Manchester Metropolitan University

MSc/PgDip

Psychology (Conversion)

2017 entry

Features and benefits of the course

  • This programme is a conversion for graduates of other disciplines considering a career in Psychology
  • The course is delivered by distance learning
  • This course programme is approved and recognised by the British Psychological Society
  • Curriculum is based upon and developed to ensure that the core elements of the BPS requirements for eligibility for GBC membership are met

About the course

The course has been designed to offer a full MSc masters qualification in Psychology and also a Postgraduate Diploma on a full or part time basis.

Students graduating with the MSc (Conversion Award) will have produced a 60 credit Dissertation and will have completed two of the three optional units.  

Students graduating with the PgDip(Conversion Award) will have produced a 20 credit Empirical Project and will have completed one of the three optional units.

Typical units of study may include

Year 1

The innovative and diverse curriculum masters level modular conversion course is delivered entirely online by e-learning and Virtual Learning Environments. There is no attendance requirement.

 Students will study all of the core units and then either one (PgDip) or two of the optional units listed below.

  • Introduction to Forensic Psychology
  • Introduction to Educational Psychology
  • Conceptual and Historical Issues in Counselling and Psychotherapy

Core Units
Dissertation (Psychology)

Students will identify their research questions in any area of their chosen programme, subject only to the availability of knowledgeable supervisors. They will prepare proposals and submit these to the Postgraduate ethics committee for approval along with risk assessment appraisals and letters of authorisation from external bodies, prior to commencing the work.  Students will design and carry out their investigations under supervision of a member of staff.  It is expected that all projects involve collection of information.  Research may utilise whatever method or methods most suitable to address the identified aims.  The research may be desktop, laboratory based or field based; may be experimental or non-experimental; qualitative or quantitative. Reports usually take the form of a journal article (or extended thesis on request)

Fundamentals of Cognitive and Biological Psychology

This unit covers a range of key areas in cognitive psychology & biopsychology. It provides a foundation understanding contemporary issues, debates and methods. It will enable students to critically explore key areas of cognitive and neuropsychological/ biopsychological research including perception, attention, memory, language, & problem solving.

This will include discussion and evaluation of theory, methodological issues and quantitative analysis. Foundations will cover methods in cognition and biopsychology, structure & function of the nervous system and neurons, nerve transmission, & effects of neural damage. Perception will include cognitive and neuroscience topics related to object recognition, face recognition scene recognition and the influence of motivation on perception. Attention will include cognitive and neuroscience topics based upon focused attention, divided attention, spatial attention and motivational influences on attention. Memory will include cognitive and neuroscience topics based upon everyday memory, memory systems/processes, & the biology of learning/memory. Language will include cognitive and neuropsychological topics related to: language perception and production, text processing, inferences, and aphasias and the biology of language. Problem solving and thinking will include cognitive and neuropsychological topics based on: problem-solving research, expert vs. novices, heuristics,  executive and frontal contributions to problem solving and thinking. Running throughout aspects of the above will be a number of additional issues and themes such as: how the use of brain damaged individuals and neuroimaging work can be used to inform understanding of normal brain function (including the localisation of function), the use of practical and real world examples and illustrations of research, experimental design, practical experimentation within the fields covered and the use of computerised statistical techniques to evaluate experimental data.

Fundamentals of Social and Developmental Psychology

Fundamentals of Social and Developmental Psychology develops an applied and critical understanding of human development and social explanations for behaviour in psychology.

This unit will span the history and emergence of modern social psychology and its methods (CHIP). Covered will be the traditional areas including social perception, person perception, attitudes, attribution. Inter-group processes will also be covered including: prejudice, inter-group conflict, social identification. Small group processes including: norms, leadership, decision-making and performance will be included, as will social influence and the more critical social psychology and explorations of subjectivity.  Historical foundations of childhood, the origins of developmental psychology, theories of development and appropriate methods for the study of development will be explored. The development of attachment, social and emotional development, temperament, communication and language development will be covered as will perceptual, motor and cognitive development. Life cycle, stages and transitions will be explored in relation to successful ageing. 

Individual Differences

The unit will focus on the related areas of personality and individual differences. Personality will include a critical analysis of identity in relation to development, psychometric approaches to personality: the social construction of personality and the implications of personality research. Individual Differences will cover history of individual differences (CHIP); biological aspects of individual variation (e.g. intelligence; genetics); the fairness, uses and abuses of psychological tests and individual differences in applied settings (e.g. health and illness).

Personal and Professional Development

The module is concerned with both the development of knowledge & skills and the development of self. The unit promotes this development through the identification and monitoring of learning objectives and personal goals within a critical and supportive academic community. A required component of the module is student attendance and contribution toPPDgroup meetings. ThePPDgroup provides an opportunity to share and extend knowledge, understanding and skills with peers. 

Qualitative Methods in Psychology

This unit will develop and applied and critical understanding of qualitative methods in psychology enabling the development of theoretical and philosophical understandings alongside practical skills and experience .

It will demonstate some of the breadth of qualitative methods in psychology aiming to ensure a comprehensive grounding in both theory and application. Philosophy, values and ethics in qualitative research will provide a sound basis for developing more practical skills and knowledge.

A range of methodological approaches will be explored – ethnographic, feminist, phenomenological, narrative and post-structural research. Qualitative methods outlined will include interviewing, focus groups, observations, diaries. Thematic analysis, discourse analysis, narrative analysis will be included aiming to span critical realist and more textual, post-structural approaches.

Quantitative Methods in Psychology

Quantitative Methods in Psychology develops an applied and critical understanding of quantitative methods and analyses in psychology enabling the development of theoretical and applied skills.

This unit will span the breadth of quantitative methods in psychology; providing a grounding in both theory and application.  A wide-range of quantitative approaches will be explored from the fundamentals of quantitative methodology (e.g., research design, sampling, hypothesis testing, significance) through to the essentials (ANOVA, regression and data reduction).

Likely Optional Units
Conceptual and Historical Issues in Counselling and Psychotherapy

The  aim of this unit is to facilitate a critical understanding of the conceptual, historical and philosophical developments of different counselling and psychotherapy approaches.  Connections are made to broader professional and contemporary service issues. The unit also aims to develop awareness of the socio-political aspects of counselling and psychotherapy.

Students will explore the changing historical, paradigmatic shifts in conceptualising psychological distress, disorder, mental illness and mental health, and the philosophical, psychological and historical developments within counselling models and theories. Consideration will be given to the development of counselling across different geographical locations and the impact of social and cultural issues on this development. In addition students will explore issues of  social advantage/ disadvantage and a gain a critical overview of contemporary issues in counselling and counselling settings.

Introduction to Educational Psychology

There has been a longstanding interest in the applicability of psychology to education - this discipline now provides information beneficial to multiple professions, including teaching, paediatricians and practicing educational psychologists. Educational Psychology draws upon key aspects of multiple areas of psychology including developmental, cognitive, social and neuro-psychology, demonstrating the valuable links between these areas. The research gained in educational psychology is able to form the basis for developing interventions in providing optimum classroom environments and reducing behaviours that may result in barriers to education. On completion of this module, students will therefore have a knowledge base enabling them to understand theories relating to education and how these can be applied to the real world. This module also adopts a particular focus on Special Educational Needs and the associated policies and procedures. Specific developmental disabilities will be considered, giving students a greater understanding of these and how schools can implement strategies to reduce barriers to education for some of the most vulnerable pupils

Introduction to Forensic Psychology

The overall aim of this unit is to provide a critical overview of forensic issues in psychology, examining both the theoretical and practical underpinnings of forensic psychology. 

Students will be invited to evaluate current theories, research and developments in forensic psychology.  Key concepts and theories in the following areas will be outlined and evaluated:

  • theories of offending behavior,
  • the context of practice in forensic psychology (including evidence-based practice and the scientist-practitioner approach),
  • applications of psychology to criminal justice processes,
  • working with specific client groups encountered in forensic psychology,
  • using and communicating information in forensic psychology practice, 
  • assessment and interventions with client groups.

Programme Review

Each programme of study that we offer undergoes an annual review to ensure an up-to-date curriculum supported by the latest online learning technology. In addition, we undertake a major review of the programme, normally at 6-yearly intervals, but this can take place at a more frequent interval where required. Applicants should note that the programme currently provided may be subject to change as a result of the review process. We only make changes where we consider it necessary to do so or where we feel that certain changes are in the best interests of students and to enhance the quality of provision. Occasionally, we have to make changes for reasons outside our control. Where there are changes which may materially affect the current programme content and/or structure, offer holders will be informed.

Assessment details

Assessment is through a combination of coursework, essays, research proposals, online student presentations and research projects (Dissertation or Empirical Project).

Teaching Staff

Your studies are supported by a team of committed and enthusiastic teachers and researchers, experts in their chosen field. We also work with external professionals, many of whom are Manchester Met alumni, to enhance your learning and appreciation of the wider subject. Details of departmental staff can be found at: http://www2.mmu.ac.uk/psychology/staff/

Typical entry requirements

In accordance with the British Psychological Society's requirements, applicants are required to hold a minimum of a lower second class (2:2) UK honours degree (or international equivalent).

Applicants to the MSc route need not have studied any Psychology before.

Applicants to the PgDip route must have studied 60 credits of Psychology at Level 4 or above.

What to Include in Your Personal Statement

Below is a list of twelve personal qualities possessed by successful online distance learners. It is important you address and evidence each of them when composing your personal statement. You should also alert your referees to the skills required of a successful distance learning student.


Commitment and Motivation
1. You are a conscientious 'self-starter' with high levels of motivation and independence.
2. You are eminently capable of working on your own with the course resources, with the support of tutor-led instruction.
3. You have excellent self-management skills and can organise your work-life balance effectively. You can cope with a number of deadlines at the same time.
4. When you seek help, you do so by taking a range of potential solutions to the person you are seeking help from


Information Technology Skills
5. You have good IT and computing skills:
a) You know how to download and install software. It is a course requirement that you are comfortable using (or learning to use) spreadsheet-based software packages (e.g. Microsoft Excel or IBM SPSS).
b) You are comfortable using (or learning how to use) multimedia (such as viewing and creating Powerpoint, video and audio files).
c) You have and can use equipment such as speakers/headphones and microphones.
6. You are adept at using social media to engage with others and to nurture online relationships. You recognise that online relationships demand considerable efforts of commitment and reciprocity to be rewarding.
7. You are proficient with using email to communicate, and can do so in a professional and courteous manner.
8. You are comfortable with using (or learning how to use) online communication software such as Skype.

Academic and Independent Study Skills
9. You recognise that a post-graduate student is assumed to possess a broader and deeper skill-set compared to an undergraduate student:

  • You can write accurately, clearly and concisely.
  • You can read and summarise large quantities of text quickly and critically.
  • You can use electronic databases effectively to look for research papers and study materials.
  • You can classify evidence precisely and assess its validity and reliability.
  • You can argue logically and consistently.
  • You can independently make use of support documents and materials provided to help you with basic academic skills such as academic referencing.

10. You can multi-task and work on several projects at once, advancing them all towards completion simultaneously.
11. You understand what it means to say that Psychology is both a quantitative and a qualitative discipline; that it involves both number-crunching and statistics as well as meaning-making and interpretation.
12. You are able to devote the requisite study hours necessary to the course to be successful. We strongly recommend around 40 hours per week for full time routes, and around 20 hours per week for part time routes.

There’s further information for international students on our international website if you’re applying with non-UK qualifications.

How do I apply for this course?

The quickest and most efficient way to apply for this course is to apply online. This way, you can also track your application at each stage of the process.

Please note it is not possible to apply online if you are applying via an Education Adviser (agent).

Apply online now

The deadline for applications to this programme is 1st September 2017

Career options after the course

Successful completion of this course will enable students to be eligible for further professional training in Psychology in order to become qualified to work in professional practice as a  Psychologist.

For further information about Psychology careers, please consult the British Psychological Society, http://www.bps.org.uk/careers-in-psychology

Confirmation of Regulator

The Higher Education Funding Council for England is the principal regulator for the University.

Important Notice

This online prospectus provides an overview of our programmes of study and the University. We regularly update our online prospectus so that our published course information is accurate and up to date. Please note that our programmes are subject to review and development on an ongoing basis. Changes may sometimes be necessary. For example, to comply with the requirements of professional or accrediting bodies or as a result of student feedback or external examiners’ reports. We also need to ensure that our courses are dynamic and current and that the content and structure maintain academic standards and enhance the quality of the student experience.

Please check back to the online prospectus before making an application to us.

The provision of education by the University is subject to terms and conditions of enrollment and contract. The current Terms and Conditions Applicable to the provision of the University’s Educational Services are available online. When a student enrolls with us, their study and registration at the University will be governed by various regulations, policies and procedures. It is important that applicants/students familiarize themselves with our Terms and Conditions and the Key Contract Documents referred to within. Applicants will be provided with access to an up to date version at offer stage. This can be found within the Information for Offer Holders document.