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Doctorates - School of Psychology

psychology studies

Psychology Doctorates

The School of Psychology have a strong tradition of applied research, integrating expertise across a range of disciplines from theoretical psychology to professional practice.  

If you are looking to study a PhD you’ll be supported all the way by our world-class academic staff.  Entry on to our professional doctorate training programmes in Clinical, Counselling, and Educational & Child Psychology requires Graduate Basis for Chartership with the British Psychological Society.

Professional Doctorates PHDs

Professional Doctorates

We offer 3 three-year full time doctorate-level training courses.  These programmes equip students with the knowledge base, practitioner training and research capabilities required to register with the Health Professions Council and to work as practitioners in their chosen field. Competition is high for these programmes, but so is future employability.

Our team of tutors are highly respected across different fields and are engaged in work at a number of levels: from clinical practice, to policy development and working with professional bodies. 

Professional Doctorate courses:


The School of Psychology has a long term reputation as a stimulating environment for Doctoral Research students studying for PhD. Our school provides a supportive environment in which to study for Doctorates by Research with high level expert supervision. 

We are fully committed to supporting our students throughout their careers and support the UK concordat for the career development of researchers. Our PGR students have access to a wealth of research training support to supplement their skills.

Research supervision areas are listed below.  You can also see more information on:

Research supervision areas

We welcome students who are interested in studying for a PhD or an MPhil. A list of potential supervisors and their areas of research is outlined to the right. To find a supervisor, look through our areas of research expertise and through our staff profiles.

You would be welcome to check with potential supervisor about the area you wish to research. Once you have the support in principle from your supervisor, you can contact Professor Mark McDermott, School PhD Programme Leader, to discuss your proposal further.  All applications must be made through the Graduate School.

Professor Cynthia Fu: neural features of mood disorders, effects of psychological and pharmacological therapies, neuromodulation by tDCS
Dr. Elena Kushnerenko: infant cognition
Dr. Clare Jonas: face processing, synaesthesia
Dr. Paul Penn:  brain injury
Dr. Davide Rivolta: face processing and super-recognisers, neuromodulation by tDCS
Dr. Mary Spiller: face processing, synaesthesia
Dr. Anna Stone: facial disfigurement processing
Dr. Volker Thoma:  attentional load in face and object perception
Dr. Melanie Vitkovitch:  object name retrieval
Dr. James Walsh: cognition and behaviour

Dr. Deirdre Birtles: infant development of language and cognition
Dr. Mary-Jane Budd: language development in spoken and written form
Dr. Rachel George: early language and language difficulties and numeracy development
Dr. Elena Kushnerenko:  infant development of learning, attention, language, and understanding of the world; auditory and audiovisual speech processing in infancy and childhood.
Dr. Virginia Lam: social decision-making in children; British identity and intergroup attitudes in Newham adolescents and children
Dr. Matteo Martini: perception of pain and pain modulation
Dr. Christel Schneider: social behaviour development in human and non-human great apes, such as bonobos, chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans

Dr. Richard Ralley: cognitive and behavioural effects of acute alcohol consumption
Dr. Kirstie Soar:  ecstasy, cannabis, cocaine and psychoactive drug use
Dr. Meredith Terlecki:  prevention of substance use disorders in high-risk populations
Dr. John Turner:  stimulants and legal highs, the effects of MDMA (ecstasy) on adults and in infants, nicotine addiction and e-cigarettes
Christine Dancey: health psychology and invisible chronic illness
Caroline Edmonds: hydration, nutrition and cognition
Francisco Eiroa-Orosa: traumatology, sociocultural change and wellbeing
Kate Hefferon: post-traumatic growth research on resilience, physical training and cancer rehabilitation
Itai Ivtzan: positive psychology
Tim Lomas: psychology of happiness
Dr. Irina Anderson: decision-making, interpersonal violence
Dr. Ioannis Fronimos: gender differences in depression
Dr. Kenneth Gannon:  prostate conditions and infertility
Dr. Kendra Gilbert: counselling and cardiac rehabilitation
Dr. David Harper: psychosis, paranoia and delusions
Dr. Jemma Harris: dieting behaviour and body sociocultural pressures
Dr. Gordon Jinks: integrative counselling
Dr. Matthew Jones-Chester: cross-cultural aspects of neuropsychological assessment
Dr. Jane Lawrence: couples therapy
Professor Mark McDermott: rebelliousness, depression and mortality
Dr. Nash Popovic:  personal development and spirituality
Dr. Neil Rees: mental health in children and young people
Dr. Donald Ridley: safety critical systems, managing technological and organisational change
Dr. Paul Rohleder: HIV and sexual health, disability and sexuality 
Dr. Rachel Smith: constructionism, grounded theory
Dr. Ian Richard Wells: critical thinking theory and development, dual-process models of reasoning
Dr. Jennie Brown: psychobiology
Dr. Sharon Cahill: feminism and body art
Dr. Mike Chase: qualitative approaches to mental illness and psychiatric services
Dr. Pippa Dell: critical approaches to women's health, violence, gender and and sexuality
Dr. Mark Finn:  sexuality and relationships
Dr. Lara Frumkin: psychology of terrorism, eyewitness testimony and deception detection
Dr. Mark Holloway: workplace employee voices, emotional intelligence and teambuilding
Dr. Laura McGrath: mental health and the material environment
Dr. Helen Murphy: psychological health, wellbeing and quality of
Professor Rachel Mulvey: graduate labour market, career management and transferrable skills
Professor Nimisha Patel: refugees and torture
Dr. Miles Thomas, Dr. Maria Castro and Dr. Fevronia Christodoulidi: therapy and counselling
Professor Rachel Tribe: mental health of asylum seeker, refugees and migrants; professional and ethical practice; interpreters and working cross culturally in mental health
Dr. Ian Tucker: community mental health and experiences of chronic and ‘contested’ illness
Dr. Laura Cockburn: autism, and assessment and intervention research
Dr. Patrizia Collard: teacher, parent and childcare training
Dr. Joy Coogan: Q methodology (viewpoint centred) approaches
Dr. Pippa Dell: critical approaches to pedagogy in higher education
Dr. Mark Fox: quality of life for children with profound and multiple learning difficulties
Professor Irvine Gersch: pupil involvement and child behaviour
Dr. Mary Robinson: educating deaf children, and early years education
Dr. Julia Yates: career development theory, particularly within the creative industries

Research highlights

Child developmental psychology

Dr Sam Wass has recently joined the School  and is interested in how background affects children when they're growing up.  'The thing I find most interesting is watching a child emerge as a human being, and the degree to which individual differences in personality are pre-determined, versus a function of your environment".  Dr Wass's main area of current research involves designing computer games to train concentration skills in babies as young as nine months old. This approach comes from the idea that early on in development, the brain is more plastic and so easier to change.

Risks and effects of Ecstasy use 

UEL research has provided key information about the neuropsychological effects of the drug MDMA, also known as Ecstasy. We published some of the first papers showing impaired memory functioning among young recreational users of MDMA. Our studies have also influenced debates over the drug’s classification in the UK and US, and enabled government, medical professionals and specialist information websites to provide more accurate advice to pregnant women and recreational users.

Time, space and memory - how savants remember

Time-space synaesthetes are people who can ‘see’ time and space as physical structures - either as three-dimensional shapes around the body, or in their mind’s eye. They might, for example, see months arranged in an elipse, or years curling in spirals. UEL’s Mary-Jane Spiller was part of the team that designed sophisticated visual and spatial tests for ten such individuals or ‘savants’. The results showed how the subjects’ abilities contributed to their outstanding powers of recall - including highly detailed memories of their own lives.

My PhD was called ‘Survivors Online: a netnographic analysis of the emerging role played by the internet as a source of support for survivors of sexual violence’. With my supervisors’ support, I investigated how some people benefited from online support, but others needed more.
Jennifer Yeager , PhD, School of Psychology
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I’m doing a part-time PhD in post-traumatic growth among athletes with acquired disabilities. I also teach undergraduates, so I’m part of the learning community here and I love it.
Hanna Kampman , PhD student, School of Psychology 
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