Postgraduate study

Psychological Research MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

On this MSc you will learn about the general principles of conducting psychological research and analysing data. You will gain basic training in a variety of specific methodologies including, but not limited to:

  • brain imaging
  • neurodisruption
  • eyetracking
  • clinical case analysis
  • psychometric modelling
  • discourse analysis

Building on the research methods training, you will take topical courses in one of the core research areas of our department:

  • social psychology
  • cognitive neuropsychology
  • individual differences
  • psychology of language
  • human development

Your MSc culminates in a research dissertation in a core research area: an original, publication-quality piece of research, undertaken in close collaboration with researchers in the relevant group.


Our department is ranked among the top 25 in the world (QS World University Rankings 2020).

Our research is consistently ranked among the best in the (UK Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014), joint submission for psychology, psychiatry and neuroscience, rank order by GPA)):

  • 1st in Scotland
  • 11th in the UK

There is a vibrant and stimulating research culture in the department, and you will be able to participate in a range of other academic and social activities, including research seminars and journal clubs within and beyond the department.

The programme consists of two semesters of taught compulsory courses and optional courses tailored to your interests, followed by an original research dissertation.

Compulsory courses

  • Univariate Statistics and Methodology using R
  • Multivariate Statistics and Methodology using R
  • Psychological Research Skills

Optional courses

Optional courses will include:

  • Brain Imaging in Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neuropsychology
  • Problem-Based Social Psychology
  • Language Production
  • Seminar in Intelligence
  • Qualitative Methods in Psychological Research

Further specialization is available through selected Honours-level undergraduate courses,


The dissertation (of up to 8,000 words) is the capstone of the programme and involves conducting original empirical research to a high standard. The dissertation module is named after the research area you choose, which will show on your degree transcript: e.g., “Dissertation in Social Psychology”, “Dissertation in Human Cognitive Neuropsychology”, etc.

The programme lays emphasis on the following outcomes:

  • comprehension of the basic principles of research strategy and design, including an understanding of how to formulate researchable problems and an appreciation of alternative approaches to research
  • competency in understanding and applying a range of methods and research tools
  • skills in research management
  • understanding the significance of alternative epistemological positions that provide the context for theory construction

This programme has a basis in high-level data skills in open science environments, married to current psychological methods and theories.

Typical career routes for graduates include further postgraduate study, research in industry, jobs in data science, or clinical doctorates in psychology.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in psychology or a related discipline.

We may also consider candidates with a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a non-psychology subject if they can demonstrate evidence of their aptitude for research or research methods.

Students from China

This degree is Band C.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

For 2021 entry we will accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.5 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition): total 100 (at least 23 in each module). We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 176 in each module)
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

Read our general information on tuition fees and studying costs:

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments.

The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on:

  • your programme
  • the duration of your studies
  • your tuition fee status

Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • PPLS Postgraduate Office
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 5002
  • Contact:
  • Programme Director, Dr Billy Lee
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 5002
  • Contact:
  • PPLS Postgraduate Office
  • Dugald Stewart Building
  • 3 Charles Street
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AD

This MSc programme operates a gathered field approach to applications. This means that all complete applications which meet our minimum entry requirements will be held until the nearest deadline at which point the Admissions Panel will meet to consider all applications received at this time.

Gathered field deadlines for this programme are as follows:

Round Application deadline Places awarded
1 01 December 2020 29 January 2021
2 01 February 2021 31 March 2021
3 01 April 2021 31 May 2021

Applications submitted after the deadline date will unfortunately not be considered.

*(Revised 2 October 2020 to include application deadlines.)

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

Further information

  • PPLS Postgraduate Office
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 5002
  • Contact:
  • Programme Director, Dr Billy Lee
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 5002
  • Contact:
  • PPLS Postgraduate Office
  • Dugald Stewart Building
  • 3 Charles Street
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AD