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Important note: From October 2018 all PhD students are required to attend a minimum of 3 of career and academic tools sessions

Students are required to attend a minimum of 3 of the hour-long career and academic tools sessions provided by the Department and hosted by the ECR forum during their three-year PhD tenure. The sessions offered for now are: Remaining in Academia; Outside of Academia; Viva talk and Grant writing; Writing a CV; Interview Skills; Peer Reviewing; Using Social Media; Open Science/open access. Please note not all sessions are offered each year; some will be offered every other year. There might be additional topic session offered given demand and availability. Attendance will be collected by ECR forum but coordinated and kept by the graduate administrator.

Taught courses for 1st Year Research Students

PhD students usually start their studies at the end of September. In your first week, you will meet your supervisor, the Chair of Graduate Studies (Prof. Alex Wade) and your PhD ‘buddy’ (a second or third year PhD student assigned to help you find your feet in the first few weeks). You will be shown your office, set up your email address and start reading around your topic. You will have the opportunity to meet key people in the department, plus the PhD students in Years 2 and 3 who can help you settle in.

Over the next few weeks, you will attend more formal induction sessions offered by the University and Department on starting your PhD research and undergo training for Postgraduates who Teach. The majority of our PhD students participate in the department’s undergraduate teaching at some point in their programme, so attendance at this session is compulsory.

You have the option of attending induction courses organised for our new MSc students and you may be invited to attend induction events organised by the White Rose ESRC Doctoral Training Centre (these events are compulsory for ESRC-funded students and optional for others).

In the Autumn and Spring terms of their first year, research students attend the two training modules along with MSc students. All PhD students attend Research, Design and Statistics (Term 1 worth 20 credits). The second training module depends on which PhD programme you are enrolled on.

  • Students undertaking a PhD in Psychology attend Practical Skills in Experimental, Cognitive & Social Psychology (Term 2 worth 20 credits).
  • Students undertaking a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging attend Programming in Neuroimaging (Term1 & 2 worth 20 credits).

Details of all these courses are available on the VLE ( A pass in each of the two core modules is needed for confirmation of a PhD enrollment (see Section 5).

Exemptions from the requirement to attend these courses can be granted in cases where prior training or completion of a relevant postgraduate course can be demonstrated (such as an ESRC recognised Masters training course). Students who wish to seek an exemption should discuss this option with their supervisor in the first instance. If supervisors agree that the student can demonstrate prior experience with the objectives of the taught modules, an application can be submitted to the Chair of the Post Graduate School Board (currently Alex Wade) or the Deputy Chair of the GSB (Karla Evans). 

PhD students may also benefit from attending other MSc or undergraduate courses that provide further relevant background or skills and/or plug a gap in their knowledge. Full details of all our taught Masters courses are available on the VLE. If you do wish to attend additional sessions, please check with your supervisor and the module organiser in the first instance.

Descriptions of Core Modules

All research students

  • Research Design and Statistics (Term 1). The primary aim of the course is to give each student the necessary grounding in design and statistical methods necessary for research in psychology. The course includes a mix of theory and practice, with the latter based around SPSS.

Students undertaking a PhD in Psychology

  • Practical Skills in Experimental, Cognitive & Social Psychology (Term 2). This course provides students hands-on experience with programming. Students will learn to translate a phenomenon of interest into an appropriate experimental paradigms and contemporary research methods across a broad range of Psychological topics.

Students undertaking a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging 

  • Programming in Neuroimaging (20 credits; Terms 1 & 2). This module provides an introduction on how programming can be used for stimulus generation, stimulus presentation and data analysis in neuroimaging.
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