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MSc Psychological Research Methods (Cognition and Neuropsychology)

Course Description


The Psychological Research Methods (Cognition and Neuropsychology) course provides broad training in the fundamentals of psychological science - the modern approach to studying mind and behaviour. The course combines training in psychological theory with practical skills development, preparing our students for a future career in psychology. Individual modules provide a thorough introduction to quantitative and qualitative research, the analysis and interpretation of data, and a critical skeptical approach to psychological science.

Opportunities for practical hands-on skills development are built in, ranging from low-tech observational assessment to high-tech eye-tracking, and including training on giving oral presentations. A self-reflective approach to personal development is encouraged, and students on this course are an integral part of Stirling Psychology's research community, housed within a dedicated MSc office. The course will appeal to students wishing to develop a career in psychological research, either working towards a PhD in Psychology, or working in the wider public, private or third sector.

Key information

- Degree type: MSc, Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate
- Study methods: Full-time, Part-time
- Start date: September
- Course Director: Professor David Donaldson

Bursaries are available: http://www.stir.ac.uk/scholarships/.

Course objectives

The primary aim of the course is to provide advanced training as a preparation for a research career in Psychology. The course develops the theoretical understanding and practical and interpersonal skills required for carrying out research. Postgraduates are an integral part of our research community. Students are based in a dedicated MSc office, or within an appropriate research group, and allocated a peer mentor. Students have an academic supervisor in Psychology who supports and guides their development - including the research dissertation project. Our aim is to encourage students to make the complex transition to become a fully independent research scientist.

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: 6.0 with 5.5 minimum in each skill
- Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Grade C
- Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): Grade C
- Pearson Test of English (Academic): 54 with 51 in each component
- IBT TOEFL: 80 with no subtest less than 17

For more information go to English language requirements https://www.stir.ac.uk/study-in-the-uk/entry-requirements/english/

If you don’t meet the required score you may be able to register for one of our pre-sessional English courses. To register you must hold a conditional offer for your course and have an IELTS score 0.5 or 1.0 below the required standard. View the range of pre-sessional courses http://www.intohigher.com/uk/en-gb/our-centres/into-university-of-stirling/studying/our-courses/course-list/pre-sessional-english.aspx .

Delivery and assessment

Teaching is delivered using a variety of methods including tutorials, demonstrations and practical classes, but the majority is seminar-based.

Students are typically taught in small groups in specialist classes, with first-year PhD students or other postgraduate students (for example, in modules from other MSc courses).

The individual module components provide 60 percent of the MSc grade, with the research dissertation contributing the remaining 40 percent.

Why Stirling?

- REF2014
In REF2014 Stirling was placed 6th in Scotland and 45th in the UK with almost three quarters of research activity rated either world-leading or internationally excellent.


Psychology at Stirling is one of the leading psychology departments in the UK. It ranked in the top 20 in the recent research assessment (REF 2014) and is one of only seven non-Russell group universities to do so (Birkbeck, Royal Holloway, Sussex, Essex, St Andrews and Bangor; source Times Higher Education magazine). Its quality of research publications ranked third in Scotland after Aberdeen and Glasgow. Furthermore, the relevance of its research activity to society received the highest possible rating which only four other psychology departments in the UK achieved (REF 2014 results).

Psychology at Stirling University is small enough to fully involve MSc students in our lively and collegial community of research excellence.

Your three month full-time dissertation is supervised by leading UK academics.

Career opportunities

The Psychological Research Methods (Cognition and Neuropsychology) course is designed as a springboard for a career in psychological research and is ideal for students wishing to pursue a PhD in psychology. The course incorporates training in a wide range of skills that are required to conduct high-quality research in psychology, and students are encouraged to develop applications for PhD funding through the course.

One essential part of the course is the requirement to carry out a Placement (typically in an external company, charity or third sector organisation). This provides a fantastic opportunity to develop relevant work-based employment skills, and to develop a network of contacts relevant to future career goals. Students benefit hugely from the Placement experience, combining skills and experience with personal and professional development.

Psychological Research Methods (Cognition and Neuropsychology) graduates are well placed for careers in clinical and health psychology, educational psychology and teaching, human resources management and personnel, etc. The skills gained are also readily transferable to other careers: the course positions students for the growing expectation that graduates have a good understanding of human behaviour, are able to interpret and analyise complex forms of data, and to communicate ideas clearly to others.

Visit the MSc Psychological Research Methods (Cognition and Neuropsychology) page on the University of Stirling website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Grant Walker

The MSc in Research Methods at the University of Stirling has been one of my most rewarding experiences to date. It has given me an excellent platform from which to launch my academic career. The course covers a wide range of relevant topic areas through prescribed courses, while being flexible enough to offer creativity through the dissertation. The course offered me opportunities which would have been difficult to achieve otherwise; including arranging a month-long placement, attending a European confrence and the opportunity to conduct further research. By the end of this MSc, you will be equiped with the knowledge and skills set required to succeed in your future aspirations. Quite simply it is an excellent opportunity which I would recommend to anyone.


Entry Requirements

A minimum of a second class honours degree (2.1 preferred) or equivalent in a relevant subject. Applicants without these formal qualifications but with significant appropriate/relevant work/life experience are encouraged to apply.

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