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This masters degree provides a valuable opportunity to gain an advanced understanding of a range of fields in psychology, including cognitive, social, forensic and counselling psychology. It aims to develop critical appraisal skills in psychology research and practice. You also gain an understanding of the reciprocal relationship psychological research has with medicine, public policy, public opinion and the media.

This is a rigorous masters degree requiring an aptitude for critical analytical thinking and for understanding the principles driving different research methods. Completing the qualification will enable you to source, select and review psychological research independently, evaluate its relevance for complex real life issue/cases, assess its validity, and clearly communicate your findings to academic and non-academic audiences.

Key features of the course
•Provides a valuable opportunity to enhance your analytical and communication skills, as well as developing the latest skills in research literacy
•Bespoke teaching material and experienced tutors will guide you through the exploration of fascinating cutting-edge topic areas and research, enabling you to engage with these in a sophisticated manner
•Relevant for existing professionals or those wishing to pursue a career in all areas of public policy, social justice, management, the health services, and advertising and marketing.

Please note that this masters degree is not accredited by The British Psychological Society.

Entry requirements

You must hold a UK honours degree (2:2 at least) or equivalent to be accepted for the MSc in Psychology. Your first degree need not be in forensic psychology or psychology, but you must have the skills expected of a social sciences graduate.

All students will begin the masters degree with the postgraduate foundation module, Principles of social and psychological inquiry (DD801). This module will help equip you with the requisite skills needed to undertake postgraduate-level study, but it does not offer remedial training for those with an unsuitable bachelors degree or inadequate experience. You must be able to:
•write accurately, clearly and concisely
•read large quantities of text quickly, accurately and critically
•classify evidence precisely and assess its value and reliability
•argue logically and consistently
•marshal evidence to support a logical argument.

Your spoken and written English must be of an adequate standard for postgraduate study. If English is not your first language, we recommend that you will need a minimum score of 6.5 under the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Please see the IELTS website for details. If you’re not sure whether your English skills are good enough, there is some help and guidance at our Skills for OU Study website.

This qualification has a required study order, so there is only one pathway. This provides you with the opportunity to study with a cohort of peers throughout, while modules and assessment build on one another systematically.


2 - 10 years. You will be able to complete this masters qualification within two years (completion is required within a maximum of 10 years).

Number of credits

180 credits

Careers or further progression

Career relevance
By studying this psychology postgraduate programme you will develop advanced skills in assessing psychological claims and evidence in key specialisms in psychology. These skills are relevant to a broad range of careers related to public policy, social justice, management, advertising and marketing, as well as the third sector.

The skills developed will be recognised by employers in all fields who value people who can complete a complex psychological project independently; communicate clearly and effectively to diverse academic and non-academic audiences; analyse and evaluate complex information; and who are capable of independently seeking out and selecting good research evidence relevant to real-life issues.

This qualification is not accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS).

There is more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the OU’s Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also look at our OU study and your career pages to find out about potential career opportunities related to OU subject areas.

Further enquiries

Tel: (01) 678 5399
Fax: (01) 678 5442

Subjects taught

This 180-credit qualification comprises one standard and one long module. This weighting is reflected in the fees, the time expected to complete and the credits.

To gain this qualification, you need 180 credits as follows:

Compulsory modules

Credits Next start
Principles of social and psychological inquiry (DD801) 60 07 Oct 2017
Evaluating psychology: research and practice (DD803) planned for October 2018

This module enables you to critically evaluate the links between research and practice in four sub-fields – Cognitive, Forensic, Social and Counselling Psychology. 120 06 Oct 2018

You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 60 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.


On completion
On successful completion of the required modules for the qualification you can be awarded an MSc in Psychology. You will be entitled to use the letters MSc Psych (Open) after your name. You will have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.

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