This flexible taught MSc programme provides comprehensive training in psychological research across a whole range of psychology sub-disciplines.

You will learn core research methods and specialist techniques, and choose optional courses which you can tailor to your interests.

The University attracts a high calibre of visiting speakers. These talks are an excellent way to explore new topics and to learn about other leading researchers and research laboratories.

  • Our research environment is rated as 100% conducive to producing world-leading research, and 81.5% of our research is rated as outstanding in terms of its reach and significance (REF 2014).
  • Highly flexible masters programme which will provide you with comprehensive training in psychological research across the whole range of psychology sub-disciplines.
  • An opportunity to attend talks delivered by the high calibre of visiting speakers from across the World.

This programme comprises of two semesters of taught compulsory and optional courses followed by a dissertation.

Compulsory courses

You will take a variety of courses covering research methodology, current topics in psychological research, and statistics. The classes on statistics also provide a grounding in statistical programming. There are also courses which focus on qualitative methodologies and on general research skills, such as research ethics, science communication, and getting your work ready for publication.

Optional courses

You will have the opportunity to take optional courses, covering topics as diverse as cognitive neuroscience, developmental psychology, the psychology of language, cognitive epidemiology, psychometrics and social psychology. We also offer more in-depth training in the use of psychological software, and in a selection of specialist research methods, with hands-on introductions to practical techniques in cognitive neuroscience.


The dissertation is worth 60 out of the 180 credits that are required to qualify for an MSc. It involves conducting original research in your chosen area of psychology, and students’ topics are usually very diverse. You distil your findings into a written report, in which you will present an analysis and interpretation of your research data.

Sample structure

On average, full-time students will spend about six hours per week in lectures/seminars, about three hours in tutorials and about three hours in practical classes. The number of contact hours and teaching format will depend to some extent on the option courses chosen.

The remainder of your time will be spent on the independent study. After classes finish in April, you will spend all your time working independently on coursework and on your dissertation.


This programme comprises of two semesters of taught compulsory and optional courses followed by a dissertation. Most courses are taught by a combination of lectures, seminars/tutorials and practical sessions.

The content of seminars and tutorials varies but often consists of presentations and discussions based on readings. Practical sessions typically involve learning research skills and are supported by homework tasks and other exercises.

The courses include individual and group work. When you carry out your supervised dissertation research, you will receive guidance from your supervisor through one-to-one meetings, comments on written work and email communication.

The assessments vary and are designed to support different aspects of your learning but will include research reports and proposals, essays, oral and poster presentations, methodological exercises, statistical and qualitative analyses, and an 8,000-10,000 word dissertation.

This programme provides you with a range of knowledge and skills to prepare you for a variety of career paths

The programme provides an excellent preparation for further psychological research, whether you choose to pursue this in a non-academic setting or as part of a PhD programme.

It opens up a number of career possibilities: our alumni have moved on to work in research in psychology and related areas, including PhD training and academic careers, as well as assistant psychologist posts and advanced professional training in psychology (for example, Clinical Psychology or Educational Psychology).

Program taught in:
  • English
University of Edinburgh - School of Philosophy, Psychology & Language Sciences

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Last updated August 5, 2019
This course is Campus based
Start Date
1 - 2 years
Overseas/International | Home/EU: £10,700
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