skip to content

Department of Psychology

 

The Postgraduate Education Programme (PEP) is provided by the Department of Psychology as a means by which postgraduate students can improve their skills and knowledge parallel to their ongoing research projects.

Introduction and Summary

There is no single set-in-stone curriculum for all postgraduate students within the Department of Psychology. Instead, the PEP aims to provide a range of options to allow each student to work on the skills and knowledge that is most relevant to them. However, there are some types of skills that are important for all students, and it is beneficial for all students to continue to learn about psychology as a whole. As such, there are some compulsory elements of the PEP, alongside a wide range of non-compulsory options.

There are two main elements of the PEP: Courses and Seminars, and Reports.

Courses and Seminars include Inductions and Safety courses, Statistics and research skills courses and various Psychology Subject Lectures and Seminars. Some of these are compulsory, others are optional. Details of this training must be recorded in the log book (PhD log book, MPhil log book)

Reports enable the Department and School of Biological Sciences to keep track of students’ progress throughout the course. PhD students are considered to be “probationary” in their first year until they have submitted a First Year Report  (of between 4000 and 6000 words) and passed a viva. They will later be required to submit much shorter Second and Third Year reports summarising progress and plans. MPhil students are required to submit their progress report in January. These reports are compulsory.

Courses and Seminars

See the Postgraduate Education Programme: Courses and Seminars Page for details on what courses are available this year.

  • What is Compulsory? 

PhD and MPhil students must attend a selection of courses, meetings and seminars. Some of these are specifically compulsory for the first year, while some are compulsory every year.


Following the first year, each PhD student is expected to continue to attend approximately 10 days (or equivalent) of skills training each year. This can include seminars, research methods training, attending conferences, or anty other kind of training. While it is good to get most research skills (such as statistics) training completed in the first year, this is not essential: Courses should be selected according to the specific needs of the student at that time, and some courses may be more relevant in the second or third year. All training must be recorded in the log book (see below). See the Courses and Seminars page for details of what is curently available (PhD Log book, MPhil Logbook)

  • What else can I do?

Students must discuss their specific training needs with their supervisor.

In addition to these compulsory course elements, students may take options from the wide variety of courses and seminar series offered by the Department, the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit (MRC-CBU) and other departments in the University.

In particular, it is strongly recommended that students engage with:

Progress Meetings and Reports

See the First Year Report and Second and Third Year Report Pages for details on the report requirements.

  • What is Compulsory?

The core element of postgraduate training is the PhD or MPhil Research. To assist students’ research, the department requires progress to be supported and monitored via:

  • Meetings with the supervisor: Students must meet with their supervisors at least once per term to discuss progress in research and training. The supervisor will submit a termly CGSRS report for each graduate student commenting on the progress of the student.
  • Lab Meetings: Students must attend at least one lab meeting per term. It is also required that each student give at least one presentation at a lab meeting per year (for Mphil students this must be done by the beginning of the second term).  Note: Specific Labs may have different requirements for lab meeting attendance and presentation. This is simply the minimum required by the department.
  • Reports: For PhD Students, progress is then assessed via First, Second and Third Year Reports. For MPhil Students, Progress is assessed via progress report at the beginning of the second term.

 

For PhD students, the First Year Report is the biggest assessment before the submission of the final thesis and is one of the most important components of the training programme. All PhD students being as “probationary”, and must complete the first year report and viva before full registration as a PhD candidate. The first year report is examined by two assessors, each of whom writes a brief report and make a pass/fail recommendation. The supervisor discusses the content of the first year report and any comments the assessor(s) have made with the student following their oral examination and writes their report. The examiner and supervisor reports (along with the logbook – see below) are evaluated by the Postgraduate Education Committee. If they are satisfactory, and the requirements outlined here have been met, then this normally leads to registration for the PhD.  Further details on the first year report submission and assessment procedures are available here.

To ensure continuous monitoring of progress throughout the course, students are also asked to submit a one-page progress report at the end of their second and third year to the Posgraduate Education Committee, which summarises their research to date with a brief description of their plans for the following year. Details can be found here.

MPhil students are required to complete a short report on their progress by the beginning of their second term (January). This is found in Section 2 of the MPhil logbook. Here they are expected to confirm that they have:

  • Presented their research at a lab meeting (or have a confirmed date at which they will do so)
  • Completed a Literature Review
  • Produced a (draft) methodology for the research project
  • Gained Ethics Approval for their research project 

 

  • What else can I do?

Meetings with the supervisor: Beyond the compulsory termly meeting with the supervisor, students and supervisors are encouraged to find an appropriate schedule/arrangement for meetings that meets the needs of the individuals and their research. For some, this might be every week, for others every few weeks. Students beyond their first year are likely to meet in a more ad-hoc manner.

Lab Meetings:  Beyond the 10 (PhD) / 3-4 (MPhil) compulsory Lab meetings, it is encouraged that students attend all lab meetings held by their group if and where possible. Some labs may require this, while others may not. Similarly, some labs have more meetings than others.

Postgraduate Community: While these vary from year to year, there are often multiple student-led journal clubs and discussion groups. Details of these can be found here

Keeping Track of Training: The PhD and MPhil Log book

For PhD and MPhil students, the log book serves as a record of the student’s training. For PhD students, it is submitted at the end of the first and final years along with the First Year Report and Thesis respectively. For MPhil students it should be up to date when they submit their dissertation.

Here students record:

  • All courses, seminars, training, conferences and other transferable skills participation and attainment 
  • All meetings with the Supervisor.
  • All Lab meetings attended and presentations given.

More details about the PhD log book and MPhil log book.

PEP at a glance: What do I need to do?

The compulsory elements of the Postgraduate Education Programme are summarised below:

MPhil Students

PhD Students: 
1st Year

PhD Students: 
2nd and 3rd Year

Attend University Safety Course

Attend University Safety Course

Attend 10 Departmental / University Seminars

Attend Psychology Department Induction Programme

Attend Psychology Department Induction Programme

Engage in further training (of any kind) making up to approximately 10 days worth per year

Attend courses recommended by the SSRMP Skills Audit

Attend courses recommended by the SSRMP Skills Audit

Have at least one meeting with supervisor per term

Attend 3-4 “Postgraduate Seminars”

Attend 10 “Postgraduate Seminars”

Attend at least one lab meeting per term

Attend 3-4 Departmental / University Seminars

Attend 10 Departmental / University Seminars

Present at a lab meeting at least once

Have at least one meeting with supervisor per term

Have at least one meeting with supervisor per term

Have at least 2 meetings with academic advisor

Attend at least one lab meeting per term

Attend at least one lab meeting per term

Submit 2nd/3rd Year report

Present at a lab meeting during first term (or early second term)

Present at a lab meeting at least once

Keep a log book of training and meetings

Submit a progress report (early second term).

Have at least 2 meetings with academic advisor

 

Keep a log book of training and meetings

Submit a First Year Report

 

 

Keep a log book of training and meetings

 

 

If no background in Psychology: Attend 5 hours of foundational psychology teaching