All economic and social issues have a psychological component, whether concerning learning and memory in education, individual and group decisions in financial and political systems, or inter-group conflict arising from public policy or migration. Psychology thus explores principles of human behaviour that link the social sciences. At the same time, as an empirical science, Psychology forms a critical bridge from economic and social research to the natural and medical sciences, both in methodology and academic scope.

Oxford’s Department of Experimental Psychology has a world-leading research and teaching profile. With themes spanning Social Psychology and Psychological Disorders, Developmental Science, and Cognitive and Behavioural Neuroscience, the Department has broad-ranging academic expertise and superb research facilities.

Experimental Psychology follows the laboratory science model in which postgraduate students are embedded in a host lab where they work closely with their supervisors and other lab members. Postgraduate students play a central role in the intellectual life of the department, bringing fresh research ideas and carrying out the majority of the experiments conducted here. The department’s aim is to provide students with the training, resources and environment to enable them to develop into the research leaders of the future.

Special application deadline note: Please note that the application deadline for the programmes on this pathway is the early January application deadline, i.e. 12 noon UK time on Friday 11th January 2019.

Psychology offers full-time 1+3 and +3 doctoral training routes. In the 1+3 route, students complete the competitive MSc in Psychological Research before moving on to doctoral (DPhil) studies. The +3 route is for research students who have completed an MSc that meets the ESRC 2015 Training Guidelines, or equivalent. Further information is available on the Department’s website.

Recent internships have involved the Cabinet Office and the Academy of Medical Sciences. Students often undertake fieldwork in organisational and cultural settings (e.g. schools, organizations) as part of their training, allowing them to put theoretical knowledge and methodological skills into practice. Recent examples include projects with The Children’s Society (supporting children and adolescents who have experienced adversity), the Catch Up Trust (addressing literacy and numeracy problems that contribute to underachievement), the Down Syndrome Educational Trust (improving the quality of support and education for young people living with Down Syndrome), and the National Citizen Service (bringing together 16 to 17-year-olds of different backgrounds to address inter-group conflict).

More than three-quarters of the Department’s Psychology graduates remain in academia, with the remaining taking up posts that include senior researcher or policy roles in commercial Research and Development, government or consultancy.

Pathway leader: Professor Brian Parkinson


University of Oxford

Department of Experimental Psychology
Structure of provision: 1+3, +3


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