This degree programme provides an exciting opportunity for advanced study in Evolutionary Psychology, ie psychological science informed by explicit consideration of the fact that the human mind, like the human body, is a product of evolutionary processes. It is taught in association with the Centre for Culture and Evolutionary Psychology (C-CEP), and the Centre for Cognition and Neuroimaging (CCNI) at Brunel.
The degree programme aims to provide students with an understanding of how evolutionary theory can provide a framework for the study of human psychology and behaviour. Students will acquire comprehensive knowledge of important theoretical issues, research findings and recent advances in evolutionary psychology. You will study concepts, findings and recent advances in evolutionary biology, animal behaviour and behavioural ecology that are critical for research in evolutionary psychology. Moreover there will be the opportunity to take an optional module in either Cognitive Neuroscience or Cross-Cultural Psychology.
The programme team includes, Nicholas Pound PhD (McMaster), Andrew Clark PhD (McMaster), Michael Price PhD (UCSB) and Achim Schützwohl PhD (University of Bielefeld). In addition, there are opportunities for dissertation research projects to be co-supervised by psychologists with expertise in other areas of Psychology (eg cognitive neuroscience, social psychology).
At Brunel we have extensive facilities for human subjects research (including EEG, fMRI, motion capture and 3D body scanning).
Who is this Degree For? This course is particularly suited to students in the life sciences or social sciences who are interested in finding out how principles from evolutionary biology can provide a framework for the scientific study of human psychology and behaviour.
Course Content Modules are subject to variation and students are advised to check with the School on whether a particular module of interest will be running in their year of entry. At the time of printing, planned modules are as follows: Core modules: Evolutionary Biology and Research Methods; Evolutionary Psychology; Animal Behaviour and Behavioural Ecology Optional modules: Cognitive Neuroscience; Cross-Cultural Variations in Psychological Findings. Check the web for the latest updates.
Assessment Assessment is by coursework (including term papers and oral presentations), examinations and a dissertation of up to 15,000 words.
Careers The MSc will provide students with the knowledge and skills required to go on to do PhD research not just in Evolutionary Psychology, but also in other areas of Psychology and the Biological and Social Sciences. Moreover, students will acquire analytic and research skills that will be useful in diverse areas of employment including governmental and non-government research organisations, and the private sector.
Here is what one of our past students says:
Gillian: "I enjoyed studying for my BSc in Zoology with Evolutionary Psychology at Liverpool University and missed my studies after I graduated. So I took on the Brunel MSc in Evolutionary Psychology part-time alongside my job as a Communications Manager for the Department of Health. The course has deepened my understanding of the subject and I am now considering taking on a PhD. I have also found the learning useful in my work. Many strategic communications campaigns aim to change behaviour – for example to improve hygiene in hospitals or encourage people to eat healthier foods. Such campaigns often use insights from psychology in order to make them more powerful and the MSc has given me a good insight into how and why they work."