A thriving scholarly community
Founded in 1952, the Department of Psychology is consistently ranked as one of the very best in the UK with an outstanding reputation for excellence in teaching, research and employability of our students. We are currently ranked 6th in the Complete University Guide, 7th in the Guardian University League Table, and in the top 100 of Psychology Departments world-wide according to the QS World Rankings.
The department is committed to creating and maintaining a research environment that spans the entire breadth of psychology. Currently the department’s research falls within four groupings: Developmental Science; Learning, Memory and Cognition; Perception, Action and Awareness; Social, Evolutionary and Affective Psychology. There is a vibrant research culture with a departmental weekly research seminar series. We pride ourselves on being a collegiate and welcoming department, committed to success for all who work here. This is illustrated by our Athena Swan Silver Award received in 2013 and renewed in 2017.
Over the next ten years the University plans to invest heavily in the Department. Up to twelve new positions (funded by projected student number growth) are planned in areas including affective, behavioural, cognitive, developmental, industrial, organisational, and social psychology.
These positions will help Durham build a more broadly based Department of Psychology and will help the University achieve its goal of building critical mass in quantitative social science.
We are ranked 1st in the world for citations per academic staff member and are holding an Athena Swan Silver Award.
QS World University Rankings 2017
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The department delivers internationally excellent research across all of its research groups with many outputs judged world-leading in the last REF. We are committed to maintaining and building on this research excellence across the entire breadth of psychology. Currently the department’s research falls within four groupings: Developmental Science; Learning, Memory and Cognition; Perception, Action and Awareness; Social, Evolutionary and Affective Psychology and we have strong links with other centres and institutes across the university including the Wolfson Research Institute, the Institute of Advanced Study, the Behaviour, Ecology and Evolution Research (BEER) Centre and the Centre for Visual Arts and Culture. We also have a strong collaborative link to the James Cook University Hospital where our 3-T scanning facility is based.
Examples of current projects within the department include:
- a cross-cultural study examining how differing levels of access to television affect preferences for female body weight (funded by the Leverhulme Trust);
- a Cross-syndrome research on social perception / social cognition in developmental disorders (including funding from Baily Thomas Foundation);
- and an interdisciplinary study of voice-hearing including academics from cognitive neuroscience, English literature, cultural studies, medical humanities, philosophy, linguistics, psychology, psychiatry and theology (this project also works closely with clinicians, voice-hearers and other experts by experience, funded by the Wellcome Trust).
The department is well-equipped and was rated as having an excellent research environment in REF2014, with 100% of the submission rated internationally excellent or world leading. This environment includes provision for fMRI, TMS, tDCS, EEG/ERP, eye movement tracking, biophysiological recording as well as the analysis of visuomotor action and psychophysical performance.
The department also has a motion capture lab, an echo-attenuated chamber and a suite of observation labs. The department benefits from full IT and mechanical research support from departmental technicians between 8:30am and 4:30pm Monday to Friday.
The department currently has around 35 academic staff members organised into four research groups: Developmental Science; Learning, Memory and Cognition; Perception, Action and Awareness; Social, Evolutionary and Affective Psychology.
There are also 17 research staff including two independent research fellows. We are also fortunate in having a departmental mechanical technician and three IT research support technicians.