Psychological Science, Research Methods of MSc


This Masters in Research Methods of Psychological Science will provide you with both theoretical instruction and practical experience in the methods appropriate for scientific research in psychology.

Key facts

Why this programme

  • With a 98% overall student satisfaction in the National Student Survey 2014, the School of Psychology continues to meet student expectations combining both teaching excellence and a supportive learning environment.
  • This MSc is an approved research training programme of the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) and can either be the first year of a ‘1+3’ funding package or qualify you for future ‘+3’ funding.
  • The University of Glasgow’s School of Psychology is consistently ranked amongst the top 10 in the UK and top 5 in Scotland, recently achieving 1st in Scotland and 2nd in the UK (Guardian University Guide 2015).
  • You will benefit from innovative assessment, including portfolio of professional skills, peer review and writing up a research project in the format of a journal article.
  • You will benefit from access to the resources of the University’s Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging (CCNi), including a 3 Tesla fMRI scanner, MEG system, two TMS labs, and several EEG labs, including fMRI compatible systems. Dedicated motion capture suites record precise 3D body movements and facial animation sequences. Eye movements can be followed remotely using our SR Research EyeLink systems.

Programme structure

Modes of delivery of the MSc in Research Methods of Psychological Science include lectures, seminars and tutorials and lab work.

Core courses

  • Current research topics in psychology, neuroscience and brain imaging
  • Introduction to Matlab programming
  • Professional skills
  • Research methods in cognitive science
  • Statistics and research design
  • Designing a research project.

Depending on your funding source, you may also be required to attend a course in qualitative methods.

Optional courses (one chosen)

  • Cognitive brain imaging
  • Computational neuroscience
  • Formal models and quantitative methods
  • Psychology of language
  • Sleep and circadian timing
  • Visual perception and cognition.

You will also attend Scottish universities’ psychology postgraduate meetings, research seminars and journal clubs.

Academic staff

Prospective applicants are encouraged to consult the Academic Staff and Research pages for further information on the research interests of groups and individual staff members. This information is vital when researching potential supervisors.

Psychologists at the University of Glasgow maintain a global reputation for excellence. The following indicators of esteem convey the breadth of this accomplishment.

  • Numerous international awards and prizes for outstanding research achievement.
  • Many plenary lectures at prestigious scientific meetings throughout the world.
  • Editorial positions at leading international journals in the field, including Psychological Science, Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, and Cognition.
  • Chairs on various advisory boards.

Some examples of our academic staff include:

Professor Belin Pascal, is an Invited Professor at the Max Planck Institute, Leipzig, gave a Keynote lecture at the British Association for Cognitive Neuroscience in 2009, and is an Associate Editor of Frontiers in Auditory Cognitive Neuroscience.

Professor Simon Garrod has an appointment to the University of Australia as part of their distinguished visiting scholar program, is an external member of the appointments committee for the Director of Max Plank Institute in Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen, sits on the ESRC research grants college of assessors, and is an Editorial board member for a number of journals, including: Cognition, Cognitive Science, Journal of Memory and Language, Frontiers in Language Sciences, Language and Cognitive Processes.

Professor Joachim Gross was awarded a Senior fellowship from the University of Konstanz, Germany, won the Sam Williamson Prize (International conference for Biomagnetism 2010), has recently been invited to join editorial board of a new journal 'Brain connectivity' as well as the International Scientific Program Committee for Biomag 2012. In addition, he is Co-chair of educational session at HBM international conference (2010 & 2011), and presented a Keynote lecture at MEG UK meeting.

Research excellence

Research across the subject of Psychology attempts to advance our understanding of behaviour and the underlying mental processes and brain functions at multiple levels of analysis. This effort entails the integration of diverse approaches and paradigms from experimental psychology, cognitive science and the cognitive neurosciences.

We are committed to producing basic and applied research of the highest quality with a focus on three main areas:

  • An interdisciplinary effort to advance the understanding of the complex relationship between the brain, cognition and behaviour. This brings together researchers with an interest in cognitive neuroscience, functional neuroimaging, neuropsychology and computational modelling. The Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience (CCNi) aims to develop new methods for understanding brain mechanisms, and to train interdisciplinary scientists in the use of those methods and techniques.
  • The new science of social interactions, a science that blends behavioural, computational and neuroimaging techniques to investigate human social function, communication and cooperation. Our research examines a range of mechanisms that underlie social interaction: from gestures and expressive signals, from the face, voice and body to language-based communication. We have special interest in how such local interactions affect the dynamics and structure of larger scale social networks.
  • Further research areas include sleep, language, and visual perception.

Resources and facilities

We use a variety of specialised equipment for capturing the behavioural activity of participants in experiments. This can be either for generating experimental stimuli, or for recording behavioural responses in a laboratory setting or through a web survey.

Recording the body
We use a dedicated Motion Capture Suite comprising 12 F40 Vicon Cameras for recording precise 3D body movements.

Recording the face
A Dimensional Imaging 4D capture system is used to capture 3D facial animation sequences using passive stereo photogrammetry.

Recording the eyes
Eye movements can be followed remotely using our SR Research EyeLink 2000 Desktop System.

Recording neural activity
The CCNi houses state-of-the-art imaging equipment for measuring brain activity. Facilities include dedicated fMRI, MEG, EEG, and TMS systems.

• fMRI lab:
3 Tesla Tim Trio Siemens scanner
Nordic Neuro Lab System (NNL)  stimulus presentation and eye tracking system.

 MEG lab:
4D-Neuroimaging Magnes 3600 WH (248 sensors) MEG system
Optotrak Certus motion capture system
Applied Science Laboratories (ASL) LRO-6 eye tracking system
Digital Projection dVision 1080p Projector

• EEG lab:
Biosemi Active 2 (128-channel) EEG system

• TMS lab:
Magstim Bistim Module
Magstim Super rapid2
Frameless stereotaxy system (Neuronaviagor): Brainsight
TMS- and fMRI-compatible EEG amplifier: 64 channel BrainVision BrainAmp MR plus
EMG amplifier: Cambridge Electronics Design 1401 data acquisition system and 1902 amplifiers

Entry requirements

for entry in 2015

Normally at least a 2:1 Honours degree in psychology or neuroscience or acceptable equivalent(s).

As part of the admission process we prioritise matching your interests with one of our academic supervisors to ensure that we have the expertise to adequately supervise you. Please email the programme co-coordinator, Dr Monika Harvey, with your research interests, and we will help you find out if we have the available expertise to supervise you.

English language requirements

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training)

  • overall score 6.5
  • no sub-test less than 6.0
  • or equivalent scores in another recognised qualification (see below)

Common equivalent English language qualifications

All stated English tests are acceptable for admission for both home/EU and international students for this programme:

  • ibTOEFL: 92; no sub-test less than 20
  • CAE (Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English): 176 overall; no sub-test less than 169
  • CPE (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English):  176 overall; no sub-test less than 169
  • PTE Academic (Person Test of English, Academic test): 60; no sub-test less than 59

For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use these tests to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level programmes. The University is also able to accept an IELTS test (Academic module) from any of the 1000 IELTS test centres from around the world and we do not require a specific UKVI IELTS test for degree level programmes. We therefore still accept any of the English tests listed for admission to this programme.

Pre-sessional courses

The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the Language Centre Pre-sessional courses. We also consider other BALEAP accredited pre-sessional courses:


What do I do if...

my language qualifications are below the requirements?

The University's Language Centre offers a range of Pre-Sessional Courses to bring you up to entry level. The course is accredited by BALEAP, the UK professional association for academic English teaching; see Links.

my language qualifications are not listed here?

Please contact the Recruitment and International Office:


For further information about English language requirements, please contact the Recruitment and International Office:

Fees and funding

Tuition fees for 2016-17


Home and EU
Full time fee£6950
Full time fee£18900

Fees are subject to change and for guidance only


The University requires a deposit to be paid by International (beyond the EU) applicants in receipt of an offer to this programme: please see: Deposits for entry in 2015/16

Funding opportunities

Career prospects

As this programme is accredited by the ESRC, successful graduates from the programme are eligible for +3 ESRC PhD studentships. The majority of our graduates have obtained PhD funding or secured a research or teaching position. Others have opted for further professional training in specialized fields of psychology. Some graduates have used the qualification and skills to advance in their current employment.

Graduates of this programme have gone on to positions such as:
Assistant Psychologist at NHS.

How to apply

We ask that you apply online for a postgraduate taught degree. Our system allows you to fill out the standard application form online and submit this to the University within 42 days of starting your application.

You need to read the guide to applying online before starting your application. It will ensure you are ready to proceed, as well as answer many common questions about the process.

Guide to applying online

Do I have to apply online for a postgraduate taught degree?

Yes. To apply for a postgraduate taught degree you must apply online. We are unable to accept your application by any other means than online.

Do I need to complete and submit the application in a single session?

No. You have 42 days to submit your application once you begin the process. You may save and return to your application as many times as you wish to update information, complete sections or upload additional documents such as your final transcript or your language test.

What documents do I need to provide to make an application?

As well as completing your online application fully, it is essential that you submit the following documents:

  • A copy (or copies) of your official degree certificate(s) (if you have already completed your degree)
  • A copy (or copies) of your official academic transcript(s), showing full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained
  • Official English translations of the certificate(s) and transcript(s)
  • Two supporting reference letters on headed paper
  • Evidence of your English Language ability (if your first language is not English)
  • Any additional documents required for this programme (see Entry requirements for this programme)
  • A copy of the photo page of your passport (Non-EU students only)

If you do not have all of these documents at the time of submitting your application then it is still possible to make an application and provide any further documents at a later date, as long as you include a full current transcript (and an English translation if required) with your application. See the ‘Your References, Transcripts and English Qualification’ sections of our Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

Do my supporting documents need to be submitted online?

Yes, where possible, please upload the supporting documents with your application.

How do I provide my references?

You must either upload the required references to your online application or ask your referees to send the references to the University as we do not contact referees directly. There is two main ways that you can provide references: you can either upload references on headed paper when you are making an application using the Online Application (or through Applicant Self-Service after you have submitted your application) or you can ask your referee to email the reference directly to See the 'Your References, Transcripts and English Qualifications' section of the Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

What if I am unable to submit all of my supporting documents online?

If you cannot upload an electronic copy of a document and need to send it in by post, please attach a cover sheet to it that includes your name, the programme you are applying for, and your application reference number.

You may send them to:

Recruitment & International Office
71 Southpark Avenue
G12 8QQ
Fax: +44 141 330 4045

Can I email my supporting documents?

No. We cannot accept email submissions of your supporting documents.

What entry requirements should I have met before applying? Where can I find them?

You should check that you have met (or are likely to have met prior to the start of the programme) the individual entry requirements for the degree programme you are applying for. This information can be found on the ‘entry requirements’ tab on each individual programme page, such as the one you are viewing now.

What English Language requirements should I have met before applying? Where can I find them?

If you are an international student, you should also check that you have met the English Language requirements specific to the programme you are applying for. These can also be found on the ‘entry requirements’ tab for each specific programme.

Further Information

Please see the Frequently Asked Questions for more information on applying to a postgraduate taught programme.

Guidance notes for using the online application

These notes are intended to help you complete the online application form accurately, they are also available within the help section of the online application form. If you experience any difficulties accessing the online application then you should visit the Application Troubleshooting/FAQs page.

  • Name and Date of birth: must appear exactly as they do on your passport. Please take time to check the spelling and lay-out.
  • Contact Details: Correspondence address. All contact relevant to your application will be sent to this address including the offer letter(s). If your address changes, please contact us as soon as possible.
  • Choice of course: Please select carefully the course you want to study. As your application will be sent to the admissions committee for each course you select it is important to consider at this stage why you are interested in the course and that it is reflected in your application.
  • Proposed date of entry: Please state your preferred start date including the month and the year. Taught masters degrees tend to begin in September. Research degrees may start in any month.
  • Education and Qualifications: Please complete this section as fully as possible indicating any relevant Higher Education qualifications starting with the most recent. Complete the name of the Institution (s) as it appears on the degree certificate or transcript.
  • English Language Proficiency: Please state the date of any English language test taken (or to be taken) and the award date (or expected award date if known).
  • Employment and Experience: Please complete this section as fully as possible with all employments relevant to your course. Additional details may be attached in your personal statement/proposal where appropriate.
  • References: Please provide the names and contact details of two academic references. Where applicable one of these references may be from your current employer. References should be completed on letter headed paper and uploaded on to your application.

Standard application deadlines

  • International applications (non-EU): 22 July 2016 
  • UK and EU applications: 26 August 2016

Classes start September 2016 and you may be expected to attend induction sessions the week before.

Apply now