MSc Psychological Research Methods

Our course provides broad training in the fundamentals of psychological science – the modern approach to studying mind and behaviour.

We are no longer accepting applications for September 2022 entry from students who require a visa to study in the UK.

Psychological Research Methods

Key facts

  • Award Masters / MSc, Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate
  • Start date September 2022
  • Duration MSc full-time: 12 months, MSc part-time: 24 months
  • Mode of study part time, full time
  • Delivery on campus

Overview

Our Psychological Research Methods course combines training in psychological theory with practical research skills development - a modern approach to studying mind and behaviour preparing you for a future career in psychology and psychology research. You’ll gain a thorough introduction to quantitative and qualitative research, the analysis and interpretation of data, and a critical, sceptical approach to psychological science.

The unique feature of this course is flexibility - you’re free to investigate a wide range of topics across the discipline while maintaining a high standard of training. This encourages an understanding of different methods and perspectives within the field of Psychology helping you make choices which will benefit your future career.

There are four degree pathways available:

  • Child Development
  • Cognition and Neuropsychology
  • Evolutionary Psychology
  • Perception and Action

Opportunities for practical hands-on skills development are built in, ranging from low-tech observational assessment to high-tech eye-tracking. You’ll carry out a work placement, typically in an external company, charity or third sector organisation. This provides you with a fantastic opportunity to develop relevant work-based employment skills, and to develop a network of contacts relevant to your future career goals. Students benefit hugely from this experience, combining skills and experience with personal and professional development.

You’ll be based in a dedicated MSc office, or within an appropriate research group, and allocated a peer mentor. You’ll also have an academic supervisor in Psychology who supports and guides your development, including your research dissertation project.

 

Top reasons to study with us

Course objectives

The course will develop your theoretical understanding, and give you the practical and interpersonal skills required for carrying out research. Our aim is to encourage you to make the complex transition to become a fully independent research scientist.

Work placements

You’ll carry out a work placement, typically in an external company, charity or third sector organisation. This provides a fantastic opportunity for you to develop relevant work-based employment skills, and to develop a network of contacts relevant to future career goals. Students benefit hugely from this experience, combining skills and experience with personal and professional development.

Study abroad

There is no provision or expectation of study abroad. However, some students choose to conduct their placement abroad.

Flexible learning

Students will be able to study for this course remotely if necessary.

If you’re interested in studying a module from this course, the Postgraduate Certificate or the Postgraduate Diploma then please email Graduate Admissions to discuss your course of study.

Faculty facilities

The Psychology department has outstanding laboratory space fitted with high-quality equipment. It has excellent computing infrastructure, and both research and teaching activities are supported by in-house technical staff with computing, programming, electronic and audio-video expertise.

We’ve invested heavily in research infrastructure, including our own pre-school kindergarten, which provides an outstanding facility for developmental research and teaching. Purpose-built laboratory space has also been created to support human electrophysiology research (EEG/ERPs), health research (including GSR and heart rate monitoring), face research (including eye-tracking) and vision research (including stereoscopic displays).

Research overview

The University of Stirling is rated 2nd in Scotland for research impact in Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience (Research Excellence Framework 2021), with 100% of our research impact and environment rated as world-leading or internationally excellent.

Our MSc students get involved in our lively and collegial community of research excellence.

 

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.

Other routes of entry

If you don’t currently meet the academic requirements for this course, INTO University of Stirling offers a variety of preparation programmes that can earn you the qualifications and skills you need for direct entry.

Explore INTO Stirling programmes to see the pathway and pre-masters routes available for this course and others at the University of Stirling.

International entry requirements

View the entry requirements for your country.

Application procedure

Students should indicate in their application which of the four specialist pathways (Child Development, Cognition and Neuropsychology, Evolutionary Psychology, Perception and Action) they intend to follow.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

  • IELTS Academic or UKVI 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in each sub-skill 
  • Cambridge C1 Advanced (CAE) 169 overall with a minimum of 162 in each sub-skill
  • Cambridge C2 Proficiency (CPE) 180 overall with a minimum of 162 in each sub-skill
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic) 60 overall with a minimum of 59 in each sub-skill
  • IBT TOEFL 78 overall with a minimum of 17 in listening, 18 in reading, 20 in speaking and 17 in writing
  • IBT TOEFL Special Home Edition Test 78 overall with a minimum of 17 in listening, 18 in reading, 20 in speaking and 17 in writing
  • Trinity ISE II Pass overall with a Pass in each sub-skill, ISE III Pass overall and in all sub-skills, ISE IV Pass overall and in all sub-skills
  • Aptis (4 skills) CEFR B2 overall and B2 in all sub-skills
  • Duolingo 95 overall with a minimum of 90 in all sub-skills
  • LanguageCert International ESOL B2 Communicator - High Pass overall with minimum 25 in each sub-skill

Last updated: 24 March 2022

You must also check the specific English language requirements for your country.

For more information on ways that you can meet our English language requirements, including options to waive the requirement, please read our information on English language requirements.

Pre-sessional English language courses

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner INTO University of Stirling offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for entry to this degree.

Find out more about our pre-sessional English language courses.

Course details

This course is made up of different modules designed to provide training in the fundamentals of Psychological Research Methods. Students on this course have the opportunity to investigate topics across all aspects of psychology, or choose to specialise in one specific area for their coursework, placement and dissertation. As a student on the MSc Psychological Research Methods course, you can switch topics from one piece of work to another, as your interests develop.

This approach offers total flexibility if you don’t want to specialise in one particular area. You’ll have the opportunity to do a broader MSc and sample content from across the variety of topics in psychology.

Modules

The module information below provides an example of the types of course module you may study. The details listed are for the current academic year (September 2021). Modules and start dates are regularly reviewed and may be subject to change in future years.

Course Details

Teaching

Teaching includes tutorials, demonstrations and practical classes, but the majority is seminar-based.

Students are typically taught in small groups in specialist classes, with first-year PhD students or other postgraduate students (for example, in modules from other MSc courses).

All our postgraduates are also expected to attend regular research seminars and relevant research group meetings. You’re also encouraged to attend ‘Scottish Postgraduates in Psychology Research Training’ events in participating universities across Scotland.

Fieldwork

There is no fieldwork timetabled on this course, although students sometimes undertake fieldwork on either their placement or dissertation modules.

Assessment

All assessment is by coursework, including the dissertation. There are no exams.

Classroom hours

You should expect 1-2 hours per week of face-to-face (or live sessions online) on each of the taught modules. 

Key staff

Staff from across Psychology contribute to teaching and supervision of placements and dissertations.

Fees and funding

Fees and costs

  2021/22 2022/23
Students from the UK£9,350£9,850
Students from the Republic of Ireland£9,350£9,850
Overseas (non-EU) students£20,845£21,345
European Union students£20,845£21,345

Students from the UK

Course fees

Fees shown are for a full-time, one-year Masters course.

If you need to extend your period of study or repeat study, you will be liable for additional fees.

If you are studying part time, the total course fee will be split over the years that you study. The total fee will remain the same and will be held at the rate set in your year of entry.

For more information on courses invoiced on an annual fee basis, please read our tuition fee policy.

Students from the Republic of Ireland

Course fees

Fees shown are for a full-time, one-year Masters course.

If you need to extend your period of study or repeat study, you will be liable for additional fees.

If you are studying part time, the total course fee will be split over the years that you study. The total fee will remain the same and will be held at the rate set in your year of entry.

For more information on courses invoiced on an annual fee basis, please read our tuition fee policy.

European Union students

EU Postgraduate Scholarship

Eligible EU students will automatically receive our EU Postgraduate Scholarship, which provides a 40% fee discount on full-time, on-campus postgraduate degrees at the University of Stirling.

Course fees

Fees shown are for a full-time, one-year Masters course.

If you need to extend your period of study, you will be liable for additional fees.

If you are studying part time, the total course fee will be split over the years that you study. The total fee will remain the same and will be held at the rate set in your year of entry.

For more information on courses invoiced on an annual fee basis, please read our tuition fee policy.

Overseas students (non-EU)

We offer a range of funding options for overseas students.

Course fees

Fees shown are for a full-time, one-year Masters course.

If you need to extend your period of study, you may be liable for additional fees.

If you are studying part time, the total course fee will be split over the years that you study. The total fee will remain the same and will be held at the rate set in your year of entry.

For more information on courses invoiced on an annual fee basis, please read our tuition fee policy.

Postgraduate tuition fee loans

This course is eligible for a postgraduate tuition fee loan from one of the UK’s governments. See the section, below, for more details.

Additional costs

There are some instances where additional fees may apply. Depending on your chosen course, you may need to pay additional costs, for example for field trips. Learn more about additional fees.

Scholarships and funding

There are typically five £1,000 bursaries to contribute towards fees or maintenance costs for students beginning a taught MSc course. All students formally accepted onto the MSc course are eligible to apply for these awards. Funding will be awarded based on both previous experience and academic record, but preference will be given to applicants intending to stay at Stirling to pursue a PhD following completion of the MSc course.

Postgraduate tuition fee loans

Scottish students may be eligible to apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) for loans of up to £10,000 to cover tuition fees and associated living costs.

English students can apply for a loan of up to £11,570 each year as part of the Postgraduate Masters Loan Scheme.

Welsh students can apply for financial support of up to £18,025 as a combination of grant and loan from Student Finance Wales.

Northern Irish students can apply for a postgraduate tuition fee loan of up to £5,500 from Student Finance NI.

If you have the talent, ability and drive to study with us, we want to make sure you make the most of the opportunity – regardless of your financial circumstances.

Learn more about available funding opportunities or use our scholarship finder to explore our range of scholarships.

Cost of living

If you’re domiciled in the UK, you can typically apply to your relevant funding body for help with living costs. This usually takes the form of student loans, grants or bursaries, and the amount awarded depends upon your personal circumstances and household income.

European Union and overseas students won’t normally be able to claim living support through SAAS or other UK public funding bodies. You should contact the relevant authority in your country to find out if you’re eligible to receive support.

Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling

Payment options

We aim to be as flexible as possible, and offer a wide range of payment methods - including the option to pay fees by instalments. Learn more about how to pay

After you graduate

This course is designed as a springboard for a career in psychological research and is ideal if you want to pursue a PhD in psychology.

Graduates are well placed for careers in clinical and health psychology, educational psychology and teaching, human resource management and personnel.

The skills you gain are also readily transferable to other careers. You’ll meet the growing demand for a good understanding of human behaviour, as well as the ability to interpret and analyse complex forms of data and communicate your ideas clearly with others.

Testimonial quotes

"The academic knowledge and research skills gained throughout the MSc have helped me tremendously to secure a fully funded PhD studentship and pursue a career as a psychology researcher.” 

Anna Bobak, MSc 2011-12, now Lecturer in Psychology at Stirling

Employability skills

Opportunities for practical hands-on skills development are built in, including training on giving oral presentations. A self-reflective approach to personal development is encouraged.

What our students said

Stacey Mitchell
MSc Psychological Research Methods (Child Development)
It is the best decision I have made in furthering my career prospects and I wouldn't change it for the world!
Read Stacey's story
Anna Bobak
MSc Psychological Research Methods (Psychology of Faces)
The academic knowledge and research skills gained throughout the MSc have helped me tremendously to secure a fully funded PhD studentship and pursue a career as a psychology researcher.
Read Anna's story

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