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Research that makes a difference

University of Stirling

At the University of Stirling, our researchers are truly making a difference. We’re leading the fight against tobacco-related harm, working to improve the lives of people with dementia and feeding communities through sustainable aquaculture research.

Our research is conducted to the highest standards of quality and integrity, allowing us to support and improve life across the world.

In 2019, our world-renowned Institute of Aquaculture’s pioneering work was recognised with the UK’s most prestigious academic honour – the Queen’s Anniversary Prize – and University of Stirling academics have been appointed by the Scottish Government to lead on 10 major projects investigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why undertake a PhD at Stirling?

Our aim is simple. We want our research to change lives and tackle the global issues of our time. So we provide the best conditions for our thriving community of 3,800 UK and international postgraduate students studying with us.

Collaboration is at the core of our approach – not just working across disciplines but also with business, other universities, the public sector and government. Our academics are experts in their fields, internationally-recognised and shaping research groups and hubs.

As a postgraduate researcher at Stirling, you will benefit from our Institute for Advanced Studies. The Institute offers a wide range of support and development opportunities, including access to our Researcher Development Programme and Career Development Centre.

Work is also underway on our £21.7 million Campus Central project – a major infrastructure investment which saw the opening of our brand-new Study Zone in early 2020. The Study Zone is a dedicated learning and research collaboration space designed to encourage knowledge exchange and help you to develop your research passion.

Find out more about our PhD subject areas and current PhD opportunities.

Research that makes a difference

Our research

Research at Stirling is encompassed within three overarching themes: Cultures, Communities and Society; Global Security and Resilience; and Living Well. Within these themes, we have 12 research programmes which highlight the strength of strategic research activity at Stirling.

Staff in our five academic faculties are the starting point and driving force behind the research taking place at the University. We have an outstanding record of conducting world-leading and internationally excellent research. Staff collaborate across divisions and with external partners to produce research that sparks new conversations, informs government policies and impacts lives for the better.

Check out our faculty research.

How to apply

If you’ve got the drive and the potential to join our ground-breaking research community, here’s how you can apply for a research degree at the University of Stirling.

Step 1: Develop your research proposal
Step 2: Choose a subject area
Step 3: Apply online

Research that makes a difference

Academic Units

How fast will an infectious disease spread? How can evolutionary techniques help provide solutions to a complex problem? How does information flow in the brain? These are some of the questions being tackled by our Department. Research is pursued that is relevant to industry, commerce or quality of life. Co-operation with external organisations stimulates research through real problems, and allows results to be validated on realistic applications.

We are committed to internationally excellent research, providing a stimulating environment for postgraduate students, research fellows and visitors.

The department attracts substantial funding from a wide range of bodies (e.g., ESRC, EPSRC, BBSRC, NERC, Royal Society). The research infrastructure is based around the four research groups: Applied Formal Methods, Communications and Service Engineering, Computational Intelligence, and Mathematical Biology. More details can be seen on the department website:

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Psychology at the University of Stirling is a thriving and vibrant division of the Faculty of Natural Sciences. Our postgraduates are guided by world-class researchers and supported by the Stirling Graduate Research School. Every one of our postgraduates enjoys an unrivalled range of social, cultural and sporting opportunities, all within our beautiful campus location. To find out more about Stirling, visit
The Division attracts substantial funding from a wide range of bodies (e.g., EPSRC, BBSRC, Wellcome Trust, and The Royal Society). We have excellent research infrastructure, including a children's playgroup, a neuroimaging laboratory and extensive audio and visual facilities.
Psychology research falls into several broad categories each of which is associated with a core area of psychological research: Behaviour and Evolution; Health and Social; Cognitive Neuroscience; Perception; and Developmental. More details can be found on the Psychology Division website:

Project List:

The School of Applied Social Science is a large inter-disciplinary unit, combining teaching and research interests in Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology, Social Work, Dementia and Housing Studies and a number of specialist centres.

It has a vigorous record in all these areas and in the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) in 2008, 95 per cent of our research was internationally excellent, with the top 10 per cent of that judged to be 'world leading'. We are an ESRC recognised postgraduate research training centre, as part of the Scottish Graduate School.

Project List: