Measuring Perception

MSc, Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma


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. 

The course will explore methods by which it is possible to measure perception with varied content, depending on the specific interests of the student. Lectures from academic staff will form a course introducing the main methods of measuring perception, considering the strengths and weaknesses.

Key information

  • Degree type: MSc, Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma
  • Study methods: Full-time, Part-time
  • Start date: September
  • Course Director: Professor Roger Watt

Linda Cullen
Postgraduate Secretary
University of Stirling
+44 (0) 1786 466854

View fees and finance

Course objectives

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.

What makes us different?

World-class library and teaching facilities

Studying for a degree means learning in different ways; managing your own time; conducting research; mastering new computer skills. We have the facilities and advice on hand to help you do all this - and do it well.

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Entry requirements

Academic requirements

A minimum of a second class Honours degree (2.1 preferred) or equivalent in a relevant subject.  Applicants without these formal qualifications but with significant appropriate/relevant work/life experience are encouraged to apply.

Please note: If you are a student from overseas and applying with a Tier 4 student visa, we unfortunately can not accept your application for this course as it falls into the category of being part-time, delivered online or a distance learning course.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence of your  proficiency such as a minimum IELTS score of 6.0 (5.5 in all bands).

If you don’t meet the required score you may be able to register for one of our pre-sessional English courses. To register you must hold a conditional offer for your course and have an IELTS score 0.5 or 1.0 below the required standard. View our range of pre-sessional courses.

Structure and teaching

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 course 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.

Modes of study

Diploma: two semesters ; MSc: 12 months

Diploma: four semesters ; MSc: 24 months

Study method

Part-time; Full-time

Why Stirling?


In REF2014 Stirling was placed 6th in Scotland and 45th in the UK with almost three quarters of research activity rated either world-leading or internationally excellent.


Psychology at Stirling is one of the leading psychology departments in the UK. It ranked in the top 20 in the recent research assessment (REF 2014) and is one of only seven non-Russell group universities to do so (Birkbeck, Royal Holloway, Sussex, Essex, St Andrews and Bangor; source Times Higher Education magazine). Its quality of research publications ranked third in Scotland after Aberdeen and Glasgow. Furthermore, the relevance of its research activity to society received the highest possible rating which only four other psychology departments in the UK achieved (REF 2014 results).

Psychology at Stirling University is small enough to fully involve MSc students in our lively and collegial community of research excellence.

Your three month full-time dissertation is supervised by leading UK academics.

Our students

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


Careers and employability

Career opportunities

This course prepares you for a research career involving the measurement of perception and is ideal if you intend to study for a PhD in Psychology.


Online application process

Please choose a start date and study method from the drop-down list below, and click the Apply Now button below to begin the online application process. (Please make sure you have consulted the Postgraduate Study pages on the University website and the Online Application Guidance Notes before continuing).



2016/17 Overseas £13,950
2016/17 Home/EU £6,100
2015/16 Overseas £13,500
2015/16 Home/EU £6,000


You should expect to pay fees for every year you are in attendance and be aware fees are subject to revision and may increase annually. Students on programmes of study of more than one year should take this into account when applying.

Scholarships & funding

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

Scholarship finder
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