Entry requirements

A first- or upper second-class undergraduate honours degree in psychology or a closely related subject such as neuroscience. An MSc is preferred but not essential

Months of entry

January, October, April

Course content

  • PhD in Psychology
  • MPhil in Psychology

The School of Psychology offers a vibrant research environment in which to pursue a doctoral course, with a large postgraduate student body and world-leading research groups. We have 80 or more students studying for research degrees. They come from a wide variety of backgrounds and countries and make a major contribution to the life of the School.

You work in a highly rated research-active school. You have a desk in a shared office, a networked computer with internet access, and technical support for your research.

Most candidates begin in September but January or May start dates are possible. Candidates may either apply by developing their own research proposal (in liaison with a potential supervisor), or by applying to an advertised studentship.

Entry routes

There are two modes of entry for research students. Most students enter directly into a PhD. Others spend one year taking a Masters qualification followed by three years studying for a PhD (known as 1+3). The University and most of the Research Councils support the first mode of entry, and may provide funding for between three and four years. The ESRC supports 1+3 for most of its funded students. The 1+3 mode is also particularly suited to candidates whose background does not equip them to embark immediately on a doctorate.

Students who are not taking a Masters qualification are also expected to undertake methods training and their needs are assessed before they begin their research course.

Research methods training is available within the School and across the University to provide many of the skills you need and for your professional development. There are also opportunities to contribute towards undergraduate teaching.


Each student is allocated a supervisory team including a main supervisor with expertise in your chosen area of research. We offer excellent supervision in all areas of psychology in which School faculty specialise, and train students for academic and research careers. If you are interested in applying for a self-funded place, the first step is to contact potential supervisors in our research groups to see if any of them would be interested in your proposed area of research.

Course structure

You are expected to prepare a research outline with your PhD application. On arrival, this is developed more fully in collaboration with your supervisor. Most students conduct a series of discrete studies that follow from each other, but others may conduct larger-scale studies over several years (eg involving longitudinal data). All students are encouraged to write up their results and literature reviews for publication as they go along.

There are opportunities to present your work internally and, more formally, at conferences (including overseas). You are part of the wider research community through laboratory meetings, seminar series and postgraduate training events.


Your progress is assessed via an annual review involving submission of a high-quality piece of written work and interview, and also poster/oral presentations to the School.

Information for international students

Information for international students.

Fees and funding

UK students
See website for details
International students
See website for details

The University of Sussex aims to attract the most talented students to postgraduate study and offers one of the most generous scholarship programmes of any UK university. For full details of our scholarships please visit: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/study/phd/fees-and-scholarships/scholarships

Qualification and course duration


part time
36-72 months
full time
24-48 months


part time
24-48 months
full time
12-36 months

Course contact details

Student Recruitment Services
+44 (0)1273 876638