Self-funded PhD students only

Project code



Department of Psychology

Start dates

October and February

Closing date

Applications accepted all year round

Applications are invited for a self-funded, 3 year full-time or 6 year part-time PhD project.

The PhD will be based in the Department of Psychology and will be supervised by Dr Renan Saraiva and Professor Lorraine Hope.

The work on this project will involve:

  • Review of the literature
  • Research design and project management
  • Experimental design and implementation
  • Quantitative data analysis
    Although ageing is typically associated with memory ability decline, there are considerable individual differences in the rate and timing of these changes. Some individuals exhibit decline, while others continue to perform at high levels of cognitive functioning as they age (Valentijn et al., 2006). Considering the rapidly increasing population of older adults, it is important to achieve a better understanding of factors that contribute to different patterns of change in cognitive functioning with aging. Of particular interest are factors that may contribute to memory success, as such factors may represent potential avenues for interventions to promote and enhance successful cognitive functioning among older adults. One such factor is metacognition: our knowledge and beliefs about our mental processes (Veenman et al., 2006). Metacognition includes individuals’ beliefs about their own memory ability, self-efficacy regarding their abilities, and awareness of strategies that may improve memory performance. Interventions based on increasing self-efficacy and encouraging the use of memory strategies such as association, organization, and imagery use, have shown promising results in improving older adults’ memory ability (Gross et al., 2012). However, this literature is sparse and has not yet focused on valid assessments of metamemory to understand how such interventions can change older adults’ beliefs about their memory. The current project aims to: 1) develop a valid assessment of metacognitive awareness for older adults; and 2) test the effectiveness of targeted interventions based on the promotion of self-efficacy and strategy-use in improving memory performance, with a focus on memory accuracy.

    Fees and funding

    Self-funded PhD students only

    PhD full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the UK Government Doctoral Loan (UK and EU students only).

    2020/2021 entry (for October 2020 and February 2021 entries)

    Home/EU/CI full-time students: £4,407 p/a

    Home/EU/CI part-time students: £2,204 p/a

    International full-time students: £16,400 p/a

    International part-time students: £8,200 p/a

    2021/2022 entry (for October 2021 and February 2022 entries)

    Home/EU/CI full-time students: £4,407 p/a*

    Home/EU/CI part-time students: £2,204 p/a* 

    International full-time students: £17,600 p/a

    International part-time students: £8,800 p/a

    All fees are subject to annual increase. If you are an EU student starting a programme in 2021/22 please visit this page.

    *This is the 2020/21 UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) maximum studentship fee; this fee will increase to the 2021/22 UKRI maximum studentship fee when UKRI announces this rate in Spring 2021. 

    Bench fees

    Some PhD projects may include additional fees – known as bench fees – for equipment and other consumables, and these will be added to your standard tuition fee. Speak to the supervisory team during your interview about any additional fees you may have to pay. Please note, bench fees are not eligible for discounts and are non-refundable.

    Entry requirements

    You'll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university (minimum upper second class or equivalent, depending on your chosen course) or a Master’s degree in Psychology or a related area. In exceptional cases, we may consider equivalent professional experience and/or Qualifications. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

    How to apply

    We’d encourage you to contact Dr. Renan Saraiva ( to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting the project code.

    When you are ready to apply, you can use our online application form. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV.  Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process. 

    When applying please quote project code: PSYC5061021