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The University of Chester welcomes students to undertake research towards MPhil and PhD degrees in Psychology. The Department of Psychology offers a supportive environment in which to undertake postgraduate research on a part- or full-time basis. We offer supervision in a range of areas, including possibilities for inter-disciplinary approaches. Our staff have expertise in areas of health, sport and exercise, psychology, animal behaviour, evolutionary psychology, children and families, cognition, language and emotion.

The Chester Research Unit for the Psychology of Health (CRUPH) conducts cutting edge psychological research and consultancy to help improve professional practice in the fields of health and wellbeing and has a growing number of postgraduate researchers engaged in a variety of programmes in collaboration with local healthcare providers and third sector organisations. Recent additions to staffing in the department enable us to supervise work at PhD level in all areas of psychology.

Research students in psychology are well-supported by an active seminar programme and research group meetings within the department and by the University’s programme of research student events.

Research Areas

Cognition, Language and Emotion

A number of our staff specialise in cognition, language and emotion. Their work includes studies on the recognition of emotion in facial expression and voice, language comprehension and prosody. This research is supported by good laboratory facilities and IT equipment as well as technical support.

Health Psychology

Our research in Health Psychology is supported by links with the local NHS and with the University’s Faculty of Health and Social Care. Staff have a specialist interest in the areas of reproductive health, especially experience of menstruation, pregnancy, breastfeeding and parental experience of neonatal intensive care. We also specialise in research into the psychosocial impact of cardiac illness and cancer, and research into stress and psychological well-being.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

As an important centre for the training of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), we have a particular interest in practice-based research in this area, focusing both on traditional CBT and the newer ‘third-wave’ therapies such as mindfulness and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).

Children and Families

The department also has an influential record of research in the area of children and families, especially our work on causes and prevention of bullying in schools. Projects also include development of self-awareness in infancy and an international collaborative study on the impact of parenting style on infant development.

Recent Projects

Recent successful projects have included those looking at the social relationships of wild spider monkeys and how zoo-housed marmoset and tamarin monkeys respond to relocation and how zoo visitors impact their behaviour. Contrastingly, our two newest postgraduate research students are exploring occupational stress in palliative care, and the psychosocial adjustment processes and supportive care needs of patients with haematological cancer.

We strongly recommend that you make informal enquiries with the department before submitting an application. As part of the application process, students are required to present a detailed research proposal.

Entry Months

These Research Degrees usually commence annually in October, February and May.


Please contact Dr Lisa Oakley or Professor Moira Lafferty to discuss the process and the availability of appropriate supervision before you start to construct a detailed application.