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Applying to study for a PhD in psychology
Applying to study for a PhD in psychology

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3 Online searches

From now on, you need to spend a lot of time online, searching out details of academics, universities and funding opportunities as well as conducting literature searches for your draft proposal.

A good way to begin searching for possible supervisors is to follow the names of academics whose work you have already encountered, for instance, in research publications. Their university webpages will give details of their current research interests and, often, invitations for contact from prospective students. Look up their co-researchers (on joint-authored publications for example) and their research groups and centres if those have a focus that interests you. Another useful approach is to find conferences related to your interests (British Psychological Society Section websites can be useful) then follow up the names of presenters. If you already have a university in mind, you will need to check whether your proposed research fits into its psychology department or school. Look at the research webpages for psychology and, again, the webpages of individual academics. All of this will take time, but it will help you map out the research landscape in your area of interest.

Activity 2 Searching for opportunities

To begin searching for funding opportunities, check regularly for studentships. Look at the British Psychological Society website and university websites for notices about PhD study. Join some of the academic ‘lists’ that function as noticeboards (e.g. The Association for Narrative Research and Practice [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] ). Search for ‘PhD studentships UK’, ‘Research Council studentships’ and ‘ESRC Doctoral Training Programmes’. You will probably need to repeat these searches and find new directions to follow. As you continue searching you’ll develop an understanding of the possibilities.

While you are searching, you can also begin preparing your initial proposal.