The Singapore Management University (SMU) PhD in Psychology programme equips students with doctoral-level knowledge in content areas in psychology and research methodology, with broad research strengths which include Cognitive; Cultural; Evolutionary; Industrial & Organisational; and Social-Personality.

Students will learn, from both coursework and hands-on research experiences, to link psychological theory, study design, measurement, and data analysis in order to make substantive inferences and evidence-based recommendations to theory and practice that are scientifically defensible. Students in the programme have presented their work at international conferences and published their research in top journals in psychology.

Graduates of the programme will be well-prepared for psychology and psychology-related careers in academia and industry.

PhD in Psychology Programme Structure

The PhD in Psychology is a full-time programme, with a maximum candidature of five years. In the first two years of study, students will enroll in intensive courses to build their research depth and breadth. The coursework is intended to lay the groundwork in preparation for the dissertation research. A student in the programme will be required to finish a Master’s thesis by submitting the written thesis and orally defending it. The student will then have to sit for a PhD Qualifying Examination (QE), which will assess his or her mastery of the foundation required for the next stage of the PhD program – the dissertation. The dissertation is a student’s original work in his or her specialised area through independent research.


  • 6 Foundation courses (6 Course Units)
  • 2 Elective courses (2 Course Units)
  • Empirical Research Project (1 Course Unit)
  • Master’s Thesis (12 Course Units)
  • 3 Advanced Research Topics (ARTs) courses (3 Course Units)
  • PhD Dissertation (28 Course Units)

Oral Defence of the Dissertation Proposal
This is an oral presentation of the proposed topic to a Dissertation Committee. A written dissertation proposal will have to be submitted before the presentation. A supervisor, with the expertise in the chosen topic, will be appointed. He or she guides and mentors the student throughout the dissertation work.

Oral Defence and Completion of the PhD Dissertation
This is an oral presentation of the written dissertation report to the Committee. After possible revision(s) to the report and upon fulfillment of all necessary requirements, the Committee will recommend to the University to award the PhD degree.

Admission Requirements

  • At least a good Bachelor’s degree in Psychology or a relevant Bachelor’s degree.
  • Good GRE results (the General examination should be taken within five years prior to application; the GRE Psychology Subject Test is strongly encouraged for applicants who do not have a bachelor degree in psychology).
  • Good TOEFL or IELTS scores (for applicants whose medium of instruction at the Bachelor’s/Master’s level was not in English).

PhD Students’ Professional Development

Students are also provided professional training. These include teaching, English communications and presentation skills, as well as career development workshops such as interview preparation. Furthermore, students also have opportunities to share their research contributions with the international research community through reputable refereed research conferences, in Singapore and abroad. SMU provides funding for our students to attend such conferences.


Scholarships available

The Singapore Management University (SMU) PhD Programmes: Research Excellence across Management, Social Science & Computing

A premier university in Asia, the Singapore Management University (SMU) is known internationally for its world-class research and distinguished teaching. It generates leading-edge research with global impact and aims to produce broad-based, creative and entrepreneurial leaders. Home to over 8,300 undergraduate and postgraduate students, SMU is known for its interactive and technologically-enabled pedagogy of seminar-style teaching in small class sizes. The university comprises six schools – School of Accountancy, Lee Kong Chian School of Business, School of Economics, School of Information Systems, School of Law and School of Social Sciences – offering a wide range of Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD degree programmes in various disciplines.

SMU offers four PhD programmes:

  1. PhD in Business, with specializations in:
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Operations Management
  • Organisational Behaviour & Human Resources
  • Strategic Management & Organisation

PhD in Economics PhD in Psychology PhD in Information Systems (computing as well as management)

Benefits of Pursuing the SMU PhD

  • SMU prepares our PhD students to become world-class academic or industry thought leaders in their specialized fields by providing opportunities for deeper integration across management, social science, and computing. Our students are well equipped to create or generate impactful and real-world solutions. SMU encourages our students to undertake multidisciplinary research during their PhD journey.
  • There are also many opportunities for our PhD students to participate in research and teaching teams at the schools as well as SMU research centers and institutes comprising internationally-known faculty members who are experts in their specialized fields.
  • Over and above academic training, SMU PhD students also participate in professional development activities (such as presentation and teaching skills training). This training is useful to them during their PhD studies as well as after they graduate.
  • Being on a city campus, PhD students have easy access to industry partners who provide research data and validation platforms as well as SMU’s research facilities which include proprietary and published databases.
  • SMU provides our PhD students with scholarships that cover tuition fees and provide living stipends as well as provides generous conference funding for students to share their research contributions with the international research community.
  • Our PhD graduates have found good placements at prestigious academic institutions and industry organisations.
Program taught in:
Singapore Management University

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Last updated May 24, 2019
This course is Campus based
Start Date
4 - 5 years
- Scholarships available
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Closing date for applications is 31 Jan 2019
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