MSc Psychological Research Methods

Duration Full time 1 year
Part time 2 years
  • Psychology
LocationExeter (Streatham)
Start date September


MSc Psychological Research Methods video

Find out more from staff and students about the MSc Psychological Research Methods. View full size.

The central objective of this programme is to equip you with an array of methodological skills to function as an effective PhD student or as a professional researcher in psychology, with a particular emphasis on cognitive, clinical and clinical neuroscience research. You will acquire the skills necessary to generate good research questions, establish plausible theoretical answers, and carry out high-quality empirical research in order to test your hypotheses. At the end of your training you will have completed a research project that makes a contribution to the discipline and you will have the necessary skills and confidence to be able to operate independently in the future.

The MSc can be applied for as a stand-alone degree or form the first year of a PhD. It forms part of the Economic and Social Research Council South West Doctoral Training Centre – a hub of world-class social science research.

This programme consists of compulsory taught modules and a substantial research project. It will acquaint you with a wide range of data analysis techniques and research methods in the areas of clinical neuroscience, clinical and cognitive psychology, while enabling you to develop particular specialist skills and knowledge in selected areas.

You will be able to get involved with one or more of the research groups in the department depending on your research interests.

I returned to university as a mature student, to study towards an undergraduate degree in the School of Psychology and continued on to the MSc Psychological Research Methods, with funding from one of the School’s ESRC awards, as the taught element of my PhD research with a view to working as a researcher in the field of psycholinguistics.

During the Masters programme, I enjoyed studying a wide range of research methods under the guidance of the academics here, who teach methods enthusiastically in the context of the work that they themselves generate using those methods.

Matt Hamilton-Green, BSc Psychology and MSc Psychological Research Methods graduate, and PhD student.

Programme structure

The following tables describe the programme and constituent modules. Constituent modules may be updated, deleted or replaced as a consequence of the annual programme review of this programme.

180 credits of compulsory modules

Compulsory modules

You are also permitted to take the five credit module PSYM906 Psychology Research. Registration on this module is subject to a competitive application process. If taken, this module will not count towards progression or award calculation.

PSYM201Advanced Statistics 30
PSYM202Behavioural Science Research Skills 15
PSYM210Research Apprenticeship 90
PSYM212Current Research Issues in Psychological Research Methods 15
PSYM214Methods in Cognitive and Clinical Psychology and Neuroscience 30

I chose to study the MSc in Psychological Research Methods as a step towards a PhD because I wanted a career in psychology after finishing my degree. Since graduating I have progressed to doing my PhD here at Exeter in conjunction with the Peninsula Medical School.

The most valuable aspects were the variety of modules covering different areas of research, allowing you to find an area of research that fits your interests as well as the final dissertation research. The Mood Disorders Centre and the different fields of psychology the department specialises in makes the University unique.

I loved the atmosphere and location from my first visit. I contacted a supervisor beforehand and knew that I could do a project for my dissertation in an area I was interested in.

I would recommend the programme because I really enjoyed the modules and the modules have taught me invaluable skills. I am now more equipped to handle a PhD.

Maddy Greville-Harris, MSc Psychological Research Methods graduate.

The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.

Research Apprenticeship

A distinctive feature of all our taught Masters programmes is the Research Apprenticeship. The Apprenticeship enables you to develop your research skills by working alongside experienced researchers or practitioners. You will also gain experience of writing up your research in the form of a dissertation.

Many students undertake their apprenticeship with researchers in the School, but apprenticeship opportunities may also be available outside the University. Current research partners of the group include Microsoft, IBM, Rentokil, the Ministry of Defence, the NHS, the Met Office, the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development and Lane4 consultancy.

Previous apprenticeships include:

Read the full module specification for the Research Apprenticeship.

Learning and teaching

Advanced statistics modules are assessed by written examination plus a small component of coursework, other taught modules by coursework and the research project is assessed through submission of either a dissertation or a research paper ready for submission to a journal.


On completion of your postgraduate degree you will have the scientific skills to enable progression into research or professional psychology, the communication skills required for marketing and business roles and the knowledge of people for progression into personnel or caring professions.

Exeter’s reputation amongst graduate employers has helped postgraduates into successful careers in research, high technology industries, management, personnel, legal and advertising services amongst others.

Graduate destinations

Below are a few examples of initial jobs undertaken by graduates of our MSc Psychological Research Methods. This information has been taken from the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) Survey 2012/13 and 2011/12. Please note that, due to data protection, the job titles and organisations are listed independently and do not necessarily correspond.

Job titleOrganisation
Dementia Advisor
Account Manager
Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner
Assistant Psychologist
Learning Support Teacher
Social Support Worker
Research Fellow
Assistant Clinical Psychologist
graduate Mental Health Worker
Research Assistant
Support Worker
Marketing Consultant
Dorchester Primary Mental Health Trust
Alzheimer’s Society
Priory Lodge
University of Exeter
Psychology Associates Ltd
Can Marketing
National Health Service North Essex
NHS Butterworth Centre
Cardiff University
University of South Australia

Further study

Further study is a popular choice for a number of students following graduation from our Masters programmes. Below are a few examples of further study undertaken by recent graduates of our MSc Psychological Research Methods. This information has been taken from the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) Survey 2012/13 and 2011/12. Please note that, due to data protection, the subjects of study and institutions are listed independently and do not necessarily correspond.

Subject areaInstitution
PhD Cognitive Psychology
Devon Primary SCITT: Primary School Teaching
Professional Doctorate in Psychology
PhD Psychology
MPhil Psychology
Plymouth University
Bournemouth University
University of the West of England
University of Middlesex
University of Exeter

Further information

Our excellent Careers and Employment Service provides invaluable support, advice and access to graduate employers. Visit the employment and professional development pages for more information, including podcasts and profiles, about the range of support available. 

Find out more about our career support schemes for postgraduate students.

Entry requirements 2016

Normally a 2:1 Honours degree or equivalent in Psychology or a related discipline.

Requirements for international students

If you are an international student, please visit our international equivalency pages to enable you to see if your existing academic qualifications meet our entry requirements.

English language requirements

IELTS (Academic)

Overall score 6.5. No less than 6.0 in any section.


Overall score 90 with minimum scores of 21 for writing, 21 for listening, 22 for reading and 23 for speaking.

Pearson Test of English (Academic)

58 with no less than 55 in all communicative skills.

Other accepted tests

Information about other acceptable tests of linguistic ability can be found on our English language requirements page.

Pre-sessional English

Applicants with lower English language test scores may be able to take pre-sessional English at INTO University of Exeter prior to commencing their programme. See our English language requirements page for more information.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees per year 2016/17

  • UK/EU: £7,500 full-time; £3,750 part-time
  • International: £18,600 full-time

Fee information

Fees can normally be paid by two termly instalments and may be paid online. You will also be required to pay a tuition fee deposit to secure your offer of a place, unless you qualify for exemption. For further information about paying fees see our Student Fees pages.


Find out about funding opportunities available to students on our Psychology taught Masters programmes

University funding

The Scholarships, Bursaries and Studentships website has information on all available options for funding open to prospective students of taught Masters programmes. You can also use the searchable database of all Scholarships and Bursaries to find funding for which you are eligible.

Contact us

If you have any queries about this programme, please contact:

Tel: +44 (0) 1392 724611

The Programme Director is Dr Fraser Milton.