Wednesday, September 09, 2015

PhD in Behavioural Science

The PhD in Behavioural Science programme is aimed at students who want to work in the Behavioural Science Centre  to conduct and publish world leading research at the interface between the social sciences (such as economics) and the behavioural sciences (such as psychology). This area - which encompasses behavioural economics - is a fast growing field within the social and behavioural sciences and this is one of the only PhD programmes within Europe to have this area as the primary focus. Completing this PhD involves becoming an interdisciplinary researcher, with advanced research skills in both economics and psychology, as well as an appreciation of how assumptions, methods, and theories differ between the two fields.
The PhD research may involve the analysis of large (N > 10,000) pre-existing longitudinal datasets, quantitative field surveys, experimental designs, randomized controlled trials, or a combination of these methods. Research can be desk based or involve our public, private, or third sector partners (such as the Scottish Government, local council, job centres, or consultancy business) normally with a focus on basic science research.
In addition to the individual supervision and structured training given to all students at Stirling Management School, students benefit from being a full member of the internationally leading Behavioural Science Centre, which has developed a genuine community of closely interacting and collaborating researchers. Members come from diverse backgrounds, with some having degrees exclusively from economics and others exclusively from psychology, but all share the same passion for researching at the interface between these two areas. There is a strong culture of joint socialising (including regular drinks and meals) and collaborating - projects normally have input from several centre members, all of whom are always willing to be a part of joint research. Collaboration and the research culture are promoted with a two hour centre meeting each week. The first 30 minutes is devoted to "business", where everyone is updated on recent relevant developments and participates in shared decision making as to the direction of the centre. The second 30 minutes is slot booked by a centre member (including our students) to use as they want - commonly to put up an early research idea for feedback, results for discussion, or present a preview of a conference talk in a supportive environment. The remaining hour is used for the weekly seminar, which has more substantial talk from centre members or more commonly presentations from invited researchers from across the UK, as well as occasionally from our partners in industry and government. In addition, we run regular workshops (including currently a £28,000 ESRC seminar series) which attract the key figures in the field. PhD students are an equal part of our community and are expected to enthusiastically participate in all aspects of centre life.
Students are part of the Division of Economics, where the centre is based, which runs additional seminars and social events. Depending on the student's background and the precise research, students may be said to graduate with a PhD in behavioural science, social science, economics, psychology or another related area that accurately describes the work and skills set developed.
Potential students are very strongly recommended to carefully review the centre website, blog, and particularly the Centre Director’s informal guide to a PhD, as well as the other pages at the links below. For interesting modules to attend whilst taking the PhD, the MSc in Behavioural Science may be particularly relevant.
Useful links:


If you are interested in joining the centre as a PhD student you are recommended to first approach the Director, Professor Alex Wood. You are also welcome to contact at any stage the relevant Postgraduate Research Tutor Dr David Comerford .  Other helpful individuals include;
Administrator – Mrs Lisa Reid.

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