The Tizard Centre

Postgraduate Research at Tizard

General information

The Tizard Centre is one of the leading academic groups concerned with learning disabilities and community care.  Successful applicants will have the opportunity to work alongside academics renowned nationally and internationally for their contributions to the field.

The Tizard Centre offers the following research programmes on a full or part-time basis:
Community Care PhD
Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities PhD
Applied Psychology PhD
Mental Health PhD

Potential topics and supervisors

We welcome applications concerning all aspects of community care, but the academic staff named below are particularly interested in supervising research in the following specialist areas:

Dr Peter Baker on emotional support of staff working in services for people with intellectual disabilities who present challenging behaviour.

Dr Magali Barnoux on people with IDD in the criminal justice system, in terms of offending behaviour, victims, and/or witnesses.

Professor Peter Langdon on cognitive-behavioural therapy for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities; mental health care, including forensic mental health care for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities; care systems; criminal justice systems; moral development; information processing with people who have autistic spectrum disorders; diagnosis of autism with girls and women; behavioural interventions for people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities.

Dr Michelle McCarthy on the broad areas of relationships and sexuality; abuse; sexual and reproductive health, especially for women with learning disabilities.

Dr Damian Milton on autism in a social and cultural context, 'critical autism studies', participatory research and the autistic 'voice', qualitative research in the field of autism, autism and empathy, educational approaches, and mentoring practices.

Dr Ciara Padden on behavioural interventions for children and adults with ASD or developmental disabilities; parent and staff training in behavioural interventions; and health and well-being of parents and carers of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Dr Paraskevi Triantafyllopoulou on health related issues and psychological interventions for both children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (e.g large scale GP health related data, sleep, cancer, eating disorders, obesity etc.); educational settings/ approaches for people with ASD; bullying; older adults and dementia; autism diagnosis.


For a more general discussion, please phone Dr Michelle McCarthy on 01227 827997 on Wednesdays and Fridays only or email

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PhD degrees which apply:

  • Applied Psychology
  • Community Care
  • Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
  • Mental Health

Deadline for applications is Friday 7 December 2018 at 23:59 hrs. Interviews will be conducted on Friday 11 January 2019, at the University of Kent, Canterbury Campus.

You need to make TWO applications:

  1. For a place to study a postgraduate degree at the University - online application
  2. For the School/VCScholarship - application form

Information on our postgraduate research programmes can be viewed on our postgraduate studies webpage.

We welcome applications concerning all aspects of community care; please refer to our website for the research expertise of the academic staff who are currently accepting new PhD students.

Please note:

  • Successful candidates will have obtained a 1st or good 2.1 undergraduate degree in a relevant subject, and ordinarily an MA or MSc at Merit or Distinction level. The scholarship covers tuition fees at the postgraduate standard home/EU rate (£4,052 per annum) in addition to an annual maintenance stipend of £14,057 per annum (for entry in September/October 2016 only).
  • Applications will only be considered if applicants have secured agreement from a member of staff in their area of interest to supervise them. Only one academic may be approached at a time (multiple simultaneous approaches will result in the application being rejected).

Other conditions:

  • All Scholarships are offered under the Graduate Teaching Assistant model, ie. a stipend and a payment for teaching (with the exception to funding being used to match-fund research council scholarships) .
  • Scholarships are only available to new PhD students.
  • Applications will only be approved if they include two references.
  • In order to fulfil the requirements of a scholarship, international students must be eligible to work in the UK. SeeGuidance on Checking Eligibility to work in the UK.
  • If successful, international applications will have to cover the difference in fees themselves.

For questions about the application process please email the Postgraduate Office:

For an informal discussion, please phone Dr Michelle McCarthy on 01227 827997 on Wednesdays and Fridays only.



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Applicants should have, or expect to receive a very good honours or Master's degree in a relevant social science subject such as psychology, social policy, social work or sociology.

The Centre is open to applications focused on any relevant topic. Applicants are welcome to contact individual members of staff they think would be potential supervisors. Applicants may also make general enquiries of Michelle McCarthy, PhD Programme Convenor (


For further information and application forms contact:

The Recruitment and Admissions Office
University of Kent

Tel: (01227) 827272



Information on applying online

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Most students have a principal and a second supervisor, at least one of whom will have specialist knowledge of the research topic. The department's PhD Programme Convenor (currently Michelle McCarthy) takes an overseeing role, providing support to both PhD students and academic supervisors. In addition to routine meetings between the student and supervisor, a formal review of progress takes place by a supervisory panel every six months. Research students and supervisors each complete a six-monthly report on their progress. This covers the written or other work they have done, the skills they have acquired, who has seen their work, conferences attended, training received, obstacles to their progress, judgements about whether they are on schedule or not and what the supervisors are doing about this. This will be considered by the supervisory panel, which will make recommendations for any student whose progress is problematic.


The University has excellent library and computing facilities. These include access to many on-line databases including PsychLit, Medline and the Web of Knowledge. The Computer Centre provides a range of courses and every student has an e-mail address and access to the Internet. The Tizard Centre provides computers and video equipment and computer-based systems for the analysis of video. There is a dedicated PGR study space in the Cornwallis building, as well as in the Library and the Oaks Study Hub.

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Tizard Centre, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7LR

Telephone: +44(0)1227 827373 or contact us

Last Updated: 03/12/2018