School of Psychology

Postgraduate Prizes

The following prizes are awarded each year for postgraduate work of outstanding merit:

  • Alan Parkin Prize for Best Performance on the MSc in Experimental Psychology 
  • Maria Jahoda Prize for Best Performance on the MSc in Applied Social Psychology 
  • Sussex Partnership Trust Prize for Best Research Dissertation on the MSc in Foundations of Clinical Psychology and Mental Health 
  • Sussex Partnership Trust Prize for Best Performance on the MSc in Foundations of Clinical Psychology and Mental Health 
  • Prize for Best Performance on the MSc Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Prize for Best Performance on the MRes Psychological Methods
  • Prize for Best Performance on the Post Graduate Diploma in Psychological Therapy
  • Prize for Best Performance on the Post Graduate Certificate in Low - Intensity Psychological Interventions for Children and Young People

Alan Parkin Prize for Best Performance on the MSc in Experimental Psychology 

Alan Parkin, Professor of Experimental Psychology, died in 1999 at the age of 49. He was a strong supporter of the M.Sc. because of the chance it offers to change academic direction. This was an opportunity he himself had benefited from, and he would point out with relish how many well-known psychologists have first degrees in subjects other than psychology! 

Al (as he was generally known) graduated from Reading University with a 2:II in zoology, having spent most of his undergraduate years running a profitable disco. He spent some time working for British Rail, and playing in rock bands, before coming to the Laboratory of Experimental Psychology in the late 70s to do the M.Sc.. He seized this opportunity to change direction and never looked back, from then on forging a strong career in research and teaching.

His early research investigated how we process and remember words and faces but, by the mid 80s, he had become involved in researching the amnesic syndrome. This drew him into the field of neuropsychology – an area that continued to fascinate him until the end of his life. Al’s research in this area over the next 15 years established him as one of Britain’s leading academic neuropsychologists. 

Al's approach to neuropsychology was not only academic. Genuinely moved by the tragedies of the brain-injured people he met, he developed a private practice alongside his academic career. This enabled him to put his academic expertise to practical use in advising patients and their families, representing patients' interests at tribunals, and acting as an expert witness in legal cases. This, at times, gave him more fulfillment than his academic career.

As a teacher, Al’s clear expositions, dark sense of humour, and his support for students from unconventional backgrounds, made him both popular and inspiring. Present day students can still enjoy something of his approach to teaching through the seven books he wrote. These include ‘Memory & Amnesia’, ‘Memory: Phenomena, Experiment and Theory’, ‘Explorations in Cognitive Neuropsychology’ and his last, ‘Essential Cognitive Psychology’, published with his colleagues’ help, shortly after his death. He also published over 100 journal papers which provide further testimony to his way of thinking. 

Professor Maria Jahoda Prize for for Best Performance on the MSc in Applied Social Psychology 

Marie Jahoda was born in Vienna in 1907. In 1928 she earned her teaching diploma from the Pedagogical Academy of Vienna, and in 1933 her Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology from the University of Vienna. In 1937, she fled Austria, staying in England during World War II. In 1945 she emigrated to the United States. During her time there she worked as a researcher for the American Jewish Committee and Columbia University and as a Professor of social psychology at New York University where she founded the Research Centre for Human Relations. She came to the University of Sussex in the 1960s and played a full part in the academic life of the University and its governance. After her official retirement at 65 she began a new period of active creative work participating in the interdisciplinary research of the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU). She made major contributions to research programmes on social and technological forecasting and the social psychological consequences of prolonged unemployment.

Her work has been recognised with a prestigious Kurt Lewin Memorial Award from the American Psychological Association and was belatedly honoured by the German Social Democratic Party and by the Austrian Social Democratic Government. She was awarded an honorary degree by Sussex in 1973 and received a CBE in 1974.