Psychology and Psychological Research MSci

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Psychology plays a fundamental part across the spectrum of modern day life. This MSci programme is designed for those considering a career in research (eg, working for universities, think tanks and consulting). BPS accredited logoStudents will take the same modules as in BSc Psychology in the first three years, followed by an additional specialist fourth year. At Birmingham you can look forward to being taught by world-leading academics in one of the UK's top Schools of Psychology.

Course fact file

UCAS code: C890

Duration: 4 years

Places Available: 240 (all undergraduate Psychology courses)

Applications in 2012: 1108

Typical Offer: A*AA (More detailed entry requirements and the international qualifications accepted can be found in the course details)

Start date: September 2013

Details

Psychologists work in basic and applied research in fields that include education and child development, clinical work, the courtroom (acting as expert witnesses), industry (helping to design efficient machines or optimising business organisations), and in universities researching every branch of human behaviour from visual perception to sexuality. This BPS-accredited programme covers all aspects of psychology.

If you apply for this degree and are not admitted you will automatically be considered for admission into BSc Psychology. We allow up to five students to transfer from BSc Psychology into MSci Psychology and Psychological Research after their second year. High academic performance in the first two years will be an important criterion for the transfer. Combining students directly entering the course via UCAS and those who transfer from BSci, we expect a cohort of ten students in MSci Psychology and Psychological Research in the third and fourth years.

Please note that you may be required to come to the School of Psychology for an interview as a part of the application process for this course.

First and second years

In your first two years you will study the core theories and methods of psychology, covering child development, learning, abnormal behaviour, cognitive psychology, perception, personality, social psychology, and brain and behaviour. You will also learn how to design experiments and collect and analyse data.

Year abroad option
As a current student you will have the opportunity to take a year abroad in between your second and third years, in a location such as the USA, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong or Singapore. If you take this option you will receive a BSc with Year Abroad. During your year abroad, fees will be 15% of the regular annual fee. You will not pay any additional fees to your host university overseas.

Third year

In the third year, under the guidance of your supervisor, you will undertake a substantial piece of independent research work. You also choose options from a list of advanced modules on contemporary psychology including topics such as forensic and clinical psychology, social cognition, psychology and culture, and cognitive neuroscience.

Fourth year

In the fourth year, you will gain hands-on experience in cutting edge research at an internationally competitive level through a research placement and an independent research project that are supervised by our academic and research staff. Taught components are Masters level modules. You will take taught modules on transferable skills (eg, presentation skills) and choose options from a list of modules that include advanced research seminars and training in advanced scientific methods (eg, functional brain imaging, computational modelling of behaviours).  

Download our MSci course brochure.

See Psychology and Psychological Research MSci frequently asked questions (PDF 104KB)

Why study this course

Situated at the heart of the Edgbaston campus, we are one of the strongest Psychology departments in the country, with over 45 academic teaching staff and around 490 undergraduates. We are a broad school with expertise in clinical, forensic, social, developmental, and cognitive psychology, and behavioural and social neuroscience. We have recently opened a new £2 million brain imaging centre. We are ranked among the top three Psychology departments in the country for research and have been rated as ‘excellent’ in government reviews of our teaching.

Our programmes are all accredited by the British Psychological Society as conferring eligibility for Graduate Membership of the Society with the Graduate Basis for Registration, provided the minimum standard of second class honours is achieved. This is the first step towards becoming a Chartered Psychologist. For more information please contact the British Psychological Society.

For many careers in psychology, relevant experience and a good undergraduate degree are important, even for entry-level jobs. Our MSci programmes are designed to provide relevant, specialist experience through placements and projects and, because they are Undergraduate Masters degrees, your Local Education Authority should be willing to support your study for the full four years.

Here at the University of Birmingham we were the first to offer MSci programmes dedicated to psychology. We are uniquely placed to offer these opportunities because of our experience (we are the only UK university with postgraduate courses training chartered clinical, forensic and educational psychologists) and because we offer top quality research experience.

Modules

Students socializing in the Hills Building

Year 1: (all compulsory modules)

  • Perception and Attention
  • Memory and Language
  • Introduction to Psychobiology: from Ion Channels to Abnormal Behaviour
  • Psychobiology of Memory, Emotion and Motivation
  • Introduction to Learning
  • Introduction to Mental Health and Psychological Problems
  • Research Methods A: Basic Skills 
  • Research Methods B: Introduction to Psychological Investigations and Statistics 
  • Plus two modules outside the main discipline (MOMDs)

See Year 1 module descriptions (PDF 207KB)

Year 2: (all compulsory modules)

  • Research Methods C: Qualitative and Relational Analysis
  • Visual Perception and Illusions
  • Forensic Psychology
  • The Development of Attachment Behaviour
  • Cognition in Infants and Children
  • Research Methods D: Inferential Analysis and Experimental Methods
  • Introduction to Psycholinguistics
  • Neural Basis of Movement
  • Introduction to Social Psychology
  • Personality and Individual Differences

See Year 2 module descriptions (PDF 198KB)

Year 3

This year of study is designed to be flexible and allow for the development of individual interests and abilities.

Project work is compulsory and accounts for one third of the year's work. Under the guidance of a supervisor, you will undertake a substantial piece of independent research work. This project usually begins at the end of the second year and involves designing a study of your own choice, collecting, analysing, and interpreting the data, presenting an oral description of the work, and submitting a literature review and written report. This type of work gives you detailed experience in your chosen area.

You will also choose four modules from the following:

  • Why We Remember and Why We Forget
  • Development and Disorders of Language in Children
  • Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Mental Health
  • Higher Cognitive Functions
  • Introduction to Minds, Brains and Models
  • The Lying Brain
  • Pain
  • Parental Cognition, Psychopathology and Behaviour
  • The Psychology of Severe Intellectual Disability
  • Sleep
  • Brain Damage and Rehabilitation
  • Speaking and Reading
  • Theoretical Issues in Non-Verbal Behaviour
  • Understanding Emotions: a Neurocognitive Perspective
  • Visual Cognitive Neuroscience and Art
  • Why We Eat What We Eat: A Psychological Perspective on Appetite

See Year 3 module descriptions (PDF 325KB)

Year 4

During the fourth year, you will complete a 3-month research placement and a 6-month research project within the School, and thus gain experience of cutting-edge science. You will also receive training in transferable skills and advanced scientific methods.

Compulsory Modules

  • MSci Research Project (40 credits)
  • Research Placement 1* (20 credits)
  • Professional Skills* (10 credits)
  • Communication Skills* (10 credits)
  • Design and Analysis 2* (10 credits)
  • Foundation / Psychological Issues* (10 credits)

Optional Modules (all 10 credits) two from:

  • Contemporary Topics in Psychology
  • Vision and Action/Posture and Balance*
  • Computer Use*
  • Brain Imaging & Cognitive Neuroscience 1*
  • Brain Imaging & Cognitive Neuroscience 2*
  • Matlab Programming*
  • Web Programming*
  • Introduction to Formal Modelling*

* Those marked * are shared with MRes programmes

Fees and funding

Standard fees apply 
Learn more about fees and funding

Scholarships
Learn more about our scholarships and awards

Entry requirements

Number of A levels required: 3

Typical offer: A*AA

Required subjects and grades: We prefer applicants to take at least one of the following subjects: Biology/Human Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics/Statistics, Physics or Psychology. Grade C in each of GCSE English and Maths is also required.

General Studies: We do not accept General Studies, Critical Thinking, Citizenship Studies, Applied Science, Communication and Culture, Critical Studies, Global Perspectives, Science in Society and World Development.

BTEC: Not accepted 

Access to HE courses: Not accepted

Additional information:

Other qualifications are considered – learn more about entry requirements

International students:

International Baccalaureate Diploma: 36 points, including a Science subject at HL (Biology, Chemistry, Maths, Physics or Psychology). Theory of Knowledge and Extended Essay points are not considered. 5 points in each of SL English and Maths if not offered at GCSE or equivalent.

Standard English language requirements apply
Learn more about international entry requirements 

Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in the Birmingham Foundation Academy, a specially structured programme for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on the foundation academy web pages.

How to apply

Apply through UCAS at www.ucas.com 
Learn more about applying

Key Information Set (KIS)

Key Information Sets (KIS) are comparable sets of information about full- or part-time undergraduate courses and are designed to meet the information needs of prospective students.

All KIS information has been published on the Unistats website and can also be accessed via the small advert, or ‘widget’, below. On the Unistats website you are able to compare all the KIS data for each course with data for other courses.

The development of Key Information Sets (KIS) formed part of HEFCE’s work to enhance the information that is available about higher education. They give you access to reliable and comparable information in order to help you make informed decisions about what and where to study.

The KIS contains information which prospective students have identified as useful, such as student satisfaction, graduate outcomes, learning and teaching activities, assessment methods, tuition fees and student finance, accommodation and professional accreditation.

Learning and teaching

Our Psychology degree is structured so that you follow a common programme in all of the areas that make up the core of contemporary psychology. In addition, in the third year you are offered a scheme of options, which allows you to concentrate on the themes which interest you most. The programme is structured on a modular basis, and two modules outside of the main discipline, in a subject other than psychology, may be taken in the first year. We also offer modules in ‘Applied Psychology’.

Your learning will take place in a range of different settings, and this course is taught through a timetable of lectures, seminars, tutorials and practical classes. This only accounts for a portion of the week so you will have the opportunity to structure your own work outside of these formal attendance requirements.

In the fourth year of the MSci Psychology and Psychological Research, you study a range of modules all of which are at Masters level. You will carry out a three-month research placement and a six-month research project within the School, as well as receiving training in transferable skills and advanced scientific methods. 

To begin with you may find university level education challenging, but we will support you to enable you to make this transition. You will have access to a comprehensive support system in the School, including personal tutors and welfare tutors, who can help with both academic and welfare issues throughout your course. You will have a formal transition review during your first year to check on your progress and identify areas where you may need some additional support, and the School’s academic small group tutorial system will provide you with skills based support throughout the course.

Assessment methods

Studying at degree level is likely to be very different from your previous experience of education at school or college. You will be expected to think, discuss and engage critically with the subject and find things out for yourself. We will enable you to make this transition to a new style of learning, and the way that you are assessed during your studies will help you develop the essential skills you need to make a success of your time at Birmingham.

Assessment varies dependent on the modules you study but you can expect to complete essays, lab reports, abstracts, grant proposals, oral presentations, short answer questions and multiple choice examinations, in addition to your third year research project (dissertation). In the fourth year you will be assessed similarly, with the placement and research project also assessed.

At the beginning of each module, you’ll be given information on how and when you’ll be assessed for that particular programme of study. You will receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, so that you can learn from and build on what you have done.

Contact

MSci Coordinator: Arie Nouwen
Email:
a.nouwen@bham.ac.uk

Student Recruitment Team
Telephone enquiries:
+44 (0)121 414 4691
Email: psychology-admissions@contacts.bham.ac.uk

Employability

Preparation for your career should be one of the first things you think about as you start university. Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal. 

This MSci programme focuses on developing research skills of students. Research skills are versatile and transferable, and so they are useful in a variety of workplaces. Lecturing, consulting and thinktanks are just a few of the possible career paths. Research assistantships in psychological laboratories may be one of the entry-level jobs that you may find attractive upon graduation.

For lectureships in universities and other specialised research posts, a doctorate degree (PhD) is usually necessary. PhD programmes typically take 3 to 4 years, in which you may receive financial support for tuition and/or living expenses in the form of studentships. MSci students with excellent academic records may be able to enter a PhD programme with a studentship immediately after MSci; however, PhD studentships are highly competitive and further research experiences beyond MSci may also be necessary. Nevertheless, an MSci should give you an edge over BSc students in the competition for entry into PhD programmes and PhD studentships.

Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to Psychology, offering a specialised team in the School who can give you expert advice. Our team source exclusive work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with mentoring, global internships and placements available to you. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CV’s and job applications will help give you the edge. In addition, our employer-endorsed award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects. We also hold psychology careers seminars and a psychology careers fair in the final year to help students find employment.

Psychology Undergraduate Destinations ChartSchool of Psychology - undergraduate destinations 2011/2012

Professional accreditation

This programme is accredited as conferring eligibility for the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership of the British Psychological Society, provided the minimum standard of a lower second-class Honours degree is achieved. This is the first step towards becoming a Chartered Psychologist.

Contact

MSci Coordinator: Arie Nouwen
Email:
a.nouwen@bham.ac.uk

Student Recruitment Team
Telephone enquiries:
+44 (0)121 414 4691
Email: psychology-admissions@contacts.bham.ac.uk