MSci Social Psychology

Full Time
Degree of Master of Sciences

A-Level typical
AAB (2020/1 entry) See All Requirements
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Life as a student in the School of Psychology

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“Studying psychology has taught me a lot about myself, as well as the people around me. It was a stimulating and engaging programme and modules in child observation and development psychology have equipped me well for my career as a teacher.”

In their words

Joanna Lilley, BSc Psychology Graduate.

The MSci programme provides a rigorous approach to the range of psychological sciences combined with the opportunity to specialise in a particular sphere of knowledge on human behaviour and experience. The degree programmes have a central core of psychology, giving you exposure to a range of theoretical ideas and research evidence from a variety of fields. Our approach reflects the growing consensus within the field that human behaviour is best understood as the interaction of nature and nurture, biology and culture, and genes and environment. In the first three years you will bridge disciplinary boundaries, enabling you to explore and analyse the complex psychological processes found in contemporary life. You will learn to relate psychological theories to real world experience and activities, and explore how psychological scholarship and research can be used in practical situations.


The MSci programme provides a rigorous approach to the range of psychological sciences combined with the opportunity to specialise in a particular sphere of knowledge on human behaviour and experience.

The degree programmes have a central core of psychology, giving you exposure to a range of theoretical ideas and research evidence from a variety of fields, including:

  • developmental psychology
  • social psychology
  • cognitive psychology
  • biological psychology
  • the study of personality and individual differences.

Our approach reflects the growing consensus within the field that human behaviour is best understood as the interaction of nature and nurture, biology and culture, and genes and environment. In the first three years you will bridge disciplinary boundaries, enabling you to explore and analyse the complex psychological processes found in contemporary life. Throughout this course you will be able to develop your own psychological understanding, integrating ideas from the diverse range of behavioural and social theories you will encounter. You will learn to relate psychological theories to real world experience and activities, and explore how psychological scholarship and research can be used in practical situations.

Your specialist knowledge and skills will develop as you select specific options and engage in higher level research in years 3 and 4.


Course Structure

The academic year consists of two semesters. A typical module is taught through two lectures and an average of one seminar per week. While lectures are attended by all students taking a specific module, seminars are held in smaller groups where you can interact more directly with the tutor and your peers to and address and discuss different topics.

Year 1

In your first year you will study three compulsory modules which will make up your core learning, providing you with a platform upon which you can develop your psychological knowledge.

You will encounter a wide variety of topics, from child development to linking the study of the individual to society. The research module will introduce you to subject specific methods in the study of psychology, as you begin to develop research skills and a critical perspective.

Year 2

The second year follows a similar structure to the first year, with compulsory modules designed to develop your understanding of different branches of psychology. A further module in research methods aims to consolidate your knowledge of research design, qualitative analysis and statistics.

Year 3

In the third year you will complete a substantial research project, reflecting your intellectual interests and career aspirations. You will be supported by a supervisor with expertise in your area of research, helping you to use your research skills to plan and produce a research project drawing on a specific form of data gathering and analysis. This could be focused on interviewing, survey work and/or experimental design, both within the laboratory and in applied contexts depending upon your chosen route. You will also select a number of optional modules from a wide range of psychology subjects, designed to give you specialist knowledge which will bridge into your Master’s year.

Year 4

In your fourth year you will continue to build specialist knowledge in your chosen field together with opportunities for building of advanced research skills aligned with your academic focus.

The 4th year combines research methods training with in-depth study at the cutting edge of the subject area. You will develop specific skills in research methodology necessary to understand and undertake advanced research into social behaviour and social cognition. You will undertake research in one of psychology’s most applied areas through exploring behavioural change and social interventions. You will acquire transferable skills in communication and the management and analysis of complex data sets. A key strength of the programme is the opportunity to experience modern psychological research methods at first hand, and to undertake bespoke lab skills training to acquire skills specific to your interests and career aims.

Teaching and Learning

The design of the course creates a common knowledge base in Level 4, while offering flexibility for students to undertake specific pathway through the degree based on academic interest or career intentions. Modules are team taught, enabling staff to teach in specialist areas and utilise particular skills. Teaching in your 3rd year offers a range of options which either deepen subdisciplinary knowledge or offer opportunities to build integrative and applied understanding. The teaching ethos helps to create a spine of common experiences for students, allows progression through common standards of assessment and feedback and enables staff to teach to their areas of expertise.

Independent study

As you progress through the course you will be expected to work more independently. The opportunity to undertake research projects in both your 3rd and 4th years means that you can explore areas of psychology which you find exciting and engaging.


A range of assessment methods are used to monitor your progress, including coursework, reports, essays, projects, presentations, timed tests and examinations. There are both compulsory and optional elements to promote a combination of breadth and depth, core knowledge and creativity. The MSci route is characterized by the opportunity to undertake two in-depth pieces of research.

After the course

The social psychology route will suit those students who are preparing for a PhD in Social Psychology, and will benefit anyone planning a career with a significant research component which involves social behavior, behavior change or community interventions and their evaluation.

Career destinations

The MSci routes lead to many career pathways ranging from:

  • Psychological Research in social issues, health services and education
  • Market and media research
  • Neuropsychological therapies and rehabilitation
  • Human-computer interaction
  • Data analytics
  • Child development

Course related costs

Please see Additional Course Fees for details of additional course-related costs.


This course is accredited against the requirements for the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) of the British Psychological Society (BPS).

Course Modules 2020/1

Students must study the following modules for 120 credits:

Name Code Credits

PSYCHOLOGY OF THE INDIVIDUAL: Development, Personality, Brain and Cognition

The overall aim of the module is to provide you with an introduction to the knowledge base and research issues underpinning how psychologists understand both normative processes and how people are different. From developmental psychology, you will cover a range of issues such as the contributions of nature and nurture. From personality psychology, you will look at areas such as the measurement and major controversies of personality. In semester 2, the module provides you with an introduction to evolutionary, biological and cognitive psychology enabling you to develop an understanding on a range of subjects including the basics of evolutionary theory, the anatomy and physiology of the central nervous system, the computational metaphor of the mind and how this is used to comprehend processes such as memory and perception. You will begin to develop effective study skills, such as searching for literature, research and essay writing.




In this module you are introduced to the principles of research methods in psychology. You will be expected to think about the meaning of research and the philosophical underpinnings of scientific method. You will be provided with an introduction to the intellectual and practical process of scientific discovery, and will be taught how to use and evaluate some common research techniques and to produce properly organised research reports.




This module introduces you to the theories, approaches and research areas within social psychology and provides you with a broad psychosocial perspective on society. Covering a range of traditional and critical ideas within social psychology you will study people through a scientific lens while appreciating the humanistic and subjective elements of psychology. Overall the module provides you with a foundation for understanding people as individuals living within a social context.



Students must study the following modules for 120 credits:

Name Code Credits


This module explores a range of applied topics in psychology e.g. psychology of mental health and well-being; psychology of antisocial and criminal behaviour; psychology of substance use. Within each topic area the key antecedents, correlates and consequences of a variety of behaviours across a range of populations will be considered. The module concludes with a review and suggestions for future developments in these fields.




You will cover a wide range of core psychological topics on this module which are arranged into two distinct themes: Cognitive Psychology and Biological Psychology. Cognitive Psychology Theme: -Critically evaluate theories and discuss conflicting evidence within cognitive psychology. -Understand the practical implications of research in cognitive psychology. -Critically discuss recent progress in cognitive psychology. Biological Psychology Theme: -Describe and evaluate a range of methodological techniques which underpin the study of the human brain. -Demonstrate an understanding of the neurobiological basis of behaviour including vision, movement, language, learning, memory and emotion. -Critically discuss the neurobiological of some psychopathologies. By the end of this module you will have acquired advanced knowledge about how the mind is thought to be organised and how it operates (cognitive) and the neural systems that underpin the mind (biological).




This module firstly considers individual differences and will explore and evaluate theories and findings, in the areas of differential psychology: scientific foundations of personality and intelligence, measurement and psychometrics. The module will build on the content from year 1 but will cover a diverse range of more advanced topics such as nature-nurture interplay, the biological basis of individual differences, emotional intelligence, personality and temperament and an insight into how Individual Differences is applied in real life settings. The spring semester we move onto an overview of the main ideas, people, approaches and methods that have shaped the discipline of psychology throughout its history. It will also help you to better understand contemporary psychology, its relationship to the sciences and humanities, as well as providing a context for the other modules that make up your psychology degree. The major schools of psychology and some of the key themes and debates that characterise the discipline will also be discussed (for example, the freewill-determinism debate, reductionism and the nature and limitations of scientific enquiry in psychology). We then move onto the consideration of individual differences and will explore and evaluate theories and findings, in the following area of differential psychology: scientific foundations of personality and intelligence, measurement and psychometrics.




You'll develop your understanding of quantitative and qualitative research methods. The module will enhance your understanding of statistical methods for drawing valid conclusions from numerical data through examination of: (i) techniques for data screening and exploration (ii) statistical significance, power and effect size (iii) parametric and nonparametric tests (iv) analysis of variance models (v) multiple regression. It aims to develop your skills and confidence in using SPSS for the analysis of data. You'll also be offered the opportunity to develop your skills in relation to qualitative research design and analysis. You will become familiar with the theoretical, philosophical and methodological dimensions of qualitative psychology, building interviewing skills and exploring meaning through the analytical processes of grounded theory, narrative and discourse analysis.




The module runs across two core themes of psychology, Social Psychology and Developmental Psychology. The Social Psychology theme will consolidate and expand your knowledge of core areas of social psychological theory and research, namely; Social Perception (including person perception, attitudes, attribution), Inter-group Processes (including prejudice, inter-group conflict, social identification), Small Group Processes (including norms, leadership, decision-making, productivity), Social Influence (including conformity, obedience, majority and minority influence, the bystander effect), Close Relationships (including interpersonal attraction, relationships). The Developmental Theme will consider a range of concepts, issues and debates concerning social, emotional and cognitive development during infancy, childhood and adolescence. You will be encouraged to think critically about some key theoretical and methodological approaches. Recurrent themes include the influences of genes and environment; thought and language; typical and atypical development; social context and communication with children; and the relative roles of the individual and culture in development.



Students must study the following modules for 60 credits:

Name Code Credits


This module offers you the opportunity to demonstrate your independent research capabilities and competence through the development, design and performance of an empirical research project. Building from a foundation of the research methods modules in previous years, instruction on this module is mainly linked to supervision. Supervisors will offer guidance on the delineation of a researchable question, an awareness of ethics relating to your project; a comprehension of the appropriateness of the research design, managing the data collection process and the writing up of a report. The area of research, methodological approach and research context will be negotiated and agreed through supervision.



SOCIAL PERCEPTION AND BEHAVIOUR: From Individuals to Relationships to Groups

THIS MODULE IS RESERVED FOR PSYCHOLOGY STUDENTS. The module aims to enable students to comprehend, evaluate and compare the core topics and major perspectives in social psychological theory and research. The module will: - Introduce you to topic areas related to social perception in the context of individual, interpersonal, and intergroup processes, and highlight how these topics relate to everyday behaviour. - Assist you in formulating an appreciation of the strengths and limitations of key theoretical approaches discussed in this class. - Encourage you to adopt a constructively critical and creative approach. - Nurture intellectual enthusiasm for the subject matter within a supportive learning environment.



Students will select 60 credits from the following modules:

Name Code Credits


THIS MODULE IS RESERVED FOR PSYCHOLOGY STUDENTS. This module is suitable for students who aspire to utilise their psychological knowledge within careers which may involve contact with patients, carers, clinicians and people who experience neuropsychological deficits in adulthood. The module will enable you to apply fundamental knowledge from the fields of Neuropsychology, Neuroscience and Neuro-rehabilitation about biological and cognitive brain processes (such as perception, action, attention and memory) to neurological conditions. You will also develop evidence-based knowledge of symptoms and interventions for neurological conditions (such as head injury, dementia or stroke). Building from your knowledge of the brain and cognition you will extend your understanding of how basic neuroscience research can inform diagnosis, assessment and effective rehabilitation of neurological patients and people with neurological conditions.



BEING HUMAN: Evolutionary and Comparative Approaches in Psychology

THIS MODULE IS RESERVED FOR PSYCHOLOGY STUDENTS. By considering the development of the human mind and behaviour from an evolutionary perspective and by comparing humans with other animals this module will explore how the biological underpinnings of 'human nature' relate to thinking, motivation and social relationships. Everyday aspects of being human such as attraction, mate choice, parenting, emotion, cooperation and conflict will be used to investigate how behaviours have developed in response to the problems of survival. Around 50% of the module will be directly concerned with animal behaviour. The comparison of human and animal cognition and behaviours will raise questions about the uniqueness of human characteristics, the connections between psychological functioning across species and the relationship between people and animals. Your understanding of evolutionary and comparative psychology developed through the module will be shown to be related to many 'real-world' concerns ranging from sex and gender, through emotion and motivation to mental health issues.




In this module, you will undertake an extensive examination of various experimental approaches used in Cognitive Neuroscience. Using the examples of commonly studied cognitive functions, we will examine how they develop in infancy, how they are modified as we age, to which brain networks they are associated with, and how they are impaired by focal brain lesions. The goal of the course is to develop your critical thinking, research and presentation skills, enabling you to synthesize, evaluate, and debate current theory and data in the field.




Learn about how artificial intelligence, neuroscience, philosophy and psychology inform one another in understanding human cognition and building intelligent systems. You will understand key ideas in the philosophy of mind, computational neuroscience and artificial intelligence and how these different disciplines have informed one another. You will also develop your skills at critically analysing and presenting information.




How do infants learn to think? How do memory and language develop? How do we get data from young children, and how can we understand them? In this module you will learn how the human mind develops during infancy and childhood using examples from language development, memory and other areas of cognition. This will provide you with an understanding of how cognition is shaped by our early experience, and how we can study learning in children. You will gain both knowledge of the current theories of development, as well as hands-on experience with state-of-the-art tools in this area. You will approach these topics with a mix of lectures, seminars and practical classes that guide you towards being able to understand how babies learn to think, and design your own developmental research.



MAGICAL VISUAL WORLD: from Light to Neurons to Experience

The world we live and act in is a creation of our mind. Our brain takes small samples of light and sound and cobbles together the rich world we experience. This module will develop your understanding of how we make sense of our visual and auditory world, how we put information together, and what we often miss. Throughout the module you'll focus on both the behaviours (how do we remember an environment, recognise a friend's emotions, etc.) and the underlying neural activity that make these experiences possible, including how various brain regions interact and the type of information passed along neural pathways. In addition, you'll cover the methods researchers use for empirical investigations (fMRI, clinical populations, eye tracking, etc.). You'll be encouraged to critically evaluate current perspectives and design a study to help reveal how we understand our visual and auditory world.







In this module we will explore areas of current interest and debate in the psychology of criminality, and in the relationship between psychology and the criminal justice system. We will consider the roles that psychologists play in understanding, detecting and treating criminal behaviour, and we will discuss the issues, methods, findings and implications of research in areas such as crime statistics, psychopathy, sex offending, serial murder, terrorism, offender profiling, eyewitness testimony, and the assessment and rehabilitation of offenders.




This module will develop your understanding of both typical and atypical development through a detailed introduction to theory and empirical research related to neurodevelopmental disorders. It will highlight how genetic, environmental, biological and cognitive factors interact to shape development and behaviour over time. You will be encouraged to critically evaluate classical and contemporary perspectives on the subject and invited to consider practical issues related to the identification of, and provision for, children demonstrating an atypical developmental trajectory.




What is psychological health and wellbeing? How might it change as we get older? How might it affect and be affected by the other areas of our lives? Throughout this module you will explore psychological health and wellbeing across the lifespan. You will consider a number of psychological perspectives, including critical and positive psychology approaches, to take a broad look at what we mean by psychological health and wellbeing, paying attention to cultural and historical context. You'll start by discussing different theories and components of psychological wellbeing, and then link this knowledge to examples of functioning and application at different life stages. Past examples of this have included psychological health programmes in schools, the workplace, therapeutic interventions, and positive approaches to ageing and later life.







You will consider the psychological aspects of destructive and benevolent behaviour. Classic and contemporary research will inform the understanding of the psychological processes that underpin extreme detrimental and beneficial behaviours. You will examine empathy, altruism, anti-social and criminal behaviour on both the individual and group level, integrating social psychological theory with historical examples. 'Evil' elements such as cults, killing, power and control will be balanced by the second strand of the module concerning virtuous behaviour, compassion, empathy, solidarity and social change. Situational and personal factors that drive these behaviours will be considered.




This module will survey psychological approaches to language, featuring discussions of experimental methods in psycholinguistic research and theoretical approaches to both language comprehension and production. More specifically, you will gain an understanding of the main theories of language comprehension and production, and how psycholinguistic research develops and tests theoretical questions concerning the nature of underlying representations and the mechanisms associated with language *processing*. Emphasis will be placed on a full understanding of the mapping between theoretical research questions, and the experimental methodologies and techniques used to advance our understanding of how language is processed in the adult human brain.




This module is about the study of mental health from a biopsychosocial perspective. By the end of the module you will learn about: - Historical approaches to defining abnormality; - The biological, psychological and social treatments for psychiatric disorders; - The methods to assess and diagnosis abnormality and psychiatric disorders; - The research strategies used to gain knowledge of abnormality and psychiatric disorders.




Assessing risk has always been of great importance as individuals attempt to avoid negative outcomes under conditions of uncertainty. More recently there has been an attempt to make this assessment objective as a foundation for government policies and public information. However, there is often a gap between expert objective opinion and individuals' opinions, which can be problematic, for example when attempting to persuade people to reduce their carbon footprint or cut down on unhealthy behaviours. This module examines ongoing research which seeks to explain the phenomena and theories that underlie the individual's ability to gather and assess information about potential risks and their subsequent decisions. This includes defining risk, considering individual differences in risk perception and the influence of sources of risk information.







In this module, you will consider the science of relationships and identify some of the critical factors that make and shape 'family' life. You will begin by deconstructing the concepts of 'relationships' and 'family' within their historical and cultural contexts. You will consider the different theoretical approaches utilised to understand and research relationships and family life. You will then explore specific topics such as relationships, parenting, marriage and divorce, before concluding with a consideration and evaluation of family and relationship research and policy.




In this module, you will cover contemporary research and theoretical debates in the related fields of Social Neuroscience and Affective Neuroscience. Your learning objectives for this module will be to: 1) Understand the methodological and conceptual underpinnings of social and affective neuroscience, 2) Understand the state of research in a variety of topics, 3) Understand why key debates in these topics are important for the discipline more broadly. By the end of this module you will have a mastery of the key topics and issues in social and affective neuroscience. You will understand and be able to give an individual account of the important theoretical and empirical work. You will develop an understanding of the neuroscientific techniques available to social and affective neuroscientists and the importance and limitations of these techniques.



Students must study the following modules for 100 credits:

Name Code Credits


This module gives you an introduction to some important techniques and software programs used in psychology data collection and analysis. You will receive guided hands-on experience. These skills are useful for your dissertation research, and will enhance your CV for job applications. You will learn how to conduct both systematic reviews and meta-analysis, gaining an understanding of how each technique can help you in your research. You will use E-Prime software to construct experiments, and have the option to learn MATLAB. MATLAB is a widely used programming language for data analysis, modelling and writing experiments. You will also learn about the Qualtrics Survey platform, presenting data clearly and using references. Your assessment will be essay based.




You'll be provided with the opportunity to examine the scientific study of behaviour at an advanced level. This module will expand your awareness of research topics and methods at the cutting edge of social psychology. You'll also learn a variety of commonly used methods and practical skills for conducting social psychological research. At the end of the course you should have a good understanding of the topics social psychologists are interested in, and their approach to their study.



Students will select 20 credits from the following modules:

Name Code Credits


The course builds on coverage of qualitative methods in the Introduction to Social Sciences Research Methods module, where the focus is on developing critical analysis skills that cover a range of ways of gathering and analysing qualitative data.




This module will provide teaching on quantitative research methods, data analysis and the use of statistical software (SPSS). It will provide a grounding in applied statistics which will both develop critical appraisal skills for reading research and enable you to undertake SPSS data analysis.




Whilst the University will make every effort to offer the modules listed, changes may sometimes be made arising from the annual monitoring, review and update of modules and regular (five-yearly) review of course programmes. Where this activity leads to significant (but not minor) changes to programmes and their constituent modules, there will normally be prior consultation of students and others. It is also possible that the University may not be able to offer a module for reasons outside of its control, such as the illness of a member of staff or sabbatical leave. In some cases optional modules can have limited places available and so you may be asked to make additional module choices in the event you do not gain a place on your first choice. Where this is the case, the University will endeavour to inform students.

Entry Requirements

  • A Level AAB or ABB with an A in the Extended Project
  • International Baccalaureate 33 points
  • Scottish Highers AAAAA
  • Scottish Advanced Highers BBC
  • Irish Leaving Certificate 4 subjects at H2, 2 subjects at H3
  • Access Course Pass the Access to HE Diploma with Distinction in 36 credits at Level 3 and Merit in credits at Level 3
  • BTEC DDD. Excludes BTEC Public Services, BTEC Uniformed Services and BTEC Business Administration.
  • European Baccalaureate 80%

Students for whom English is a Foreign language

Applications from students whose first language is not English are welcome. We require evidence of proficiency in English (including writing, speaking, listening and reading):

  • IELTS: 6.5 overall (minimum 5.5 in all components)

We also accept a number of other English language tests. Please click here to see our full list.

INTO University of East Anglia

If you do not yet meet the English language requirements for this course, INTO UEA offer a variety of English language programmes which are designed to help you develop the English skills necessary for successful undergraduate study:

·         Pre-sessional English at INTO UEA

·         English for University Study at INTO UEA


If you do not meet the academic and/or English requirements for direct entry, our partner, INTO University of East Anglia, offers guaranteed progression onto an undergraduate degree within the School of Psychology upon successful completion of a preparation programme. Depending on your interests and qualifications you can take a variety of routes to the degree:

Any International Foundation Course (for first year entry)


Most applicants will not be called for an interview and a decision will be made via UCAS Track. However, for some applicants an interview will be requested. Where an interview is required the Admissions Service will contact you directly to arrange a time.

Gap Year

We welcome applications from students who have already taken or intend to take a gap year.  We believe that a year between school and university can be of substantial benefit. You are advised to indicate your reason for wishing to defer entry on your UCAS application.


The annual intake is in September each year.

Alternative Qualifications

UEA recognises that some students take a mixture of International Baccalaureate IB or International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme IBCP study rather than the full diploma, taking Higher Levels in addition to A Levels and/or BTEC qualifications. At UEA we do consider a combination of qualifications for entry, provided a minimum of three qualifications are taken at a higher level. In addition some degree programmes require specific subjects at a higher level.

GCSE Offer

You are required to have Mathematics and English Language at a minimum of Grade C or Grade 4 or above at GCSE.

Course Open To

UK and overseas applicants.

Fees and Funding

Undergraduate University Fees and Financial Support

Tuition Fees

Information on tuition fees can be found here:

UK students

EU Students 

Overseas Students

Scholarships and Bursaries

We are committed to ensuring that costs do not act as a barrier to those aspiring to come to a world leading university and have developed a funding package to reward those with excellent qualifications and assist those from lower income backgrounds. 

The University of East Anglia offers a range of Scholarships; please click the link for eligibility, details of how to apply and closing dates.

How to Apply

Applications need to be made via the Universities Colleges and Admissions Services (UCAS), using the UCAS Apply option.

UCAS Apply is a secure online application system that allows you to apply for full-time Undergraduate courses at universities and colleges in the United Kingdom. It is made up of different sections that you need to complete. Your application does not have to be completed all at once. The application allows you to leave a section partially completed so you can return to it later and add to or edit any information you have entered. Once your application is complete, it is sent to UCAS so that they can process it and send it to your chosen universities and colleges.

The Institution code for the University of East Anglia is E14.


Please complete our Online Enquiry Form to request a prospectus and to be kept up to date with news and events at the University. 

Tel: +44 (0)1603 591515


    Next Steps

    We can’t wait to hear from you. Just pop any questions about this course into the form below and our enquiries team will answer as soon as they can.

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