Research course


University of Buckingham · Psychology Department
DPhilMPhilMSc by research

Entry requirements

Applicants are normally expected to have the minimum of a 2:1 degree in Psychology or related discipline.

Months of entry

January, September, July, April

Course content

At present, we offer the opportunity to gain a postgraduate degree by research at MSc, MPhil or DPhil level. Study can be on either a full-time or a part-time basis. The minimum periods of study for achieving these research degrees are as follows:

  • MSc – 1 year full-time or 2 years part-time
  • MPhil – 2 years full-time or 4 years part-time
  • DPhil – 3 years full-time or 6 years part-time

Specific projects that we would be happy to supervise immediately include:

Developmental Psychology

  • Conceptual change
  • Children’s mental models of natural phenomena
  • Misconceptions of scientific theory and practice (in both children and adults)
  • Science learning in schools
  • Science teaching in schools
  • Methods of investigating children’s knowledge

Music Psychology

  • Expertise in sight-singing music:
    Expertise in any domain requires practice and involves the use of specific cognitive strategies. Research on sight-singing has suggested a number of factors involved in pitching sung notes, such as memory, reading intervals, the presence of other musical lines, and an understanding of tonality. This project would extend the existing research by carrying out a number of experiments on expert and less expert singers. (Note: this project could be extended to instrumental sight-reading.)
  • Sung text intelligibility:
    A great deal of music is sung, and an important aspect of perceiving sung music is the extent to which the words can be understood. There are no doubt differences between understanding speech and sung words. This project would investigate a number of factors thought to affect the intelligibility of sung text, based on a previous exploratory survey questionnaire study, in a set of controlled experiments.
  • Factors affecting music reading
  • Effects of background music on various behaviours / cognitive abilities
  • Factors affecting the understanding of sung text
  • Gender and musical instrument playing as a function of experience

Cognition and Perception

  • Expertise and strategies in cryptic crossword completion:
    Expertise in any domain requires practice and involves the use of specific cognitive strategies. An exploratory survey of expert cryptic crossword solvers has shed light on their solving habits and the role of motivation, but not really tackled the cognitive strategies involved. This project would investigate the cognitive aspects of cryptic crossword solving in experts, including looking at the role of group work when people solve crosswords together. Methods would include controlled experiments on anagram solving, clue recognition and solving, and completing part-answered clues, as well as the use of online verbal protocols during crossword solving.
  • Expertise for problem solving
  • Time estimation and processing
  • Stroop effect in music reading
  • Working memory and dual task performance

Educational Psychology

  • Dyslexia
  • Provision of special needs accommodations throughout education
  • Effects and perceived benefits of special needs education post-education

General areas that we would be happy to supervise projects in include:

  • Evolutionary psychology, particularly intergenerational conflict
  • Psychology of religion
  • Questionnaire design
  • Object recognition and naming
  • Reading for meaning in literary texts
  • Discourse, authorship and readership
  • Role of shame in counselling, therapy and education

Information for international students

Buckingham is a truly global community with students of all ages and cultures: over 90 countries are represented. It is a place to establish lasting networks, both professionally and socially. Our alumni networks operate successfully all over the world and we encourage them to stay in touch with us.

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

Qualification and course duration


part time
72 months
full time
36 months


full time
24 months
part time
48 months

MSc by research

part time
24 months
full time
12 months

Course contact details

+44 (0)1280 828204
+44 (0)1280 828295