Skip to main content

Professional Practice in Occupational Psychology


Application options include:

On campus

Course Overview

This Professional Doctorate in Occupational Psychology is an accredited University of London doctoral degree. It is accredited by the British Psychological Society as an alternative to the British Psychological Society's (BPS) Stage 2 Qualification in Occupational Psychology, meaning that successful completion of the programme confers eligibility for chartership through the BPS (subject to holding Graduate Basis for Registration).

If you hold a BPS-accredited master's degree in organisational/occupational and/or business psychology, and you are in related employment, this doctorate will let you apply your learning directly in the workplace and use your work experience to inform your research. 

The first two years will develop your professional competence and prepare you for independent research and practice through the following six professional practice portfolios:

If you successfully complete this stage, you can either graduate with an MRes in Professional Practice in Occupational Psychology or progress to Years 3 and 4 to develop your competence in research methods and consolidate your skills as an evidence-based practitioner and researcher so that you can complete a 40,000-50,000-word doctoral thesis.

We have expertise in both qualitative and quantitative techniques and are well placed to supervise all research topics in occupational psychology. Our particular interests include:

  • Coaching, careers and lifespan development
  • Diversity and inclusion in the workplace
  • Decision making, heuristics and bias
  • Leadership and critical management studies
  • Organisational sociology 
  • Professional development and training
  • Selection and assessment 
  • Worklife balance, boundary management and digitisation of work
  • Well-being and occupational health.

Key information

Find another course:


  • Entry Requirements Entry Requirements

    Entry Requirements

    Graduate Basis for Chartership and an accredited master's degree in organisational/ occupational and/or business psychology (at Merit or above) required.

    You must be in relevant employment and able to apply your learning to the workplace as an integral part of the programme. You must be competent in written and spoken English and have good social and communication skills.

    Students who have already completed Stage Two of the BPS Chartership process (and are therefore, or are eligible to be, both Chartered and hold Registered Psychologist status with the HCPC) will be exempt from Part One (Professional Practice Portfolio) which includes six modules at Level 7. Selection to the course will be through completion of an application form, and an interview.

    Pending success at the interview stage, pre-enrolment, you will be asked for an up-to-date Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.

    English language requirements

    If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, the requirement for this programme is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 7.0, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.

    If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses, foundation programmes and language support services to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.

    Visit the International section of our website to find out more about our English language entry requirements and relevant requirements by country.

    Visa and funding requirements

    If you are not from the UK and you do not already have residency here, you may need to apply for a visa.

    The visa you apply for varies according to the length of your course:

    • Courses of more than six months' duration: Student visa
    • Courses of less than six months' duration: Standard Visitor visa

    International students who require a Student visa should apply for our full-time courses as these qualify for Student visa sponsorship. If you are living in the UK on a Student visa, you will not be eligible to enrol as a student on Birkbeck's part-time courses (with the exception of some modules).

    For full information, read our visa information for international students page.

    Please also visit the international section of our website to find out more about relevant visa and funding requirements by country.

    Please note students receiving US Federal Aid are only able to apply for in-person, on-campus programmes which will have no elements of online study.

  • Fees Fees


    Professional Practice in Occupational Psychology MRes: 5 years part-time, on campus, starting in academic year 2024-25

    Academic year 2024–25, starting January 2025

    Part-time home students, Year 1&2: £7,080 per year
    Part-time international students, Year 1&2: £10,935 per year
    Part-time home students, Year 3&4: £5,445 per year
    Part-time international students, Year 3&4: £9,465 per year

    Students are charged a tuition fee in each year of their course. Tuition fees for students continuing on their course in following years may be subject to annual inflationary increases. For more information, please see the College Fees Policy.

    If you’ve studied at Birkbeck before and successfully completed an award with us, take advantage of our Lifelong Learning Guarantee to gain a discount on the tuition fee of this course.

    Fees and finance

    PhD students resident in England can apply for government loans of over £26,000 to cover the cost of tuition fees, maintenance and other study-related costs.

    Flexible finance: pay your fees in monthly instalments at no extra cost. Enrol early to spread your costs and reduce your monthly payments.

    We offer a range of studentships and funding options to support your research.

    Discover the financial support available to you to help with your studies at Birkbeck.

    International scholarships

    We provide a range of scholarships for eligible international students, including our Global Future Scholarship. Discover if you are eligible for a scholarship.

  • Our research culture Our research culture

    Our research culture

    Birkbeck was the first institution in the UK to establish teaching and research in occupational psychology over 60 years ago. We continue to play a distinctive role in British occupational psychology - and, increasingly, within organisational behaviour. We engage in significant collaborative research and have excellent contacts with many public and private sector organisations, professional bodies and researchers at other academic institutions.

    As a research student, you will receive training in theory and research methodology, provided partly by Birkbeck and partly by other University of London institutions. You will also complete an annual report on your progress. You will be invited to attend research student seminars held four or five times each term at Birkbeck in the evenings. We offer a wide range of student support and study facilities.

    Read more about our vibrant research culture.

  • How to apply How to apply

    How to apply

    Follow these steps to apply for the MRes/Professional Doctorate at Birkbeck:

    1. Check that you meet the entry requirements, including English language requirements, as described on this page.

    2. Apply directly to Birkbeck, using the online application link on this page.

    All research students are initially registered on the MRes and then upgrade to the Professional Doctorate after making sufficient progress. You will be asked to fill out a supplementary application form which includes the following questions:

    • How do you currently ensure that your practice is evidence based?
    • In what ways do you engage with advancements in research and practice? (250 words max)
    • What is your strategy for how you will combine work and study whilst enrolled on this programme? In particular, how will you prioritise and deal with potentially conflicting demands and ensure that you engage in supervision? (250 words max)

    If applying for the full Professional Doctorate only:

    • How do you anticipate being able to gather evidence across all five areas of organisational psychology?

    Ensure that you cover all areas in your answer. If you are already a chartered occupational psychologist, please provide a paragraph, written in academic style and appropriately referenced, summarising the state of evidence in a specific area/practice within organisational psychology. This should be an area that you are passionate about. (400 words max)

    Application deadlines and interviews

    Closing date for application is 30 April. However, we would encourage you to apply as soon as possible as interviews will start in June.

    Apply for your course

    Apply for your course using the apply now button in the key information section.

  • Finding a supervisor Finding a supervisor

    Finding a supervisor

    A critical factor when applying for postgraduate study in organisational psychology is the correlation between the applicant’s intellectual and research interests and those of one or more potential supervisors. A supervisor will be allocated to you from the project team.