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Postgraduate Research Degree

Renatas Berniunas (PhD, 2012) while doing his fieldwork in Mongolia
Postgraduate Research Degree

Our PhD at the Institute of Cognition and Culture (ICC) aims to create a new breed of scholars capable of (i) grasping the discoveries of multiple disciplines - in particular, those connected to the cognitive and evolutionary sciences, (ii) formulating and testing hypotheses through rigorous methodological means, (iii) applying these methods cross-culturally, often in collaboration with other researchers, and (iv) building a well-integrated body of knowledge on a specific topic. The students we seek for this endeavour should demonstrate great analytical skills, creativity and motivation, and a deep interest in the field of cognition and culture.


The Ph.D. programme at the ICC runs for 3 years. In the first year of training, students prepare their research proposals in consultation with their supervisors and receive group training on a wide range of methods as well as individual orientation on issues specific to their project. This phase culminates with the assessment of the proposed research. If successful, the student ‘differentiates’ (i.e. advances to the status of Ph.D. candidate). The second year comprises the research and data-collection component of the postgraduate training, where students systematically test the hypotheses defined in their proposals. This normally entails two phases. In the first, PhD candidates conduct a research study (or series of studies) within the laboratory facilities of the ICC. In the second, students apply their methodology to a distinct cultural context that is identified as being able to address and refine core features of the PhD candidate’s theoretical model. In the final year of postgraduate training, analysis of research findings is carried out in consultation with supervisors and other staff members, and students complete the writing portion of their Ph.D. dissertations.

Degree Requirements

For entry to our doctoral programme a minimum of a 2.1 in the UK system at Bachelor level is required in a relevant subject and normally also a Masters in a relevant subject (although we might occasionally admit exceptionally promising students to our doctoral programme who hold only a Bachelors degree). In the case of overseas students, we have elaborate methods of calculating whether the marks obtained are equivalent to the minimum 2.1 requirement. For students from the USA, a rough rule of thumb is that a CGPA of 3.3 or better is necessary for entry, although candidates seeking funding would typically have much higher grades than that.

If you are interested in taking a research degree you should, in the first instance, contact the Postgraduate Co-ordinator for your subject area for further information: Dr Paulo Sousa (