MPhil option available
This course has an MPhil option
About the course
Research students are welcomed to Brunel as valued members of our thriving, research-intensive community. A research degree provides the opportunity to investigate a topic in depth, and contribute new knowledge to your discipline. A PhD involves demonstrating through original research or other advanced scholarship the creation and interpretation of new knowledge, a systematic acquisition and understanding of a substantial body of knowledge at the forefront of an academic discipline or professional practice, the ability to conceptualise, design and implement a project for the general of new knowledge, applications or understanding at the forefront of the discipline. Both full-time (3 years) and part-time (6 years) study routes are available.
MPhil degree option
An MPhil involves the exploration of a research topic and is typically studied over a shorter period of 1 year for a full-time student and 2 years for a part-time student. MPhil students are required to demonstrate a systematic understanding of knowledge and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights informed by the forefront of their discipline, field of study or professional practice.
Research topics for PhD study in Psychology are broad in scope and include cognitive neuroscience, neuropsychology, evolutionary psychology, cultural evolution, developmental psychology, and cross-cultural psychology. Research within the division is supported through a well-resourced infrastructure including MRI, EEG, TMS, and eye-tracking facilities, cubicles for testing, hardware and software resources, psychometric test library, and other specialist equipment. Brunel researchers collect data in several field sites across Asia, Africa and the South Pacific.
Research in these areas is structured around two new and vibrant research centres: Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience and Centre for Culture and Evolution. PhD students can be part of these centres, and benefit from the knowledge and methodological expertise from staff members, as well as use the relevant infrastructure (e.g. fMRI, DTI. EEG, TMS, eye tracking, field data collection, text-mining).
Find out more
- As a member of the cross-HEI Combined Universities Brain Imaging Centre (CUBIC), Brunel jointly owns and operates a 3T Siemens MAGNETOM TIM Trio MRI scanner (with Royal Holloway, Surrey & Roehampton) installed in a purpose-built lab suite and run with the support of a specialist MRI technician. Established in 2003, through a £1.5 million university investment, this research-dedicated system has recently (2012) undergone a £400,000 upgrade and now offers high resolution, real time fMRI, MR spectroscopy (3D Chemical Shift Imaging), and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) for 3D white matter tractography.
- Within the Division of Psychology, there are the following facilities: (1) a dedicated EEG laboratory (288ft2) houses 32- and 64-channel (MRI compatible) Neuroscan EEG systems, (2) a dedicated visual psychophysics laboratory equipped with display systems and a VSG 2/5 stimulus generator (Cambridge Research Systems), (3) eye-tracking facilities (Eye Link 1000: SR Research Ltd), and (4) cubicles for behavioural testing.
- Through collaborative arrangements across the University, researchers in Psychology also have access to (1) a Magstim BiStim2 TMS and tDCS systems for brain stimulation/modulation research, (2) a NX12 [TC]² 3D Body Scanner for anthropometric measurements, and (3) Brunel’s BITLab £2 million virtual reality centre, with facilities for motion capture and animation. Other facilities include an extensive collection of AV, laboratory and computing hardware resources, psychometric test library, specialist equipment and laboratories for participant photography/video, and infant research.
- Several Centre for Cultural and Evolution researchers have expertise in fieldwork. There are opportunities to collect data in several field sites globally including Mauritius and Fiji.
- Expertise in data scraping, natural language processing, sentiment mining etc. in R and Python.
- A training programme will be provided by the College to assist students with achieving targets. The programme will include the underpinning principles such as philosophy of science, research integrity, ethics and specialist methodology. Sessions in core, specialist and advanced research methods will prepare students for an independent research career. Students will also enrol in the Graduate School Researcher Development Programme which ensures all students are equipped with generic research skills including presentational skills and impact activities.
Contact our Enquiries team.
Course Enquiries: +44 (0)1895 265599 (before you submit an application)
Admissions Office: +44 (0)1895 265265 (after you submit an application)
Research degrees evolve in different ways according to discipline. Find out about what progress might look like at each stage of study here: Research degree progress structure
Careers and your future
Paid work available to research students
Undertaking teaching and learning support duties represents an important professional and career development opportunity for postgraduate research students. Brunel offers two levels of paid work available to Postgraduate Research students. The first level post is as a Demonstrator and the second level post is as a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA). Teaching and learning support duties will vary between Departments and research students should not rely on such opportunities being available. Find out more here.
Following the completion of the course students may follow several career paths:
- Research within the academia which may lead to the career path of a University Lecturer
- The data science, statistics and experimental design skills are valued within the private sector
- The career path within the government agencies (e.g. Department of Health, Public Health England) or international agencies (UN, WHO, IAEA etc.)
At Brunel we provide many opportunities and experiences within your degree programme and beyond – work-based learning, professional support services, volunteering, mentoring, sports, arts, clubs, societies, and much, much more – and we encourage you to make the most of them, so that you can make the most of yourself.
» More about Employability
Entry criteria 2019/20
The general University entrance requirement for registration for a research degree is normally a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree. All international students must show evidence that they meet the English requirement for their course of study. The Senate reserves the right to assess the eligibility of applicants on an individual basis.
As part of our application process for entry on our research degree (MPhil and PhD) programmes, we ask you to provide a 500-1,000 word research statement, excluding any references/bibliography you may include, setting out your research motivation, ideas and aspirations. Learn how to prepare a research statement here.
Entry criteria are subject to review and change each academic year.
International and EU entry requirements
If your country or institution is not listed or if you are not sure whether your institution is eligible, please contact Admissions
This information is for guidance only by Brunel University London and by meeting the academic requirements does not guarantee entry for our courses as applications are assessed on case-by-case basis.
English language requirements
- IELTS: 7 (min 6 in all areas)
- Pearson: 64 (51 in all subscores)
- BrunELT: 70% (min 60% in all areas)
You can find out more about the qualifications we accept on our English Language Requirements page.
If you require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK, you must prove knowledge of the English language so that we can issue you a Certificate of Acceptance for Study (CAS). To do this, you will need an IELTS for UKVI or Trinity SELT test pass gained from a test centre approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and on the Secure English Language Testing (SELT) list. This must have been taken and passed within two years from the date the CAS is made.
Should you wish to take a pre-sessional English course to improve your English prior to starting your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider for the same reason.
We offer our own BrunELT English Test and have pre-sessional English language courses for students who do not meet requirements or who wish to improve their English. You can find out more information on English courses and test options at the Brunel Language Centre.
Teaching and learning
Supervisors with insight
Our supervisors create knowledge and advance understanding, and equip research students with the confidence to apply what they have learnt for the benefit of society. Browse all potential supervisor profiles further here.
Each student will be allocated a supervisory team consisting of the principal supervisor, second supervisor and a Research Development Advisor. The supervisory team will set teaching and learning targets and advise the student how to achieve them. The progress of each student will be assessed by the supervisory team at regular meetings and by a formal Progress Review Panel at 9 months for full-time students (18 months for part-time students) and then annually. All academic supervisors receive university supported training in the supervision of PhD students.
Find out more about working with the Supervisory Team here.
Facts and figures
- In the 2014 REF, 59% of our overall research activity was rated as either “world leading” or “internationally excellent”. Our research environment was rated as 100% “internationally excellent”. In terms of impact of our research on wider society, 73% of our submission (in areas such as screening for dyslexia and health promotion) was rated as 4*, i.e., outstanding in terms of its reach and significance. We were assessed as having an “exemplary strategic approach to impact”.
- Brunel University London REF2014 Submission: Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience. The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is a system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The results of the REF2014 have been made public in December 2014, replacing the previous REF conducted in 2008. The next REF will be undertaken in 2020. Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 - A Guide for PhD Students
- Recent grants were awarded by the Welcome Trust, British Academy, Bial Foundation, and the Leverhulme Trust.
Excellent research support and training
Extensive training and support is offered to all research students by the Graduate School, with regular Masterclasses and individual advice on academic issues as part of the Researcher Development Programme. Read more about the available Research Support and Training.
Study environment for research students
Find out more: Study environment for research students
Brunel's library is open 24 hours a day, has 400,000 books and 250,000 e-books, and an annual budget of almost £2m. Subject Information Specialists train students in the latest technology, digital literacy, and digital dissemination of scholarly outputs.
- state-of-the-art research information management tools including a research publication and grant database
- one of the largest UK’s full text repository
- an integrated data management system
- analytical tools such as Altmertic and InCites
- Open Access centrally managed fund
Fees and funding
Fees for 2019/20 entry
Fees (per year):
Part-time (for students not requiring Tier 4 visa)
Research projects undertaken within the Department of Life Sciences in the areas of Biosciences; Environmental Sciences; Psychology and Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences may require an annual bench fee. Research projects undertaken within the Department of Clinical Sciences in the areas of Physiotherapy; Occupational Therapy; Health Sciences and Social Work may also require an annual bench fee. The amount is variable dependent on the requirements of the project and will be discussed and agreed between the applicant and the supervisor at interview stage. This amount will be additional to tuition fees and will be stated in the offer letter from Admissions
We offer a range of PhD studentships, partial scholarships, and academic prizes, to help with your research fees. Explore external funding, particularly the Research Councils, as well as other support.
Some courses incur additional course related costs. You can also check our on-campus accommodation costs for more information on living expenses.
Fees quoted are per year and are subject to an annual increase.