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Psychology MSc

MSc / PGDip / PGCert

Department of Psychology, Health and Professional Development

Accredited by the British Psychological Society as conferring eligibility for graduate membership of the society and establishes the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (MSc only)

This conversion course is designed for students who intend to become professional psychologists. The main purpose of the course is to allow graduates in disciplines other than psychology, and psychology graduates whose undergraduate degree is not professionally recognised, to gain a qualification in psychology that confers eligibility for graduate membership of the British Psychological Society (BPS) and establishes the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC).

Available start dates

September 2019 / September 2020

Teaching location

Headington Campus

Course length

  • Full time: MSc: 12 months; PGDip/PGCert: 8 months
  • Part time: MSc: 24 months; for PGDip/PGCert, please contact us.

For full application details, please see the 'How to apply / Entry requirements' section.

This course offers:

  • A grounding in key theories and methods and the practice of psychology in relation to core areas such as developmental, social, cognitive and biological psychology as well as individual differences and abnormal psychology.
  • Training in a range of research paradigms, methods and measurement techniques, along with statistical and qualitative analysis and enables you to put this knowledge into practice to conduct a piece of hands-on, independent research.
  • A variety of active learning methods (eg lectures, discussions, seminars, practical exercises) and different forms of assessment (eg essays, critical reviews, oral presentations) including both coursework and exams.
  • A number of transferable intellectual skills (eg critical thinking, reasoning, academic writing) and practical skills (e.g. data analysis, scientific method, presentation skills) which are valued by employers.
  • State-of-the-art research facilities including a video observation lab, Babylab, perception and motion analysis (PuMA) lab, perception lab and EEG lab, and a comprehensive programme of research seminars offered by the department as well as specialist seminars organised by individual research groups.
  • A supportive and friendly learning environment with dedicated study and social-working space for postgraduate students. The Psychology department has achieved HEFCE quality assessment scores indicating excellence in the teaching it offers and you are taught by academic staff with international reputations in their field.

Professional accreditation

This course is currently accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS). Please note that this BPS accreditation is subject to review and can be withdrawn at any time.

The MSc Psychology is an intensive programme, including both theoretical and practical elements and covering the main research methods used in psychology. 

It provides grounding in the core areas of psychology and places emphasis on research methods and research skills. These include literature search and review, designing and planning experiments, questionnaires and observational methods, recording and presenting data, statistical analysis and interpretation of data as well as qualitative analysis, and presentation of work in standard publication format. 

You will also be expected to complete a research-based dissertation, which is an extended and supervised piece of work reporting new empirical data.

Cognitive and Social Aspects of Development (20 level 7 credits) provides you with a socio-cultural view of development and how education impacts on development and cognition. Examples of topics covered include paradigms for analysing cognitive developmental theory, reasoning, memory and executive function; culture and cognition, socialisation, and identity; children in schools; gender roles in development; and language development in relation to reading and writing.

Social Psychology (20 level 7 credits) considers the major themes in social psychology and how these influence society and social interaction. Discussion will focus on key articles in the literature. Themes include group dynamics, social identification, social influences, attraction, altruism, leadership role, prejudice and attitudes.

Brain and Cognition (20 level 7 credits) This module introduces the core aspects of the organisation and function of the brain and its associated sensory and motor systems. It also looks at cognitive processing and research into the relationship between cognition and brain processing as found in neuropsychology and cognitive neuroscience. Topics include basic neuroanatomy, methods in neuroscience and cognitive research, vision, attention, language, reading and dyslexia and problem solving. Current models and theories will be presented along with topical arguments and experimental studies.

Experimental Method and Statistics for Psychology (20 level 7 credits) develops your knowledge of statistical concepts and techniques of analysis. It covers standard and advanced statistical theory and methods, providing an opportunity to develop statistical expertise in descriptive and inferential statistics. This module is also an introduction to multinomial and multivariate analysis, and analysis of data using a statistical computer package (SPSS).

Intelligence and Individual Differences (20 level 7 credits) advances your knowledge of qualitative and quantitative research methods in psychology, with particular reference to cognition, intelligence and individual differences. The syllabus covers qualitative methods, ethnography and case studies in psychological research; the interview as a method of data collection; theoretical and methodological approaches in the analysis of interviews; intelligence and psychological testing; the use of computational models of cognitive processes and psychometric methods; and critical analysis of research papers and methods.

Personality and Psychological Disorders (20 level 7 credits) advances your knowledge of theory and research methods in psychology with particular reference to personality, individual differences and psychological disorders. The syllabus has included approaches to personality research and the methods used to measure personality; relationships between personality, health and illness; and mental health and psychological disorders.

Research Design Skills (10 level 7 credits) provides a structured framework within which you will identify your dissertation topic, critically review relevant previous research, and develop a workable design for your empirical project. The module ensures that you carry out the theoretical and methodological groundwork for your research-based dissertation and provides milestones for project development and an opportunity to gain tutor and peer feedback.

Research based dissertation (50 level 7 credits) is 6-8,000 words long. It is an extended and supervised piece of work reporting new empirical data. It is always grounded in a thorough review of the relevant scientific literature and normally requires experimental data collection. The aim of the dissertation is to allow you to develop your own ideas in a specific domain of psychology and to provide you with experience in research design, data collection, analysis and interpretation. You will also have the opportunity to work alongside an experienced academic from the Psychology team. 


The programme has been designed to allow exit qualification at postgraduate certificate level (60 level 7 credits), postgraduate diploma level (120 level 7 credits) as well as at master's level (180 level 7 credits).

Please note: only the award of MSc Psychology confers eligibility for the graduate basis for chartered membership of the British Psychological Society.

NB: as courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the list of modules may vary from that shown.

Teaching and learning

The programme is taught through a combination of lectures, research seminars, workshops, tutorials, supervised seminar presentations, and independent reading and research. Diverse teaching methods are employed to aid the quality of learning opportunities for students' understanding of psychology. 

Approach to assessment

Summative assessment methods include:

  • coursework assessments
  • individual and/or group presentations
  • class tests
  • exam grades.
Formative assessment methods include:

  • coursework feedback processes
  • informal tutor discussion
  • peer feedback.

Specialist facilities

The Department of Psychology, Social Work and Public Health boasts state-of-the-art facilities including a video observation lab, Babylab, Perception and Motion Analysis (PuMA) lab, visual perception lab (incorporating eye tracking technology), and an EEG suite. In addition, postgraduate students have a dedicated study and social working space to facilitate group projects.

Additional costs

Most recommended reading material takes the form of papers available from the library however you should expect to incur additional costs if printing materials or purchasing optional textbooks (likely to be about £40 per book). Whilst much equipment is available from the department at no charge, you are also responsible for any other costs associated with the research dissertation (eg printing questionnaires or materials for participants, your travel costs etc). The extent of these costs will vary depending on the nature of the research project. All students will also be responsible for costs associated with the printing and binding of two copies of their research dissertation (about £40).

Attendance pattern

The final timetable is not confirmed until the start of the semester. Based on previous years, full-time students should expect to have scheduled teaching on site for 2-2.5 days during semester time and part- time students to have scheduled teaching on site for 1-1.5 days. In addition there is the expectation that students will be available for meetings with staff and available (on or off-site) for self-study as appropriate.

Programme changes

On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website. For more information, please visit our Changes to programmes page.

Tuition fees

Home/EU - full time fee: 2019/20: £7,240 (Masters) £6,510 (Diploma) £3,620 (Certificate) 2020/21: £7,500 (Masters) £6,750 (Diploma) £3,750 (Certificate)

Home/EU - part time fee: 2019/20: £3,690 2020/21: £3,750

International - full time: 2019/20: £13,730 2020/21: £14,200

Where part time fees are quoted this is for the first year only. Fees will increase by up to 4% each year.

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed in the 'This course in detail' window above.

Questions about fees?
Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Funding and scholarships

Entry requirements

You must normally have the following qualifications:

  • An upper second-class or first-class honours degree awarded by a recognised institution of higher education in the UK or overseas.
Students will also be considered with:
  • A lower second class honours degree AND
  • 60 CATS (Credit Accumulative Transfer Scheme) credits in Psychology. You must have achieved an average of 60% in these credits. Credits can either be gained through the Qualifying Certificate in Psychology at Oxford Brookes University or from a recognised institution of higher education.

Please note that applicants with exceptional experience may apply for consideration of their portfolio by the admissions committee. Applicants who, as a result of qualifications or experience or both, can demonstrate knowledge and capabilities equivalent to those possessed by holders of the qualifications listed above, may in exceptional circumstances be admitted with dispensation from the requirement to possess those qualifications.

Also note that applications are considered on their own individual merits and depending on previous experience and prior subjects of study we may suggest or require that some students with an upper second-class or first-class honours degree achieve 60 CATS credits in Psychology (at an average of at least 60%) before entry onto the MSc Psychology course.

English language requirements

You should have English as your first language, or GCSE or O-level English Language, or an IELTS score of 7.0, or equivalent evidence of proficiency in English.

Please also see the university's standard English language requirements

English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the university's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

International applications

Preparation courses for International and EU students

We offer a range of courses to help you to meet the entry requirements for this course and also familiarise you with university life. You may also be able to apply for one student visa to cover both courses.

  • Take our Pre-Master's course to help you to meet both the English language and academic entry requirements for your master's course.
  • If you need to improve your English language, we have pre-sessional English language courses available to help you to meet the English language requirements of your chosen master’s.

If you are studying outside the UK, for more details about your specific country entry requirements, translated information, local contacts and programmes within your country, please have a look at our country pages.

How to apply

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.


The department offers advice on future career opportunities including practical help with applications to future training and employment. For many of our students, their MSc is a stepping stone to professional training for careers in psychology (eg educational, occupational or clinical psychology). Some choose to continue their academic studies, progressing to PhD.

How Brookes supports postgraduate students

Supporting your learning

From academic advisers and support co-ordinators to specialist subject librarians and other learning support staff, we want to ensure that you get the best out of your studies.

Research highlights

The Department of Psychology, Health and Professional Development at Oxford Brookes has a thriving community of research active staff and research scholars. In the UK government’s latest Research Excellence Framework  (REF 2014) 95% of our research was internationally recognised and 60% of the impact of our research was rated internationally excellent.

We collaborate across disciplines and work with health and education professionals as well as partners in industry to develop knowledge and understanding that informs policy and improves people’s lives. Our research has led to improved practice guidelines in both health and education, the development of valuable assessment tools and the adoption of new policies and practices.

We continue to attract significant funding awards from bodies including the ESRC and MRC, Burdett Trust for Nursing, Technology Strategy Board, National Institute for Health Research and the Leverhulme Trust as well as many charities and commercial test publishers.

Psychology research is organised into three main research areas: Developmental Psychology, Adult Cognition and Applied Social Psychology. In addition, our Institute for Research in Child Development draws across the departmental disciplines of psychology, social work and public health and investigates pregnancy and birth, early childhood right through to adolescence and young adulthood.

Research areas and clusters

Developmental Psychology Research Group 

There are three main strands to research in this group:  

  1. Cognitive and social development - this includes work on the impact of socio-cultural contexts on human cognition and identity development, children’s understanding of emotion, the nature of mother-child interactions and children’s interactions with their peers.
  2. Language and literacy - this has a focus on the development of speech, reading, spelling, writing and handwriting.
  3. Developmental disorders - this includes research on children with hearing impairment, specific language impairment, dyslexia, developmental coordination disorder, autism and sleep disorders.

Some of our research focuses on the description of typical development and explanation of developmental processes in different domains. Other work is concerned with understanding the mechanisms underlying atypical development and an examination of ways to support children and their families. Several staff in this research group work with professionals from other disciplines including health and education and are concerned with the production of practical assessment tools and the evaluation of intervention approaches to help children achieve their full potential.

Much of our work is conducted in schools and family homes. Research conducted on site at Oxford Brookes usually takes place in one of our specialist labs. We have a BabyLab with special facilities including an eye-tracker and observation room. We also have a Perception and Motion Analysis (PuMA) Lab with equipment for the detailed analysis of movement.

Adult Cognition Research Group

There are three dominant research strands in this group: (1) Visual Cognition - exploring mechanisms of selective attention, attentional orienting, object formation, and the representation of information in visual short term memory (2) Perception and Action - looking at the cognitive processes associated with processing of stimuli containing action possibilities (affordances), and with the preparation and execution of everyday actions such as reaching & grasping towards objects and walking; (3) Remembering Past & Imagining Future Events - research looks at the way that memory supports our identity, and in the way that ideas about the future (e.g. prospective memory) are related to health and behaviour change.

A variety of methods and techniques are employed in exploring these areas. These include psychophysical techniques such as masking, eye-tracking technology, movement analysis equipment, use of Neuropsychological instruments, as well as Cognitive Neuroscience techniques such as Event Related Potentials (ERPs) and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). Our research includes work in healthy adult populations, as well as in certain clinical groups such as dementia, autism, and Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD). Some members of the Adult Cognition Group work alongside clinicians at local hospitals and have collaborators at other academic institutions both nationally and internationally.

Applied Social Psychology Research Group

The members of this research group investigate the way that individuals’ beliefs, actions and aspirations are intertwined with both the immediate social groups and also the wider culture in which they are embedded. Unpicking the fascinating way in which personal and socio-cultural factors are interwoven (and sometimes rebelled against) has enabled our researchers to apply their theoretical and methodological knowledge to many areas of contemporary concern.

Our recent research has enabled us to: advise manufacturers and policy makers of the key factors that determine whether people adapt to innovative green technologies successfully; advise international military officers on the fundamental psychological and socio-cultural influences leading to violent insurgency; advise the British Army on the integration of full and part time members; inform the debate surrounding the possible introduction of a minimum-pricing policy to address alcohol misuse; understand the way in which people use music to express their personal and social identities; explore the use of social media to instigate social connection in individuals with Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC); highlight personal and cultural differences in the determinants of organ donation; conduct a new evaluation of programmes designed to enhance children’s safety.

Course downloads

  • Psychology course brochure
  • Related courses

  • Psychology Qualifying Certificate