Professor Melanie Giles

Head Of School Of Psychology

School of Psychology

Coleraine campus

Room G215,
Cromore Road,
Co. Londonderry,
BT52 1SA,

Psychology Research

Head Of School Of Psychology

Professor Melanie Giles



Melanie Giles is a Professor of Psychology and Head of School. She is also a Chartered Psychologist and a registered health practitioner with the HCPC.

Research Focus

Melanie’s main research interests are in the area of attitudes, specifically the attitude-behaviour relationship and attitude change. She is particularly interested in how social psychological theory can be applied to predict and increase our understanding of health-related behaviours including for example, blood donation, smoking, condom use, oral health and breastfeeding.

Research Interests

Melanie has a keen interest in the scholarship of learning and teaching and has led a number of research projects focused on student engagement, employability, and peer mentoring. She is a trained PASS/SI Supervisor affiliated to the European Centre for SI/PASS and is responsible for the introduction of the PASS peer-mentoring scheme at Ulster. She is also passionate about student wellbeing and is involved in several initiatives designed to enhance student belonging.

Research Awards

Melanie has received significant external funding for her work and has presented her findings at over 100 national and international conferences. Funding has included monies from the R&D Office to design and evaluate an evidence-based intervention to promote breastfeeding, the Spencer Foundation to encourage safe-sex behaviours with South African adolescents, the Health Research Board to develop health promotion activities for young adults and Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke to better understand the issues surrounding e-cigarette use among school children.

Discipline & Research Leadership Positions

Melanie is a Professor of Psychology and Head of School. She has assumed numerous other roles including Course Director and Academic Lead for Education. She is currently a member of the International Academic Peer Learning Network and has chaired a special interest group focused on research and evaluation. She is a National Teaching Fellow, a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Fellow of the Centre for Higher Education Research Practice.


Melanie’s academic career began in 1992 when she was first appointed as a lecturer at Ulster University. During the last 30 years, she has taught mainly in the areas of social, health and occupational psychology and research methods. Currently she is responsible for the delivery of a module focused on wellbeing and resilience and teaches on another final year module which uses problem-based learning methods to enhance employability.

Research Supervision

Melanie has supervised 15 students to successful completion. Projects have focused on a range of topics in a diverse range of settings including schools, prisons and the probation and health services.

Current PhD students

Melanie is currently supervising one PhD student whose research is focused on the wellbeing and resilience of university students.

Administrative Roles and Memberships

During her time at Ulster, Melanie has assumed a variety of administrative roles including Head of School, Learning and Teaching Coordinator and Course Director. She has chaired and been a member of numerous internal and external committees including the Leadership Group of the Academic Peer Learning Network, the National E-cigarette Forum, the European PASS Centre, the Child, Health and Welfare TRG, and the Division of Health Psychology, Northern Ireland

Community Impact

Recognising the need to provide her undergraduate students with work-based learning opportunities and in her efforts to promote the wellbeing and resilience agenda, Melanie continues to work collaboratively with her colleagues on several initiatives involving a range of external agencies including for example, the Irish Football Association and the Public Health Agency.

Personal Information

Melanie has a keen interest in hiking and is at her happiest when walking her dog around the north coast of Northern Ireland. She is also interested in the health benefits of the cold and regularly engages in open water swimming. In living life, she believes it is important to embrace every new opportunity, otherwise you can become ‘so anxious about the future that you do not enjoy the present. You therefore do not live in the present or the future. You live as if you are never going to die, and then die having never really lived’ (Dalia Lama).