Students Staff

Postgraduate research courses

Research methods course

Group of students sat around a table

Our Proficio course on research skills and psychoanalytic methodologies runs from 23-25 January 2017. You explore research in clinical, historical and social contexts and the case study method.

PhD by research

If you have a good background in psychoanalytic or Jungian theory or practice, good academic credentials and an ability to pursue independent research, you may apply to work towards a PhD. The Department has an active group of PhD students and Post-Doctoral Fellows who, in addition to the staff of the Department and supporting departments, provide a stimulating and congenial environment.

Our Department staff include professors of psychoanalysis and of Jungian psychology. In addition, staff of supporting departments represent many interests in psychoanalysis and other fields.

Taught PhD courses

Our taught PhD Refugee Care is available if you are able to pursue independent research, but first need preparation through a taught component. You take the modules and assessments for the MA Refugee Care, followed by a research project and thesis. It is especially useful if you have a postgraduate degree in another field and need a period of study in refugee care before proceeding to research and the award of a PhD.

Application

  • Application and selection process

    Entry qualifications

    The process of assessing candidates for acceptance is based on previous qualifications (a Masters degree or equivalent - a good clinical training could be a suitable alternative) and the approval of the research proposal. Candidates would also be expected to have some understanding of psychoanalysis and a high standard of written English.

    Selection process for a PhD by research

    • The main criterion is that we need a good research proposal from you. You will need to work on this independently in the first instance. You might want to make initial contact with either: the PPS administration office (email cpsasst@essex.ac.uk), a supervisor of your choice in the Centre; or the Director of Graduate Studies (Research Students), Dr Kevin Lu (klu@essex.ac.uk). Please note, however, that any preliminary conversation cannot delve too deeply into the details of your proposal.
    • When your proposal is ready for our consideration, please send this, along with your CV, to the Director of Graduate Studies, Dr Kevin Lu. Your CV should indicate your previous academic achievements, their relevance to your research interest, and your psychoanalytic knowledge. We would also like to know if you intend to study full-time, part-time or by distance learning.
    • Not everyone starts with a high level of psychoanalytic knowledge. You should, however, indicate why a psychoanalytic doctorate is most appropriate. If the proposal is eventually accepted, you will need to discuss with the Director of Graduate Studies (and a maybe a potential supervisor) how you might develop sufficient psychoanalytic knowledge before starting the degree. This discussion will most likely take place during your interview.
    • You will work most closely with your academic supervisor and you need to give some thought as to who would be most appropriate from our list of academic staff. In your proposal, you will need to clarify who you would like to work with and the reason(s) why he/she is best suited to guide you through this process. Not all staff will have vacancies at the time you are applying.
    • Your proposal will be reviewed by your potential supervisor and one other member of academic staff. We aim to complete this first stage of the process within 6 weeks of receiving your CV and proposal.
    • At this point, you may be asked to revise your proposal based on the feedback you have received from the readers. If this is the case, you will have one chance to submit a revised proposal.
    • If you have been asked to submit a revised proposal, a final decision on its suitability will be made once the readers have assessed it.
    • The formal application will only take place after your proposal has been accepted in principle. If successful, the Director of Graduate Studies will contact you, inviting you to complete the process: you will need to make your application online, provide transcripts of previous degree certificates, two references and the results of your English Language test (IELTS) if you are not a native English speaker.
    • You will be invited for an interview with your supervisor, which takes place during the formal application stage.

    Please note: Students for doctoral research are initially registered for an MPhil, but are upgraded to PhD status, normally in the second year, as long as your work is of a sufficient standard to continue at doctoral level.

  • Guidelines for preparing a research proposal

    The aims of the proposal are to provide information about the intended research project in terms of content and methodology so that the Centre could assess (a) the feasibility of the project, and (b) the suitability of the candidate for being registered for a PhD degree; moreover, the proposal will assist the Department to assign a suitable supervisor to the student.

    The proposal, which may be developed in consultation with a member of the Department's staff, should not exceed 5,000 words. It is understood that the student may need to deviate from the proposed outline as the actual PhD research unfolds.

    PhD Thesis

    a) Topics for PhD research should fall within the wide spectrum of psychoanalytic enquiry. They may examine any suitable phenomenon from a psychoanalytic (or analytical psychology) perspective using appropriate methodology (typically, theoretical, historical or empirical); they may also focus on psychoanalysis or analytical psychology as an object of enquiry. Theses should represent an original contribution to the field.

    b) The length of the thesis may not exceed 80,000 words (excluding notes, appendices and references). The proposal would normally include the following components, depending on the nature of the project:

    • Statement of the research question: What is the relevance of and the rationale for choosing this area of enquiry? Why is the research question posed in the way it is? Does the candidate have any particular motivation for posing this question or does he/she possess any expertise in this area?
    • A focused introduction: This should include a brief critical review of the literature relevant to the research question. What are the main texts and trends informing the thinking which has led to the formation of this research question?
    • Hypotheses: What are the main hypotheses or lines of enquiry? Within what general theoretical and/or historical framework will this research be carried out? What specific contribution from psychoanalytic/Jungian perspectives is relevant to this piece of research?
    • Research design and Methodology: How are the main hypotheses going to be investigated or researched? An outline of the methodology, research design and procedure should be given. In addition, the anticipated structure of the thesis (i.e. sections and chapters) should be outlined.
    • Pilot work and ethical issues: In proposals for empirical research, details will need to be provided of the proposed pilot work, the sequence of the various investigations and the research instruments which are intended to be used. In addition, the relevant methods of analysing the data will need to be discussed. Candidates should bear in mind that approval by an ethics research committee will be required before any collection of data.
    • Timetable: An outline of the approximate timetable of the various stages of the proposed research should be given.

  • Distance learning option regulations

    Following a recent ruling by the University (Higher Degree Regulations and Procedures 1997-98, Section 4.4) it is now possible for persons not normally residing in the UK to undertake a PhD either full or part-time.

    Eligibility

    • Applicants must have a good first degree and a Master's degree (or equivalent, e.g. considerable relevant experience or practice).
    • Applicants must be equipped with necessary basic research skills or, where not, arrangements shall be made for the acquisition of such skills.
    • In the case of applicants who are not native speakers of English, evidence must be produced of a high level of ability in the language, including writing. The minimum IELTS test score accepted by the Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies is 7.
    • Applicants must demonstrate that there is good reason for them not to reside in the UK whilst undertaking this degree.
    • Applicants must produce a satisfactory Research Proposal, subject to CPS’s usual criteria and the successful completion of our application procedure. For info see our PPS web site.

    Contract, Registration and Duration

    • A written contract between the Department and the candidate shall be drawn up covering the matters mentioned below.
    • A candidate must usually register for a minimum period of three years (full-time) or six years (part-time). Supervision
    • Candidates must be in regular contact with their supervisors by, email, Skype, fax and telephone. A record of each contact shall be kept.
    • Candidates are required to meet face-to-face with their supervisors at least once a year.
    • Candidates may receive additional supervision from a local supervisor approved by the Department.
    • Candidates and their supervisors must reach an agreement as to the nature, length and frequency of written reports by the candidate.

    Supervisory Board

    A Supervisory Board for each candidate will meet at least twice a year for full-time students and once a year for part-time students. Full-time distance learners are permitted to attend one meeting via Skype (usually the November/December Board). The other Supervisory Board must be attended in person. This usually happen at the end of May each year, when the Department has their annual Postgraduate Research student conference.

    PhD Thesis

    Topics for PhD research should fall within the wide spectrum of psychoanalytic enquiry. They may examine any suitable phenomenon from a psychoanalytic (or analytical psychological) perspective using appropriate methodology (typically, theoretical, historical or empirical); they may also focus on psychoanalysis or analytical psychology as an object of enquiry. Theses should represent an original contribution to the field. The length of the thesis may not exceed 80,000 words (excluding notes, appendices and references).

    Current and completed topics