2020 applicants
Department of Psychology

Masters study

A student looking across at a person mostly out of shot, just to the left of the photographer.

Explore your intellectual passion

In the Department of Psychology, you are a part of a truly diverse academic community, where different levels of experience and expertise are brought together by shared passions and interests.

Some of our courses are accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS), giving you professional status. 

The variety of our Masters level courses allow you the flexibility to determine your own academic and career path, whether that’s as a child psychologist, clinical psychologist, or forensic psychologist, continuing in to a research degree, or something that lies entirely outside of the discipline.


Explore our Masters courses
Why choose us?
  • We offer scholarships and bursaries to talented postgraduates, ranging from research council studentships and University of Essex scholarships to awards funded by charities and other external organisations.
  • We have an outstanding range of specialist labs and facilities, suitable for a wide variety of psychological experimentation.
  • We are part of the South East Network for Social Sciences (SeNSS) DTP, recognising our excellent research.

COVID-19 and Teaching in Psychology

Will COVID-19 change the way my course is taught?

We have adapted our teaching to make the most of “blended learning”. We will continue our usual programme of lectures, seminars, and laboratory sessions, but with some online elements added. In particular our lectures will be delivered online through Zoom, with recordings uploaded afterwards. 

Our small group activities such as seminars and workshops will continue to be delivered face-to-face, with group sizes managed to allow social distancing. And our teaching will be complemented with a range of new online learning tools that will help you study wherever you are in the world.

One of the key pieces of work for your MSc is your research project. You will conduct an original piece of research, chosen from a selection of topics offered by our expert staff, who will also act as your supervisor. You will work closely with your supervisor during your research and dissertation, with supervisory meetings taking place in-person or online. 

What will this mean for my learning experience?

For the 2020 academic year, we are focusing on ensuring that we are able to deliver a quality education and that your teaching and learning can continue if there is further disruption. That’s why we’ve been working hard to ensure that our students are able to start with us in October – in whatever way possible. The changes we have made to support you and protect your health and wellbeing mean that, for most of our courses, this will include blended learning – with lectures, classes and other teaching taking place both online and face to face. Much of this teaching will be offered “live” (even if online/ virtual) but will also be available to access at times that suit you.   

We know that your learning experience is about more than just attending classes, and our campuses can provide you with all you need to make the most of your studies. This includes private space to study, in your on-campus study bedrooms as well as in PC labs and other spaces on our three campuses for self-study. We can also offer you access to laptops on loan and access to our library services; as well as enhanced wifi provision across our campuses.

Across the wider university, more support will also be offered online from our professional services departments. Teams such as Student Development, and Careers, will be hosting webinars throughout the year, and Essex Library Services are providing access to e-resources, including academic papers you may need for your research.

What happens if the situation changes before I start or during my time at Essex?

We recognise that some students may have difficulty travelling to campus in time to start the academic year. If for any reason you are unable to travel to campus to start the academic year, all teaching will be available virtually.

This means that you can start, or continue, your programme off-campus, wherever you are, with full flexibility to transfer to on-campus learning as soon as you are able to. We highly recommend that some of your time is spent on campus, as this will allow you to gain hands-on experience with our research facilities. Additionally if you are an overseas student and you aren't able to join us on Campus in the autumn, then you will need to be aware of some immigration changes taking place in January 2021.

All of our modules are designed to support you to continue learning and still be able to access one-to-one consultation and guidance that you would normally get from the lecturers on your course, if further outbreaks of infection occur during the year. This means you can join us in full confidence that you can continue and complete your programme of study.

There is lots of helpful information about starting at Essex in our guide for applicants should you have any questions, feel uncertain about something in particular, or, would like up to date information on specific topics if your situation changes. 

What will my broader student experience in the Department and on campus be like?

We are proud to be a friendly, inclusive department, and we will continue to be as open and accessible as possible. We understand that the social aspect of university is just as important as the education, so we are will continue to host tutorials and events on campus, with appropriate physical distance to keep you safe, and we will also provide online support.

We have an active Psychology Society and our Department has a long tradition of regularly organising social events and get togethers. We will also organise online social events, such as coffee mornings and quizzes. And we will keep everyone updated with life in the department through our regular Psychology Newsletter.

We have been working in partnership with our Students’ Union to ensure that you can enjoy our clubs, societies, activities and services. We have built in flexibility to enable you to access support and activities, and to shape your experience around your life.

To learn more about the range of events Essex will be hosting, please visit our events calendar. To stay up to date with the very latest guidance on how to visit your campus, view our coming onto campus guide.

How will the University support me during this time?

The health and wellbeing of our students is our priority, and this has been one of the focuses to ensure students can start on campus – safely – in October.

This means we are constantly monitoring advice from the UK Government, Public Health England, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and the World Health Organisation.

To protect our community on campus once the academic year starts again in October, we will be looking to introduce the following measures:

  • Enhanced cleaning and sterilising regimes
  • Social distancing in line with international guidance
  • Signage and floor markings in key locations to help you move around our campuses safely

We’re asking you to wear face coverings in all public campus areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain or in specifically designated locations. We’ll be supporting you by giving two washable face coverings to all students.

There is a number of support systems available to you whilst you are at Essex, for whenever you need them and for however long you wish to use them.

These include: 

The University also runs a variety of online events throughout the year including at-home yoga and mindfulness sessions.

To find out more about the network of support you will benefit from during your time at Essex, please visit the Student Directory.

So, what do we have to offer?

Outstanding research facilities

We have a variety of specialist labs and facilities for experimental psychology, visual and auditory perception, developmental psychology and social psychology.

Our facilities include our purpose-built Centre for Brain Science, which provides extensive laboratory space for neuroscientific studies. This state-of-the-art facility is dedicated to the study of brain activity in relation to psychological processes.

South East Network for Social Sciences (SeNSS) Doctoral Training Centre

Our department is part of the ESRC-funded South East Network for Social Sciences (SeNSS) Doctoral Training Partnership psychology pathway. This recognises the world-leading research carried out by our academics. Our research feeds in to our teaching, so you learn about the latest work in our areas of expertise.

You will be joining a department with a strong commitment to research, covering many areas of empirical psychology. The research community includes academic staff, research fellows, research officers and postgraduates engaged on many research projects.

More than a taught Masters

If you're not sure that an MSc degree is right for you then you can consider our Master of Science by Dissertation (MSD).

The MSD is a one year research degree, without the formal structure than an MSc degree as it doesn't include taught modules. Instead you will focus on a particular area of research with support from an academic supervisor.

Your MSD can be carried out with the exit award "MSD Psychology". Alternatively if your research is progressing well then you may be able to upgrade to a PhD, with agreement from the department and your supervisor.

'I completed both my Bachelors and Masters degrees at Essex before starting my PhD. I developed an excellent working relationship with the staff and I found my Department to be an innovative and stimulating environment.'
Annelie Harvey BSc Psychology '10, MSc Research Methods in Psychology '11, PhD Psychology '14
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Stay with us

We'll give you a loyalty discount of up to 33% on the tuition fee for your first year of postgraduate study at Essex, if you're one of our graduates, studied abroad with us, or have a spouse or partner studying here as a full-time international student paying overseas fees.

Get your Essex loyalty discount
Get in touch
Psychology postgraduate enquiries