Logo of Royal Holloway University of London

MScApplied Social Psychology

More information

Expenses, accommodation, working etc.



Interested? To learn more about this study programme, entry requirements and application process, please contact one of our consultants in a country nearest to you.

Programme structure

This course can be studied full time in one year or part-time over two to five years.

The MSc Programme is designed to equip students with knowledge about cutting edge developments and issues in applied social psychology, in addition to an array of analytical, methodological and communication skills, important for those progressing to a PhD and graduates looking for jobs in applied settings within commercial and governmental settings.

The seven modules are designed to give students in-depth insights into topical issues and the latest research in Social Psychology in a wide range of applied settings. Modules are taught with an emphasis on group discussions and the development of independent thought and analysis, appropriate to such an advanced level of study.

The research project, which forms a major component of the Programme assessment, offers students the option to carry out an independent piece of research of high quality, under the close supervision of a member of academic staff, in an area of interest to the student.

Core modules
Psychology in Applied Settings
The module aims to help students understand the challenges but also benefits of conducting research in applied settings, as compared to laboratory settings. After discussing general opportunities and challenges in conducting psychological research in applied settings, the module will cover a variety of topics in applied psychology delivered by experts on the topics and practitioners. These may vary each year, but can include selected topics in organisational psychology, forensic psychology, educational psychology, counselling psychology, and applied social psychology. Some examples of topics are: Eye witness testimony in the court, parenting interventions, understanding donations.

Intergroup and Interpersonal Processes
This module covers the social psychology of intergroup and interpersonal processes. As such, the course content is situated broadly in applied social psychology. It introduces theories and findings in this area and uses them to explain real-life phenomena. Lectures will cover issues like, for example, cross-cultural psychology, of intergroup relations, ethnic identity, conflict resolution, immigration, and interpersonal relationships.

Advanced and Applied Research Techniques
This module covers many of the key research techniques that are used in social, health, forensic, clinical and developmental research. Students will develop an advanced understanding of current techniques within these areas. Further they will learn how to employ these techniques, and be able to evaluate and critique them. The content will cover both qualitative and quantitative research techniques. Lectures will cover forms of data collection (questionnaires, online data collection, interviewing and focus groups, observational research methods, computerised cognitive measures and social neuroscience techniques) and forms of data analysis not otherwise covered in the parallel core module
‘Statistics for Research’, including grounded theory, interpretative phenomenological analysis, thematic analysis, content analysis, and the use of secondary data and meta-analytic and systematic review techniques.

Adjustment and Well-Being
The module will cover a variety of topics in adjustment and well-being delivered by experts on the topics and practitioners. These will include measurement of well-being, antecedents and consequences of well-being, ill-being and health psychology. Some examples of topics are: Materialism and well-being, delusions, adjustment of personal values to life transitions.

Topics in Psychological Science
Seminars will adopt an interactive, discussion-based style, focused around a topical research paper or a wider issue relating to psychological science. The topics for discussion will be drawn from a broad range of research areas, including neuroscience, cognition and social psychology. Many of the discussions will be student-led, and the topics for these sessions will reflect individual students’ particular areas of interest. The taught module will be complemented by a series of departmental research seminars, through which students will be able to hear about the latest research from a variety of external speakers.

Statistics for Research
Topics will include: Basic statistics; ANOVA; simple and multiple regression, general linear models, analysis of covariance; advanced statistical methods (e.g. structural equation modelling, factor analysis). Students will have an opportunity to gain hands-on experience in applying some of these methods to actual problems (including but not limited to how to implement the methods with statistical software).

Social Research Project
This module will provide students with the possibility to carry out a piece of research (this can be empirical or non-empirical by nature) on a topic of their interest within the broad area of applied social psychology. Students will decide on a topic for their project, and whether the project should take an empirical or non-empirical form, in conjunction with their academic supervisors. Care will be taken to match students’ and supervisors’ interests as closely as possible. Because the content of the project will be student-led, it is not possible to specify it for the whole course a priori. However, the project will be in the broad area of applied and social psychology.

Career opportunities

Graduates in Applied Social Psychology at Royal Holloway are well equipped to progress to further PhD study and to careers in applied settings in commercial and governmental organisations. You will graduate with a desirable MSc degree from one of the UK’s top psychology departments, and will develop a range of transferable skills including analysis and interpretation of numerical data, insight into human behaviour, critical reading, conducting ethical research and managing research projects.

Our alumni have gone on to enjoy careers in NGOs, organisational psychology firms, consultancy firms and other rewarding fields. Notable Department of Psychology alumni include leading bioscience innovator Professor Jackie Hunter CBE, Terrence Higgins Trust founder Dr Rupert Whitaker, and Dr Christian Jarrett – author of The Rough Guide to Psychology.

Apply now! Fall semester 2023/24
Application period has ended
Please see the university profile or contact us for the deadlines that apply to you
Apply now! Fall semester 2023/24
Application period has ended
Please see the university profile or contact us for the deadlines that apply to you