Postgraduate study

Psychology of Individual Differences

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding available

This programme provides an exciting opportunity to gain intensive training in the psychology of individual differences by a large team of world-class researchers.

It provides advanced graduate-level study in the field of the psychology of individual differences and psychological research skills, and forms a strong basis for further (typically PhD) study.

There are two key subdivisions in the study of human individual differences: personality and mental abilities. Psychology at Edinburgh has a uniquely large number of world-class researchers in both subdivisions.

The programme covers psychometric research methods, the foundations and correlates of human individual differences (including approaches involving information processing, brain-imaging, molecular genetics and biometric models), and the application of individual differences in personality to health. No prior experience of the psychology of individual differences is assumed.

This programme comprises two semesters of taught courses, followed by a research-based dissertation supervised by a member of staff with similar research interests.

Compulsory courses:

  • Seminar in Personality
  • Seminar in Intelligence
  • Current Topics in Psychological Research
  • Multivariate Statistics and Methodology Using R
  • Psychological Research Skills
  • Univariate Statistics and Methodology using R

Option courses may include:

  • Intelligence, Personality and Health (MSc)

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScPsychology of Individual Differences1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2018/19

The programme is aimed primarily at students who are considering advanced research in the area. Students who follow this programme will gain:

  • an in-depth understanding of current research issues, research and methodology in the psychology of individuals
  • the ability to formulate research questions and apply appropriate research methods to increase understanding of individual differences in human personality and human mental abilities
  • advanced understanding of seminal and recent scientific findings relating to the study of human individual differences and the ways in which individual differences are currently being studied or applied
  • skills in research management, including managing data and disseminating research in ways consistent with professional practice in the field of individual differences and the normal principles of research ethics
  • advanced knowledge of the basic principles of multivariate statistical data analysis techniques (including multiple regression, factor analysis and structural equation modelling) and epidemiological techniques (including logistic regression and survival analyses), and the ability to carry out data analysis on different data sets using appropriate statistical packages
  • a firm basis for subsequent advanced specialised research within the psychology of individual differences
  • a broad understanding and awareness of issues and findings in the psychology of individual differences through application to other disciplines such as human cognitive neuropsychology, molecular genetics, evolutionary psychology, epidemiology and health psychology

This programme has been designed to help you progress your research career and offers a firm basis for further postgraduate study.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in psychological, biological or social sciences, or any similar subject based on methodological and statistics studies.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

All applicants must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of their English language ability:

  • an undergraduate or masters degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.5 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 23 in each module)
  • PTE(A): total 67 (at least 61 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections)
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 176 in each module)
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

Degrees taught and assessed in English must be no more than three years old at the beginning of your degree programme. Language tests must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.

Find out more about our language requirements:

  • PPLS Postgraduate Office
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 5002
  • Email: pplspg@ed.ac.uk
  • PPLS Postgraduate Office
  • Dugald Stewart Building
  • 3 Charles Street
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AD

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible. We may consider late applications if we have places available, but you should contact the relevant Admissions Office for advice first.

You must submit a reference with your application.

References

You will be asked to add contact details for your referees. We will email them with information on how to upload their reference directly to your online application. Alternatively, they can email their comments to:

Personal statement

In addition to the supporting documents requested on the application form, you should include a personal statement detailing the background of your interest and why you are attracted to the programme. We expect you to have a good understanding of the field you propose to study.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • PPLS Postgraduate Office
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 5002
  • Email: pplspg@ed.ac.uk
  • PPLS Postgraduate Office
  • Dugald Stewart Building
  • 3 Charles Street
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AD