Social Cognition: Research and Applications MSc

London, Bloomsbury

This MSc focuses on how individuals construe the social world and the processes that underlie social judgement and behaviour. The programme draws on the research of outstanding academic staff working in the areas of social cognition, social endocrinology, socio-cognitive neuroscience, and judgement and decision-making to provide unique, cutting-edge perspectives on humans as social beings. This programme should contribute to an understanding of applied societal problems in domains of climate change, mental health, inequality and social conflict.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2023/24)
Overseas tuition fees (2023/24)
1 calendar year
2 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2023
Applications accepted
All applicants: 17 Oct 2022 – 31 Mar 2023

Applications closed

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. Students are expected to have a Bachelor's degree in Psychology. However, very good candidates in related areas, such as management, sociology, or communication sciences, will also be considered. Students should be prepared for the mathematical component contained in the MSc-level Research Statistics module.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 2

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level. International Preparation Courses

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

Equivalent qualifications

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

This programme provides an understanding of how the human emotional, cognitive and neural systems have evolved to sustain social co-ordination and adaptation to the environment. Key topics include: social perception, motivation, attitudes, embodiment, emotion, social judgement and decision-making, and social neuroscience.

You will study at one of the world's best universities (UCL is ranked 8th in the world in the QS World University Rankings 2023) and our research is pioneering. UCL is ranked first for research power in Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience by the UK’s Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021), with more than two thirds of our research in these areas rated as world-leading (4*).

Who this course is for

Social cognition is a rapidly developing domain with implications for many areas of psychology - clinical, cross-cultural, health, consumer, educational, organisational, and political - and the programme will appeal to students with a background in these areas and an interest in social judgement and behaviour.

What this course will give you

The Division of Psychology and Language Sciences undertakes world-leading research and teaching in mind, behaviour, and language.

Our work attracts staff and students from around the world. Together they create an outstanding and vibrant environment, taking advantage of cutting-edge resources such as a behavioural neuroscience laboratory, a centre for brain imaging, and extensive laboratories for research in speech and language, perception, and cognition.

Opportunities for graduate students to work with world-renowned researchers exist in all areas of investigation, from basic processes to applied research. The division offers a supportive environment including numerous specialist seminars, workshops, and guest lectures.

The foundation of your career

On completion of this programme students will have acquired an understanding of the processes involved in the construction of the social reality, in particular how cognitive and affective processes guide social judgement and behaviour, and how these processes are implemented in the brain. Students will have also acquired methodological skills to design and carry out socio-cognitive research which will enable them to address real-world social problems and/or pursue an academic career. In addition, they will have acquired knowledge related to theoretical and philosophical issues underlying psychological research.


Graduates have taken up positions in research, marketing, teaching, academia, and management consultancy.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through lectures, tutorials, practicals and seminars. The Division of Psychology and Language Sciences has advanced technology for the study of socio-cognitive processes, including fMRI, eye-, speech- and motion tracking equipment for dyadic and group settings, as well as a 360º video camera.

Assessment is primarily through coursework, essays, class presentations, and the dissertation.

Each 15 credit module is roughly 150 hours. This time is made up of formal learning and teaching events such as lectures, seminars and tutorials, as well as independent study.

Teaching contact hours per module range from 20-30 hours per term. Upon the completion of your degree, overall physical/virtual teaching contact hours can range from 200-240 hours and this may include attending optional non-credit bearing seminars and educational events.


You will undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. The programme consists of six compulsory modules, two optional modules and a research dissertation.

You will select two specialist optional modules from a wide list of options. The options and research project will allow you to tailor the programme with an emphasis in basic and applied social cognition, social judgment and decision making or social neuroscience. In addition, you will profit from UCL’s and London’s vibrant research environment in decision-making, language, cognition and neuroscience, with regular scientific meetings that attract leading international experts.

Part-time students will take two years to complete this degree and will be expected to attend a minimum of two days a week for core modules (Monday, Wednesday, and/or Thursday). Term one requires attendance up to three days a week. You will also need to attend lectures for your optional module(s) which may mean that you are in college for an additional day or half day. You will also be expected to devote extra time for private study. Please ensure that you have a minimum of two days per week off work for the whole year and not just during term time.

Work on the research project starts in the second year but you are encouraged to start to consider your research interests in your first year.

By the end of two years, you will need to have completed six core modules, two optional modules, and your dissertation.

First Year:

  • Term 1 (October-December): TWO core modules (we encourage students to take PALS0049 Intermediate Statistics: Data analysis and visualisation with R in their first year)
  • Term 2 (January-March): ONE core module
  • Term 3 (April onwards): Dissertation (to be completed in the second year)

We highly recommend that you complete at least ONE optional module in your first year. By the end of Year 1 you will have completed: three core modules and ideally one optional module.

Second Year:

  • Term 1: TWO core modules
  • Term 2: ONE core module
  • Term 3: Work on research project, due in mid-August

By the end of Year 2 you will have completed an additional three core modules, TWO optional modules (in total over the two years), and your dissertation project.

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability are subject to change. Modules that are in use for the current academic year are linked for further information. Where no link is present, further information is not yet available.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded an MSc in Social Cognition: Research and Applications.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2023/24) £14,100 £7,050
Tuition fees (2023/24) £32,100 £16,050

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website:

Additional costs

There are no additional costs for this programme.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

Next steps

Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £90 for online applications and £115 for paper applications. Further information can be found at Application fees.

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Social Cognition at graduate level
  • why you want to study Social Cognition at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to this 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.

Applications will be reviewed after the application closure deadline.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.