Behavioural science is a rapidly growing area for policy and business with fascinating insights into human behaviour and wide-ranging practical implications. This exciting, course teaches the core theory and methods of behavioural science and behavioural economics, and how these can be applied to important business and policy-relevant issues. This MSc is aimed at students with a very strong intrinsic motivation to study the link between economics, psychology, business and policy. The MSc is taught by dedicated staff from the Behavioural Science Centre who have extensive experience in integrating insights from economics and psychology to address key societal challenges. The MSc offers students the opportunity to gain advanced training in behavioural theory, to learn a comprehensive suite of behavioural methods, and to understand how this ‘toolkit’ can be applied to understand and inform the decisions made by stakeholders, workers and consumers.
- Degree type: MSc, Postgraduate Diploma - Study methods: Full-time - Duration: MSc: one year; Diploma: nine months - Start date: September - Course Director: Dr Michael Daly
The course aims to enable students to: - Develop an in-depth understanding of the core concepts and theory in behavioural economics. - Understand the relevance of subfields of psychology (e.g. personality, IO) to business. - Critically appreciate the psychological foundations of key concepts in behavioural science. - Develop an understanding of how behavioural science has been and can be applied to business and policy contexts. - Develop the capacity to understand the role of individual difference factors in shaping responses to and behaviours in different economic circumstances and business settings. - Become proficient in carrying out statistical analyses (e.g. OLS, probit regression) using standard software. - Understand the role of experiments in identifying decision processes and enabling behaviour change - Design behavioural experiments and understand key issues involved in conducting and drawing conclusions from behavioural experiments. - Understand methods of measurement and how the are employed across key domains in behavioural science (e.g. personality, preferences, well-being, health). - Become aware of the data sources available to researchers in behavioural science and how best to utilise these resources to study business and policy-relevant issues - Critically appreciate the complex conceptual, design, and statistical issues involved in testing causality in behavioural science. - Develop, present and communicate arguments clearly and logically both in writing and orally. - Develop an appreciation of unfolding trends in the behavioural science and behavioural economics literatures and to gain key insights from leading experts in the field.
English language requirements
If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills: - IELTS: 7.0 with minimum 6.0 in each skill - Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Grade B - Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): Grade A - Pearson Test of English (Academic): 67 with a minimum of 55 in each component - IBT TOEFL: 100 with no sub test lower than 20
You have an active role in your learning experience. Delivery includes lectures, seminars, guest speakers, article discussion groups, and presentations, followed by a three-month dissertation period. Assessment is by a mixture of examination and coursework, including written assignments and presentations. Successful completion of the taught element of the programme leads to the award of the Diploma or allows you to continue for the award of the MSc by completing a 15,000-word dissertation based on an original research question agreed by yourself and your supervisor. The project should reflect your own understanding and knowledge of selected topics learnt during taught modules.
On completion of this course students will be ready and able to contribute innovative solutions to many businesses, governments and society. The specialist knowledge they acquire in behavioural science will be invaluable in building long-term careers in business (e.g. human resource management, advertising, regulation, consumer marketing, social marketing and survey research) and those who wish to inform the design and implementation of public policy. The course also provides an excellent entry for those thinking of progressing to doctoral research in this area.
Industry demand for skills
- Policy: The Cabinet Office has a Behavioural Insights team, which draws on insights from the growing body of academic research in the fields of behavioural science and psychology. The concepts and methods employed by the Behavioural Insights team are now being adopted in other countries and amongst those involved in policy implementation more generally.
- Marketing and Market Research: Key skills desired in marketing and market research include the ability to apply behavioural theory and methods to understand product pricings, promotion, and consumer perceptions. Part of this involves the understanding of the characteristics of customers, so that they can be grouped and targeted in customised ways.
- Human Resources: There is a demand for skills within organisation development, organisation design, resourcing and talent development as well as employee engagement within the HR environment.
- Survey Research: Government, state agencies, and businesses have demonstrated a strong demand for high quality survey data. Companies delivering this service seek sophisticated survey operations skills including knowledge of data collection modes, survey design, survey completion behaviour, formatting, quality control, and distribution.
- Business: Business and management careers now place increasing value on the capacity to apply behavioural insights to business challenges and to gather evidence using experimental methods.