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    Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience Logo
  • Study Type

    Full time & Part time available

  • Subject Areas


  • Start Date


  • Course Duration

    Full-time: 1 year; Part-time: 2 years

  • Course Type

    MSc, PgCert

  • Course Fees

    Please see website

  • Last Updated

    04 October 2018

Course content

Sign up to the King's Postgraduate Health & Life Sciences Open Evening - Wednesday 21 November 2018

The MSc in Psychiatric Research provides expert training to enable students to perform and evaluate research across mental health disorders. The course emphasises how scientific research has developed our understanding of the causes and neurobiology of mental health disorders, and how these discoveries can be used to help prevent, diagnose or develop new treatments for patients across a range of illnesses.

Research into mental health disorders is highly interdisciplinary, and we welcome students with a background in psychology, neuroscience, pharmacology, medicine or related subjects.

After the MSc, students often choose to develop their careers by working in academic research or in clinical care. This course is particularly well suited for students who wish to pursue a research PhD or clinical psychology training. Our graduates also gain researcher or psychologist posts after the MSc. Indeed, several current IoPPN staff and PhD students are MSc Psychiatric Research graduates. Students are supported in attaining graduate positions through a series of careers seminars, including PhD/DClinPsy applications, research or clinical posts, preparing CV’s and professional networking.

This course attained 100% overall student satisfaction in the postgraduate experience taught survey 2017

Watch our explainer video to find out more about our MSc in Psychiatric Research. Hear from our students, past and present on why this course is so enjoyable. 

Key benefits

  • In-depth, practical and theoretical knowledge on performing and interpreting research in mental health.
  • Development of a range of academic and transferrable skills, such as critical, creative and communication skills, to help prepare students to work confidently and independently.
  • Taught by academics who perform world-leading psychiatric research.
  • Optional voluntary clinical placement scheme.


This course provides the opportunity to learn about psychiatric research from academics and clinicians working in the leading centre for mental health research in Europe.

Our optional, clinical placements provide an opportunity to gain experience of working within clinical teams under expert supervision. Placements are provided through our close relationship with South London and the Maudsley (SLaM) NHS Foundation Trust, which provides the widest range of mental health services in the UK. Our placement opportunities cover a wide range of clients and clinical settings.

Our state-of-the-art research facilities include:

  • The Centre for Neuroimaging Sciences
  • MRC Social Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Centre
  • Maurice Wohl Neuroscience Centre
  • NIHR Biomedical Research Centre (the only Mental Health specific centre of its kind)
  • Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility.

Teaching is delivered by expert academics and clinicians, including highly-cited IoPPN staff working at the forefront of their field internationally. 

The MSc develops knowledge and practical skills in cutting- edge research into the biological (e.g. brain neurotransmission, genetics), and environmental underpinnings (e.g. stress, drug use) of psychiatric disorders and on how this research can be applied to develop new therapeutic interventions (e.g. pharmacological and psychological interventions) through translation to clinical practice. 

Students will learn about a comprehensive range of research methodologies, including epidemiological and cohort studies, clinical trials, neuroimaging and genetics. Comprehensive training in statistical skills and theoretical knowledge is provided which is necessary for performing, interpreting and applying research.

Teaching is delivered through lectures, practical sessions, workshops and small group tutorials. The relatively small size of this MSc is conducive to a welcoming study environment and facilitates interactive learning, group activities and personalised support. Our assessments are designed to support learning as well as the development of transferrable skills, such as academic writing and presentation. Assessments include exams, written coursework and oral presentation. These involve data analysis and interpretation, and writing information for patients, grants proposals and scientific articles for publication in academic journals. 

This programme is also available as a PG Cert.

Course format and assessment


Research Methods, Ethics & Statistics in Mental Health 

Lectures (66 hours) | Seminars/Tutorials (66 hours) | Self-Study time (468 hours) 

Biological Psychiatry 

Lectures (40 hours) | Seminars/Tutorials (20 hours) | Self-Study time (240 hours)

Therapeutic Research in Psychiatry 

Lectures (40 hours) | Seminars/Tutorials (20 hours) | Self-Study time (240 hours)

Research Dissertation

Lectures (0 hours) | Seminars/Tutorials (10 hours) | Self-Study time (590 hours)

Prediction Modelling 

Lectures (18 hours) | Seminars/Tutorials (0 hours) | Self-Study time (15 hours)

Horizons in Psychiatric Research 

Lectures (18 hours) | Seminars/Tutorials (0 hours) | Self-Study time (15 hours)

Clinical Placement 

Variable hours 

Contact time is based on 28 academic weeks. Full-time students (completing the course in one year) receive lectures two days per week. The remainder of the time is spent on self-study, course-work, the dissertation project, clinical and research placements.


You are assessed through a combination of coursework and examinations and may typically expect assessment by: 

MSc | Examination (40%) | Coursework (60%) 

PG Cert | Examination (75%) | Coursework (25%) 

The study time and assessment methods detailed above are typical and give you a good indication of what to expect. However, they may change if the course modules change.

Extra information

King’s College London is regulated by the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

Career prospects

The skills developed during this MSc are applicable to a wide range of careers in mental health, as well as other areas. Typically, our students go on to follow either an academic career, for example by opting for researcher positions at a University and PhD-level study, or clinical careers, which might include obtaining assistant psychologist posts or further training such as DClinPsy. Clinicians completing our course have gone on to develop combined academic-clinical careers or have used the MSc to inform their clinical practice.

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Visit the Psychiatric Research - MSc page on the King’s College London website for more details!






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