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Psychology Research Degrees

Student using VR headset

Psychology PhD Study

Are you fascinated by people and why they behave the way they do?

Psychology is the scientific study of experience and behaviour - why we do what we do, how we interact with other people and the emotional significance we attach to this. These studies have gained increasing importance across a wide range of professional activities, including human resources, education, sport, social care and the creative industries.

We have a growing number of PhD students who are conducting innovative and original research across a variety of topic areas, including message framing in various health contexts, workplace integration, using cognitive restructuring to improve school performance, and many more.

For research queries specific to the Department of Psychology please contact Dr Roy Spina on r.spina@chi.ac.uk.


Use cutting edge research equipment and software

Our postgraduate researchers can take advantage of cutting-edge research equipment, across a wide-ranging suite of research labs.

Specialist advanced research equipment

  • Functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) neuroimaging equipment enabling us to image what is happening within the brain in real-time: NIRScout – NIRx Medical Technologies
  • Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation equipment for facilitating or inhibiting cortical processing via electrical neuromodulation, useful for increasing addiction treatment efficacy
  • Immersive Virtual Reality System for Neuroscience Research, used for simulating real-world environments, treating phobias and trauma: aLIAS Laptop, Biopac MP15, virtual reality development platform Vizard, Oculus Head set (DK2 and Rift), and 3D software
  • Physiological data acquisition system for measuring physiological body responses: BioPac
  • 12x neuro-anatomical brains and one anatomical Model of a torso – used for a range of modelling activities

We also boast an impressive range of specialist advanced research software, which we use for quantitative and qualitative data analysis, online surveys, and online experiments.

Specialist advanced research software

  • AMOS
  • CMA – Comprehensive Meta-Analysis software
  • Data Miner
  • E-prime
  • Inquisit
  • NOLDUS – The Observer XT: Software package for the collection, analysis, and presentation of
    observational data
  • Nvivo
  • Qualtrics
  • SPSS
  • SuperLab
VR headset and software

Our Supervisors

Browse our staff profiles to explore our research specialisms

Professor Esther Burkitt

BA, MSc, PhD, CPsychol, CSci

Children’s use and benefits of expressive devices to communicate through their drawings, factors which facilitate artistic development, and the influences of colour on children’s memory and learning.

Professor Nik Chmiel​

BSc (Eng), BSc (Pysch), DPhil, CPsych, AFBPS

Psychology in the workplace, including the psychology of safety at work, job stress and work engagement.

Professor Antonina Pereira

BSc, MSc, PhD, CPsychol, FHEA, AFBPsS

Neuropsychology and neuroscience, including memory, aging and the early neurodegenerative process, language, and cognition.

Dr Roy Spina

BSc, MA, PhD

Individual and cultural differences in social cognition, including research on decision making, judgment, attention, curiosity, and other aspects of social cognition.

Dr Ian Tyndall


Examining cognitive verbal processes that may underlie the development and maintenance of clinical anxiety disorders, such as Specific Phobia, from a behaviour-analytic perspective.

Dr Moitree Banerjee


Engagement in mindfulness-based interventions, effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions, measurement of engagement in psychological therapies and self-help versions of psychological interventions.

Dr Stephanie Jane Bennett

BSc, MSc, MSc. PhD, CPsychol, FHEA, AFBPsS

I am interested in supervising projects that are in the broad areas of Forensic Psychology, Criminology, Quantitative Criminology, Children and Young People (CYP), Police Investigation and Rehabilitative culture in Prisons.

Dr Karen Rodham

BSc (Hons), PhD, CPsychol, SFHEA, FBPsS

I am interested in supervising those who have completed their BPS accredited MSc Health Psychology and wish to combine their Health Psychology PhD with the independent BPS accredited Stage 2 qualification. My research focuses on qualitatively understanding how people cope with difficult physical health-related conditions.

Dr Valentina Canessa-Pollard

BSc (Hons), PhD, CPsychol, FHEA

I am interested in supervising projects in two broad areas: 1) non-verbal vocal communication, including voice cues eliciting stereotyping processes, and facilitating empathy and well-being; 2) sexual and domestic violence and abuse.

Dr Rachel King

BSc, MSc, PhD

Brain health and neurodegeneration, attentional processes involved in top-down control of goal directed behaviour, neuropsychology of functional impact and lesion neuroanatomy of impaired selective attention following stroke, experimental work examining goal neglect and dual task processing,

cognitive training for executive dysfunction following stroke, cognitive decline following deep brain stimulation for Parkinson’s disease, interventions that can improve quality of life for individuals with cognitive difficulties through mechanisms of neuroplasticity and through improving assessment or standards of care.

Dr James Stiller

BSc, PhD

Social network analysis and the evolution of social groups, the connection between engaging with nature and wellbeing, visual perception, reading and maths comprehension in children, bullying behaviour in schools, theory of mind within literature, social networks in Shakespeare’s plays, and bumblebee communication and conservation.

Our PhD Students

Meet our research degree students

Lorena Covington

PhD Student in Psychology

View details

Jasmine Afaily-Zadeh

PhD Student

View details

Gillian Docherty

PhD Student

View details

Psychology and Counselling Research

We have an active and thriving research culture focused into a number of different research laboratories across various subdisciplines.

Entry Requirements

The standard requirement for an MPhil/PhD is a first or upper-second honours degree and usually a relevant research related Master’s degree. Candidates with other qualifications are considered on an individual basis.

How To Apply

Once you've decided on your topic/area of interest, normally the first step is to identify a potential supervisor with expertise most related to your area of interest. You can contact them directly, asking if they would be available and interested in supervising your intended project.

We recommend checking individual staff profiles, including in our POWER Centre’s Psychology and Criminology research labs, to see if their expertise matches your interests.

All students are interviewed by their potential supervisor(s) and a Research Degree Coordinator or nominated other.

To apply: /research/phd-and-mphil-degrees/


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