Staff member? Login here


Course overview

(MSc) Master of Science
University of Essex
University of Essex
Colchester Campus
MSC C80012

A high 2.2 degree, or equivalent in any subject.

Applications from students with a 2:2 or equivalent will be considered dependent on any relevant professional or voluntary experience, previous modules studied and/or personal statement.

This course is not suitable for applicants who already hold a British Psychological Society Accredited degree.

If you already hold a BSc/BA Psychology and are not seeking BPS accreditation we advise you consider the MSc Cognitive Neuroscience & Neuropsychology or MSc Research Methods in Psychology .

IELTS 7.0 overall with a minimum component score of 5.5

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Additional Notes

The University uses academic selection criteria to determine an applicant’s ability to successfully complete a course at the University of Essex. Where appropriate, we may ask for specific information relating to previous modules studied or work experience.

External Examiners provide an independent overview of our courses, offering their expertise and help towards our continual improvement of course content, teaching, learning, and assessment. External Examiners are normally academics from other higher education institutions, but may be from the industry, business or the profession as appropriate for the course. They comment on how well courses align with national standards, and on how well the teaching, learning and assessment methods allow students to develop and demonstrate the relevant knowledge and skills needed to achieve their awards. External Examiners who are responsible for awards are key members of Boards of Examiners. These boards make decisions about student progression within their course and about whether students can receive their final award.

eNROL, the module enrolment system, is now open until Monday 21 October 2019 8:59AM, for students wishing to make changes to their module options.


Core You must take this module You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options You can choose which module to study
Compulsory You must take this module There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Compulsory with Options You can choose which module to study
Optional You can choose which module to study

Year 1 - 2019/20

Exit Award Status
Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits PG Diploma PG Certificate
01 PS900-7-FY MSc Psychology Research Project Core 60 Compulsory Compulsory
02 PS943-7-SP Advanced Brain and Behaviour Compulsory 15 Compulsory Compulsory
03 PS945-7-SP Advanced Personality and Individual Differences Compulsory 15 Compulsory Compulsory
04 PS908-7-FY Research Methods and Statistics in Psychology Core 30 Compulsory Compulsory
05 PS931-7-AU Advanced Developmental Psychology Core 15 Compulsory Compulsory
06 PS921-7-AU Advanced Seeing and Hearing Core 15 Compulsory Compulsory
07 PS922-7-SP Advanced Memory, Attention and Language Core 15 Compulsory Compulsory
08 PS923-7-AU Advanced Social Psychology Core 15 Compulsory Compulsory

Exit awards

A module is given one of the following statuses: 'core' – meaning it must be taken and passed; 'compulsory' – meaning it must be taken; or 'optional' – meaning that students can choose the module from a designated list. The rules of assessment may allow for limited condonement of fails in 'compulsory' or 'optional' modules, but 'core' modules cannot be failed. The status of the module may be different in any exit awards which are available for the course. Exam Boards will consider students' eligibility for an exit award if they fail the main award or do not complete their studies.

Programme aims

To provide an education in Psychology in core subjects appropriate to gain Graduate Membership of the British Psychological Society (BPS), and the Graduate Basis for Registration as a Chartered Psychologist through BPS accredited courses.

To provide additional advanced and critical knowledge in core areas of Psychology.

To provide students with research skills, including statistical analysis, knowledge of experimental design and practical application of experimental techniques, which will enable them to carry out an independent, substantial research project.

To provide training in transferable skills necessary to meet the current requirements of graduate employers.

Learning outcomes and learning, teaching and assessment methods

On successful completion of the programme a graduate should demonstrate knowledge and skills as follows:

A: Knowledge and understanding

A1 Critical and advanced knowledge of psychological theory within the core domains specified by the BPS. These domains are Biological psychology, Sensation and perception, Cognitive Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Individual Differences, Social Psychology.
A2 Statistical theory, techniques and experimental design appropriate for psychological investigations and as required by the British Psychological Society.
A3 Advanced knowledge in those areas in which the student has chosen to develop special expertise.
Learning Methods: The scheme is built around core second-year UG courses that provide the syllabus required for professional accreditation by the British Psychological Society.

Each core course consists of 20hrs lectures, except for PS921 Advanced Cognitive Psychology (including the topics of sensation and perception) which has 40hrs lectures (A1).
Each advanced core course is supplemented by 5 x 2-hr advanced seminars and additional reading to bring the level of instruction to M-level (A1).

Statistics and research methods are taught in lectures, workshops, laboratory research classes, and supervised project research (A2).

Course options are taught in lectures, and/or seminars and workshops, or in the case of the critical review by individual research (A3).
Assessment Methods: A variety of methods of assessment are used, including coursework essays (A1, A3), end-of-year closed book examinations (A1, A2), laboratory reports (A2), statistical examinations (A2), and research dissertation (A2 - A3).

B: Intellectual and cognitive skills

B1 Critically evaluate the relative strengths of a range of theories and techniques used in psychology.
B2 Employ evidence-based reasoning to produce coherent research plans and hypotheses.
B3 Assemble and integrate evidence from a variety of sources, especially primary sources.
B4 Critically analyse and interpret quantitative information (e.g. in graphs, figures, tables), and rigorously test hypotheses by applying statistical methods.
Learning Methods: The basis for intellectual skills is provided in lectures and laboratory classes.

B1 is developed in both lecture/seminar-based and laboratory-based courses.

B2 is a key element of most laboratory assignments and is central to the dissertation.

B3 is developed through lectures, guided reading and tutor-led seminars.

B4 is developed in statistics and laboratory courses, as well as the research dissertation.
Assessment Methods: Intellectual and cognitive skills are assessed through unseen closed book examinations, coursework essays and also through marked laboratory reports and project work.

C: Practical skills

C1 Effectively test research hypotheses by applying appropriate and specific statistical techniques.
C2 Present quantitative data in tabular and graphical form.
C3 Use a range of psychological tools, such as specialist software, and laboratory equipment.
C4 Plan, undertake and report a substantial empirical project.
C5 Effectively research the literature for source material using appropriate databases.
Learning Methods: Practical skills (C1- C4) are developed in laboratory classes, assignments and project work.

C1 is developed through exercises and exposure to a range of industry-standard statistical software.

C2 is acquired in laboratory-based project work and further developed in the research dissertation.

C3 and C4 are developed in laboratory classes and during the supervision of the research dissertation.

C5 is developed through IT workshops, and supervision for the critical literature review and dissertation.
Assessment Methods: Practical skills (C1-C4) are assessed through marked laboratory reports, end of year examinations, and the empirical research dissertation.

Literature searches (C5) are assessed by the literature review, coursework essays and the dissertation.

D: Key skills

D1 Communicate ideas effectively Produce written reports/essays
D2 Present quantitative data in tabular and graphical form.
D3 Use a range of psychological tools, such as specialist software, and laboratory equipment.
D4 Plan, undertake and report a substantial empirical project.
D5 Not applicable.
D6 (i) Produce work that is properly presented against strict deadlines. (ii) Reflect on their own performance and make constructive use of feedback. (iii) Work independently, and plan work effectively
Learning Methods: Students are introduced to statistical software in their first term, and thereafter the development of key skills forms an integral part of their learning activity.

In particular, D1(i) is developed in laboratory classes, tutorials, and the dissertation.

D2 (i) and D2 (ii) are developed through the use of an extensive data-processing laboratory with access to the internet.

These key skills are taught in laboratory courses and statistics courses throughout the year.

D3 (i) and D3 (ii) are developed primarily in laboratory courses and in the research dissertation.

D4 is developed in exercises and laboratory classes.

D6 (i) and D6 (ii) are emphasised throughout the programme and is developed by means of rigid deadlines, feedback on assignments, and discussions with class tutors.
Assessment Methods: D1 (i) is directly assessed throughout the course.

All coursework must be word-processed (D2(i)).

Laboratory classes and the research project require statistics that are performed with advanced computer software packages, such that students must demonstrate competence in computer literacy (D2 (ii)).

Statistical analyses are assessed in class tests, laboratory reports and end of year examinations, such that students must demonstrate competence in numeracy (D3).

Problem solving is assessed in all courses in the programme (D4) in terms of the ability to generate cogent arguments and answers to novel questions in laboratory reports, course-work essays, the literature review, the dissertation, and end of year examinations.
The ability to generate hypotheses and develop an appropriate experimental design to answer a question is also assessed in the research dissertation (D3, D4).

Improvement of students' own learning and performance is assessed by awarding marks in coursework and examinations for evidence of additional reading (D6 (ii)) and by imposing strict deadlines for coursework assignments (D6 (i)).


The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

Should you have any questions about programme specifications, please contact Course Records, Quality and Academic Development; email: