PhD Postgraduate Research


The School of Psychology is a major contributor to postgraduate training in the UK. In terms of the number of students at postgraduate level, it is now the largest school in the country. In addition, in the last UFC research assessment exercise, the School of Psychology received a 5 rating, confirming it as one of the leading Psychology research schools in Britain. The school therefore provides an active and vibrant research environment for students who are conducting research towards the degrees of MPhil or PhD.

The School of Psychology is pleased to form part of the South East Doctoral Training Centre. The South East Doctoral Training Centre unites the Universities of Kent, Reading, Royal Holloway and Surrey in providing outstanding postgraduate training in the M25 region. A number of studentships are available. Please visit the Funded Studentships page for more information.

Areas of Research

Due to the large number of lecturing and research staff, the school is able to offer supervision of research leading to the award of a PhD in  many areas of Psychology, including social, environmental, developmental, perceptual, cognitive, clinical, health, psychometrics, occupational psychology and neuroscience. A full list of staff and of their detailed research interests is given on the Staff List and subsequent pages which can be found by following the ‘People’ link on the left. Applicants may submit proposals to work in any of these areas.

Research Training

All PhD research students follow an intensive research training programme in their first year of study (or in their first two years of study in the case of part-time students). This programme aims to provide students with:

  • a broad generic training in research methods and data analysis;
  • a more specialised training in the specific methods and techniques which are directly relevant to the student's own research needs; and
  • an intensive training in various professional skills which are relevant to the role of researcher.

The aim is to produce researchers who, on completion of their PhD, possess a broad and flexible methodological and professional expertise, not just a narrow expertise which is focused exclusively upon their own research area. In order to achieve these goals, all students take the following four compulsory courses: quantitative research methods, qualitative research methods, teaching and training and professional skills.  They can also take a number of additional optional modules from any of the offered Masters courses if they support and contribute to the knowledge they require for their PhD.  

Supervision Arrangements

Supervision of research students is provided along traditional British lines, where the main responsibility for supervision is assigned to an individual member of the academic staff who has particular expertise in the student's chosen area of research. More than one supervisor may be appointed in cases where the research topic straddles the boundary between research domains. The school has adopted a Code of Practice concerning the supervisory relationship, which provides an explicit statement of school policy regarding the responsibilities and duties of both the supervisor and the student within the relationship.

Monitoring Arrangements

It is school policy to achieve submission of PhD theses within three years of full-time registration (or the part-time equivalent). Effective monitoring of student progress is therefore carried out towards this end. Monitoring procedures include 6 monthly and annual progress reports, a probationary review after one year (or part time equivalent) and consideration of student progress at the board of studies which are held twice a year.

Research Facilities

The school has excellent research facilities for use by research students. These include laboratories for psychophysiological, perceptual, cognitive, developmental and social psychological research; an extensive library of psychometric and clinical tests; excellent observational and audio-visual facilities; a wide range of powerful computing facilities and strong links with local health care providers.

Annual Research Conference

Each year research students present their work in a dedicated conference around Easter.

Stage 2 Qualification in Health Psychology

The University of Surrey has developed a new route to the Stage 2 Qualification in Health Psychology. This involves candidates undertaking a programme of study leading to the PhD in Health Psychology with Stage 2.

Sources of Funding for Research Students at Surrey

The School of Psychology can award funding for PhDs through the Doctoral training centre (DTC) or school research bursaries which include an expectation of a teaching responsibility for the school.  Students may also apply for funding from a range of other sources depending on the focus on their dissertation including charities, research councils or the department of health.  Examples of current sources of funding include Help for Heroes, The Whiteley Clinic, CRY, the National Trust and Broadmoor Hospital.   In addition, students coming from overseas may also receive funding through their own government or educational institutions.

Entry Requirements

Applicants who wish to register for the degree of PhD should normally have at least an upper second class honours degree in Psychology (>65%) or a cognate discipline or an equivalent qualification.  In addition, our students normally have completed a Masters degree in an aspect of psychology again with a mark of >65%.  We have a long tradition of welcoming both overseas students and part-time students in addition to full-time UK and other EC students to the school. In the case of overseas applicants for whom English is not their native language, and where previous education has been conducted in a language other than English, the University requires formal evidence of an applicant's proficiency in the English language with an IELTs of 6.5 or above.  Students coming from abroad are however expected to be resident in UK, to regular attend to University of Surrey and to integrate into our PhD community.

Further Information

If you would like to receive further information about postgraduate research leading to the degree of PhD in Psychology, please contact either Jane Ogden or the admissions team:

Prof Jane Ogden
Director of Postgraduate Research Students
School of Psychology
University of Surrey
Guildford, Surrey
Telephone : (01483) 686929
Fax : (01483) 689553
E-mail :

Admissions Team
University of Surrey
Guildford, Surrey
Telephone : (01483) 682222

The South-East ESRC Doctoral Training Centre (DTC) is a centre of excellence in social science postgraduate research training, and is a partnership between the Universities of Kent, Reading, Royal Holloway and Surrey.

The South East DTC offers ESRC studentships to top-quality research students wishing to study psychology, sociology, politics or related multidisciplinary topics at the University of Surrey.


  • Open to Home and EU candidates; please see guidance on residency requirements outlined in the RCUK’s Conditions of Research Council Training Grants
  • Candidates without a Master’s degree can apply for funding to undertake a research training Master’s before starting their PhD (1+3 model).
  • Studentships will be awarded on the basis of the academic excellence of both the candidate and the research proposal.  This is an extremely competitive process and only very high calibre candidates will be successful

How to apply:

The 2016 SEDTC Open Competition is now open for applications.

There is an internal University of Surrey deadline of 12th January 2016.   

Please submit SEDTC Studentship applications to

Please ensure that you have applied for a PhD at the University of Surrey.  

For any South East DTC queries please contact

01483 682794/ 683518

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