The MSc Psychological Sciences is a conversion programme designed for students who have not previously taken a psychology degree or only psychology as a joint degree with other subjects. It is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) and prepares students who wish to progress to research in psychology or study of applied areas of psychology such as clinical, educational, forensic and occupational/organisational/business psychology.
Information for applicants
Modes and duration
Fees and application deadlines: Details available in the UCL Prospectus
The Psychological Sciences MSc is designed to confer Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) with the British Psychological Society (BPS). GBC is the form of professional accreditation that is required for many careers that you may pursue with a psychology degree, as well as for advanced professional training in psychology. This is a conversion course.
Normally a minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor’s degree from a UK university of an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.
English Language Requirements
If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.
The English language level for this programme is: Good
Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.
Objectives and outcomes
You will gain a comprehensive understanding of the core areas of psychology required by the BPS including biological psychology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, individual differences and social psychology and the links between them. You will also study quantitative and qualitative research methods and statistics and undertake your own dissertation psychology research project under supervision of one of the wide range of psychology department staff.
By the end of the programme, you will have acquired a comprehensive knowledge of the distinctive methods, theories and insights of psychological science. You will have also acquired practical research skills in investigating and building new psychological knowledge and insights. These will provide a foundation for further specialist training in undertaking psychological research and/or further developing and applying your psychological knowledge to any number of issues affecting human life and society including work, education, health and public policy.
Who is the programme for?
The MSc is designed for students who have undertaken a degree in another subject and are interested in now learning about psychology or whose degree in psychology was not accredited by the British Psychological Society as conferring BPS graduate basis for chartership. As UCL is a research-based university, we particularly welcome students who are interested not just in learning about psychology but in developing new knowledge about psychology through research (including in the applications of psychology in health, education and business). The knowledge and methods you learned through studying a degree in another subject could potentially contribute to advances in psychology. The programme is highly selective and takes only 10-15% of applicants each year, so a good degree (obtained or expected) is important.
Why study at UCL?
The programme draws on an outstanding faculty across all areas of psychology and neuroscience. Exposure to the latest research and the potential to carry out MSc dissertation projects under supervision of key faculty gives students insight into the process of research in psychology. This in addition to learning about what is currently known in the core areas of psychology as required in all conversion psychology degrees
The programme consists of 8 core modules (120 credits) and a research dissertation (60 credits).
The 8 modules and dissertation cover psychological knowledge (what research tells us about the core areas of psychology), skills for undertaking psychological research and doing psychology research as follows:
PSYC0241: Developmental Psychology
PSYC0242: Biological Psychology
PSYC0243: Cognitive Psychology
PSYC0010: Social Psychology
PSYC0224: Individual Differences
Generic research skills
PSYC0223: Introduction to Statistics for Psychology
PSYC0158: Qualitative data analysis
Doing psychology research
PSYC0155: Empirical Projects
Introduction to Statistics in Psychology
This course provides an introduction to statistics for analysing the results of psychological experiments and observational studies. The course covers different types of data and how to describe them, the principles underlying null hypothesis significance testing, and common tests and analyses, including ANOVA, correlation, regression and the general linear model. The course will focus on how to decide on the suitable analysis for a given problem, and how to evaluate the appropriateness of a statistical model and its underlying assumptions. Emphasis is placed on a conceptual understanding of statistical methods, and in most cases definition rather than computational formula are presented. Practical experience in applying the methods will be developed through exercises in Microsoft Excel and with the statistics package SPSS.
The ability to conduct empirical research is an essential part of being a psychologist. This module focusses on the knowledge and skills needed to plan and execute an empirical research project. The module is delivered through a combination of lectures and structured group work. Students gain practical experience of designing, executing and analysing two projects, each of which is then written up as a lab report. The projects are undertaken in small groups, with the first project written up as a group and the second individually.
Overview of Developmental Psychology
The module covers core concepts and current research in developmental psychology. It examines different approaches to studying developmental processes occurring in infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood aging. It will include theories and methods for understanding cognitive, social and emotional development. The module examines both typical and atypical development across the life-span, exploring different mental health difficulties that occur at different stages in life. It will consider the influence of attachment, family and relationships, and environment on development.
The module covers core concepts and research in biological psychology. It explores the history of the field, neuroanatomy, methods used in the study of biological psychology and core topics which form the majority of this research area. These include sensory / motor systems, decision making, memory, planning, emotion, stress, reinforcement, and social information processing.
The module covers core concepts and research in cognitive psychology. It explores the history of the field, methods used in the study of cognitive psychology and core topics which form the majority of this research area. These include perception, attention, human learning and memory, language processing, thinking, reasoning and metacognition
The module addresses contemporary theorising and research in social psychology with an emphasis on social cognition and self-regulation. Domains that will be addressed include automatic and controlled processes in social cognition; stereotype activation and inhibition; mood and subjective experiences; socially situated cognition; asymmetric social relations of status and power; imitation and behaviour complementarity; self-control and goal pursuit.
The module focuses on current conceptual debate and methods in social psychology. It deals with the understanding of how the social environment affects cognitive processes, judgment and behaviour. The course considers various levels of analysis, such as the self, interpersonal processes, and intergroup processes
The module covers core concepts and research in personality, individual differences and intelligence. It explores approaches to measuring, understanding and explaining individual differences in personality including psychometric theory, trait approaches, behaviour genetics, neurobiological approaches and developmental pathways and how these affect health, mental wellbeing, occupational and other life outcomes. It also covers historical and current models of intelligence, measurement of intelligence and malleability of abilities through education.
Qualitative Data Analysis
This course introduces the main data sources and analysis methods used in qualitative research. In addition to covering the key conceptual issues, a computer package for qualitative analysis is taught, as are further methods for data analysis. Students emerge with the skill of using a textual data analysis package. The strengths and limitations of various techniques are evaluated, with an eye to issues such as reliability and validity. The specific criteria used for evaluation of qualitative work are examined, as is its scientific status. The course combines lectures and practical work and is assessed by a qualitative analysis.
All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 10,000–12,000 words.
The main project represents one-third of the total marks for the MSc. The report (dissertation) will be around 10000 - 12000 words. Usually, it will include more a wide-ranging literature review and discussion than would be found in a typical paper, but this is not the only possibility (eg a project generating a lot of results might need to focus more narrowly on the study itself.)
Teaching and Learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of seminars and small-group lectures and practicals. Assessment is through reports of projects carried out individually and in groups, essays and examinations. The dissertation is assessed through a 10,000-12,000 word report.
Full-time students attend university for teaching 3 - 4 days per week in the first and second term. Part-time students, completing the programme over two years complete 4 modules in each year. No formal teaching is scheduled in the third term, as this is intended for project work on the student’s dissertation.
Programme Director: Dr John Cape
Teaching staff (NB: staff may occasionally be absent for a term or more on research or other leaveDr Laura Gibbon
- Prof Helene Joffe
In addition, we can call on the support of visiting lecturers, Teaching Fellows and Postgraduate Teaching Assistants.
- Application and Entry
Students are advised that we will not be making any decisions on applications until April 2022. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines. It is very likely that all places will be filled much earlier than the general UCL deadline.
WHO CAN APPLY?
The programme is suitable for students from a variety of backgrounds who wish to gain the skills necessary for a research or applied career in psychology.
What are we looking for?
When we assess your application we would like to learn:why you want to study Psychological Sciences at graduate level why you want to study Psychological Sciences at UCL
- what particularly attracts you to the chosen programme
- how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this rigorous programme
- where you would like to go professionally with your degree
Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.
For more information see our Applications page.
For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.
Graduate Student Loans are now available to UK/EU students. For further information:
By the end of the programme, students will have acquired practical research skills and knowledge of the core areas of discipline of psychology, allowing them to progress to research in psychology or study of applied areas of psychology.
Graduation from the Psychological Sciences MSc provides the students with the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) with the British Psychological Society (BPS) which is required in the UK for many careers that you may pursue with a psychology degree, as well as for advanced professional training in psychology.
In addition to subject-based skills and knowledge, psychology graduates also acquire a number of transferable skills e.g. numeracy, IT literacy, data-management, time-management, independent research, team working, report writing, presentation skills, communication and literacy skills, and the ability to work ethically and professionally with people. These abilities are all highly valued in a range of employment fields.
Your knowledge of all areas of the subject makes you eligible for entry into any field normally open to psychology graduates, or for further graduate training (which is required for graduates wishing to work as a chartered professional psychologist in the areas of health, forensic, clinical, educational and occupational psychology).
While many UCL psychology graduates have gone on to become professional psychologists in the National Health Service, in education, the civil service and industry, it is important to bear in mind that psychology provides a very useful basis for a wide range of other careers.
For further information on careers, visit the website of the British Psychological Society.
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