Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I have no funded positions available currently, but am always willing to discuss potential projects especially around areas of social and cultural psychology with a focus on religion and spirituality, religious change, irreligion, mindfulness, meditation, the transpersonal, Buddhism and meditation, etc.

Willing to speak to media


Research activity per year

Personal profile


Lorna Freestone; Psychology

How do the experiences of supportive parents of transgender children affect parents’ identity, coping and wellbeing?

Sarah Ferguson; Occupational Psychology

Goal setting for children with cerebral palsy: Navigating the family centred practice narrative

Yuan Jin; Psychology

Exploring the mindfulness score and meditation experience between: Local Group vs Distant group vs Solitary Meditation with experienced meditators, plus placebo, with absorption trait as a predictor

Alex Wilson; Psychology

The Transformative Nature of Altered States of Consciousness in Youth Subculture.

Research Interests

Alasdair’s interests are in social and cultural psychology, the psychology of religion and spirituality, as well as the intersection of these two areas (e.g. doctoral dissertation on “Becoming Buddhist” in a Western cultural context). Alasdair’s methodological interests are mainly qualitative, and specifically grounded theory.


Alasdair completed his BA in Drama & Psychology and his BA(Hons) in Psychology at Rhodes University in South Africa, graduating in 1994, before spending some years travelling and working in the private sector. 

He later completed an MSc in Consciousness and Transpersonal Psychology at Liverpool John Moores University in 2003, and went on to do a PhD at the same institution, completing this in 2011 with a thesis examining how Westerners become Buddhist in the UK.

Since 2011, Alasdair has worked at UON, initially as one of the team on the now-defunct MSc Transpersonal Psychology & Consciousness Studies programme, and is currently Programme Leader for psychology's Joint Honours programmes and the new BSc in Forensic Psychology.

Alasdair is also an ordained Soto Zen Priest in the White Plum tradition, and runs the StoneWater Zen Northampton meditation group, and volunteers as a chaplaincy visitor at St Andrews hospital. 

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Becoming Buddhist: A grounded theory of religious change and identity formation in Western Buddhism, Liverpool John Moores University

Award Date: 30 Jun 2012

PGCE, Learning & Teaching in Higher Education, Liverpool John Moores University

Award Date: 31 Jul 2005

Master, MSc Consciousness & Transpersonal Psychology, Liverpool John Moores University

Award Date: 31 Jul 2003

Bachelor, BA(Hons) Psychology, Rhodes University

… → 31 Dec 1994

Award Date: 31 Dec 1994


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