Research course


Brunel University, London · Health and Life Sciences

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Entry requirements

The general University entrance requirement for registration for a research degree is normally a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree.

Months of entry


Course content

Research topics for PhD study in Psychology are broad in scope and include cognitive neuroscience, neuropsychology, evolutionary psychology, social and cross-cultural psychology, and health and well-being. Research within the division is supported through a well-resourced infrastructure including MRI, EEG, TMS, and eye-tracking facilities, cubicles for testing, hardware and software resources, psychometric test library, and other specialist equipment.

Our research strengths are in Cognitive Neuroscience, Cross-Cultural Psychology and Evolutionary Psychology. Research in these areas is structured around two new and vibrant research centres: Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience and Centre for Culture and Evolution. PhD students can be part of these centres, and benefit from the knowledge and methodological expertise from staff members, as well as use the relevant infrastructure (e.g. fMRI, DTI. EEG, TMS, and eye tracking).

Special features

  • As a member of the cross-HEI Combined Universities Brain Imaging Centre (CUBIC), Brunel jointly owns and operates a 3T Siemens MAGNETOM TIM Trio MRI scanner (with Royal Holloway, Surrey & Roehampton) installed in a purpose-built lab suite and run with the support of a specialist MRI technician. Established in 2003, through a £1.5 million university investment, this research-dedicated system has recently (2012) undergone a £400,000 upgrade and now offers high resolution, real time fMRI, MR spectroscopy (3D Chemical Shift Imaging), and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) for 3D white matter tractography.
  • Within the Division of Psychology, there are the following facilities: (1) a dedicated EEG laboratory (288ft2) houses 32- and 64-channel (MRI compatible) Neuroscan EEG systems, (2) a dedicated visual psychophysics laboratory equipped with display systems and a VSG 2/5 stimulus generator (Cambridge Research Systems), (3) eye-tracking facilities (Eye Link 1000: SR Research Ltd), and (4) cubicles for behavioural testing.
  • Through collaborative arrangements across the University, researchers in Psychology also have access to (1) a Magstim BiStim2 TMS and tDCS systems for brain stimulation/modulation research, (2) a NX12 [TC]² 3D Body Scanner for anthropometric measurements, and (3) Brunel’s BITLab £2 million virtual reality centre, with facilities for motion capture and animation. Other facilities include an extensive collection of AV, laboratory and computing hardware resources, psychometric test library, specialist equipment and laboratories for participant photography/video, and infant research.
  • A training programme will be provided by the College to assist students with achieving targets. The programme will include the underpinning principles such as philosophy of science, research integrity, ethics and specialist methodology. Sessions in core, specialist and advanced research methods will prepare students for an independent research career. Students will also enrol in the Graduate School Researcher Development Programme which ensures all students are equipped with generic research skills including presentational skills and impact activities.

In the 2014 REF, 59% of our overall research activity was rated as either “world leading” or “internationally excellent”. Our research environment was rated as 100% “internationally excellent”. In terms of impact of our research on wider society, 73% of our submission (in areas such as screening for dyslexia and health promotion) was rated as 4*, i.e., outstanding in terms of its reach and significance. We were assessed as having an “exemplary strategic approach to impact”.

Information for international students

English language requirements

  • IELTS: 7 (min 6 in all areas)
  • Pearson: 64 (51 in all subscores)
  • BrunELT: 70% (min 60% in all areas)

Fees and funding

UK students

We offer a range of PhD studentships, partial scholarships, and academic prizes, to help with your research fees. Explore external funding, particularly the Research Councils, as well as other support.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MPhil
    part time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
  • PhD
    part time
    72 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    36 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

+44 (0)1895 265599