Please note that this degree is now closed for 2024 entry. Please see our alternative Applied Neuroscience.
Duration: 1 year full time or 2 years part time
Institution code: R72
UK fees*: £10,600
International/EU fees**: £20,500
Applied Social Psychology (MSc)
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.
From time to time, we make changes to our courses to improve the student and learning experience. If we make a significant change to your chosen course, we’ll let you know as soon as possible.
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 example topics include eyewitness testimony in the court, parenting interventions, and understanding donations.
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.
In this module you will develop an understanding of many of the key research techniques that are used in social, health, forensic, clinical and developmental research. You will look at both qualitative and quantitative research techniques, covering forms of data collection such as questionnaires, online data, interviewing and focus groups, observational research methods, computerised cognitive measures, and social neuroscience techniques. You will also consider other forms of data analysis, including grounded theory, interpretative phenomenological analysis, thematic analysis, content analysis, and the use of secondary data and meta-analytic and systematic review techniques.
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.
In this module you will develop an understanding of the main statistical methods used in psychology research. You will look at basic descriptive statistics before covering more complex techniques, including analysis of variance, analysis of covariance, correlation analysis, and simple and multiple regression. You will examine advanced statistical methods, such as structural equation modelling and factor analysis. You will gain hands-on experience in applying these methods of analyses to actual datasets and problems using statistical software, considering their respective strengths and weaknesses, and what type of problems each approach is best suited to address.
In this module you will carry out a piece of research, either empirical or non-empirical by nature, on a topic of your choosing within the broad area of applied social psychology.
This module will describe the key principles of academic integrity, focusing on university assignments. Plagiarism, collusion and commissioning will be described as activities that undermine academic integrity, and the possible consequences of engaging in such activities will be described. Activities, with feedback, will provide you with opportunities to reflect and develop your understanding of academic integrity principles.
There are a number of optional course modules available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course modules that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new modules may be offered or existing modules may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.
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 example topics include materialism and well-being, delusions, and adjustment of personal values to life transitions.
In this module you will develop an understanding of cognitive, social and neuroscience approaches to forensic psychology. You will look at social approaches to different victim and offender groups, the neuroscience of psychopathy, interviewing victims, physiological approaches to deception, detection, and the role of eyewitness identifications in the legal system. You will also examine receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis and confidence relationships as they apply to decision makers and estimator and system variables.
This module will introduce you to the latest research concerning the neuroscience of emotion and decision making, train students to interpret and evaluate the research in this area, and train students to apply their knowledge to the analysis of real-life examples Lectures topics could include, for example: comparisons between human and animal models of emotion; emotion regulation; the links between emotion and decision making; neuroeconomics; the neural basis of understanding others; cooperative and competitive decision making.
This module will provide you with the possibility to gain some hands-on experience of neuroscience techniques that can be used in applied contexts, such as EEG, fMRI and eye-tracking. You will learn how to collect data and analyse the data in a meaningful way to gain insight into human neural processes underlying perceptions, decisions and emotions, within an experimental design. Throughout the module, you will make use of different programming languages to deal with the different types of neuroscientific data.
Teaching & assessment
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
Psychology or a related Social Science subject with evidence of having taken and passed methodological and statistics training at degree level.
International & EU requirements
English language requirements
- IELTS: 6.5 overall. Writing 7.0. No other subscore lower than 5.5.
- Pearson Test of English: 61 overall. Writing 69. No other subscore lower than 54.
- Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English (ISE): ISE III.
- Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) grade C.
- TOEFL iBT: 88 overall, with Reading 18 Listening 17 Speaking 20 Writing 26.
- Duolingo: 120 overall, 135 in Literacy, 135 in Production and no sub-score below 100.
Your future career
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 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.
Fees, funding & scholarships
Home (UK) students tuition fee per year*: £10,600
EU and international students tuition fee per year**: £20,500
Other essential costs***: There are no single associated costs greater than £50 per item on this course
* and ** These tuition fees apply to students enrolled on a full-time basis. Students studying on the standard part-time course structure over two years are charged 50% of the full-time applicable fee for each study year.
All postgraduate fees are subject to inflationary increases. Please be aware that tuition fees can rise during your degree (if longer than one year’s duration). This means that the overall cost of studying the course part-time will be slightly higher than studying it full-time in one year.
** This figure is the fee for EU and international students starting a degree in the academic year 2024/25. Find out more
*** These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree at Royal Holloway during the 2024/25 academic year, and are included as a guide. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing, have not been included.