Find a programme
Run by Faculty of Life Sciences
Awards available PhD, MSc by research
Programme length PhD: three years full-time (or part-time equivalent);
MScR: one year full-time or two years part-time.

Both the PhD and MScR allow one further year to write up.

This research degree is also available via distance leaning.
Location of programme Clifton campus
Part-time study available Yes
Start date Not fixed.

Programme overview

Studying human behaviour in the School of Psychological Science will give you the opportunity to be part of a vibrant postgraduate community and a world class research department with more than 30 internationally recognised academic staff. The programme aims to provide students with outstanding and cutting-edge training from the purest research into psychology to interdisciplinary research in a wide range of areas. These include advancing the frontiers of cognitive science into engineering or educational applications, investigating the neural mechanisms underlying human behaviours, and developing integrated interventions to improve health and wellbeing. Our postgraduate students are a very important part of the School’s research culture and a key component in maintaining our international research reputation.

Fees for 2021/22

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2021/22 are as follows:

UK: full-time
UK: part-time
Overseas (including EU): full-time
Channel Islands/Isle of Man: full-time

Bench fees: For postgraduate research students who are not funded by UK Research Councils or (specific) UK charities, it is usual to charge a bench fee. A bench fee covers the costs of laboratory consumables, specialist equipment and other relevant costs (e.g. training) for the duration of the programme. The bench fee charged can vary considerably depending on the nature of the programme being undertaken. Details of specific bench fee charges can be provided on request and will made clear in the offer letter sent to applicants.

Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to a five per cent increase in fees each year. Find out more about tuition fees.

Alumni scholarship

University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a ten per cent reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni scholarship.

Funding for 2021/22

UK/EU students may be eligible to apply for funded scholarships, for example doctoral training centre scholarships and University of Bristol scholarships. Details of these and other scholarship opportunities, such as the China Scholarship Council programme, are published on the School of Psychological Science website.

Further information on funding for prospective UK, EU and international postgraduate students.

Entry requirements

An upper second-class honours degree (or equivalent) in psychology or a related discipline.

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you need to meet this profile level:
Profile C
Further information about English language requirements and profile levels.

Admissions statement

Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.

Admissions statement

Research groups

Research activity in the school is organised into research themes. Within each theme, there is a set of focused research groups.

An important feature of this research structure is the extent of collaboration across research groups and across themes. All groups address fundamental questions and look at the impact of their work more broadly in industry, healthcare, education and society. Across these thematic research groups, there are particular strengths in computational neuroscience and neuropsychology.


Many of our PhD graduates continue with a career in academia; others work in the private sector or in government institutions.

Staff profiles

Dr Angela Attwood PhD, (Senior Lecturer), Effects of social drugs and drug related stimuli; psychological and biological factors that underline addiction and continued drug use.

Dr Christopher Benton MSc (Manc.), PhD (Lond.), (Senior Lecturer), Visual perception, particularly the investigation of low-level visual processing through psychophysics and computational modelling.

Dr Josie Briscoe BSc (Dund.), PhD (Bristol), (Senior Lecturer), developmental cognitive neuroscience; Developmental disorders; episodic and event memory in children; language impairment; working memory.

Professor Jeff Brunstrom BSc (Sus.), MSc (Essex), PhD (Birm.), (Professor of Experimental Psychology), Biological psychology, especially learned and cognitive aspects of appetite control and food choice.

Dr Philip Collard MSc (Auck.), MSc (Edin.), PhD (Edin.), (Teaching Fellow), Temporal dynamics of attention during cognitive tasks.

Professor Markus Damian MA, PhD (Rice), (Professor of Psychology of Language), Computational models of language; language production; numerical cognition; psycholinguistics; speaking; unconscious processing; visual word recognition.

Dr Danielle Ferriday BSc (Leeds), MSc (Bristol), PhD (Bristol), (Lecturer in Experimental Psychology), The relationship between cognition and human dietary behaviour.

Professor Iain Gilchrist BSc (Dunelm.), PhD (Birm.), (Professor of Neuropsychology), Acute vision; decision-making; drawing; eye movements; foraging; neuropsychology; perception.

Professor Claire Haworth BA (Oxon.), MSc (Kings College London), PhD (Kings College London), PGCAP, (Reader in Behavioural Genetics), Behavioural genetics.

Professor Bruce Hood MA, MPhil (Dund.), PhD (Cantab.), (Professor of Developmental Psychology in Society), Cognitive development from a neuroscience perspective; face and gaze processing; inhibitory control of thoughts and actions; naive theories.

Dr Roland J Baddeley PhD (Stir.), (Reader), Computing modelling of neural and psychological function.

Professor Colin J Davis BSc (Hons), PhD (UNSW), (Chair in Cognitive Psychology), Computational modelling of cognition; reading and visual word recognition.

Professor Chris Jarrold MA (Cantab.), PhD (Sheff.), (Professor in Cognitive Development and Head of School / Head of School), Developmental psychopathology, particularly autism, Williams syndrome and Down' s syndrome; executive dysfunction; pretend play; working memory in special populations.

Dr Nina Kazanina BA (Moscow), PhD (Maryland), (Senior Lecturer), Language acquisition; neurolinguistics; perception; sentence processing; speech.

Dr Chris Kent BSc, PhD (Warw.), (Senior Lecturer), How perceptual encoding processes and retrieval processes interact; overlapping cognitive operations including identification, categorisation, object recognition, perceptual matching, visual search and memory search; perceptual cognition.

Professor Ute Leonards Dipl.Biol., Dr rer nat (Mainz), (Reader in Neuropsychology), ageing and degenerative diseases; cognitive neuroscience methods; embodied cognition; eye movements.; locomotion; Visual perception and action

Dr Olivia M Maynard BSc, PhD, (Lecturer in Experimental Psychology), Healthy behaviour change and choice architecture interventions, with a focus on tobacco and alcohol use.

Professor Marcus Munafo MA (Oxon.), MSc, PhD (Soton.), (Professor of Biological Psychology), Molecular genetic influences on addictive behaviour and the use of social drugs (primarily nicotine and alcohol), in particular the behavioural, cognitive and neural mechanisms that mediate these relationships.

Dr Justin Park BSc (Alberta), MA (British Columbia), PhD (British Columbia), (Senior Teaching Fellow), Evolutionary social psychology; social perception and cognition.

Professor Ian Penton-Voak BA, MSc (Manc.), PhD (St.And.), (Professor of Evolutionary Psychology), Evolutionary psychology; social perception of facial characteristics.

Professor Kit Pleydell-Pearce BSc (Manc.), PhD (Cantab.), (Professor of Clinical Neuropsychology Education), Cockpit technologies; mental workload; neurophysiological and autonomic correlates of cognition (especially perception, attention and memory); real-time analysis of physiology and behaviour; slow cortical potentials.

Dr Susanne Quadflieg PhD (Aberd.), (Senior Lecturer in Experimental Psychology), Person construal; person knowledge; person perception; social neuroscience.

Professor Peter Rogers BSc (Sus.), MSc (Sus.), PhD (Leeds), CPsychol, F.B.Ps.S., RNutr., (Professor of Biological Psychology), Motivation, learning and cognition, especially in relation to appetite and weight control, addiction, and caffeine psychopharmacology; nutrition, health and behaviour.

Dr Angela Rowe BSc, PhD (Wales), (Reader in Social Cognitive Psychology), Social cognition with specific regard to person perception and interpersonal relationships.

Professor Jeffrey S Bowers BSc (Tor.), PhD (Arizona), (Professor), Connectionist modelling; memory and language; speech production; visual word recognition; word learning.

Professor Nick Scott-Samuel BA (Bristol), MSc, PhD (Birm.), (Professor of Experimental Psychology), Visual perception of motion in humans.

Dr Brian Stollery BSc, PhD (Manc.), (Senior Lecturer in Experimental Psychology), Cognitive ageing; effects of lead, aluminium, pesticides, organic solvents and anaesthetics on mood and cognitive performance; memory; metamemory; occupational stress; recovery of cognitive functioning following day-case surgery; relationships between aspects of cognition and health; risk perception and environmental pollution; workplace errors.

Dr David Turk BSc, PhD(Bristol), (Reader), Investigating the cognitive, neural, developmental and affective components of self-association and how these impact on memory for the things we encounter.

Professor Lucy Yardley MSc (Soton.), PhD (Soton.), (Professor), Developing and trialling health behaviour change and self-management interventions (especially web-based), mixed methods and qualitative research in psychology.

How to apply
Application deadline:

We welcome applications at any time of year.

Open days and visits

Watch on-demand recordings from November's virtual open week.

Get in touch

Enquiries Team Phone: +44 (0) 117 928 8452 Email:

School of Psychological Science
University of Bristol
12a Priory Road
Bristol BS8 1TU
School website: School of Psychological Science

International students

Find out more about becoming a student at Bristol, applying for a visa and the support we offer to international students.

Bristol Doctoral College

The Bristol Doctoral College facilitates and supports doctoral training and researcher development across the University.

REF 2014 results

  • Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience:
  • 43% of research is world-leading (4*)
  • 37% of research is internationally excellent (3*)
  • 18% of research is recognised internationally (2*)
  • 1% of research is recognised nationally (1*)

Results are from the most recent UK-wide assessment of research quality, conducted by HEFCE. More about REF 2014 results.


Important disclaimer information about our programmes.

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