School of Psychology

MSc Research Methods in 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. It provides experiential-learning of advanced topics relevant to techniques in behaviour change and human neuroscience, helping to equip you as the psychologist that you want to become, with the skills and experience requisite for doctoral training (e.g., PhD), 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.
  • 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. Training is provided 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, neuroscience, or behaviour change techniques.

    Core modules

    • Advanced Psychology Research Project (PSYC722)

      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.

    • Personal and Professional Development (PSYC750)

      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.

    • Advanced Research Design and Data Fluency for Psychology (PSYC760)

      This module explores approaches to formulating psychological research questions, the design of studies to effectively investigate such questions, and how to work fluently with common types of psychological data.

    • Advanced Research Practice and Data Analysis for Psychology (PSYC761)

      This module teaches students to communicate their research in a conference-style presentation setting, to work collaboratively and make an impact in their academic and professional life, and to analyse psychological data using best practices for reproducibility and transparency in psychological science.  

    • Models of Intervention in Psychology (PSYC762)

      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. 

    • Advanced Skills and Techniques for Psychological Research part 1  (PSYC763)

      The module introduces students to a range of approaches to data collection including interviewing, surveys, computer programming, systematic reviewing and EEG. It also provides students with a grounding in core research skills such as writing, literature reviewing and conducting service evaluation. 

    • Advanced Skills and Techniques for Psychological Research part 2  (PSYC764)

      The module introduces students to a range of approaches to data analytic and data handling methodologies including qualitative approaches such as thematic analysis and content analysis and methods of analysing and data handling approaches to quantitative data such as JAMOVI/JASP and excel. The module will also cover specific elements of analysis such as clinical significance, psychometrics and research dissemination through academic posters.  

    • Neuropsychology and Neuroscience: From lab to community (PSYC765)

      To show how different cognitive science and neuroscience techniques can be used to advance understanding cognition and how this relates to neurological conditions. Students are introduced to a range of neuropsychological conditions including Acquired Brain Injuries, Parkinson’s and dementia and approaches to intervention from lab through to hospital and community settings.  

    • Interprofessional Learning 3 (HIPL600)

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 Research Methods in Psychology programme specification 7626

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

Students must have a minimum of a 2:2 honours degree, preferably in Psychology but also in cognate subjects (e.g., computational neuroscience), 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 programme. 
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.
We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary. 

Fees, costs and funding

Student 2023-2024 2024-2025
Home £9,500 £9,900
International £16,500 £17,600
Part time (Home) £530 £550
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 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. More information about fees and funding.

Tuition fee discount for University of Plymouth graduates

If you studied your undergraduate degree at Plymouth, you may be eligible for a fee discount if you complete your postgraduate studies here as well.
  • 10% discount on tuition fees for home students
  • £2,000 discount on tuition fees for international students

Postgraduate scholarships for international students

We offer several scholarships for international students who wish to study postgraduate taught (PGT) degree programmes.

How to apply

When to apply
Most of our taught programmes begin in September. 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.
International students
Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office. Take a look at our how to apply information or email 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 weeksof 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 in our admissions policy which can be found on the student regulations, policies and procedures page. Prospective students are advised to read the policy before making an application to the University.

Our labs

Graduate insight

Having a fascination with the experience of being human and the reasoning behind why people do the things they do, studying psychology seemed like a clear option for Kezz Keogh.
“How can a song elicit similar emotions in people regardless of the language spoken? Why do we dream? What drives the decisions that we make?”
Over time, Kezz’s curiosity in psychology became enmeshed with her lifelong love of nature. This evolved into a deep interest in the human relationship with the natural environment, and she chose to explore this during her undergraduate degree, taking in a placement at Dartmoor Zoo, and then later on her masters
Kezz Keogh, BSc Psychology and MSc Advanced Psychology

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