As we make our way around the world we are continually making decisions and performing actions that are driven by our sense organs. Our perception of the world is not just sensory information, but instead an interpretation based on what our brain expects as well as what it is being told by sense organs. Understanding and measuring perception distinct from sensation is a complex task.
In addition to broad training in psychological methods, this course ensures that students acquire an understanding of how to measure perceptual experience in a bias-free manner, including the basic framework for understanding such measurements. Students also acquire practical experience in making measurements of perceptual experience through a research project and opportunity to conduct a placement in a laboratory context.
Consideration is given to candidates with a first or second class single or joint Honours degree in Psychology (or a closely related subject).
English language requirements
If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence of your proficiency such as a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 (minimum 6 in each skill), or TOEFL: Listening 23, Reading 23, Speaking 23, Writing 23.
There are typically five £1,000 bursaries to contribute towards fees or maintenance costs for students beginning a taught MSc course. All students, including international students, formally accepted onto the MSc course are eligible to apply for these awards. Awards will be decided on both previous experience and academic record but preference will be given to applicants intending to stay at Stirling to pursue a PhD following the MSc course.
Information on other possible sources of funding
Modes of study
Diploma: two semesters ; MSc: 12 months
Diploma: four semesters ; MSc: 24 months
Course start date
Structure and content
Full-time students are required to complete a course of modules for the award of the Postgraduate Diploma. The MSc award also requires completion of a dissertation on a topic chosen in consultation with teaching staff, one of whom will act as supervisor.
Part-time students take the same modules spread over two years.
Delivery and assessment
Lectures, seminars and workshops are used to deliver a coherent course of study. Teaching methods are adapted to suit the aims of each module, and to provide students with the range and depth of learning required by their needs. Students are able to pick a route through the programme that fits their interests and needs as a self-motivated learner.
Teaching emphasises the importance of systematic empirical research, whether in the laboratory or in the field, as appropriate to the problem at hand.
Across the course students experience a range of different forms of assessment. Specific assessment within the Measuring Perception course is a research report. Students will conduct and report (6,000 words) on a small research project involving a measurement of perception. The student will be responsible for the whole process: design of study, programming and other practical aspects of doing the research; data collection and analysis. The main assessment of the report will consider the quality of the research, the level of understanding about measurement of perception, and the competence of the procedures used in the research. The report will also be assessed for clarity and conciseness.
Professor Roger Watt
70 percent of research in Psychology at Stirling was recognised as being of a quality that is internationally recognised in terms of originality, significance and rigour in the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE).
The MSc provided a valuable and fascinating exposure to many topics and tools, as well as a rigorous grounding in psychophysics.
Jennifer Robertson, MSc Measuring Perception 2012/13