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Psychology

MPhil/PhD

Key Information

Course Overview

An MPhil/PhD is an advanced postgraduate research degree that requires original research and the submission of a substantial dissertation of 60,000 to 100,000 words. At Birkbeck, you are initially registered on an MPhil and you upgrade to a PhD after satisfactory progress in the first year or two. You need to find a suitable academic supervisor at Birkbeck, who can offer the requisite expertise to guide and support you through your research. Find out more about undertaking a research degree at Birkbeck.

The MPhil/PhD in Psychology provides an excellent forum for you to develop and enhance your specialist skills, as well as more general, transferable research skills. It is designed to allow you to gain insight into different research methods and to acquire valuable experience both in carrying out large-scale research projects and in teaching.

Our current research interests include: brain and cognitive development (development of perceptual, cognitive and linguistic abilities); cognitive modelling (Bayesian approaches to human reasoning; connectionist modelling of language, memory, executive functions, cognitive development, developmental disorders and neuropsychological syndromes; cognitive architectures); perception, attention and emotion/anxiety (investigations of relevant processes using behavioural, electrophysiological, TMS and hemodynamic measures of brain activity); child, family and health psychology (social and emotional development; early childcare; family stress; qualitative approaches); and genetics of human development and behaviour.

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Highlights

  • Our Department of Psychological Sciences is consistently regarded as one of the top psychological sciences departments in the UK. In the 2021 Research Excellence Framework, and for the third time, it was ranked in the top ten universities in the UK.
  • Birkbeck’s research excellence overall was also confirmed in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework with 83% of our research rated world-leading or internationally excellent.
  • Entry Requirements Entry Requirements

    Entry Requirements

    First- or upper second-class honours degree in psychology or relevant discipline.

    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 6.5 in each of the sub-tests and at least 7.0 in writing.

    If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses and foundation programmes 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 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 requirements by country.

  • Fees Fees

    Fees

    Psychology MPhil/PhD: 7 years part-time or 4 years full-time, on campus, Starting in academic year 2023–24

    Academic year 2023–24, starting October 2023

    To be confirmed

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

    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.

    Named in memory of Birkbeck’s former President, and one of the greatest historians of the twentieth century, the Eric Hobsbawm Postgraduate Scholarship fund offers financial assistance for research expenses (including travel, accommodation, conference fees and particular training needs) to doctoral students in the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology, subject to availability.

    The School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy attracts funding for studentships that ensure researchers ofthe highest standard can pursue their research with us. Find out more about research funding opportunities at Birkbeck.

    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

    You will be given general training in research during the first year of your degree. Lectures and workshops are supplemented by seminars providing methodological and theoretical frameworks for research; seminars are structured according to research council guidelines. As work progresses, you will be given the opportunity to contribute to a programme of postgraduate seminars.

    Read more about our vibrant research culture.

  • How to apply How to apply

    How to apply

    Follow these steps to apply to an MPhil/PhD research degree at Birkbeck: 

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

    2. Find a potential supervisor for your MPhil/PhD research. You can look at the Find a Supervisor area on this page for an overview, or search our Experts’ Database or browse our staff pages for more in-depth information. 

    3. Contact the academic member of staff - or the department they teach in - for an informal discussion about your research interests and to establish if they are willing and able to supervise your research. (Please note: finding a potential supervisor does not guarantee admission to the research degree, as this decision is made using your whole application.) Find out more about the supervisory relationship and how your supervisor will support your research.

    4. Complete a supplementary application form, including a draft research proposal. This needs to demonstrate your knowledge of the field, the specific research questions you wish to pursue, and how your ideas will lead to the creation of new knowledge and understanding. Find out more about writing a research proposal.  

    5. Apply directly to Birkbeck, using the online application link on this page. All research students are initially registered on an MPhil and then upgrade to a PhD after making sufficient progress. 

    Find out more about the application process, writing a research proposal and the timeframe.

    APPLICATION DEADLINES AND INTERVIEWS

    You can apply at any time during the year. Entry for the programme is October of each year.

    If you wish to apply for funding, you will need to apply by certain deadlines. Consult the websites of relevant bodies for details.

    Apply for your course

    Apply for your course using the apply now button in the key information section at the top of this page.

  • Finding a supervisor Finding a supervisor

    Finding a supervisor

    A critical factor when applying for postgraduate study in psychology is the correlation between the applicant’s intellectual and research interests and those of one or more potential supervisors within the department.

    Find out more about the research interests of our academic staff and their areas of research.