Research course


Open University · Department of Psychology

Entry requirements

PhD: Entry requirements vary according to the research topic and/or specific studentships. The normal minimum entrance requirement is an upper second class honours degree or masters degree, relevant to the proposed area of study, from a recognised higher education institution in the UK. You should also have experience of academic research in the previous four years, normally in the form of either a masters degree in research methods, an undergraduate degree with a research element in the final year, or work-related experience with evidence through research reports. If you have a qualification from outside the UK, or you are not sure if you meet the entry requirements, please contact us by email before applying.

MPhil: Applicants should normally hold, or be expecting to obtain, a bachelors degree with at least first or upper-second class honours, or an equivalent qualification. However, entry requirements differ between academic areas, and sometimes a taught masters degree is also required. The research topic pages (in the menu on the right of our Research areas page) give details of specific entry requirements, and provide contact details to discuss your suitability for the MPhil with a member of academic staff.

Applied cognition; Counselling and psychotherapy; Critical, narrative, discursive, phenomenological and transdisciplinary psychosocial research; Forensic psychology.

Months of entry


Course content

The School of Psychology is noted as being among the leading departments of psychology in the UK. It is reputed for its contributions to the development of psychology: in critical social psychology, especially the theoretical and methodological development of studies of identity, subjectivity and experience; in the application of psychological methods and principles to questions of policing and justice; and in other areas of cognitive and applied psychology. In addition, there is a developing expertise in diverse areas of therapeutic practice.

The School has a strong interdisciplinary orientation (contributing to its Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) success) and plays a leading role in the UK-wide psychosocial studies network. Members of the department hold editorship or editorial board positions of some leading UK and European journals.

We welcome applications for PhD study in social, cognitive, and forensic psychology, including applications that situate psychological research in wider social, political or cultural contexts and/or explore the policy or applied relevance of psychological research.

Key facts

  • Established record of externally funded research projects, including Directorship of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) £4m Identities and Social Action Programme.
  • Leader in theoretical and methodological developments in different areas of psychology, including applied and psychosocial approaches.
  • Publications in high impact journals including British Journal of Social Psychology, Narrative Inquiry, Feminism and Psychology, Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and European Journal of Cognitive Psychology.
  • Keynote lecture programme with distinguished speakers under auspices of Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance and the International Centre for Comparative Criminological Research.
  • ESRC recognition for distance learning training in psychological research methods.
  • A thriving interdisciplinary community of researchers with international reputation.


  • State-of-the-art remote eye-tracker
  • Dedicated experimental software
  • An extensive online Virtual Participant Panel

Department specialisms

Applied cognition; Counselling and psychotherapy; Critical, narrative, discursive, phenomenological and transdisciplinary psychosocial research; Forensic psychology.

Fees and funding

Please see The Open University website

Qualification and course duration


part time
72 months
distance learning
variable months
full time
36 months


distance learning
variable months
full time
15 months
part time
24 months

Course contact details

Discipline Convenor
+44 (0)1908 652352