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Professional Practice in Occupational Psychology (MRes/Professional Doctorate)

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.


  • 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.

    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 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


    To be confirmed

    Fees and finance

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

  • Our Research Culture

    Our Research Culture

    Birkbeck's Department of Organizational Psychology is the only specialist department of its kind in the UK and has a long-standing reputation. It engages in significant collaborative research and has 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 the department 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 and watch interviews with our Organizational Psychology staff.

  • 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 1 August. However, we would encourage you to apply as soon as possible as interviews will start in June.

  • 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 within the department. A supervisor will be allocated to you from the project team.