Key Facts

Course Title: Cognitive Psychology
Course type: MSc
Mode of Study:Full Time or Part Time
Contact Details:Bev Davies
Website: Go to School homepage
Faculty: Faculty of Natural Sciences
Subject Area: Psychology


 ****  Application deadline is  31st May 2018  ****

Cognitive Psychology is a fascinating area of psychology that is relevant to a range of problems in the modern world. For instance, how; do mobile phones distract attention during driving? What factors influence our purchasing decisions? What are the effects of brain injury and aging on cognition and behaviour? Cognitive psychologists use techniques from psychology and neuroscience to address these and other issues and can have careers in academic, military, and industry research or, with additional clinical training, work with patients suffering fromPsychology lab cognitive limitations arising from brain injury. Studying our MSc in Cognitive Psychology will give you exposure to advanced training with specialist cognitive neuroscience methods such as EEG and eye-tracking, research design and statistics, and the opportunity to explore a range of contemporary findings in cognitive psychology with our expert academics in a friendly small group setting. Importantly, you will be directly involved with cutting-edge research that is geared towards your interests and personal skills development.

Key features of your MSc programme in psychology will include: 

  • Strong focus on your personal skills development throughout the course to help you pursue your career goals
  • Opportunities to pursue your personal interests with expert support
  • A broad range of research methods training to maximise your employability skills
  • Small group specialist teaching in your chosen field from research-active tutors
  • A large cohort of MSc students sharing the core modules provides a lively and supportive peer community


Aims of the Course


  • To provide hands on experience with cognitive neuroscience research methods through both teaching and research projects.
  • To develop your ability to design,  conduct, and critically evaluate contemporary research in cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience
  • To enable you to use specialist software tools for data collection and analysis
  • To develop research skills which prepare you for careers that use behavioural and/or neuroscience research

The overall aims of all our MSc Psychology programmes are as follows:

  • To equip you to formulate and conduct psychological research projects;
  • To develop your knowledge of different theoretical perspectives, philosophical traditions and methodological approaches to psychology;
  • To enable you to understand the strengths and weaknesses of different research methods and different forms of data, and to evaluate their appropriateness for different research problems;
  • To enable you to define and formulate research questions and testable hypotheses, and to design appropriate research to answer these questions using relevant methods of data collection, consistent with British Psychological Society principles of ethics and research governance;
  • To provide you with knowledge of quantitative and qualitative approaches to research and data analysis techniques;
  • To provide you with a range of opportunities to engage with advanced research in substantive areas relevant to their own research topic and to the discipline of psychology;
  • To provide you with opportunities to enhance and develop your written and communication skills, independent learning skills, and critical reflection and evaluation skills.

 You will develop these skills in the context of your chosen specialism. 

Entry Requirements

This course is open to graduates with a first or upper second-class degree in psychology (or a cognate discipline with some psychology study) or equivalent. International students are very welcome, but will require IELTS 7.0 overall with 6.0 in each subtest. 

Course Content

Our MSc Psychology programmes are designed to foster a vibrant and collaborative peer culture amongst our MSc students. Several of our modules are shared by all four of our MSc psychology programmes. We also know it’s vital that you develop the advanced specialised skills you will need to pursue careers in your chosen fields. Throughout your MSc degree you are supported and encouraged to focus your work to help you conduct in-depth explorations of your specialist subjects and personal interests.

You will undertake a double weighted Advanced Study module in Cognitive Psychology (30 credits).

The module develops students' knowledge and critical understanding of classic and developing areas of cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience. Indicative topics include attention, executive functioning, memory (short- and long-term), false memory, cognitive neuropsychology, cognitive ageing, face and object perception, emotion contagion, neuroimaging, psychobiology, and metacognition.

All MSc Psychology undertake the following core modules designed to help you engage with the pluralistic nature of psychology and understand the broader field within which your specialised interest sits:

  • Contemporary Research in Psychology (15 credits)
  • Advanced Research Skills and Design (15 credits)
  • Advanced Quantitative Data Analysis (15 credits)
  • Research Apprenticeship in Psychology (15 credits)

In addition to the core modules all students can tailor their research methods training to suit their needs and interests by choosing one of the following option modules:

  • Qualitative Research Methods (15 credits)
  • Advanced Cognitive Neuroscience Research Methods (15 credits)

Research is a key emphasis in our programmes and you will be supported by a specialist tutor in your chosen field to undertake original research as part of the Research Preparation (15 credits) and Dissertation (60 credits) modules.

Projects within cognitive psychology span a wide range of topics including, but not limited to, attention, visual perception of faces, effects of alcohol on cognitive performance, changes in memory due to ageing, analysis of EEG and eyetracking data, and studies of neuropsychological deficits in brain injured patients. Our expert staff and specialist facilities can support a range of projects across the field.

Teaching and Assessment

Each module has different prescribed learning activities, including formal lectures and seminars, discussions and consultation with staff. You should expect some lively debates and interesting discussions. Please be aware that you will be expected to contribute to the programme, in the form of advance reading (of which there is a substantial amount), preparing presentations and contributing to discussions in seminars, and bringing your own ideas to bear on the teaching material.

The programme is assessed through a range of formats including:

  • Blog portfolios
  • Personal skills audits
  • Research Critiques
  • Lab Reports
  • Unseen exams and class tests
  • Verbal presentations
  • Independent research written up as a dissertation.

Full time and part time students all study together for the taught/seminar/class discussion elements of the programmes, but in certain modules part-time students have more extended deadlines to enable them to complete work without placing too much burden on them.  Attendance is compulsory at all teaching sessions.

In order to obtain an MSc degree, every student is required to obtain 180 M level credits:

  • Full time students complete the course in 1 year (51 weeks). In order to obtain an MSc degree, students are required to obtain 180 M level credits, including a 60-credit dissertation.
  • Part time students complete the course in 2 years (103 weeks), taking 90 credits in each year.

A Postgraduate Certificate is available for students who have completed 60 credits of their programme and a Postgraduate Diploma is available for students who have completed 120 credits of their programme. There are no restrictions on which modules need to be passed.

Additional Costs

Apart from additional costs for textbooks, inter-library loans and potential overdue library fines we do not anticipate any additional costs for this postgraduate programme. Limited support is available for research-related expenses.

For information on fees please see the latest information here for taught postgraduate fees.

There are a number of bursaries on offer to both home and overseas postgraduate students. Please see this page for more information.

MSc Psychology students can bid for funding support to attend conferences or other extra-curricular activities to support their studies or present their research.

Graduates of our programme will be well prepared for a range of careers in applied and research domains. These commonly include, but are not limited to:

  • Preparation for PhD study in cognitive psychology/neuroscience
  • Preparation for further training in clinical neuropsychology
  • Careers in industry research (e.g., user interface design, product testing, human factors)
  • Research assistant/research support careers in universities and industry
  • Data analyst / data analysis consultancy
  • Behavioural science (e.g., Government, Military)
  • Assistant Psychologist (NHS) and brain injury support worker positions