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Course content

As an MSc Social Psychology student you will learn theories, methods, and empirical findings in the field of social psychology, which are relevant to current social issues.

These include: prejudice and discrimination; the relationship between moral judgement and emotions; the study of how individuals and groups interact to construct and maintain identities; and how these are related to social change and influence in contexts such as family systems and romantic dyads.

The programme aims to provide you with an awareness of the historical and philosophical background of social psychology, an in-depth knowledge of contemporary theoretical and methodological approaches and research findings, and the ability to conduct quantitative and qualitative research in the field.

Programme structure

This programme is studied full-time over one academic year and part-time students must study at least two taught technical modules per academic year. 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

Occasionally, students receive financial support from industry through sponsorship, negotiated by individual students.

This would involve students undertaking 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 practice, though, most students are self-funded.

Social psychology research

The social psychologists at the University of Surrey have an international reputation in research and teaching. Students on the MSc in Social Psychology are encouraged to participate in the School of Psychology’s ongoing activities, particularly research seminars.

The social psychologists at Surrey have undertaken research for the EU, UK research councils, government departments and agencies, industry and commerce, and the charitable sector. They have attracted a large number of research projects to the School, including:

  • Social and behavioural consequences of AIDS/HIV (ESRC)
  • Cross-national studies of the social and psychological determinants of pro-environmental attitudes and behaviours (EU)
  • The 16–19 initiative project on the political and economic socialisation of 16–19 year olds (ESRC)
  • Monitoring and modelling consumer perceptions of food-related risks (MAFF)

Educational aims of the programme

  • To provide students with theoretical and qualitative/quantitative methodological expertise to conduct social psychological research by training them in the informed and systematic conduct of basic and applied research involving the critical reading of theories and empirical findings
  • To provide students with an in depth knowledge of contemporary theoretical and methodological approaches to the discipline
  • To enable students to link theoretical and empirical questions to social issues and to provide them with an in depth understanding of the practical applications and action implications of social psychological theories and empirical findings
  • To provide students with the skills to evaluate possible interventions in a variety of social domains
  • To offer opportunities to develop the basic interpersonal, technical and creative skills required for the effective analysis and formulation of problems into research questions and, where appropriate, testable hypotheses

Programme learning outcomes

The programme provides opportunities for students to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, skills, qualities and other attributes in the following areas:

Knowledge and understanding

  • Of contemporary theoretical and methodological approaches to social psychology
  • Of the practical applications and action implications of social psychological theories and empirical findings
  • Of the principles of research design
  • Of quantitative and qualitative techniques and strategies to manage and analyse psychological data
  • Of ethical considerations when undertaking research and framing interventions

Intellectual / cognitive skills

  • To critically assess and comment on sources of research relevant to social psychology
  • To critically evaluate the contributions and limitations of social psychological theories and research methods in addressing social problems
  • To evaluate actual and potential psychologically informed interventions in a variety of social domains
  • To design, conduct and evaluate social psychological research
  • To apply insights from social psychological theory and research to other domains of psychology

Professional practical skills

  • Communicate work in a professional manner for academic and non-academic audiences in written and verbal formats
  • Apply problem solving techniques to social and psychological topics effectively
  • Use effective learning strategies
  • Analyse and interpret social psychological theoretical analyses and quantitative and qualitative empirical evidence in a competent and critical manner

Key / transferable skills

  • Communicate theories and methods in relation to social psychology by oral and written means
  • Use information technology effectively
  • Manage own personal development

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

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