School of Psychology

MSc Advanced Psychology

Carve out your future career in psychological research or practice with instruction in the advanced theory and methods that underpin psychological science. With a hands-on approach to learning, practical activities built into all elements of learning give you direct experience of the connections between theory, evidence, and practice.

A wide range of elective modules allows you to tailor the programme to your requirements, and provides instruction in the specialist techniques and transferable skills you need to shape the psychologist you want to be.

Careers with this subject

The programme provides advanced training and experience that puts graduates at a competitive advantage in academic or professional psychological practice. Insight and instruction of core psychological research competencies provide a foundation for the exploration of the knowledge and skills specific to particular career-pathways. Selection amongst the wide-range of elective modules provides experiential-learning of advanced topics relevant to clinical practice, techniques in behavior change, and human neuroscience. These options allow you to shape the psychologist that you want to become, with the skills and experience requisite for doctoral training, or immediate professional or commercial practice.

Key features

  • Our hands-on approach to learning embeds practical activities throughout the programme, so you can put new knowledge into practice and build the skills for future careers.
  • Wide range of elective modules allows you to shape the psychologist you want to become, allowing a deep-dive on techniques in clinical practice, neuroscience and behaviour change.
  • Taught lectures are concentrated on two specific days of the week, allowing full or part-time study to be combined with research, work experience, or external commitments.
  • Advanced instruction on all aspects of the research cycle: from the formulation of the research question, experiment design, data analysis, through to the written and oral communication of your findings and applications for further research funding.
  • Work with world-leading researchers and practitioners in the exploration of a research topic of your own choosing.
  • Our extensive range of specialist facilities and laboratories, including neuroimaging, observation, virtual reality, and the Plymouth Babylab, allow you to make an original contribution to your chosen area of specialism. 

Course details

  • Year 1
  • With the supervision and guidance of world-class researchers and academics, you will acquire an advanced understanding of psychology that cuts across theory, methods and practice. Core modules provide the training on the core concepts and skills used in research and practice. This includes advanced instruction in data fluency, experiment design and the communication of research, and the role of qualitative and interpretative techniques in the application of psychology to everyday problems. A wide range of specialist techniques are offered as options, allowing you to build a suite of specific techniques required for your future career in research or practice clinical psychology, neuroscience, or behaviour change techniques.

    Core modules

    • PSYC751 Asking psychological questions
      This module explores what it means to ask psychological questions, what good research questions look like, and how they shape how we produce new knowledge. Practical exercises will guide you to identify, critique and refine your own research questions.
    • PSYC752 Advanced research design for psychology
      Engage with advanced concepts in psychological research design, and learn to critically evaluate current research practice with exercises that will help you to operationalise your own research questions.
    • PSYC753 Data fluency
      Become fluent with numerical and textual data and learn the practical skills to visualise and communicate your insights, using best practices for reproducibility and transparency.
    • PSYC754 Advanced techniques for psychological research
      Advanced coverage of foundational techniques and introductions to specialist techniques for collecting and analysing psychological data.
    • PSYC755 Advanced Interpretative methods
      Extending basic thematic analyses, this module provides an advanced treatment of interpretive and discursive techniques in psychology, introducing interpretative phenomenological, narrative, discourse and conversation analyses.
    • PSYC756 Communicating psychological research
      Learn to communicate your research, both in writing and orally. In this module you will learn the skills required to write journal articles, present conference papers and posters, review journal articles and write grant applications.
    • PSYC757 Success in science
      Science is a collaborative, social activity. This module explores psychological evidence and practical strategies that will help you make an impact in academic and professional life.
    • PSYC781 MSc Research project
      A research project conducted under the supervision of research academics and clinical tutors give you the opportunity to conduct an in-depth exploration a research question of your own choosing. 
    Optional modules

    • PSYC771 Issues in cognitive and brain science
      This module focuses on how cognitive and neuroscience approaches and techniques are combined to provide a convergent perspective that allows an improved understanding of behaviour and the mind.
    • PSYC772 Issues in behaviour change
      Focusing on topical problem behaviours, this module examines contemporary issues in behaviour change, as well as the theoretical and ethical issues the approach raises. 
    • PSYC773 The brain and its disorders
      Learn how the biological, psychological, and social aspects of neurological disorders are informed through investigations of functional neuroanatomy, including both congential and developmental disorders, as well as acquired neurology. 
    • PSYC774 Supporting behaviour change
      What makes a psychologically based intervention effective? Covering a range of contemporary interventions for clinical psychological and behavioural problems, you will learn to critically analyse the psychological mechanisms that underlie them, and the role that research plays in developing new interventions. 
    • PSYC791 Foundations of clinical psychology
      This module provides foundational knowledge in the theory and practice of clinical psychology, and the social, cultural and legal context in which mental health professions operate.
    • PSYC792 Understanding clinical interventions
      Learn the fundamental principles and techniques of the cognitive behavior approach, and the contemporary developments that address individual psychological difficulties within a biopsychosocial framework. Core clinical skills are introduced, including frameworks for listening, building a therapeutic alliance, communication, group-work, techniques for working with families, collaborative working, and monitoring change.

    Core modules
    • PSYC750 Personal and Professional Development

      This module will enhance students¿ awareness of the transferable skills they possess, focus thinking about future employment, spur reflection on recent learning, and promote the effective use of feedback to enhance academic performance.

    • PSYC751 Asking Psychological Questions: Epistemology and Strategy for Formulating Psychological research

      This module explores what it means to ask psychological questions, what good research questions look like, the philosophical foundations of scientific enquiry, and how good research questions shape how we produce new knowledge. Practical exercises guide students to identify, critique and refine their own research questions.

    • PSYC752 Advanced Research Design for Psychology

      This module challenges students to engage with advanced concepts in psychological research design, and to critically evaluate current practices in quantitative research. Practical exercises guide students to operationalise their own research questions within a quantitative framework.

    • PSYC753 Data Fluency: Processing, Visualising and Analysing Data for Reproducible Research

      Become fluent with numerical and textual data. Learn practical skills to summarise, visualise, and communicate insights from quantitative data; become familiar with software for working with large datasets; and best practices for reproducibility and transparency in psychological science.

    • PSYC754 Advanced Techniques for Psychological Research

      Advanced coverage of foundational techniques and introductions to specialist techniques for collecting and analyzing psychological data.

    • PSYC756 Communicating Psychological Research

      This module teaches students to communicate their research, both in writing and orally by introducing the skills required to write journal articles, present conference papers and posters, review journal articles and write grant applications.

    • PSYC757 Success in Science

      Science is a collaborative, social activity. This module explores psychological evidence and practical strategies that will help students make an impact in academic and professional life.

    • PSYC781 MSc Research Project

      This module requires students to undertake an original project in an area associated with their specialist area of interest. It comprises an independent piece of research work conducted by the student and written up as a research report.

    Optional modules
    • PSYC755 Advanced Interpretative Methods

      Advanced treatment of interpretative and discursive techniques in psychology, extending students¿ knowledge beyond basic thematic analyses and introducing interpretative phenomenological analysis, narrative analysis, discourse analysis and conversation analysis.

    • PSYC771 Issues in Cognitive and Brain Science

      This module focuses on how cognitive science and cognitive neuroscience approaches and techniques can be combined to provide convergent evidence for understanding the mind.

    • PSYC772 Issues in Behaviour Change

      This module covers contemporary issues in behaviour change, focusing on a topical problem behaviours and the theoretical and ethical issues of behaviour change that they raise. Based on this, students will examine and seek to change their own behaviour.

    • PSYC773 The Brain and its Disorders

      This module teaches students advanced functional neuroanatomy by studying the biological, psychological and social aspects of various common neurological disorders. This module will cover congenital/ developmental as well as acquired neurology.

    • PSYC774 Supporting Behaviour Change

      What makes a psychologically based intervention effective? This module covers a range of contemporary interventions for clinical psychological and behavioural problems, focusing on a critical analysis of the psychological mechanisms underlying interventions and explores how laboratory research can be translated into new interventions.

    • PSYC791 Foundations of Clinical Psychology

      This module provides foundational knowledge in the theory and practice of clinical psychology, and the social, cultural and legal context in which mental health professions operate.

    • PSYC792 Understanding Clinical Interventions: Principles of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Systemic Family Therapy

      This module introduces students to fundamental principles and techniques of the cognitive behavioural approach, and contemporary developments which address individual psychological difficulties within a biopsychosocial framework. Students will be introduced to the importance of understanding individual difficulties within the systemic context of relationship dynamics, family, communities, and wider society, including the impact of social inequalities on mental health outcomes. Core clinical skills, are introduced, including listening, building a therapeutic alliance, communication, group-work, techniques for working with families, collaborative working, and monitoring change.

Every postgraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the programme aims, the programme structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest programme structure and may be subject to change:

MSc Advanced Psychology programme specification 6479

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.

Entry requirements

Most students will hold an honours degree, usually a 2:1, although we would also consider applicants who can demonstrate their ability to thrive on this programme due to professional experience.

This programme provides a privileged route for students seeking to advance their knowledge of psychology. While well suited to students with a current background in the field we would also welcome applications from students from other backgrounds, such as education, humanities, social sciences, biology and other life sciences, pure science, and engineering.

Please note that this programme does not confer graduate basis for recognition by the British Psychological Society, applicants seeking this recognition should apply to our MSc Psychology.

English language requirements

If your first language is not English then evidence of English proficiency is required, with a normal minimum IELTS score for acceptable English proficiency of 6.5. For further advice on the appropriateness of overseas qualification and proficiency in the use of English, please contact our International Office.

Fees, costs and funding

New Student 2018 2019
Home/EU To be confirmed £8,000
International To be confirmed £14,400
Part time (Home/EU) To be confirmed To be confirmed
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per a number of credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances.

Alumnus loyalty reward for postgraduate study

From September 2018, the University applies a discretionary alumni reward where alumnus meet certain criteria on particular postgraduate taught courses.

  • a 20 per cent discount on home/EU tuition fees
  • or a £2,000 discount on international tuition fees.

PGCE programmes, Master of Architecture, MChem, MEng, MGeol, MPsych, MSci, ResM and postgraduate research degrees are not included in this reward.

For further details, and contact information, please review our alumni discount policy.

Funding opportunities

A range of studentships, fee waivers and other funding for psychology students is also available for both UK/EU and international students.

Postgraduate international scholarships from the School of Psychology

International students who have met the conditions of their University of Plymouth offer of study will be eligible to receive the School of Psychology Postgraduate Platinum Scholarship to help towards the cost of tuition fees. You may also be eligible to apply for the University's Postgraduate Taught International Academic Excellence Scholarship.

Find out whether you are eligible and how you can apply

How to apply

When to apply

Most of our taught programmes begin in September, with some January starts also available. Applications can usually be made throughout the year, and are considered until programmes are full. 

Before you apply

Familiarise yourself with the information required to complete your application form. You will usually be required to supply:
  • evidence of qualifications (degree certificates or transcripts), with translations if not in English, to show that you meet, or expect to meet the entry requirements
  • evidence of English language proficiency, if English is not your first language
  • a personal statement of approximately 250-400 words about the reasons for your interest in the course and outlining the nature of previous and current related experience. You can write this into the online application form, or include it as a separate document
  • your curriculum vitae or résumé, including details of relevant professional/voluntary experience, professional registration/s and visa status for overseas workers
  • proof of sponsorship, if applicable.
If you require further information take a look at our application guidance.

Disability services

If you have a disability and would like further information about the support provided by University of Plymouth, please visit our Disability Services website. 

International students

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email international-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

Submitting an application

Once you are happy that you have all of the information required you can apply using our online postgraduate application form (the blue 'Apply now' icon on this page).

What happens after I apply?

You will normally receive a decision on your application within four weeks of us receiving your application. You may be asked to provide additional information; two academic/professional references, confirming your suitability for the course; or to take part in an interview (which in the case of overseas students may be by telephone or video conference) and you will be sent a decision by letter or email.

We aim to make the application procedure as simple and efficient as possible. Our Admissions and Course Enquiries team is on hand to offer help and can put you in touch with the appropriate faculty if you wish to discuss any programme in detail.

If you would like any further information please contact the Admissions and Course Enquiries team:

Telephone: +44 (0)1752 585858
Email: admissions@plymouth.ac.uk 

Admissions policy

More information and advice for applicants can be referenced by downloading our Student Admissions Policy Prospective students are advised to read the policy before making an application to the University.