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Postgraduate Study - PhD and Research Degrees


Start date

September, January or April

Location Streatham Campus
Study modes

Study mode details

Full time or part time


Research in the School is organised into four research groups:

  • Animal Behaviour
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Cognition
  • Social, Environmental and Organisational Psychology

Psychology research pages

View 2024 Entry

How to apply

Apply online

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Web: Enquire online

Phone: +44 (0)1392 72 72 72


Web: Enquire online
Phone: 0300 555 6060 (UK)
+44 (0)1392 723044 (non-UK)

Internationally respected and fast developing social, environmental and organisational psychology research group, and a major centre for cognitive, clinical and neuroscience research

11th in the UK for internationally excellent research in Psychology

REF 2021 based on 4* and 3* research, submitted to UoA4 Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience

Top 10 in the UK for Psychology

9th (joint) in the Guardian University Guide 2024

Extensive research facilities including eye tracking, EEG/ERP and TMS laboratories, audio-visual recording suite and MRI scanner

Research overview

Our MPhil/PhD students are actively involved in work at the cutting edge of research activities within Psychology at the University of Exeter. Ranked in the top 100 in the world for Psychology (QS World University Rankings 2017) and with state-of-the-art facilities, a steadily growing postgraduate community and a substantial increase in external research funding, we offer an ideal environment in which to undertake an MPhil/PhD.

Acceptance of an application for the MPhil/PhD programme is contingent on the availability of appropriate supervision. Hence potential applicants are strongly advised to contact one or more potential supervisors prior to applying, and to develop preliminary ideas on a research topic with them.

For further details of specific staff interests please see our staff profiles.

Research in the School is organised into four research groups:

We are uniquely placed as one of the few international groups providing a bridging link between traditional questions of human psychology (cognition, learning, memory, social and developmental processes) and animal models providing experimental and evolutionary research opportunities. We explore the causes, functions and evolution of animal behaviour and how it adapts each species to its natural environment.

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We conduct research into the advancement of theoretical knowledge and clinical practice in clinical psychology, including:

  • mood disorders, with a particular interest in psychological processes implicated in unipolar and bipolar depressive disorder and evidence-based approaches to treatment;
  • addiction;
  • obesity;
  • executive control and associative learning;
  • ageing and cognitive health, with the aim of improving the lives of older people and people with dementia through research.

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  • Associative Learning and Memory
  • Control of Cognition
  • Clinical Neuropsychology

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  • Social psychology
  • Social identity theory
  • Group behaviour
  • Social cognition
  • Environmental psychology
  • Organisational psychology

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The quality of study at Exeter is very good, especially for psychology students looking to commence further study in a social psychology area. The faculty and staff are brilliant in every way.

Psychology postgraduate

Research student

How to apply

Entry requirements

Before you apply you must meet the Entry requirments of this programme:

Many of our postgraduate students first register for one of our taught MSc programmes on the grounds that these provide the best preparation for a research degree.

Students who have completed equivalent Masters-level programmes in other institutions may be permitted to start immediately on the MPhil/PhD programme. This may also be allowed even where there is no prior postgraduate qualification, but students in this position will be required to take a number of MSc modules as research training integrated into their MPhil/PhD programme.

Students apply for an MPhil and then upgrade to PhD by the end of their first year.

Start date

You can start in September, January or April but we strongly encourage a you to enrol in Term 1 in September as induction events are focused around this start date. However, we do permit MSc by Research/MPhil/PhD students to enrol either at the start of Term 1, Term 2 or Term 3 (see the University's term dates), or on the 1st of any other month except August, September and October.

Requirements for international students

If you are an international student, please visit our international equivalency pages to enable you to see if your existing academic qualifications meet our entry requirements.

English language requirements

International students need to show they have the required level of English language to study this course. The required test scores for this course fall under Profile B2: view the required test scores and equivalencies from your country.

PhD and Research Programme application process

The information below applies to self-funded PhD, MPhil and Masters by Research applicants, but if you are applying for a funded PhD studentship, please follow the specific instructions related to that application.

  • Pinpoint your PhD research area
  • Investigate whether this area is available at Exeter
  • Ensure that you meet our English language entry requirements (international students only)
  • Construct and refine your PhD research proposal
  • Approach your potential supervisor(s)
  • Apply online

PhD studentships pages can be accessed in our Funding lists on Finance tabs under each research topic page, and are also available from the Postgraduate Research search results pages on this site, on the PhD projects tab.

Full details of the application process can be found on our Apply now webpage.


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Fees and funding

Tuition fees per year 2024/25

For those studying for more than one year, our fees are expected to increase modestly in line with Consumer Price Inflation measured in December each year. More information can be found on our Student Finance webpages.

Tuition fees per year 2023/24

For those studying for more than one year, our fees are expected to increase modestly in line with Consumer Price Inflation measured in December each year. More information can be found on our Student Finance webpages.

Our Postgraduate Funding webpage provides links to further information. If you are considering a PhD in the future, in addition to University of Exeter funding, we have been successful at securing postgraduate funding for PhD research through our Funded centres.

Current available funding


We ensure that undertaking a postgraduate degree in Psychology is a challenging, but ultimately rewarding experience. Each student receives an effective and appropriate level of support, through tailored research training and regular supervision. You will study within a close-knit, inclusive environment as part of a community of fellow research students, academics, and technical and administrative staff.

› Psychology staff profiles

You will have a first supervisor and second supervisor. Some students may identify a mentor as part of their supervisory team, though this is not essential in all cases as the Director of Postgraduate Research and their deputy will offer such mentoring (as required) on an individual basis. You will have regular contact with your first supervisor and a formal discussion of progress each term. Depending on the supervisory arrangement, you may also meet regularly with your second supervisor, though this is likely to be less frequent. You will be expected to meet with your identified mentor or Director of Postgraduate Research/Deputy Director of Postgraduate Research (as appropriate) once a term.

The staff that supervise your research projects and lead your seminars are known nationally and internationally in their fields. They place a strong emphasis on theoretical, experimental and observational contributions to the growing field of psychology.

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Doctoral students, full-time and part-time, who have not completed a Psychology-based MSc at Exeter, may be required to undertake some additional training to support their programme of study.  This may involve completion of particular MSc modules; you may be exempt from parts of the programme if there is clear evidence that you have covered the same ground in assessed programmes elsewhere. The training provides the necessary skills to carry out doctoral research and is a great opportunity to meet others like yourself who are beginning PhD research. Any such training will be negotiated with supervisors and the Director of Postgraduate Research at the commencement of your training. In addition, you are encouraged to attend our research seminar programme through which you will have the chance to hear external speakers who are leading experts in their field.

All students are encouraged to participate in the University's Researcher Development Programme. This offers training in a wide range of generic and transferable skills in key areas such as research management, personal effectiveness, communication skills, networking, teamworking, and career management.

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