Experimental Psychology

Study mode:On campus Study type:Full-time Languages: English
Local:$ 9.33 k / Year(s) Foreign:$ 28.9 k / Year(s) Deadline: Jan 6, 2025
1 place StudyQA ranking:6691 Duration:4 years

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The DPhil programme in Experimental Psychology is based upon independent research carried out under the supervision and guidance of principal investigators and researchers within a research group or lab, in areas including behavioural neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience, social psychology and psychological disorders, and developmental science.

First year of study

You are initially registered as a Probationary Research Student (PRS status). During the first year, you are expected to attend courses, lectures and seminars that will enable you to gain the most out of your time at Oxford and assist you with the design and analysis of your own area of research. These will typically include:

  • graduate statistical workshops
  • skills training courses eg in MATLAB and fMRI methods
  • analysis of research methods.

The Medical Sciences Division also offers a large number of courses on transferable skills such as teaching and communicating scientific findings which you are encouraged to attend as a part of your DPhil studies.

You are expected to be fully integrated within your own chosen group or lab and attend group or lab meetings as well as attending related seminars and conferences.

Second year of study

You will be expected to transfer your status from PRS to DPhil before the end of your fourth term of study. For this, you will be required to submit a written report summarising your progress to date, which you will then discuss and defend in an oral examination (a transfer viva).

Third and final years of study

During your third year of study, you will need to confirm your DPhil status through a formal assessment to ensure that you are on course to complete your studies within the three- to four-year time frame. You will be required to give a presentation and attend an interview. Finally, your studies will conclude with the submission of a thesis (maximum 100,000 words) and an oral examination, your final viva voce.

Assessment of your progress on the course is monitored through termly progression reports and at three key stages:

  • transfer of status
  • confirmation of status
  • thesis submission.

You will need to have successfully completed all three stages to be awarded a DPhil in Experimental Psychology from the University of Oxford.

1. Academic ability

Proven and potential academic excellence

Applicants are normally expected to be predicted or have achieved a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours (or equivalent international qualifications), as a minimum, in psychology or a cognate discipline that is relevant to your proposed research.

For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA sought is 3.5 out of 4.0.

No Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or GMAT scores are sought.

You do not need to have a previous master’s degree to apply for this course. However, if you wish to be considered for the ESRC +3 funding then a previous master’s that is recognised by the ESRC will be required. Please contact the department for further advice.

2. English language requirement

Standard level


Standard level scores

Higher level scores

IELTS Academic 
Institution code: 0713

7.0 Minimum 6.5 per component  7.5  Minimum 7.0 per component 

Institution code: 0490


Minimum component scores:

  • Listening: 22
  • Reading: 24
  • Speaking: 25
  • Writing: 24

Minimum component scores:

  • Listening: 22
  • Reading: 24
  • Speaking: 25
  • Writing: 24
Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) 185

Minimum 176 per component


Minimum 185 per component

Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) 185

Minimum 176 per component


Minimum 185 per component


  • Three references (letters of recommendation)
  • Official transcript(s) of previous university-level degrees
  • CV/résumé
  • Research proposal: Up to 2,500 words
  • Clarendon Scholarships. This unique scheme offers around 140 new, fully-funded scholarships each year to academically outstanding graduate students, as well as providing a lively and stimulating community of scholars.
  • Hill Foundation Scholarships. The Hill Foundation Scholarships fund Russian students to study for full-time graduate courses in any subject at Oxford. The Hill Foundation is a charity which aims to create a community of Oxford scholars and alumni who will work to improve Russian life and culture.The scholarship will cover 100% of University and college fees and a grant for living costs (of at least £14,296). Awards are made for the full duration of your fee liability for the agreed course.
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