, who will form the selection panel for this studentship.  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 successful, you will be asked to create an additional application on the SeNSS system by 16th February 2018.

If you are shortlisted then you will be invited to an interview, which under certain circumstances may be done by video link.  Interviews will be held on Wednesday 7th March 2018. 

The top two candidates for this project will be identified through this process.  One will be the preferred candidate, to whom the interview panel wish to make an award, and the other will be the reserve candidate, in case the preferred candidate decides not to accept the award.  The SeNSS Management Board will then meet in March to discuss both candidates, and to formally agree to whom the studentship award will be made.

 

 

 

Any questions?

Please contact Professor Johannes Zanker,  Director of Graduate Studies or 

Dr Catherine Sebastian, Deputy Director of Graduate Studies

 

 

 


 
 
 
 

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