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Course content

How do individuals and groups react to different environmental situations (home, office, hospital, street, shop, and so on)? What psychological processes are triggered by our environment, and how do they affect our perception, attitude and actions?

How can individuals and groups change their environment so that it provides a more stimulating, less stressful and more enabling setting in which to live? How are our identities tied up with place? How might sustainability in environmental policy be better informed by current research?

Our MSc Environmental Psychology programme will help you gain advanced knowledge and understanding of theory and practice in environmental psychology.

You will also acquire a range of research skills that will give you the confidence and ability to undertake environmental psychology research in a professional setting.

Programme structure

This programme is studied full-time over one academic year and part-time over two academic years. It consists of eight taught modules and a dissertation.

Example module listing

The following modules are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that not all modules described are compulsory and may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.

Funding

Funding is now linked to continuation funding for a PhD – that is, successful applicants to the Economic and Social Research Council will be given a grant for the MSc year and then further support (subject to satisfactory progress) to enable them to undertake a PhD.

Occasionally students receive financial support from industry through sponsorship. This would involve students undertaking a piece of research for their dissertation which would be of interest and value to industry or commerce, in return for which they will be given a grant by the commissioning company.

In the past, this sponsorship has ranged from £500 to £6,000. This is mutually beneficial to both the student and sponsor, and allows the student to undertake a ‘real’ piece of research that has practical or policy implications, whilst receiving a sum of money to assist with fees and subsistence costs.

Environmental Psychology at Surrey

The School of Psychology at the University of Surrey was the first in the world to establish an MSc in Environmental Psychology, in 1973. Since then there have been well over 250 graduates of the programme from over 25 countries worldwide.

It remains one of a few such postgraduate programmes in the world and the only one in the UK.

The MSc Environmental Psychology programme is part of a larger modular programme, thereby providing a flexible teaching and learning structure. The School of Psychology has a reputation for developing professional and innovative programmes reflecting contemporary societal concerns and employment opportunities.

Environmental Psychology at Surrey has always sought to be a multidisciplinary research activity. We are driven by psychological theories and methodologies, but draw on other social sciences, as well as the environmental and design disciplines.

We investigate environment behaviour relationships at every spatial scale and environment, from personal space and office design, through neighbourhood renewal, to the public understanding of global climate change.

Collaborations

Environmental psychology researchers have always enjoyed collaboration with other disciplines.

Current and recent research collaborations include an EPSRC funded research project on energy technologies in homes (REDUCE) with colleagues of environmental sciences (CES) and communications technology (CCSR), a DEFRA/ESRC-funded research programme on lifestyles in transition (SLRG) and a major ESRC funded research program on sustainable lifestyles (RESOLVE: research on lifestyles, values and the environment) both with colleagues from sociology, economics and environmental sciences.

We have long-established links with national and international academic institutions including the Department of Architecture at the University of Strathclyde, the Centre for Transport Studies at the University of West England and the Department of Psychology at Bath University.

The environmental psychology community is strongly international and this is reflected in the long-term active teaching and research collaboration we enjoy with the universities of Groningen, Madrid, La Coruña, Umeå and Rome.

Students on the MSc programme are encouraged to take advantage of these links during their dissertations.

Research

The Environmental Psychology Research Group (EPRG), of which students on the MSc in Environmental Psychology are automatically members, has been undertaking research for more than 30 years and has gained an international reputation.

Research undertaken by the EPRG is both ‘fundamental’ (that is, contributing to the development of the discipline and our understanding ofpsychological processes) and ‘applied and policy-oriented’.

Both government and business are concerned with effective policy development and delivery, and it is increasingly recognised that these can only be successfully achieved by informed evidence.

Students on the MSc Environmental Psychology programme are encouraged to make their research not only useful, but useable.

Career prospects

Recent graduates have progressed into careers in central and local government, undertaking policy-oriented research on a variety of environment behaviour (E-B) issues. Many of our graduates have become practice consultants, using their E-B research skills.

This could be a specialist E-B practice or an architecture, planning, design or engineering practice where graduates with a sensitivity to people-environment issues and a training in E-B research can provide an important and unique set of skills and expertise.

Those who have a background in architecture, landscape architecture, planning or design often return to their profession, but with an enhanced range of skills.

Global opportunities

We often give our students the opportunity to acquire international experience during their degrees by taking advantage of our exchange agreements with overseas universities.

In addition to the hugely enjoyable and satisfying experience, time spent abroad adds a distinctive element to your CV.


Visit the Environmental Psychology MSc page on the University of Surrey website for more details!

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