An Integrated PhD provides a route into research study if you do not have a Masters degree, or have very little research training. It enables you to spend your first year completing a full-time Masters-level qualification, followed by a full-time PhD studied over 3-4 years or a part-time PhD studied over 6-7 years. We also offer a ‘standard’ PhD in this subject which can be studied either full-time (3-4 years) or part-time (6-7 years).
Cognitive neuroscience is the scientific study of biological substrates underlying cognition, with a focus on the neural substrates of mental processes. It is a branch of both psychology and neuroscience, overlapping with disciplines such as biological psychology, cognitive psychology and neuropsychology. Cognitive neuropsychology uses data from single cases of individuals with brain injury or neurological illness to refine theoretical models of cognitive processing.
In your first year on our Integrated PhD Psychology with Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuropsychology, you will study both cognitive neuroscience and neuropsychology which will give you a thorough grounding in the scientific investigation of the neural mechanisms underlying human behaviour and the effects of brain injury on cognitive function. You will be taught the theoretical and biological foundations of cognitive science, and undertake advanced training in statistics and neuropsychological research methods. Your first year gives you advanced research training which provides you with an excellent preparation to start the PhD element of this course.
In your second year you move into the PhD element of the course where research supervision is available in the fields of cognitive psychology, sensory and cognitive neuroscience, and social psychology. You study in a stimulating and vibrant research environment, and we provide excellent research facilities. In general, our PhD students enjoy the same access to neuroscience and other research equipment as our academic staff, and access to our research participant pool, which is essential for your experimental research. You also benefit from the supportive supervision given by our staff, and the friendly and collegiate atmosphere provided by fellow students. This ensures that we have an exemplary record in supporting our PhD students to produce a high quality thesis.
Our University is one of just 21 ESRC Doctoral Training Centres, enabling us to offer studentships to psychology students intending to pursue a research degree. We are supported by some of the most prestigious funding bodies, including the European Commission and the Leverhulme Trust.
Our academic staff include award-winning teachers and prize-winning researchers who are international experts in their own research areas.
The Cognitive and Developmental Psychology Group are researching attention, language, decision-making, and memory. Recent projects have investigated the psychology of energy reduction, the enhancement of human memory through technology, and improvements in the usability and design of transport maps.
The Cognitive and Sensory Neuroscience Group research brain function and human behaviour. Recently they have been working on projects on the neural processes underlying language production, how motivations are communicated through tone of voice, and how the brain performs 3D vision. They previously developed the BioAid mobile phone app that turns an iPhone into a biologically inspired hearing aid.
Our department is expanding, and has recently appointed a number of excellent researchers whose expertise increases the diversity and depth of our skills base.
After your first year, when you start your PhD, you will be allocated a supervisor whose role it is to guide you through the different stages of your research degree. In some cases, you may have joint supervision by two members of our staff.
The support provided by your supervisor is a key feature of your research student experience and you will have regular one-to-one meetings to discuss progress on your research. Initially, your supervisor will help you develop your research topic and plan.
Twice a year, you will have a supervisory panel meeting, which provides a more formal opportunity to discuss your progress and agree your plans for the next six months.
We are committed to giving you the best access to state-of-the-art facilities in higher education, housed entirely within our purpose-built psychology building on our Colchester Campus.
We provide excellent state-of-the-art facilities for your study, with extensive laboratory space for experimental psychology and special facilities for visual and auditory perception, developmental psychology and social psychology.
We also have our Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, a state-of-the-art research facility dedicated to the study of brain activity in relation to psychological processes. This provides a dynamic resource with specialised laboratories for investigating behaviour and brain activity including: two eye tracking labs for recording eye movements, four electroencephalography (EEG) labs for recording cortical oscillatory activity, event-related potentials (ERP) and functional connectivity; two near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) labs for measuring changes in blood oxygenation levels; four neuromodulation labs including transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), repetitive TMS (rTMS), transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and neuro-navigation facilities.
With the skills and knowledge you acquire from studying within our Department of Psychology, you will find yourself in demand from a wide range of employers.
Our graduates have been employed in clinical psychology, educational psychology, criminal and forensic psychology.
We also have excellent links with the research community; we are recognised by the ESRC as providing excellent postgraduate training and are an accredited Doctoral Training Centre, offering several studentships.
Our recent PhD students have taken up post-doctoral positions in other top UK universities and international universities (in the US, Italy and Australia), as well as being appointed to lectureships.
You will need a 2:2 degree, or equivalent, in any subject.
Our four year integrated PhD, allows you to spend your first year studying at Masters level in order to develop the necessary knowledge and skills and to start your independent research in year two.
We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.
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If English is not your first language, we require IELTS 7.0, or equivalent, with a minimum score of 5.5 in all other components.
Most of our taught courses combine compulsory and optional modules, giving you freedom to pursue your own interests. All of the modules listed below provide an example of what is on offer from the current academic year. Our Programme Specification provides further details of the course structure for the current academic year.
Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore to ensure your course is as relevant and up-to-date as possible your core module structure may be subject to change.
The research element of your degree doesn't have a taught structure, giving you the chance to investigate your chosen topic in real depth and reach a profound understanding. In communicating that understanding, through a thesis or other means, you have a rare opportunity to generate knowledge. A research degree allows you to develop new high-level skills, enhance your professional development and build new networks. It can open doors to many careers.
Following the impact of the pandemic, we made changes to our teaching and assessment to ensure our current students could continue with their studies uninterrupted and safely. These changes included courses being taught through blended delivery, normally including some face-to-face teaching, online provision, or a combination of both across the year.
The teaching and assessment methods listed show what is currently planned for 2021 entry; changes may be necessary if, by the beginning of this course, we need to adapt the way we’re delivering them due to the external environment, and to allow you to continue to receive the best education possible safely and seamlessly.
our modules are taught through lectures, laboratory practicals, seminars, independent reading and research projects and we host a very active programme of research seminars.
Full-year modules are most often examined using a three-hour examination, and half-year modules by a combination of two-hour examination and coursework (e.g., essays, oral presentations).
The award of a PhD signifies an original and substantial contribution to knowledge that means you can be considered an expert in your field. The majority of your learning during the PhD element of this course comes from ‘hands on’ experience of designing, conducting and analysing your original research, as well as from the demanding process of writing and submitting a PhD. To help in this process, you attend several taught courses in the first year of the PhD element of this course and all our research students are required to undertake postgraduate research training modules as part of their studies.
At the end of your first and second years of the PhD element of this course you will prepare a 10,000 word document that contains a review of relevant literature and summarises findings from your empirical work conducted in that year. You will also take part in a Postgraduate Research conference in which you make an oral presentation of this work to the Department of Psychology. The submission of the 10,000 word document in particular helps you prepare for the writing of your thesis.
Students within our Department of Psychology submit a dissertation of up to 80,000 words for their PhD. We take pride in our completion record with our PhD students. We achieve this, in part, by ensuring from the outset that you follow a clear path to ensure completion across the three years of the PhD element of this course – with specific appropriate milestones at the end of your first and second years.
£18,800EU students commencing their course in the 2021-22 academic year will be liable for the International fee.
Fees will increase for each academic year of study.
We hold open days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you the chance to:
If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing email@example.com and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.
We encourage you to make a preliminary enquiry directly to a potential supervisor or the Graduate Administrator within your chosen Department or School. We encourage the consideration of a brief research proposal prior to the submission of a full application.
We aim to respond to applications within four weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.
For information on our deadline to apply for this course, please see our ‘how to apply’ information.
Home to 15,000 students from more than 130 countries, our Colchester Campus is the largest of our three sites, making us one of the most internationally diverse campuses on the planet - we like to think of ourselves as the world in one place.
The Campus is set within 200 acres of beautiful parkland, located two miles from the historic town centre of Colchester – England's oldest recorded town. Our Colchester Campus is also easily reached from London and Stansted Airport in under one hour.
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At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.
The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.
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