A PhD in Psychology, Psychology

Are you considering applying to do a PhD in psychology? – with additional information

As they launch the Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) studentship competition in Psychology, Dr. Simon Clarke and Prof Sarah Crafter, the pathway leads for the DTP, tell you a bit about how to apply for this year’s studentships (deadline 12/01/21).

Are you considering applying for a PhD in psychology? Are you looking for funding? Would you like to study at and internationally recognised centre for excellence in transdisciplinary psychology research, with a commitment to social justice?

As a prospective PhD student you can apply for doctoral funding at the Open University (OU) through the Grand Union Doctoral Training Partnership in Psychology. We welcome projects that have a contemporary focus, examining the impact of exceptional and everyday situations through a psychological lens. We are interested in projects that explore the distinctive and emergent social practices that both constitute and continuously transform everyday lives. We are especially looking for students whose research will have impact and make a difference to people’s wellbeing. Your training as a students on the DTP will be equip you to examine complex psychological phenomenon as they unfold as part of social practices in real settings.

The School of Psychology and Counselling at The Open University has a vibrant research culture. We are noted for being an international leader in research that takes a transdisciplinary approach, engages in methodological and theoretical pluralism, seeks to engage with different publics and has a commitment to social justice. Applicants are invited to apply on one or more of the thematic research streams: 

  • Culture and Social Psychology (CuSP)

CuSP research brings insights from cultural and social psychology to real-world issues. The research is both theoretical and empirical, with a strong focus on methodological innovation. Potential topics include: Citizenship; immigration/migration; contemporary subjectivities, including religious, sexual and political subjectivities; children and childhood; digital lives; intergroup contact and social division.


  • Psychology of Health and Wellbeing Research (PHeW)

PHeW is a theoretically and methodologically diverse group with a focus on practices of health and wellbeing. Key strands of research focus on counselling and psychotherapy, critical mental health and wellbeing in contexts 


  • Forensic Cognition Research Group (FCRG)

FCRG is a transdisciplinary group whose main aim is to better understand the perceptions, processes and systems of the criminal justice system, taking an approach that is both critical and solution-oriented to tackle real world issues. Key strands are courtroom processes, policing and inquiry and community and citizens. 


How to approach applying for the DTP in Psychology at the OU: 

  1. The first step would be to look at the information on the Grand Union website and make sure you are eligible for DTP funding (more on that in moment). 
  2. The second step would be to investigate whether the School of Psychology and Counselling at the OU has the supervisory expertise to oversee the project you would like to do. You will need to write a research proposal, so you can either write your proposal and then approach any supervisors who work in similar topics/methodological areas. Or, you can look at the work of specific people and tailor your idea to fit their expertise. 
  3. Once you have your proposal written, you would then approach the supervisory team to see if they would be willing to support you. 

You can also contact either Simon Clarke or Sarah Crafter for more advice and information. To hear Sarah Crafter talk about applying for doctoral funding, you can watch this video

Since you are competing with other students for the funds, it is important to work with your prospective supervisors to improve your research proposal and application. Although the application deadline for the OU stream is the 12th January 2021, you are strongly recommended to begin working on your proposal NOW, and contacting potential supervisors as soon as possible.

To find out more about postgraduate studies at the Open University click here

How do you know if you are eligible to apply to the OU stream of the Psychology DTP? 

OU Psychology offers +3 and +4 training routes, depending on prior training. This means that the +4 route is for students with Master’s degrees that do not fulfil the ESRC’s 2015 Training Guidelines, while the +3 route is for those with Master’s degrees that have provided comprehensive research training. To find out if you are eligible to apply for a DTP studentship please visit the Grand Union website. 


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