Postgraduate Course

MSc Research Methods in Psychology

MSc Research Methods in Psychology

Overview

The details
Research Methods in Psychology
October 2018
Full-time
1 year
Colchester Campus
Psychology

How can we make the most successful predictions about how humans will behave? How do we measure concepts such as “personality”? In what ways can statistics inform us about the human condition?

Our MSc Research Methods in Psychology develops your awareness of psychological science in relation to its philosophical and biological contexts, and in relation to research in the natural and social sciences. In addition to this research-focussed training, you also study advanced topics in psychology that will extend your theoretical knowledge.

You explore topics including:

  • Methods in cognitive neuroscience
  • Advanced statistical techniques
  • Research management
  • Interview analysis

If you intend to pursue a career as a research psychologist, or wish to take a research degree, then our MSc Research Methods in Psychology will give you the advanced research training which provides you with an excellent preparation for a PhD, and enhances your chances of obtaining funding.

Our University is one of just 21 ESRC Doctoral Training Centres, enabling us to offer studentships to psychology students intending to pursue a research degree.

Our research is challenging and ground-breaking, with 90% rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ (REF 2014). We are supported by some of the most prestigious funding bodies, including the European Commission and the Leverhulme Trust.

Why we're great.
  • Specialise in psychological science using research, statistics and analysis
  • ESRC Doctoral Training Centres offer a range of studentships for students undertaking research
  • We are ranked top 20 in the UK for research quality (REF 2014)

Our expert staff

Our academic staff include award-winning teachers and prize-winning researchers who are international experts in their own research areas.

The Cognitive and Developmental Psychology Group are researching attention, language, decision-making, and memory. Recent projects have investigated the psychology of energy reduction, the enhancement of human memory through technology, and improvements in the usability and design of transport maps.

The Social and Health Psychology Group work on motivations, needs, intercultural contact, and sexual attraction. Recent projects include the impacts of living and studying abroad, and how personal relative deprivation is linked to problem gambling.

The Cognitive and Sensory Neuroscience Group research brain function and human behaviour. Recently they have been working on projects on the neural processes underlying language production, how motivations are communicated through tone of voice, and how the brain performs 3D vision. They previously developed the BioAid mobile phone app that turns an iPhone into a biologically inspired hearing aid.

Our department is expanding, and has recently appointed a number of excellent researchers whose expertise increases the diversity and depth of our skills base.

Specialist facilities

We are committed to giving you the best access to state-of-the-art facilities in higher education, housed entirely within our purpose-built psychology building on our Colchester Campus:

  • Dedicated laboratories including a virtual reality suite and an observation suite
  • Specialist areas for experimental psychology, visual and auditory perception, developmental psychology and social psychology
  • Study the development of perceptual and cognitive abilities in infants in our Babylab
  • Our multimillion pound Centre for Brain Science (CBS) contains specialist laboratories, office space for research students, and research rooms and social spaces which foster opportunities for innovation, training, and collaboration

Your future

With the skills and knowledge you acquire from studying within our Department of Psychology, you will find yourself in demand from a wide range of employers.

Our graduates have been employed in clinical psychology, educational psychology, criminal and forensic psychology.

We also have excellent links with the research community; we are recognised by the ESRC as providing excellent postgraduate training and are an accredited Doctoral Training Centre, offering several studentships.

Our recent PhD students have taken up post-doctoral positions in other top UK universities and international universities (in the US, Italy and Australia), as well as being appointed to lectureships.

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

A high 2.2 degree in Psychology, Linguistics or Science.

If you hold a degree in Psychology it would be preferable, though not essential, if this was British Psychological Society accredited.

International & EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

English language requirements

IELTS 7.0 overall with a minimum component score of 5.5

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Additional Notes

The University uses academic selection criteria to determine an applicant’s ability to successfully complete a course at the University of Essex. Where appropriate, we may ask for specific information relating to previous modules studied or work experience.

Structure

Example structure

Most of our courses combine compulsory and optional modules, giving you freedom to pursue your own interests. All of the modules listed below provide an example of what is on offer from the current academic year. Our Programme Specification provides further details of the course structure for the current academic year.

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore to ensure your course is as relevant and up-to-date as possible your core module structure may be subject to change.

Fundamentals of Neuroscience and Neuropsychology

This module is your chance to investigate the main research areas and methods used in investigating how the brain works. It asks difficult questions such as how mental processes like perception, memory, language and emotion are implemented within the brain and will provide a solid background in brain structure at a molecular and cellular level.

View Fundamentals of Neuroscience and Neuropsychology on our Module Directory

Quantitative Data Analysis

Through the introduction of more advanced data analysis procedures, concepts and tools (such as matrix algebra, path analysis and structural equation modelling) you’ll become more confident using advanced statistical techniques to analyse data.

View Quantitative Data Analysis on our Module Directory

Research Management

Knowing how to manage your research effectively will be invaluable when producing quality work throughout your course. This module will teach you how to critically review existing literature, communicate effectively to a scientific audience and take into account ethical issues. You’ll then have the opportunity to put this into practice, preparing your own presentations and research proposal

View Research Management on our Module Directory

Research Project (MSc)

In this module you complete a research dissertation with a maximum of 10,000 words, written up as a report. You have a lot of flexibility as there are a wide variety of topics that you can choose to research. You report on the results of an original psychological research study carried out under the supervision of a staff member. A good research report will look like a psychology study reported in a peer-reviewed journal (such as Cognitive Neuropsychology, or Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology).

View Research Project (MSc) on our Module Directory

Interviewing and Qualitative Data Analysis

What are the different approaches to qualitative data analysis? And when should qualitative interviews be used? Learn about the qualitative research process, including design, selection of interview subjects and analysis, so that you are equipped to tackle your own qualitative research in the future.

View Interviewing and Qualitative Data Analysis on our Module Directory

Neuropsychology of Perception and Attention (optional)

Students will examine a range of approaches to the study of visual perception and its disorders in this module. It will explore current functional and anatomical understanding of perception and attention using results from the field of Cognitive Neuroscience. Students will also be introduced to the assessment of disorders of object recognition, face recognition and visuo-spatial abilities.

View Neuropsychology of Perception and Attention (optional) on our Module Directory

Critical Literature Review (optional)

Examine at an advanced level, the in-depth understanding of theoretically influential papers within a chosen specialised area of psychology. You will develop a critical awareness of advanced theoretical ideas in relation to a background of empirical knowledge, as well as refining your written articulation and critiquing skills.

View Critical Literature Review (optional) on our Module Directory

Advanced Reading Development and Dyslexia (optional)

This module aims to teach students about some of the central topics in the study of reading development and dyslexia. It is a module for students considering planning a future career as a primary school teacher or educational psychologist.Links between research and practice will be introduced by reviewing techniques for teaching reading, reading assessment procedures, and the remedial intervention of children with dyslexia.

View Advanced Reading Development and Dyslexia (optional) on our Module Directory

Methods in Cognitive Neuroscience (optional)

Become familiar with most of the present-day methods used in Cognitive Neuroscience. Through hands on experience you will gain a practical knowledge of the methods used at Essex (such as eye tracking) and be exposed to career opportunities available within the field of Cognitive Neuroscience.

View Methods in Cognitive Neuroscience (optional) on our Module Directory

Special Topics in Social Psychology (optional)

An advanced survey of major topics in contemporary experimental social psychology. Provide critical analysis of the relevant theory and research including: motivation, emotion, self and identity, intergroup bias, automaticity, existential psychology, social justice, evolutionary psychology and health.

View Special Topics in Social Psychology (optional) on our Module Directory

Neurocognition of Language (optional)

Gain an in-depth introduction to the major topics in neurocognition of language. By critically analysing a range of research and methodologies used to study brain processes, you will acquire an advanced understanding of the brain bases of language, and of the neurocognitive processes that underlie human communication.

View Neurocognition of Language (optional) on our Module Directory

Psychology at Work and in the Real World (optional)

If you want to kick your work-related skills up a notch, and gain some valuable practical experience, this module is for you. You’ll work in teams on three different mini-projects, applying graduate psychology research skills to real-world and work-related challenges. Each project will involve collecting data, pitching ideas in group presentations, analysing your findings, and individual report writing.

View Psychology at Work and in the Real World (optional) on our Module Directory

Special Topics in Individual Differences and Developmental Psychology (optional)

Be inspired by the current research of the academics in your department, and examine major contemporary topics in individual differences and developmental psychology. In doing so, you’ll gain an insight into the major unresolved questions and controversies in the field, as well as the opportunity to engage critically and scientifically with relevant theory and research, in preparation for the research project module.

View Special Topics in Individual Differences and Developmental Psychology (optional) on our Module Directory

Special Topics in Neuroscience and Neuropsychology (optional)

Let us reiterate it: this module is special! Members of staff who significantly contributed to cutting-edge research in specific areas of cognitive neuroscience and neuropsychology will guide you through their findings and will attack the main questions faced by researchers in the field. Therefore, the topics covered during the module will be reflecting the research activity and expertise of staff in the cognitive and sensory neuroscience group. They will provide you with insights into debates and controversies in their area of research, as well as pinpointing the most recent achievements. You will elaborate both theoretical and empirical aspects discussed during the lectures and prove your compelling understanding in both written and oral work.

View Special Topics in Neuroscience and Neuropsychology (optional) on our Module Directory

Special Topics in Perception and Cognition (optional)

Be inspired by the current research of the academics in your department, and examine major contemporary topics in individual differences and developmental psychology. In doing so, you’ll gain an insight into the major unresolved questions and controversies in the field, as well as the opportunity to engage critically and scientifically with relevant theory and research, in preparation for the research project module.

View Special Topics in Perception and Cognition (optional) on our Module Directory

Teaching

  • Your modules are taught through lectures, laboratory practicals, tutorials, seminars, fieldwork, independent reading and research projects
  • We host a very active programme of research seminars

Assessment

  • Full-year modules are most often examined using a three-hour examination, and half-year modules by a two-hour examination

Dissertation

  • An original psychological study carried out under the supervision of a staff member
  • Maximum of 10,000 words, written up as a research report

Fees and funding

Home/EU fee

£7,560

International fee

£16,225

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

What's next

Open Days

We hold Open Days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing tours@essex.ac.uk and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.

Applying

You can apply for our postgraduate courses online. You’ll need to provide us with your academic qualifications, as well as supporting documents such as transcripts, English language qualifications and certificates. You can find a list of necessary documents online, but please note we won’t be able to process your application until we have everything we need.

There is no application deadline but we recommend that you apply before 1 July for our taught courses starting in October. We aim to respond to applications within two weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.

Colchester Campus

Visit Colchester Campus

We want you to throw yourself in at the deep end, soak up life and make the most of those special Essex moments.

Home to over 13,000 students from more than 130 countries, our Colchester Campus is the largest of our three sites, making us one of the most internationally diverse campuses on the planet - we like to think of ourselves as the world in one place.

 

Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.

Exhibitions

Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.

The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its course finder is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep prospective students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

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