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Applied Social Psychology MSc

This course can be studied full-time in one year or part-time over two to five years.
Year of entry 2017
  View 2018 entry »
Course Length 1 year full time
2-5 years part time
Department Psychology »

The broad spectrum of psychology examines the ways in which human beings think, feel, behave and interact. Study Applied Social Psychology at Royal Holloway and you will develop an advanced understanding of human social interactions, their origins and their impact on the individual, and equip yourself with knowledge of cutting-edge developments and issues in applied social psychology. 

You will join a vibrant research community with access to an on-site MRI scanner for studying brain structure and activity, EEG machines, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) equipment, technology for tracking eye movements, software for creating virtual reality environments and a dedicated baby lab for studying the development of young infants.

You will be part of a friendly, welcoming department with an excellent staff-to-student ratio, learning through a combination of seminars, lectures and research led by our expert academics.

You will graduate with a MSc degree from an internationally leading department, and acquire a range of analytical, methodological and communication skills crucial for PhD study. Follow your passion for Applied Social Psychology at Royal Holloway and you will be well-placed to achieve a rewarding career in your chosen field.

  • Develop applicable skills and knowledge to transfer to PhD study or to pursue a career in applied settings.
  • Study in a department ranked 6th in the UK for research (The Research Excellence Framework 2014)
  • Gain a range of transferable skills to take into your future career, including highly developed literacy and numeracy skills.

This course can be studied full time in one year or part-time over two to five years.

The MSc Programme is designed to equip students with knowledge about cutting edge developments and issues in applied social psychology, in addition to an array of analytical, methodological and communication skills, important for those progressing to a PhD and graduates looking for jobs in applied settings within commercial and governmental settings.

The seven modules are designed to give students in-depth insights into topical issues and the latest research in Social Psychology in a wide range of applied settings. Modules are taught with an emphasis on group discussions and the development of independent thought and analysis, appropriate to such an advanced level of study.

The research project, which forms a major component of the Programme assessment, offers students the option to carry out an independent piece of research of high quality, under the close supervision of a member of academic staff, in an area of interest to the student.

 

Core modules

 

Psychology in Applied Settings
The module aims to help students understand the challenges but also benefits of conducting research in applied settings, as compared to laboratory settings. After discussing general opportunities and challenges in conducting psychological research in applied settings, the module will cover a variety of topics in applied psychology delivered by experts on the topics and practitioners. These may vary each year, but can include selected topics in organisational psychology, forensic psychology, educational psychology, counselling psychology, and applied social psychology. Some examples of topics are: Eye witness testimony in the court, parenting interventions, understanding donations.

Intergroup and Interpersonal Processes
This module covers the social psychology of intergroup and interpersonal processes. As such, the course content is situated broadly in applied social psychology. It introduces theories and findings in this area and uses them to explain real-life phenomena. Lectures will cover issues like, for example, cross-cultural psychology, of intergroup relations, ethnic identity, conflict resolution, immigration, and interpersonal relationships.

Advanced and Applied Research Techniques
This module covers many of the key research techniques that are used in social, health, forensic, clinical and developmental research. Students will develop an advanced understanding of current techniques within these areas. Further they will learn how to employ these techniques, and be able to evaluate and critique them. The content will cover both qualitative and quantitative research techniques. Lectures will cover forms of data collection (questionnaires, online data collection, interviewing and focus groups, observational research methods, computerised cognitive measures and social neuroscience techniques) and forms of data analysis not otherwise covered in the parallel core module 
‘Statistics for Research’, including grounded theory, interpretative phenomenological analysis, thematic analysis, content analysis, and the use of secondary data and meta-analytic and systematic review techniques.

Adjustment and Well-Being
The module will cover a variety of topics in adjustment and well-being delivered by experts on the topics and practitioners. These will include measurement of well-being, antecedents and consequences of well-being, ill-being and health psychology. Some examples of topics are: Materialism and well-being, delusions, adjustment of personal values to life transitions.

Topics in Psychological Science
Seminars will adopt an interactive, discussion-based style, focused around a topical research paper or a wider issue relating to psychological science. The topics for discussion will be drawn from a broad range of research areas, including neuroscience, cognition and social psychology. Many of the discussions will be student-led, and the topics for these sessions will reflect individual students’ particular areas of interest. The taught module will be complemented by a series of departmental research seminars, through which students will be able to hear about the latest research from a variety of external speakers.

Statistics for Research
Topics will include: Basic statistics; ANOVA; simple and multiple regression, general linear models, analysis of covariance; advanced statistical methods (e.g. structural equation modelling, factor analysis). Students will have an opportunity to gain hands-on experience in applying some of these methods to actual problems (including but not limited to how to implement the methods with statistical software).

Social Research Project
This module will provide students with the possibility to carry out a piece of research (this can be empirical or non-empirical by nature) on a topic of their interest within the broad area of applied social psychology. Students will decide on a topic for their project, and whether the project should take an empirical or non-empirical form, in conjunction with their academic supervisors. Care will be taken to match students’ and supervisors’ interests as closely as possible. Because the content of the project will be student-led, it is not possible to specify it for the whole course a priori. However, the project will be in the broad area of applied and social psychology.

 

Teaching and learning is delivered primarily through sessions lasting between one-and-a-half and five hours. These typically combine seminar discussions with practical exploration or workshops. Where possible, these will be student-led, with participants encouraged to devise exercises engaging with the relevant issues and to direct fellow-students in these experiments.

We place emphasis on group discussion and the development of independent thought and analysis appropriate to carry out an independent piece of research of high quality, in an area of interest to you. In some contributing modules, you will give oral presentations which form part of the formative assessment. Summative assessment is usually by extended essay, although there are written exams for modules focussing on methodology and statistics.

Entry criteria:

UK First or 2:1 (Honours) or equivalent in Psychology or a related Social Science subject with evidence of having taken and passed methodological and statistics training at degree level.

Applicants will also be considered if they have marginally missed 2:1 or equivalent entry criteria if there is evdience of relevant work experience or professional qualifications in an associated area, provided they can demonstrate that they have achieved 2:1 level or equivalent in statistics and research method modules.

English language requirements:

IELTS 6.5 overall with 6.5 in writing and no subscore below 5.5


If you require Royal Holloway to sponsor your study in the UK, your IELTS must be a UK
government-approved Secure English Language Test (SELT).

International and EU entry requirements

Please select your country from the drop-down list below




Students from overseas should visit the International pages for information on the entry requirements from their country and further information on English language requirements. Royal Holloway offers a Pre-Master’s Diploma for International Students and English language pre-sessional courses, allowing students the opportunity to develop their study skills and English language before starting their postgraduate degree.

Graduates in Applied Social Psychology at Royal Holloway are well equipped to progress to further PhD study and to careers in applied settings in commercial and governmental organisations. You will graduate with a desirable MSc degree from one of the UK’s top psychology departments, and will develop a range of transferable skills including analysis and interpretation of numerical data, insight into human behaviour, critical reading, conducting ethical research and managing research projects.

Our alumni have gone on to enjoy careers in NGOs, organisational psychology firms, consultancy firms and other rewarding fields. Notable Department of Psychology alumni include leading bioscience innovator Professor Jackie Hunter CBE, Terrence Higgins Trust founder Dr Rupert Whitaker, and Dr Christian Jarrett – author of The Rough Guide to Psychology.

  • 90% of Royal Holloway graduates within work or further education within six months of graduating.
  • Close links with local organisations including the Macular Society, Southern Addictions Advisory Service and Bishop Creighton House provide rewarding placement opportunities.

Home and EU students tuition fee per year 2017/18*: £7,000

Overseas students tuition fee per year 2017/18*: £15,800

Other essential costs**: There are no single associated costs greater than £50 per item on this course

Find out more about funding options, including loans, grants, scholarships and bursaries.

*The tuition fees given above apply to students enrolled on a full-time basis.  Students studying part-time are charged a pro-rata tuition fee and information is available from the Royal Holloway Student Fees Office on Student-Fees@rhul.ac.uk. All fees are likely to rise annually in line with inflation but no more than 5 per cent per year.

For further information, please see Royal Holloway’s Terms & Conditions.

** These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing etc., have not been included.

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