Postgraduate study

Social Psychology MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Social Psychology

This programme provides an opportunity for intensive advanced training in social psychology.

The staff involved in teaching and supervision include internationally recognised researchers from our Social Psychology group. Staff expertise covers a range of topics including perceptions of animals, sexism, collective action, romantic relationships, crowd behaviour, culture and identity, and use a variety of research methods to address their research interests (including both quantitative and qualitative approaches).

You will take courses on the theoretical and methodological aspects of social psychology, and conduct an original research dissertation in one of these areas. You will also receive thorough training in advanced academic skills and research methods within psychology, including a comprehensive coverage of statistical modelling and research design using the R statistical language, and qualitative methods.

The programme comprises two semesters of taught core courses and an optional course, followed by a research dissertation conducted in close collaboration with an expert supervisor over the spring and summer months. In addition to topics specific to social psychology, the core courses cover advanced academic skills and research methodology, including research design, statistical modelling, and qualitative approaches. The optional course can be selected to tailor the programme to your interests. If you wish, you may choose the optional course from an associated area, such as individual differences, informatics, psycholinguistics, developmental or human cognitive neuroscience.

Core courses

  • Psychological Research Skills - General advanced research methodology
  • Univariate Statistics and Methodology using R - Introduction to R and statistical models
  • Multivariate Statistics and Methodology using R - Advanced statistical modelling
  • Current Approaches in Social Psychology - This course focuses on recent topics and developments in the field social psychology, as well as the techniques and tools required to conduct social psychological research
  • Problem-Based Social Psychological Research - The course focuses on applying social psychological theories and methods to addressing problems in the real-world

Option course may be

  • Qualitative Research Methods (taught by the Social Psychology research group)
  • Neuroscience of Language
  • Atypical Development
  • Applied Psychological Testing
  • Clinical Neuropsychology
  • Brain Imaging in Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Or any other course open to MSc students


The dissertation involves conducting an empirical research project in close collaboration with an expert supervisor, sometimes also working with fellow MSc students. Each student produces a written report, similar to an academic journal article; indeed, some dissertations are published as journal articles. The empirical work and writing take place between April and August. The dissertation can be based on data collected by the student or existing datasets (e.g., from large cohort studies, biobanks or other projects). The dissertation is due in August.

On successful completion of this programme, you will gain:

  • specialist knowledge within the field of social psychology and integrated areas of study, in addition to training in psychological research methods and practical applications
  • an understanding of social psychological research and methods (both quantitative and qualitative)
  • an understanding of the basic and advanced principles of research design and application
  • competency in applying a range of methods and research tools, including statistical models, programming, and qualitative approaches
  • skills in research management, including managing data and conducting and disseminating research in ways consistent with both professional practice and the normal principles of research ethics

The programme is relevant to students who 1) aspire to pursue a research-orientated career in social psychology, 2) are interested in undertaking a Professional Doctorate/Masters training programme in Clinical or Health Psychology, and/or 3) are interested in a wide variety of careers where it is valuable to be able to conduct sound social research, or to develop and evaluate practices and policies relating to social behaviour or thinking.

The programme teaches a broad range of transferable skills applicable to a wide range of modern jobs, such as research design, data management and processing, statistical modelling and interpretation, as well as the synthesis and communication of complex literatures.

These entry requirements are for the 2022/23 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2023/24 academic year will be published on 3 October 2022.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in psychology or in a related discipline, with at least one advanced course in psychology studied.

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

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified*:

  • IELTS Academic: total 7.0 with at least 6.5 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 23 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 185 with at least 176 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with passes in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 70 with at least 62 in each component.

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, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

(*Revised 17 November 2021 to add accepted PTE Academic qualifications.)

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, and your residency status. (Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.)

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • PPLS Postgraduate Office
  • Dugald Stewart Building
  • 3 Charles Street
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AD

Applications are held for processing over three deadlines:

Round Application deadline Places awarded
1 1 December 31 January
2 1 February 31 March
3 1 April 31 May

We operate a gathered field approach to applications for MSc Social Psychology. This means that all complete applications that satisfy our minimum entry requirements will be held until the nearest deadline and the admissions panel will meet to consider all applications received together after that date. To be considered as having met the deadline, your application must include transcripts and an academic reference.

Applications must be complete with all supporting documentation to be passed on for consideration, this includes references. Please ensure that you inform referees of any deadline you wish to meet.

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.

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

Further information

  • PPLS Postgraduate Office
  • Dugald Stewart Building
  • 3 Charles Street
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AD