Research course


Lancaster University · Psychology

Entry requirements

An upper second class honours degree, or its equivalent, in a relevant subject. We often recommend that applicants have a Master’s degree as foundational experience for a PhD programme, although this is considered on a case by case basis.

Months of entry

January, October, July, April

Course content

A PhD consists of an extensive and coherent research programme, typically involving three to four years of full-time study. We welcome proposals for PhD research that offer programmatic ideas connected with staff research projects and interests. We think of PhDs as student-led yet collaborative research projects.

We provide extensive support and training to ensure that PhD students are well equipped to make their work productive, effective and influential, ultimately leading to a successful and timely submission of a PhD thesis.

Department specialisms

Infancy and Early Development We are one of the largest groups world-wide working on development in babies, from before birth through to toddlers, including the investigation of how language is learned and how early communication leads to understanding of words. We explore how infants learn about the permanence of the physical world around them, how they learn to categorise objects, and how these categories support early word learning. Another focus is early social development: how do babies develop an understanding of others as human beings; and how do they develop the ability to interact with others? Language and Literacy We explore language and literacy at multiple levels from phonemes to paragraphs, and beyond. Our research aims to advance the understanding of a broad range of topics encompassing: mental representations of written and spoken language; language and literacy development across the lifespan from preschool through to older adults; the causes of reading and communication difficulties; the effects of different writing systems on reading development; and the cognitive resources that underpin language processing. Perception and Action Our research investigates human interactions with the world via sensory and motor processes. We examine auditory neural coding, visual processing in complex environments, representation of time and space, sensorimotor grounding of concepts, and links between sensory systems and more central processes such as language, music, cognition, decision making, and emotion. We explore the role of sensory processes in deficits due to ageing and Alzheimer’s Disease, and in the use of sensory and motor measures as biomarkers for disease progression. Social Processes Our research examines the social and cognitive factors that shape our everyday lives at the individual and group levels, and through this aim to address contemporary social issues and challenges. This includes examining how our individual actions are shaped by non-conscious processes, how social identities, attitudes and categories affect our perceptions of others, how our values, beliefs, trust and emotions affect our decision making and social interactions, and the study of goals and motivation.

Information for international students

IELTS: 6.5 or equivalent.

Fees and funding

Qualification and course duration


part time
48 months
full time
36 months

Course contact details

Postgraduate Coordinator
+44 (0)1524 594975
+44 (0)1524 593744