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Course Overview

Duration: 1 year full-time
What does the course entail?
Three thematically related research components

This programme offers the opportunity to gain practical experience in research through placements across different laboratories that allow you to explore themes beyond traditional research boundaries. This laboratory rotation is particularly suitable for candidates interested in pursuing doctoral research, as it allows you to independently explore topics on your own terms.

Two placements and a project: Two placements taken during the course allow you to contribute directly to the research area of your chosen supervisors. The research project element gives you the chance to develop your own area of study, supported through the advice of relevant academics.

A statistics module and one or two other modules related to your research theme

In addition to the specialist skills you will obtain conducting the research of the placements and projects, you will take modules relevant to your line of research.

First, to advance your data analysis skills, you will take either "Methods and Analysis in Behavioural Science" or "Advanced Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis".

Second, you will take one or two specialist options, depending on your research theme and previous experience. The modules taken are subject to supervisor recommendation and availability, and are drawn from our range of postgraduate options. These may include, for example:

  • Practical Research Skills for Psychology;
  • Communication, Dissemination and Professional Issues;
  • Issues in psychological science
  • From Stress to Health in the Workplace
  • Psychological Models of Choice
If you take two options, one of your placements will be half-sized.
What can I research?

Any research theme you select in which the department has three willing academics with relevant research expertise; a theme will normally be narrower than a research group, and may cross research groups. All placements and projects may be negotiated with potential supervisors before application, or be allocated by the department. Placements will be designed by the supervisor to fit within their existing research plans, so the student need not make a detailed proposal to the supervisor. A project will involve research substantially designed by the student, which may develop with skills and knowledge obtained during the course; the level of specification a particular supervisor will want to see before agreeing to supervise a project may vary.

Example themes

Some example themes are available but you may — and indeed are encouraged to — construct a theme relevant to your interests from those in which we have research expertise.


Projects at the interface of psychology and economics are pre-allocated to the specialist Master's programme, to which students with this interest are directed.

This course does not offer clinical/counselling research placements, unlike the specialist Master's programme, to which students with this interest are directed.

What's the difference between a placement and a project?

A placement is a piece of research primarily designed by the supervisor to fit with their ongoing research. Ordinarily, the negotiation of supervision involves the supervisor offering the student a title within a particular topic requested by the student, once the supervisor is persuaded the student is suitable. It lasts a term, and is done alongside (normally) one lecture course. A normal-sized placement carries twice the weight of a lecture course.

A project is a piece of research primarily designed by the student, with advice from the supervisor. Negotiation of supervision will involve discussion of the student's research idea, as well as suitability. Whilst the design will be refined during the course, the bulk of the work will be completed in the summer term and summer vacation, when the student is taking no lecture courses. It carries three times the weight of a normal-sized placement.