Research course


University of Portsmouth · Department of Psychology

Visit the institution website for COVID‑19 updates

Entry requirements

A good honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject or a master's degree in an appropriate subject. Exceptionally, equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will be considered. All applicants are subject to interview.

English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

Months of entry

February, October

Course content

The Department of Psychology is home to internationally renowned experts in psychology and exceptional facilities for practical and theoretical research – 100% of our research impact in the area of psychology, psychiatry and neurosciences was rated as outstanding or very considerable in terms of reach and significance in the Research Excellence Framework 2014.

Our fundamental and applied research reflects the broad scope of psychological study, exploring topics including child development of social skills, eye witness testimony, the evolution of primate facial expressions and factors affecting drug use.

Our researchers are addressing important issues in society, whether helping law enforcement agencies prosecute, developing methods to improve wellbeing and quality of life, supporting animal conservation and welfare initiatives, or unpacking the basics of psychological functioning – and as a postgraduate researcher, you'll play your part in transforming our expertise into action.

Current Research

International Centre for Research in Forensic Psychology
The International Centre for Research in Forensic Psychology has an established international reputation for conducting a broad range of criminological and forensic psychology research. The Centre comprises an impressive team of researchers and postgraduate research students. At the International Centre for Research in Forensic Psychology (ICFRP) we investigate methods to ensure accurate investigations, how to secure the most reliable information from witnesses, victims, suspects and sources, and how to identify when someone is lying.

We explore the most effective approaches for gathering reliable information in cross-cultural interactions, and how stress and challenging environments can affect cognitive performance in applied settings.

We work to improve the criminal justice system, looking at how prisons can be modernised to support offender management, rehabilitation and effective intervention to reduce re-offending. In a highly-stressful sector, we work to provide solutions and support for those struggling with post-traumatic stress.

Situated Action and Communication
The Centre has at its core a commitment to studying psychological phenomena in relation to the contexts and situations in which they emerge. Its work covers a multitude of areas such as developmental psychology, animal behaviour, understanding of object functions, autism and psycholinguistics. It also covers a multitude of methods such as naturalistic observations, experiments, conversation analysis, cross-cultural studies, and longitudinal studies.As one of the University's areas of research expertise, our work in situated action and communication also studies the implicit and non-verbal ways in which we engage with other people, and the way in which these processes influence social understanding, identity and culture.

Comparative and Evolutionary Psychology

Our research in the Centre for Comparative and Evolutionary Psychology explores the evolutionary processes and developments that shape animal behaviour, and how it compares with the development of the human mind.Through a deeper understanding of the minds and behaviours of animals, we're exploring how humans have evolved – from how social structures are formed, to the ways in which evolutionary thinking can help solve the problems of today.

Quality of Life, Health and Wellbeing

The main focus of the Quality of Life, Health and Wellbeing Research Group is to enhance our diverse experiences of life. Our main topics are: enhancing quality of life at work, Empowering people with learning disabilities, Enhancing life in later years, Exploring techniques for enhancing wellbeing, Enhancing student experience and learning success, Multisensory perception.

What can a postgraduate research degree do for my career?

Once you complete your postgraduate research degree, you'll be a highly skilled researcher with the knowledge and skills to make an impact in many different industries. Your postgraduate research qualification demonstrates to potential employers that you're an intelligent, capable and motivated person, with provable abilities and experience in critical thinking, problem solving, project management, communication, leadership and creativity.

Fees and funding

UK students
Full time: £4,327* Part time: £2,164* ** Tuition fees are subject to annual increase
International students
Full Time: £16,400 Part Time: £8,200 p/a. **Tuition fees are subject to annual increase

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MPhil
    part time
    48 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    24 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

023 9284 2994