MSc/PgDip Psychology (Conversion)

Is gossip good for us? How are our identities constructed? Why can we remember events from our childhood?

Attend an open day How to apply
Attend a course fair How to apply


Explore the history of modern psychology, the influence of our biology on behaviour, and the workings of the human brain. Develop a critical understanding of qualitative and quantitative research methods. And, apply for Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership, the first step to becoming a chartered psychologist.

Designed for students who have a degree without accreditation from The British Psychological Society (BPS), our course allows you to qualify for the further professional training you’ll need to become a chartered psychologist in the UK.

We teach this course entirely online, covering each unit over a series of topic weeks. You’ll usually learn through ‘mini lectures’ (available as short podcasts), online discussions, readings from core texts (you will normally receive these as free e-books), and learning activities such as workbook exercises.

Some of the topics you’ll explore include how we remember things, how our identities are constructed, and how our perceptions change as we age. You’ll also have the opportunity to choose option units. Previous units include educational psychology, forensic psychology, and counselling.

Our course is accredited by the BPS and, when you graduate, you can apply for Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC). Once you have GBC, you can continue with further study in a specialist area and become a chartered psychologist.

Features and Benefits

Career Prospects

When you graduate, you’re eligible to apply for Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC).

This is the first step towards becoming a chartered psychologist in the UK and means that you can continue with further study to specialise in a particular field of psychology.

Depending upon the field of psychology you choose to specialise in the future, some of the places you might work in are local authorities, social services, prisons, sports clubs, the NHS or private hospitals, schools and rehabilitation centres.

For further information about Psychology careers, please consult the British Psychological Society.

Learn more about graduate careers

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).

Overseas applicants will require IELTS with an overall score of 6.5 with no less than 5.5 in any category, or an equivalent accepted English qualification. Accepted English qualifications can be viewed here.

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:

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.

Course details

We deliver this course entirely online, and you’ll study through e-learning and our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).

Although our MSc/PgDip Psychology (Conversion) is an online course, it is structured and you’ll study all five core units, as well as option units.

If you study part-time, we usually focus on teaching you one subject at a time, to help you develop your understanding of psychology and manage your workload.

Day-to-day, you might study a topic via a short podcast, discuss the content with fellow students on our online message board, read a few chapters from a core text, or complete an online quiz to test your knowledge.

You’ll study key areas in cognitive psychology and biopsychology, exploring topics such as face recognition, problem solving, and how we process text and produce language. You’ll look at the historical foundations of childhood, our social and emotional development, and the human life cycle.

As well as the core units, you’ll usually study two option units (one on the PgDip route). These focus on professional skills and introduce you to areas of psychology you could specialise in when you graduate.

Some of the option units we’ve run in previous years include introductions to educational or forensic psychology, and the conceptual, historical and philosophical developments of different counselling and psychotherapy approaches. For each specialist unit, you’ll learn from lecturers with expertise in these areas of psychology.

You won’t attend our campus in Manchester city centre for this course but if you want to speak to a tutor about your work, you’ll be able to chat with them on the phone or via Moodle (a VLE).

You’ll also have a personal tutor, who provides you with both academic and personal support throughout this course.

To help you study at masters level, we organise a number of online skills sessions in areas such as essay writing, searching for information in the library, and career options. And if you’re local, you can access these facilities on-campus.

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

Read more about this year of study

Core Units

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 demonstrate 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).

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. 

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.

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).

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)

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 to PPD group meetings. The PPD group provides an opportunity to share and extend knowledge, understanding and skills with peers. 

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 behaviour,
  • 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.

Assessment weightings and contact hours

10 credits equates to 100 hours of study, which is a combination of lectures, seminars and practical sessions, and independent study. A Masters qualification typically comprises of 180 credits, a PGDip 120 credits, a PGCert 60 credits and an MFA 300 credits. The exact composition of your study time and assessments for the course will vary according to your option choices and style of learning, but it could be:


Department of Psychology

Our Department of Psychology is a large, diverse team of accredited psychologists, which includes practicing researchers, counsellors, and forensic and community psychologists.

The department aims to bring a real, relevant and modern perspective to teaching, with a view to using its wealth of knowledge, skills and enthusiasm to inspire the next generation of psychologists.

More about the department

Taught by experts

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.

Meet our expert staff


UK and EU students

UK and EU students: Distance learning fee: £945 per 20 credits studied per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Non-EU and Channel Island students

Non-EU international and Channel Island students: Distance learning fee: £1723 per 20 credits studied per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Additional Information

A Masters qualification typically comprises 180 credits, a PGDip 120 credits, a PGCert 60 credits, and an MFA 300 credits. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of study provided the course is completed in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Part-time students may take a maximum of 90 credits each academic year.

Additional costs

Specialist Costs

All of the books required for the course are available from the library. The University also has PC labs and a laptop loan service. However, many students choose to buy some of the core textbooks for the course and/or a laptop. Students may also need to print their assignments and other documents. Campus printing costs start from 5p per page. Estimated costs are £300 for a laptop up to £100 each year for books and printing.

Postgraduate Loan Scheme

Loans of up to £10,906 for many Postgraduate Courses

Find out more

Alumni Loyalty Discount

Rewarding our graduates

Learn more

Want to know more?

How to apply

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.

Apply online now

Prospective applicants are advised to complete their application early to avoid disappointment

If you are unable to apply online, you can apply for postgraduate taught courses by completing the postgraduate application form. There are exceptions for some professional courses – the course information on our on-line prospectus will give you more information in these cases.

Please note: to apply for this course, you only need to provide one reference.

You can review our current Terms and Conditions before you make your application. If you are successful with your application, we will send you up to date information alongside your offer letter.


Programme Review
Our programmes undergo an annual review and major review (normally at 6 year intervals) to ensure an up-to-date curriculum supported by the latest online learning technology. For further information on when we may make changes to our programmes, please see the changes section of our Terms and Conditions.

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. Please check back to the online prospectus before making an application to us to access the most up to date information for your chosen course of study.

Confirmation of Regulator
The Manchester Metropolitan University is regulated by the Office for Students (OfS). The OfS is the independent regulator of higher education in England. More information on the role of the OfS and its regulatory framework can be found at

All higher education providers registered with the OfS must have a student protection plan in place. The student protection plan sets out what students can expect to happen should a course, campus, or institution close. Access our current Student Protection Plan.