MSc Psychology by Research

Where is your personality stored? How does our lifestyle impact on our health and wellbeing? Can you really trust your memories?

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This course is designed for students with a desire to understand the world around them, and who want to take their first steps towards a PhD and a career in research.

At Manchester Met, our research expertise includes forensic psychology, applied cognition and performance, health psychology, developmental psychology, parapsychology, social, critical and community psychology, and neuropsychobiology.

On the course, you'll be supervised by a member of our research-focused team with expertise in qualitative and/or quantitative methods to complete a dissertation research project on a topic you care about.

While your work will provide an important contribution to psychology, you’ll also gain valuable experience of the research process, from gaining ethical approval and data collection through to project write-up.

Our students have completed dissertations, and in some cases published their work, in areas as diverse as the long-term consequences of child abuse to the neural basis of creativity.

Features and Benefits

  • Specialist facilities - our on-site facilities for Psychology include electroencephalography, transcranial magnetic stimulation, immersive virtual reality suites, functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), and a wide range of standardised psychometric assessments.
  • Neuropsychobiology laboratory - you’ll have access to our modern, high-tech equipment to pursue ground-breaking projects across psychology, neuroscience, social and health studies.
  • Dedicated support - you'll be allocated a supervisor throughout your project, and work closely with our on-site technical support team so you can make full use of our specialist facilities.
  • Renowned research - our faculty research centre brings together internationally recognised and multidisciplinary researchers in seven established Research Groups
  • Join our academic community - you’ll play an active role in our department, fully preparing you for a career in academia and psychology research.
  • PhD preparation - we've designed this course specifically for students who want to take their first steps towards a PhD and a career in research.

"This course allows me to be in conversation with the leading edge of research and peer level with academics. I’m confident that I’ll be able to apply for a PhD after finishing my masters. I’m gaining the skills and experience that will help me as a PhD researcher"

Mohamed Omar Mohamed, MSc Psychology by Research

Career Prospects

Many students use their research as a starting point for their career in a specialist area.

You might complete a PhD or perhaps develop a career in research.

Learn more about graduate careers

Entry requirements

You will normally have a minimum 2:2 UK Honours Degree, postgraduate diploma or degree-equivalent professional qualification. You will also hold a GCSE or equivalent in English language. Prior learning and experience may count for advanced standing.

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.

Course details

Supervised by Dr Nicola Ray, this masters programme enables you to take a flexible approach to learning by providing you with an environment and the skills to complete a piece of independent research in an area of your choice.

Over the duration of the course, you'll be guided by a member of our research-focused team with expertise in qualitative and/or quantitative methods.

Work on your project will be contextualised by taught units designed to help you develop the hard and soft skills required for a successful career in research.

On this course, you'll study the following core units:

  • Personal and Professional Development
  • Preparing for Academic Practice
  • Preparing for your Dissertation
  • Dissertation

For the full unit descriptions, click read more about this year of study below.

Read more about this year of study

Core Units

Personal and Professional Development

This unit supports personal and professional development through your identification and monitoring of learning objectives and personal goals within a critical and supportive academic community. The unit promotes ongoing reflection, completion of personal development records, planning and participating. 

Preparing for Academic Practice

This units explores key components of research (such as research dissemination, producing research articles and applying for funding) and this aspect will be linked to your specific research interests.


The overall aim of this unit is to develop your independent research skills. It is related to the themes of applied psychology, social and personal change and applied practice. The research may be desktop, laboratory based or field based; may be experimental or non-experimental; qualitative or quantitative and or collaborative with external agencies (if necessary).  Reports of the work can take one of two forms: a standard thesis (incorporating references to literature, ethical issues) or a journal article (prepared to specification)

Preparing for Your Dissertation

This unit covers issues pertinent to the development of a research proposal and ethics application in preparation for empirical research.

The unit is designed to equip you to develop suitable research aims and questions for an empirical research project based in a literature review, and to plan for appropriate methodologies that will cohere with these. The unit will engage you with ethical issues and ethical approval for your proposed dissertation research in line with Faculty and British Psychological Society guidelines and Code of Ethics. Producing a research proposal poster consisting of reviewing the literature, developing research aims and questions, planning for quantitative research methods, planning for qualitative research methods and completed ethics application.

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: Full-time fee: £8,500 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).

UK and EU students: Part-time 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: Full-time fee: £16,000 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 international and Channel Island students: Part-time fee: £1778 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).

Additional 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 for books and printing. Total optional cost: £400

Postgraduate Loan Scheme

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

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Alumni Loyalty Discount

Rewarding our graduates

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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

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.