Psychiatry PhD / MPhil / MD

The University of Liverpool Division Of Psychiatry provides supervision for postgraduate students who wish to undertake research degrees in specific fields of interest. For further enquiries regarding these fields of interest please refer to the Divisional research themes below. The Division cannot provide funding support for research degrees unless specific arrangements are made with lead supervisors or the student applies through competitive and advertised posts.

Why study with us?

  • 1st

    (joint) in the UK for our 'world leading' (4*) environment in the latest Research Excellence Framework (2021)

  • £400,000

    annum investment by the university in studentships

  • 100

    PGR students in the Institute


We've highly active, internationally renowned research groups and, in the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (2008), 80% of our research activity was rated as of international standard.

There are several outstanding research themes within Psychiatry. In General and Adult Psychiatry where Professor Christoph Lauber was appointed in late 2007, “social inclusion and exclusion of people with severe mental illness” best describes the research addressed. The research’s mission statement is “People with severe mental illness: From clinical questions to research evidence and back again”. This includes the following topics: supported employment in people with psychosis and common mental disorders, user and carer involvement in mental health care, stigma of people with mental illness, mental health services research and intervention studies. The aims of the new research group are:

  1. To make a significant contribution to a better understanding and treatment of people with mental illness who have complex needs,
  2. To significantly contribute to mental health services research, and
  3. To be a leading centre in translational research in mental health.

In child and adolescent psychiatry, Professor Gowers is undertaking a Department of Health funded multi-centre trial on cognitive behaviour therapy for adolescent anorexia nervosa. He leads an international collaboration to develop and field test the Health of the Nation outcome scales for children and adolescents.

Professor Rahman was appointed to the chair of child psychiatry in early 2008 and brings his international portfolio to the Division. He has recently completed the largest trial of a psychological intervention for perinata depression in a developing country and is carrying out further interventional studies for the promotion of early child development in low-income countries. He is an advisor to the World Health Organisation (WHO) and a member of the Guidelines Development Group for the WHO Mental Health Gap Action programme.

Dr Helen Sharp is conducting a large Medical Research Council funded study into the earliest developmental origins of childhood conduct disorders. The aim of this work is to identify risk and protective factors for the development of conduct problems and to establish an epidemiological sample for longitudinal study into later childhood and early adulthood. A subsample of families, stratified by psychosocial risk, are being studied in great detail using developmental, observational and investigator interview measures at frequent intervals. A recent pilot RCT funded by the NHS Forensic R&D Programme has just been completed by Dr Sharp, evaluating a new intervention for treatment resistant conduct problems in childhood. We also have an ongoing research project exploring the role of burden and carer/family issues in relation to complex healthcare treatments for Cystic Fibrosis. This project is funded by the National Institute for Health Research, Research for Patient Benefit Programme and is led by Dr Claire Glasscoe.

Within old age psychiatry, Professor Wilson has undertaken Cochrane reviews of interventions in the treatment of depression in older people. This work is complemented by publications of randomised controlled trials in long term treatment of depression and he is currently engaged in HTA funded study of RCT of antidepressant treatment in depressed patients with dementia. These intervention studies are against a strong background of epidemiological studies of mental illness in older people. In particular, the Unit has fully recruited into a five year longitudinal study focus on the phenomenology of depression in Parkinson’s disease. Professor Wilson is Director of the NIHR Cheshire and Merseyside Comprehensive Research Network, providing support for research across all 25 Trusts within Cheshire and Merseyside.

Psychiatry offers an opportunity for a wide range of research spanning age groups, community and secondary care services. Students undertaking postgraduate degrees will be engaged in a busy seminar programme, being expected to play a part through presentation, and attending appropriate conferences. Research supervision leading to the degrees of MPhil, PhD and MD is offered.

Research groups

  • Supported employment in people with psychosis and common mental disorders
  • User and carer involvement in mental health care
  • Stigma of people with mental illness
  • Mental health services research
  • Intervention studies

Study options and fees

MPhil / PhD / MD Duration UK students International Students
Full time 2-4 years £4,712
  • Faculty of Health and Life Sciences £27,800 (Band A)^
  • Faculty of Science and Engineering* £27,800 (Band A)^ or £21,850 (Band B)
  • Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences £21,850 (Band B)
Part time 4-6 years £2,356
  • Faculty of Health and Life Sciences £13,900 (Band A)^
  • Faculty of Science and Engineering* £13,900 (Band A)^ or £10,925 (Band B)
  • Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences £10,925 (Band B)

The fees stated in the table above exclude potential research support fees also known as ‘bench fees’. You will be notified of any fee which may apply in your offer letter.

* Please note that if you are undertaking a PhD within the Faculty of Science and Engineering the fee you pay, Band A or Band B, will reflect the nature of your research project. Some research projects incur a higher fee than others e.g. if you are required to undertake laboratory work. You will be informed of the fee for your programme in your offer letter.

^ Self-funded, full-time international students studying a PhD programme classified as Band A will receive a £2,000 reduction in their fees for the first year only.

Entry requirements

A good (2:1 or first class or equivalent) degree in a relevant subject is normally required. Potential students should be aware that for certain projects criminal record checks may be necessary. Projects will always be subject to appropriate ethical approval and in some cases collaborating NHS Trusts may require health checks before permitting access to patients.MD students should be registered medical practitioners. 

English language requirements

IELTS Academic requirement - SELT and non-SELT Overall score of 7.0 with no less than 6.0 in each component
TOEFL iBT requirement Minimum 100 overall with L 21 R 21 W 21 and S 23
C1 Advanced CAE requirement Overall 185 with no less than 176 in any paper
PTE Academic requirement69 with minimum scores of 61 in each component
Trinity College London, Integrated Skills in English (ISE II)Please confirm with the department
Cambridge IGCSE as a First LanguageGrade C
Cambridge IGCSE as a Second LanguageGrade B
Cambridge English Level 3 Certificate in ESOL International (Proficiency)Overall 185 with 176 in components
Cambridge English Level 3 Certificate in ESOL International (Advanced)Overall 185 with 176 in components
Cambridge English Level 2 Certificate in ESOL International (Advanced)Overall 185 with 176 in components

How to apply

Research degree applications can be made online.  You'll also need to ensure that you have funding to cover all fees.

Applications are open all year round.

More about applying for research degrees

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Before you apply, we recommend that you identify a supervisor and develop a research proposal

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