The Psychology Research Institute offers supervision of research leading to a PhD degree on either a full-time (3 years) or part-time (6 years) basis. PhD research is based on independent, original, novel research carried out under the expert supervision and guidance of supervisors. All PhD Researchers are aligned to a recognised research group that addresses important theoretical and translational research questions to support and develop their learning.

There are opportunities to engage with fellow PhD Researchers, staff, and researchers in formal research seminars and informal discussions. We also support our PhD Researchers to develop their research skills and academic networks by collaborating with researchers in other UK and international universities, research centres, and relevant agencies. PhD Researchers on our programme are supported by a range of general and specific training programmes through the Researcher Development Programme to help develop research skills in theoretical rigour, in cutting edge methodologies, and to develop their employment prospects. PhD researchers can contribute to the teaching provision of the school, and can work towards a qualification which leads to Associate Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy. We have a Psychology PhD Researcher committee led by PhD Researchers for PhD Researchers to ensure a world class experience. We are committed to helping our PhD Researchers thrive in an inspiring, inclusive, diverse scientific environment. There are currently over 60 PhD Researchers being supervised by staff in the Psychology Research Institute.


Postgraduate research is located within the Psychology Research Institute. The Institute is a world-leading centre for applied psychological research drawing upon our cutting edge expertise in qualitative and quantitative methodologies and our theoretical rigour. Researchers are committed to multi-disciplinary approaches to help address complex psychological research questions and have developed extensive collaborative partnerships International centres of excellence to produce findings which translate to real societal benefit.

The School of Psychology and the Psychology Research Institute are well resourced to support PhD Researchers using a range of experimental and non-experimental research methods. The Institute also hosts the Research and Statistics Summer School, which runs annually and provides training in a range of contemporary research methods and statistics. The School of Psychology has an extensive research programme encompassing advanced statistical analysis of big data, experimental, and applied research including the Administrative Data Research Centre – NI, the Bamford Centre of Mental Health and Wellbeing, and staff working as part of the multidisciplinary team at the Institute for Mental Health Sciences.

Through considerable investment, the School houses state-of-the-art Psychological Sciences Laboratories (PsychLAB), consisting of a number of specific research environments. The Behavioural Insights Laboratory includes two eye-tracking suites (SMI and TOBII) with integrated biometric equipment. This technology can be used on or off Campus with recent research being conducted in schools and hospital environments. The Exercise and Human Performance Laboratory includes treadmill equipment, on-line metabolic and cardiovascular analysis capabilities, and biological measurement facilities. Our Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory houses transcranial magnetic and direct current stimulation equipment, muscle recording equipment (Tringo Wireless) direct stimulation equipment, and movement recording capabilities. The Child Development Laboratory is designed for young children and their parents to advance understanding in this area. In addition, the School has a number of social skills suites with audio and video recording equipment that can be used for observational social psychology research.


Researchers associated with this theme research issues that impact on children and young people with a focus on intervention for improving outcomes. The majority of researchers in this theme investigate the impact of environmental, social and societal factors that impact on child development. Specific areas of interest include early predictors of developmental outcomes, atypical development (specifically Autism), health interventions in schools, children’s learning and educational achievement.  This theme includes researchers that use a wide range of methods such as applied behaviour analysis, experimental measures (e.g. eye tracking) and qualitative techniques.

Entry requirements

Applicants should hold, or expect to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class Honours Degree in a subject relevant to the proposed area of study. We may also consider applications from those who hold equivalent qualifications, for example, a Lower Second Class Honours Degree plus a Master’s Degree with Distinction.

In exceptional circumstances, the University may consider a portfolio of evidence from applicants who have appropriate professional experience which is equivalent to the learning outcomes of an Honours degree in lieu of academic qualifications.

English language requirements

In order to be admitted to research study at Ulster, you will need to provide evidence of your English language proficiency as part of your application.

Get full details on the requirements for both home and overseas applicants can be found on our English language requirements page.

Careers and opportunities

PhD graduates are recognised by employers to hold valuable transferrable skills, as the nature of the degree trains candidates in creativity, critical inquiry, problem solving, negotiation skills, professionalism and confidence.

The most recent Ulster survey of PhD graduates found that 92% had secured employment within the first year since graduation (HESA Destination of Leavers Survey 2015), and while two thirds end up in the Higher Education or Research sectors, the range of skills acquired equips the remainder for employment in a wide range of contexts.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

Details of tuition fees can be found under the fees schedule for the academic year of entry.

To work out for which fees you would be eligible and to find out more information about potential sources of funding, please view the Fees and Funding pages on the Doctoral College website.


We are delighted that you are considering Ulster University for your research studies.

Get full details on the application process and further guidance on how to apply, and what you will need to upload as part of your application.

Once you have identified supervisors, discussed a research proposal and are ready to make an application, please apply using the online application system.

Ulster University welcomes applications from all sections of the community and from persons with disabilities. It is University policy to assess all applications using academic criteria and on the basis of equality of opportunity and you should be assured that reasonable adjustments will be made should you require them.