MPhil & PhD in Psychology

  • Length
    3-4 years full-time or 4-6 years part-time
  • Department

Course overview

We're committed to developing our postgraduates into skilled researchers who can conduct rigorous research using a variety of methods and analytic techniques.

Supervision can be offered in any of the areas of departmental activity.

During your first year you may take a range of taught modules including research methods, theory, and statistics; requirements will vary depending on any postgraduate training you have already undertaken.

You will attend and contribute to research seminars, and through departmental and Goldsmiths-wide modules you will also be encouraged to develop practical skills such as public speaking, poster preparation, scientific writing, and how to interact with the media.

You will meet regularly with your supervisor, and develop a structured approach to designing, executing, analysing and writing up your research.

You will have access to the Department of Psychology's range of laboratories, testing rooms and research equipment. You will also have an annual allowance to contribute towards your research expenses and/or conference attendance.

Find out more about research degrees at Goldsmiths

What kind of research could I do?

We are able to support PhD research in most areas of psychology. Some students have already formulated specific research ideas before they apply here, and find a supervisor in the department who is able to help them develop these into a doctoral research programme; if this applies to you, see information on the expertise of all our staff and contact any who you think may be able to help you to pursue these.

Other students are attracted by the research interests of our staff, and may decide to undertake a project that has been suggested by them and which relates to their ongoing research. To explore these or other research ideas, start by emailing the member of staff whose research interests you and make arrangements with them to discuss research ideas.

You need to agree on a research proposal with a potential supervisor before you apply to the programme.

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Denise Barry


Our postgraduate students are offered a stimulating study environment in which to research their higher degree. We have a thriving postgraduate school with some 50 current students on full-time and part-time programmes, including mature students and students from the EU and overseas.

Training and support

All our MPhil/PhD students are assigned a specific research supervisor (or sometimes joint supervisors).

Students undergo comprehensive training in psychological research methods (unless they already hold an MSc approved by the ESRC) in line with current ESRC training guidelines, including quantitative and qualitative research methods. This is mainly during the first year of registration (or first two years for part-time students. Students also attend various short generic research skills and methods training modules run by the College.

Students have full access to the Department's excellent facilities for lab and field research, and first-rate technical support is available from the Department's team of full-time technical staff.

Progress and assessment

Students initially register for an MPhil until they achieve satisfactory upgrading to PhD status. This is dependent upon satisfactory progress reports, an upgrading report and a viva. The upgrading report is usually completed after 12 months full-time, or 24 months part-time. The report will include a plan of the thesis, a timetable, and one draft thesis chapter (or equivalent) and will be discussed at a presentation to the Departmental Postgraduate Committee.

Students will also be required to present their work at the Postgraduate symposium. Submission of the thesis is the final stage of the work, when your completed thesis is presented for examination (viva voce).

Most postgraduates take three years to complete a PhD full-time, and four to six years part-time. The maximum time period from registration to submission is four years of full-time study (eight years part-time). Your progress on your thesis is regularly monitored by the Department's Postgraduate Programmes Committee. The Head of Department can recommend suspension from the programme at any stage if progress is not satisfactory.

Postgraduate facilities

All full-time students have their own workplace and a networked computer with access to relevant software. Part-time students also have access to a networked computer, generally shared between two or three students. We also run a psychological test library for staff and students.

Seminars and presentations

Our postgraduates have regular opportunities to meet with other students and to make contact with staff. The Department runs a number of active visiting lecturer seminar series. There are also several specialised research groups that hold regular meetings and talks that are open to staff, researchers and postgraduate students. Postgraduates are also strongly encouraged to present their work as a paper or poster at national or international conferences and financial support is set aside for this.


Psychology at Goldsmiths is ranked joint 3rd in the UK
for the quality of our research*, and in the world's elite**


How does music affect mood?
Why do some people believe in the paranormal?
How do people with autism think?

In the Department of Psychology we try and investigate questions like this, conducting research that’s relevant to a range of sectors and industries – from advertising to education, and from banking to the public sector.

You’ll be taught by experts in the field, who are carrying out research that’s world class. And you’ll learn in a department with excellent specialist and general-purpose research laboratories, including:

  • EEG and brain stimulation labs for neuroscience research
  • a visual perception and attention laboratory equipped with state-of-the-art eye tracking systems
  • an infant lab
  • in-house technical support staff

Find out more about the Department of Psychology

*Research Excellence Framework 2014, Times Higher Education research intensity subject rankings
**QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017


Skills & careers

You will receive training in and develop wide-ranging research skills, including:

  • database searching and bibliographic skills
  • managing and analysing data
  • presentation and communication skills
  • quantitative and qualitative research methods
  • handling legal and ethical issues in research
  • research design
  • project management

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths.

Student profiles


"The years I spent on this project were some of the most interesting of my life, and I received absolutely first class support from my supervisor, the Department of Psychology and the entire College."

"I had an extremely enjoyable and challenging time at Goldsmiths studying for my ESRC-funded PhD in Psychology on the Forensic Identification of Unfamiliar Faces in CCTV Images. The years I spent on this project were some of the most interesting of my life, and I received absolutely first class support from my supervisor, the Department of Psychology and the entire College.

It was the perfect balance of being able to pursue my studies independently, while being able to call on immediate advice if and when necessary. Yes, sometimes it was stressful, sometimes I wondered what I was doing, and doubted my own capabilities, but there was always someone to discuss any problems that arose.

I even managed to conduct a large part of my research at the Science Museum in London. This experience definitely provided the necessary skills to continue research in associated facial identification topics while employed as a post-doc for three years at Goldsmiths. I also gained paid experience as a visiting part-time lecturer, and I am sure that this helped when I successfully applied for a Senior Lectureship at another London university. I have there for four years now and I am still conducting research and publishing in the same general area as before.

The media training I received at Goldsmiths also helped to prepare me for interviews on TV and in newspaper articles. Furthermore, my affection for, and my contacts with Goldsmiths remain strong, and I have a joint book contract with my PhD supervisor (due 2013), and together we instigated the South East Eyewitness Network for academic staff and post-graduate students in the field."


"Goldsmiths was a great choice. The campus is big, but does not seem impersonal"

"I first came to study at Goldsmiths in 1999. I am originally from Finland, but wanted to go to university elsewhere, just because I wanted to experience something different. English and psychology were my favourite two subjects in school so I knew fairly early on that I wanted to study psychology in England.

Choosing where and at which university was not quite as easy. Goldsmiths seemed like the best choice, however, because I had visited the city before and had really enjoyed everything London had to offer. This I felt was very important to keep life interesting outside of academic achievements too. I then visited the British Council in Helsinki and found out more about the universities I was considering and filled out a UCAS application form. Goldsmiths seemed like the best institution out of the ones I had applied to and received an offer of a place for.

Goldsmiths was a great choice. The campus is big, but does not seem impersonal. Academically, it has a good mixture of staff with different areas of expertise. I feel very fortunate that I could do my dissertation and receive excellent guidance in exactly what I was most interested in – the emotional effects of brain injury. The fact that as a Goldsmiths student I was able to use the Senate House Library as well as the Institute of Psychiatry Library was a big advantage.

Goldsmiths felt like a fun place to study too, and it has its own unique character. This I think is based on the great mixture of subjects on offer and the different personalities that they attract. All in all, I had a great time during my undergraduate degree. Apart from studying I had lots of fun and met some fantastic people.

After graduating from Goldsmiths in 2002, I completed an MSc in Rehabilitation Psychology at another university and then worked in psychology-related settings, including brain injury rehabilitation, adult psychiatric care and medicines research. I left London and England in 2004, moving back to Finland. There I worked as an Assistant Psychologist whilst completing my studies to qualify as a Clinical Psychologist. Once qualified, I landed a job in an outpatient clinic for the acute psychiatric care of adults. The work was very interesting and rewarding, but I slowly started to feel like it was time to return to London. I had also toyed with the idea of doing a PhD for quite some time, and decided that if I did do one, it would have to be in London. I was fortunate enough to be able to come back to Goldsmiths and work with the supervisor who had also supervised my BSc dissertation a few years earlier.

My thesis explored the neural determinants of cognitive outcome following traumatic brain injury, focusing on the relationship between abnormalities of the brain’s structural connections and cognitive function. This involved extensive theoretical study and empirical engagement in the fields of neuropsychology, cognitive neuroscience and clinical neurology. Using neuropsychological and neuroimaging methods I showed that disruption by traumatic brain injury of the structural connections is associated with impairments of memory and executive function.

Currently, I work as a Research Associate in the Dementia Research Centre (DRC) at UCL Institute of Neurology where I have particular responsibility for the analysis of longitudinal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data from an international multi-centre study (DIAN) to detect the earliest signs of neurodegeneration in familial Alzheimer’s disease (FAD)."


"Goldsmiths is definitely more than a place for studying; it feels like home"

"Where to do the PhD was a big decision for me. I was looking for somewhere that has an innovative and friendly study environment and, here at Goldsmiths, I've found the perfect combination of art and sciences. This has given me opportunities to explore even more of my research filed.

I've made friends from all around the world; knowledge, experiences, ideas and friendship are exchanged everywhere. These diversities and varieties have totally broadened my horizons.

Our lovely and unique campus which is located in a friendly community is a place where both my academic and life skills are nurtured, and my creativeness and personal growth has developed here. Goldsmiths is definitely more than a place for studying; it feels like home."

Entry requirements

You should normally have (or expect to be awarded) a taught Masters in a relevant subject area.

You might also be considered for some programmes if you aren’t a graduate or your degree is in an unrelated field, but have relevant experience and can show that you have the ability to work at postgraduate level.

Equivalent qualifications
We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.

English language requirements
If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to meet our English language requirements to study with us.

For this programme we require:

IELTS 6.5 with a 6.5 in writing and no element lower than 6.0

If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.

How to apply

You apply directly to Goldsmiths using our online application system. You will also need to attach a copy of your completed Psychology departmental application form.

On the online form you will need to provide:

  • Details of your education history, including the dates of all exams/assessments
  • The email address of your referee who we can request a reference from, or alternatively an electronic copy of your academic reference
  • Contact details of a second referee
  • personal statement – This can be copied and pasted from your personal statement that you will include in the departmental application form
  • If available, an electronic copy of your educational transcript (this is particulary important if you have studied outside of the UK, but isnt mandatory)

For the department form you will need to provide:

  • A research proposal
  • A proposed timeline for your PhD
  • A personal statement
  • The name of your proposed supervisor at Goldsmiths
  • A statement of support from your proposed supervisor at Goldsmiths
  • Funding eligibility
  • Any training needs you might have
  • Whether you're intending part-time or full-time study

Note that all aspects of the application are required for an application to be considered. Your application will not be considered until all of this information is included in your application.           

You'll be able to save your progress at any point and return to your application by logging in using your username/email and password.

When to apply 

Applications for ESRC-funded studentships and Departmental studentships must be received by 5PM (UK time) on 17 January 2018. 

Applications from candidates who are self-funded are accepted throughout the year. Interviews will be arranged on an ad hoc basis. Decisions will normally be made within two weeks of the interview. Find out more about tuition fees.

Selection process 

Admission to the programme is based on an interview and the panel’s assessment of your application. Online interviews can be arranged when necessary. Find out more about applying.

Find out more about applying.

Fees, funding & scholarships

Find out more about tuition fees.

Find out more about funding opportunities for home/EU applicants, or funding for international applicants. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.

The department offers a number of studentships through ESRC funding (via the South East Network for Social Science) and Departmental Bursaries. You must indicate on the departmental application form if you wish to be considered for one of these studentships.

 To find out more about ESRC funding available to the department please go to the SeNSS webstite.

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