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Psychological Medicine Research MPhil/PhD

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The Department of Psychological Medicine at King's College London is the largest department in the Institute of Psychiatry Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN). It currently has around 20 full-time academics and a total of approximately 100 members of staff. The department has approximately 50 doctoral students.

The large number of staff and students in the Department provides an environment which is very beneficial to research students because:

  • of the research and clinical expertise available
  • of the structures which are in place to help students achieve their goals
  • of the collegiality and support that is afforded by having other young researchers going through the same experience. 

The Head of the Department is Professor Ulrike Schmidt, Professor of Eating Disorders.

The department is research-led but in addition, has a broad teaching and clinical remit. The mental health problems of particular interest are those of the common mental disorders, such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, liaison psychiatry, military mental health, perinatal psychiatry, and stress related disorders. 

Key information

Duration Three years FT; six years PT. Email ioppn.pgr@kcl.ac.uk for further information.

Study mode Full-time, Part-time

Further details

Awarding institution King's College London

Faculty Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience

Department Department of Psychological Medicine Division of Academic Psychiatry



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Course detail


Research in the Department of Psychological Medicine

There are eight major research groups in the Department. They all have an extensive research portfolios and an established record for obtaining funding and publishing research in high impact journals. The department has a well-developed framework for helping research students to:

  • find the most suitable supervisors

  • to integrate into research groups

  • to develop their projects

  • to monitor their progress

  • to obtain specialist help e.g. with data analysis

  • to obtain pastoral care e.g. to present their data at meetings

  • to provide guidance with thesis and viva preparation.

All of the research groups work closely with service users, their families, and healthy volunteers i.e in relation to clinical projects. The research groups are:

  • Affective Disorders

  • Diabetes and Psychiatry

  • Eating Disorders

  • General Hospital Psychiatry

  • King's Centre for Military Health Research

  • Mental Health, Ethics and Law

  • Stress, Psychiatry and Immunology Laboratory & Section of Perinatal Psychiatry

  • Trauma Studies

Research students may conduct their postgraduate studies within one of these groups or their project may go across two groups. In some cases, it could involve research with a group elsewhere in King's, for instance, in the Centre for Neuroimaging Studies. In fact, if regulatory conditions are met, the project could involve a collaboration with a group in another university or country.

Clinical Academic Groups (CAG)

To facilitate and to fund clinical academic research, Kings Health Partners has a number of clinical academic groups. Psychological Medicine as a Department is part of the Clinical Academic Group (CAG) with the same name. This CAG within King’s Health Partners seeks to cross the divide between psychiatry and medicine.

The principal research methodologies used within the department are clinical, psychological, biological (including genetics and neuroimaging) and epidemiological. These approaches include cross sectional studies, cohort studies and randomised controlled trials (RCTs).

Teaching in the Department of Psychological Medicine

In addition to research and clinical work, the department is very involved in teaching. This occurs across a wide range of programmes and specialist subject areas and in many cases is done via formal lectures.

Teaching in the department also includes structured events such as research student “showcases” (presentation of work to peers and to staff) and also debates: this means that research students develop presentation skills and become able to assess and discuss data and conclusions.  These transferable skills are very important for student development both in terms of becoming “part of the dialogue of their subject area” but also as a preparation for life after their PhD.

In addition to the research associated issues described above, the teaching environment in the Department means that research students can have the opportunity to become informed on a very wide area of specialist theoretical and practical topics. For example, the Department is involved in the teaching of full time and part time Master's programmes such as the MSc in Mental Health Studies or the MSc in War & Psychiatry

The department also hosts The Maudsley Forum, an international annual four day conference, for psychiatrists, psychologists and others interested in mental health: this gives participants the opportunity to learn about the most current advances in clinical and academic psychiatry. In addition, the department runs a series of e-interactive, popular debates on mental health issues: these attract well known speakers and are attended by service users, carers, professionals, journalists and members of the public.

Research students have access to an extensive programme of teaching related to issues such as ethics, statistics, research project design etc., and in fact, are required to attend a number of these as part of their training. 

Course study environment

Graduate research students work closely with their supervisors and enjoy regular meetings to discuss their progress. They also liaise with other members of staff with relevant research interests and are encouraged to attend and participate in departmental research presentations and other Institute seminars. There is a full induction for new graduate students on commencing their studies. Each full-time graduate research student is allocated their own workspace and computer; facilities for part-time students can be arranged according to their needs.

What our students say

In a recent survey our PhD students reported that they have a very positive experience. On a range of measures, the scores were very gratifying:

  • Professional Development - 90%
  • Progress and Assessment - 90%
  • Research Skills - 90%

Many factors could be contributing to the good “theme scores” seen in the student survey:

  • having two (or even three) student supervisors
  • robust programme approval procedures for each student
  • regular and formalised monitoring of student progress
  • a formal MPhil/PhD upgrade 

The success of the PhD programme in the Department of Psychological Medicine is reflected in the following ways:

  • several recent students were awarded King's prizes for the “best thesis”
  • others have won prizes at local “showcase “ events
  • some have won travel awards to attend prestigious scientific meetings
  • some have won presentation awards at meetings
  • some have contributed to TV documentaries
  • many of the students have published several papers in high impact journals. In the last three years, the Department has published several hundred papers and in the majority of these, PhD students are either first authors or co-authors.
  • several members of the Dept have been awarded College awards that recognise excellent supervision. 

Postgraduate training

Training courses run by the department, the Institute or through the Graduate School can be used as required to provide training in a wide variety of topics, from transferable skills to academic areas directly relevant to the student's thesis.

Head of group/division

Professor Simon Wessely

Contact for information

For any additional queries regarding application and project approval procedures please contact

Education Support Team: ioppn.pgr@kcl.ac.uk

Admissions Tutor: Dr Hubertus Himmerich - Hubertus.himmerich@kcl.ac.uk

Business Manager: Dr Melina Carapeti-Marootian - Melina.carapeti-marootian@kcl.ac.uk

Contact email

Course website

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Psychological Medicine Research Entry Requirements
Minimum UK requirements  
  • A Bachelor’s degree with 2:1 honours.

  • A 2:2 degree may be considered only where applicants also offer a Masters with Merit.

International requirements   Visit our admissions webpages to view our International entry requirements.
English language requirements Band D Visit our admissions webpages to view our English language entry requirements

Applicants not applying for an advertised studentship must attached confirmation of support from your proposed supervisor to your application.

Application procedure

To apply:

Step 1: Find a supervisor 

  • View our departmental supervisor profiles to learn about their research interests. 
  • Identify your 1st and 2nd supervisor, before emailing them directly with a description of your intended research project. Applicants are expected to contact academics directly.


Step 2: Arranging funding: Unless you are applying for a studentship or can self-fund your studies, you will need to arrange for funding before you make the application.

Take a look at our Graduate Funding Database for details on funding support.

Read tips and advice from our students who have been awarded NIHR and MRC Clinical Research Training Fellowships, particularly regarding the interview stage. 


Step 3: Make an online application:

Submit an online application. This application will be assessed by the Admissions team to assess your references, fee status as well as your eligibility in terms of education and experience.


Step 4: Submit a Project Approval Form:

The project approval form (PAF) is used to assess your project in terms of planning, feasibility and appropriateness for a PhD. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the form is completed but it is recommended that applicants work closely with the supervisors.

Make sure you complete all sections, answering all questions fully, and signatures from all supervisors and student are included. There is no need to collect the signatures from the Head of Department/Business Manager and Sub-Committee Chair at this point.

We strongly advise the submission of your application as early as possible to ensure that you can begin with your desired intake. If your application is not processed in time you run the risk of a deferral to the subsequent intake.

We advise Home students to submit their online application and PAF at least two months before their desired registration date, and EU and Overseas students to submit their online application and PAF at least three months ahead of their desired registration date, although the earlier the application submission the better. This is to take into account any English Language tests you may need to take and await the results of, and any visa applications that you may need to make.

It is typical that the process from the receipt of your online application and PAF through to offer letter stage (which includes the arrangement of the PhD interview) takes approximately six weeks.

Please note that the deadlines listed below are for both the online application and Project Approval Form (PAF) which is to be submitted in Microsoft Word format to ioppn.pgr@kcl.ac.uk.

Copies of the PAF can be downloaded here


Personal statement and supporting information

You will be asked to submit the following documents in order for your application to be considered:

Psychological Medicine Research checklist
Personal Statement Yes

A personal statement is required. This can be entered directly into the online application form (maximum 4,000 characters) or uploaded as an attachment to the online application form (maximum 2 pages).

Research Proposal Yes

The proposal should explain in some detail precisely the field of study that you want to contribute to and current research gaps, what you want to do and how you propose to do it. For advice on how to write a winning application, please visit the following page.

A letter of support from your proposed King's supervisor is also required. Futher details on this letter are available on the IOPPN webpages.

Previous Academic Study Yes A copy (or copies) of your official academic transcript(s), showing the subjects studied and marks obtained. If you have already completed your degree, copies of your official degree certificate will also be required. Applicants with academic documents issued in a language other than English, will need to submit both the original and official translation of their documents.
References Yes One academic reference is required. A professional reference will be accepted if you have completed your qualifications over five years ago.
Other Optional You may also wish to include a CV (Resume) or evidence of professional registration as part of your application

Course intake

No set number

Application closing date

We recommend that you submit your application as soon as possible as we may need to request further information from you to assess your application. This is also important if your application is successful and you are required to meet any offer condition, and/or you need a Student Visa to study here at King's.

The final application deadlines are detailed below; on these dates, the programme will close at 23:59 (UK time) and we will open for the corresponding intake in 2023 soon after the same intake has passed in 2022.

  • February 2022 entry – 12 November 2021 for Overseas fee status and 6 December 2021 for Home fee status

  • June 2022 entry – 1 April 2022 for Overseas fee status and 11 April 2022 for Home fee status

  • October 2022 entry – 29 July 2022 for Overseas fee status and 26 August 2022 for Home fee status

  • February 2023 entry – 21 October 2022 for Overseas fee status and 22 November 2022 for Home fee status

  • June 2023 entry – 3 April 2023 for Overseas fee status and 17 April 2023 for Home fee status

Please note that funding deadlines may be earlier than the application deadlines listed above.

Help and support

If you don't have a suitable qualification for direct entry to a UK university, or if English isn't your first language, our academic preparation courses can help you get ready for study in the UK.

International Foundation

Fees and funding

UK Tuition Fees 2021/22

Full time tuition fees:

£6,720 per year (MPhil/PhD, Psychological Medicine Research)

£6,720 per year (MDRes)

Part time tuition fees:

£3,360 per year (MPhil/PhD, Psychological Medicine Research)

£3,360 per year (MDRes)

International Tuition Fees 2021/22

Full time tuition fees:

£25,350 per year (MPhil/PhD, Psychological Medicine Research)

£25,350 per year (MDRes)

Part time tuition fees:

£12,675 per year (MPhil/PhD, Psychological Medicine Research)

UK Tuition Fees 2022/23

Full time tuition fees:

£7,050 per year (MPhil/PhD, Psychological Medicine Research)

£7,050 per year (MDRes)

Part time tuition fees:

£3,525 per year (MPhil/PhD, Psychological Medicine Research)

£3,525 per year (MDRes)

International Tuition Fees 2022/23

Full time tuition fees:

£26,640 per year (MPhil/PhD, Psychological Medicine Research)

£26,640 per year (MDRes)

Part time tuition fees:

£13,320 per year (MPhil/PhD, Psychological Medicine Research)

£13,320 per year (MDRes)

EU Students starting their programme in the academic year 2021/22 will pay international tuition fees.

These tuition fees may be subject to additional increases in subsequent years of study, in line with King's terms and conditions.

Financial help and support

Visit the fees and funding webpages to find out more about bursaries, scholarships, grants, tuition fees, living expenses, student loans and other financial help available at King's.

Career prospects

Doctoral students from the Department go on to develop their careers in a number of directions.  Many stay in the mental health field. For example, a substantial number go into Clinical Psychology programmes, some go back into Clinical Psychiatry and some go into Departments of Psychology. However, we have had instances where successful PhD students have gone into the City.


Career destinations

Students have gone on to work as psychiatrists or psychologists within the NHS, lecturers, and researchers within academia and elsewhere.


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Next steps

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