Duration of Study Programme
2-3 Years (part-time)
University of Derby
January, September & May
The MSc in Psychology programmes are designed for students who wish to specialise in psychology and are therefore designed to offer distinctive range, depth and integration of skills, knowledge and applications of psychology. The MSc programme aim to provide substantial and comprehensive training in the discipline and to allow students to develop a wide range of psychological and digital skills and knowledge that will prepare them for a range of vocational destinations, including further professional training in psychology at postgraduate level. Specifically the degree focuses particularly on equipping students to:
- Produce a systematic scientific understanding of the mind, brain, behaviour, and experience, and how they interact with the complex environments in which they exist in terms of fundamental theory, real life applications of theory, research, and recent developments;
- Acquire the ability to critically evaluate methodologies, ethical, conceptual, cultural, historical and current insights from core and optional subject areas;
- Comprehend the role of the scientific method and empirical evidence in the proposal and limitation of theory, and in how epistemology guides study design, and the collection and interpretation of primary and secondary empirical data, using both quantitative and qualitative research methods;
- Demonstrate a conceptual understanding of multiple perspectives to deal with complex issues systematically and creatively, and to communicate conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences.
What you will study
You will study modules such as:
- Biological and Cognitive Approaches in Psychology
Biological psychology looks at psychological processes from a biological perspective, and is informed by neurophysiology, neuroanatomy (both typical and atypical), psychopharmacology, and comparative approaches to animal and human behaviour. Cognitive psychology is concerned with the empirical study of mental processes including memory, perception, communication, and thinking. The purpose of this module is to provide you with a critical understanding of research methods, theory and empirical findings for key topics in Cognitive and Biological Psychology.
- Individual Differences
This module aims to provide you with a critical understanding and theoretical knowledge of individual differences, including personality, intelligence and positive psychology. In addition, this module will provide you with knowledge and understanding of psychometrics and quantitative and qualitative methods in individual differences.
- Introduction to Perspectives in Psychology
This module aims to develop your academic understanding of the discipline of psychology as a science drawing on conceptual and historical issues in psychology from multiple perspectives. The module aims to provide you with an understanding of the social and cultural construction of psychology, and political and ethical issues in psychology. The module aims to instil a range of subject-specific and intellectual skills that you as a student of psychology need to successfully engage in your programme of study.
- Investigation and Analysis
This module covers research design; ethical practice in research and qualitative and quantitative approaches to research. You will develop the ability to perform appropriate statistical analyses to address research questions about human behaviour. In addition, you will demonstrate an ability to design, conduct and report an ethically sound quantitative research study exploring human behaviour. You will also demonstrate your critical understanding by evaluating qualitative research designs and findings. The content of this module is essential preparation for the Independent Study empirical MSc/PGDip Research Project that is required to complete the Masters level 7 programme.
- Masters Research Project
In this module, you are expected to present evidence of your capacity to execute independent empirical research that builds clearly upon your prior learning and which draws upon appropriate methodologies. This module aims to allow you to identify a research issue, review existing literature on the topic, formulate novel research questions, and test these questions through the application of appropriate psychological methodologies and data-analytic procedures. You will draw upon the expertise of members of staff in a wide range of psychological sub-areas, and are supported in your independent interpretations of the research literature on substantive psychological problems. You are required to develop your awareness of the ethical context of research as well as its purely scientific aspects. Upon completion of the module you will have demonstrated mastery of research in a chosen specialist area.
- Social and Developmental Psychology
The module aims to develop your critical understanding of psychological concepts, theories, and methods relevant to the study of social and developmental psychology. The module will explore specific topics that constitute the field of social and developmental psychology including: (a) social cognition, (b) inter-group processes, (c) small group processes, (d) social influence (e) attribution, (f) social development, (g) childhood, adolescence and life-span development (h) attachment (i) cognitive and language development. The module will provide you with a deep understanding of the range of research conducted in developmental psychology, and with applications of social psychological theory to real world scenarios.
How you will learn
You can be assured of a supportive and structured learning experience with academic teams who are specialists not only in their area of psychology, but also in online learning delivery. In addition, our dedicated online learner advisors provide non-academic support throughout the duration of the course. You’ll have access to a comprehensive online library of psychology resources, student webinars in key areas such as library skills and assessment writing, and other academic and wellbeing related services.
There are plenty of opportunities to interact with tutors and other students through online discussion forums, virtual class room sessions and more traditional forms of communication such as email and Skype. You will also receive one-to-one support from a specialist supervisor when you begin your empirical research project. As a guide, we recommend you allow around 20 hours of study per week, per 20 credit module, but this may vary depending on your pace of study.
Method of Assessment
Our assessment policy has the following aims to:
- provide rigorous assessments at an appropriate level mapped to specific module learning outcomes;
- ensure assessments are fair, by ensuring the nature and goals of assessment are clearly explained and that there are adequate opportunities for formative assessment;
- ensure the outcomes of the assessment process are transparent and that students receive timely and constructive feedback on their assessments.
We offer a varied assessment diet to assess and facilitate learning. Our assessments comply with the University’s overall assessment strategy, which identifies a number of key principles, starting with the principle that assessment should be integral to the learning experience. Students have the opportunity to undertake a variety of forms of assessment that are appropriate to the level and content of the module, and that allows them to demonstrate that they possess both knowledge of psychology and subject-specific and transferable skills. Students are given the assignment specification at the beginning of the module for hand-in at the end of the module. A range of assessment techniques are employed during the programme that are appropriate to the level of conceptual and skills development, appropriate to the module content, and explicitly mapped onto learning outcomes which are derived from programme aims and programme learning outcomes. Assessment is coursework based and there are no examinations. The type of assessment for each module is designed to allow students to demonstrate both subject knowledge and transferable skills which will be useful on graduation.
Coursework assessments may include: essays, practical reports, wikis, information leaflets, oral presentations, posters, short answer questions or various combinations of these submitted as a portfolio of work. Coursework assignments may be individual or collaborative (i.e., involve group work). 7PS503 and 7PS544 modules include a group work element. Students not engaging in group work at the time of submitting ethics applications may be removed from the module, and will need to re-take the module later on.
You will usually need one of the following:
- An undergraduate degree with Honours (in any subject) from a UK university or equivalent overseas qualification – at least a 2:2
- A Masters degree from a UK university or equivalent overseas qualification
- A psychology degree which hasn’t given you Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership – at least a 2.2
- An undergraduate degree from an overseas institution that is equivalent to the above UK qualifications. It is also important that you have a good standard of written and spoken English
- GCSE/GCE O Level Maths: Grade C
English language qualifications
You’ll also normally require one of the following English language qualifications:
- GCE O level English Language C
- GCSE English C
If English is not your first language you will need an English language qualification. For this course you will need at least one of the following:
- IELTS 6.5
Fees & funding