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An image to illustrate studying psychology with The Open University

The Department of Psychology is noted as being among the leading departments of psychology in the UK. It is reputed for its contributions to the development of psychology: in critical social psychology, especially the theoretical and methodological development of studies of identity, subjectivity and experience; in the application of psychological methods and principles to questions of policing and justice; and in other areas of cognitive and applied psychology. In addition, there is a developing expertise in diverse areas of therapeutic practice.

The department has a strong interdisciplinary orientation (contributing to its Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) success) and plays a leading role in the UK-wide psychosocial studies network. Members of the department hold editorship or editorial board positions of some leading UK and European journals.

We welcome applications for PhD study in social, cognitive, forensic and organisational psychology, including applications that situate psychological research in wider social, political or cultural contexts and/or explore the policy or applied relevance of psychological research.

Key facts

  • Established record of externally funded research projects, including Directorship of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) £4m Identities and Social Action Programme.
  • Leader in theoretical and methodological developments in different areas of psychology, including applied and psychosocial approaches.
  • Publications in high impact journals including British Journal of Social Psychology, Narrative Inquiry, Feminism and Psychology, Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and European Journal of Cognitive Psychology.
  • Keynote lecture programme with distinguished speakers under auspices of Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance and the International Centre for Comparative Criminological Research.
  • ESRC recognition for distance learning training in psychological research methods.
  • A thriving interdisciplinary community of researchers with international reputation.


  • State-of-the-art remote eye-tracker
  • Dedicated experimental software
  • An extensive online Virtual Participant Panel

Further information

If you have an enquiry specific to this research area please contact:

Emily Smith
+44 (0)1908 653947

For general enquiries please contact the Research Degrees Team via the link under 'Your Questions' on the right of the page.


Research publications by Open University staff are available through Open Research Online (ORO), the university's repository of research publications and other research outputs. ORO can be searched or browsed by staff name or subject.

The following list, generated from ORO, provides a flavour of the most recently published work in Psychology