Course overview

This is a part-time distance learning course, designed to give you greater flexibility. It is designed for students who wish to pursue a career in psychology, who do not have a first degree in the subject. It will give you the breadth of knowledge you need, while enabling you to explore your interests in greater depth. 

In the School of Psychology, we are transforming lives and shaping the future with our teaching and research. Our work has real-world impact. For example, our research is contributing to better treatment of autistic people in the criminal justice system, and greater understanding of why drivers often fail to see motorcyclists at junctions.

An on-campus version of this course is also available. 

Why choose this course?

Top 10

The School of Psychology is ranked in the top 10 in the UK for research power

Research Excellence Framework 2021

Research project

in a wide range of fascinating topics

More than £1 million

annual research income

from research councils, the EU, Government, charities and companies.


by the British Psychological Society

Course content


This course is offered on a part-time basis only, over 24 months following the academic year from September to September.


Core modules

Conceptual and Historical Issues in Psychology

You’ll learn about the scientific, historical, and philosophical underpinnings of psychology as a discipline, which will demonstrate the inherent variability and diversity in the theoretical approaches to psychology.

By the end of the module, you will have a good knowledge and critical understanding of the influences of history on psychological theories.

Personality and Individual Differences

You will explore psychological explanations of personality and individual differences. In particular, the major personality theories are considered in detail and the application of these theories to areas such as abnormal psychology, criminal behaviour, and health are discussed. IQ is also covered and the evolutionary bases of traits. Complementary and alternatives to trait approaches are discussed.


Neuroscience and Behaviour

This module will cover issues in neuroscience and behaviour that are particularly relevant to understanding the biological bases of psychological functions.

Among the topics to be covered are psychopharmacology, psychobiological explanations of mental disorders, dementia, sexual development and behaviour, and methods of studying neuropsychological processes.

You will also examine the effects of brain damage on mental functioning including amnesias, agnosias, and aphasias, among other topics.


Social and Development Psychology

Examine theories and experimental studies of social processes and human development.

Topics relating to social processes will include:

  • social cognition and social thinking
  • conformity and obedience
  • intergroup behaviour
  • theories of attraction and relationships
  • prosocial behaviour and intrinsic motivation
  • self-determination

Human development topics are also explored in depth such as the:

  • development of phonology
  • importance of social referencing in early language acquisition
  • atypical socio-cognitive development in people with autism


Empirical Research Project

You will undertake an independent research project over the summer of your second year. You will be supervised by a research-active academic. This is your opportunity to further your knowledge in a particular area.

Cognitive Psychology 2

You will examine in greater depth - perception, language, human memory, thinking, and problem-solving.

For each topic, you will explore existing theories and contemporary issues to enable you to take an interdisciplinary perspective.

Statistical Methods 4

This module will cover the basic concepts and assumptions with respect to univariate and multivariate statistics, as well as issues relating to field studies, ethics, the reliability and validity issues as well as basic qualitative techniques. The module will cover ANOVA, post-hoc tests, power, multiple linear regression, factor analysis, the nature of causality and field designs (both experimental and quasi-experimental), ethics, the reliability and validity of measures and field designs, as well as exploring some basic issues in questionnaire design and qualitative methods.

Practical Methods

This module supports the development of practical and conceptual skills necessary for running experiments in psychology and interpreting data.

Skills include:

  • experimental design
  • interpretation of summary data
  • analysis of quantitative and qualitative data
  • implementing experiments with the computer-based user-interface PsychoPy
  • writing up appropriate reports
  • working independently as well as in groups.

Optional modules

Optional modules will be offered that cover the areas of professional, developmental, and cognitive psychology.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Wednesday 26 October 2022.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Lab sessions

Core modules are taught through accessing (online) lectures and sharing material with students from our undergraduate psychology courses. You will be supported through (online) contact with members of the teaching team. You will have access to relevant materials via our virtual learning environment (Moodle).

You will also develop practical skills through online lab sessions and join seminars with other postgraduates on the conversion course. These are delivered to smaller groups of up to 35 students.

Teaching is provided by academic staff, with additional support in labs and practical classes (online) from PhD students and post-doctoral researchers.

How you will be assessed

  • Exams
  • Coursework
  • Project work

Assessment is by written examination at the end of each semester, by practical and research project reports and written assessments. You will be given a copy of our marking criteria when you start the course and will receive regular feedback from your tutors.

You will need an average mark of 50% to pass the course overall – you won't get a qualification if you don't achieve this. You must also pass the statistics and practical labs modules at 50% or above to progress to the research project, in addition to having a taught stage average of 50%.

Contact time and study hours

This is a part time course and as this is distance learning, you can study, watch lecture recordings, and complete assignments in your own time and on a flexible basis. Contact hours per semester may vary depending on what modules are taken in a semester. As a guide, however, one credit is equal to approximately 10 hours of work

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2023 entry.


Undergraduate degree2:1 (or international equivalent) and a maths qualification equivalent to at least a grade 4 (C) at GCSE.


Our step-by-step guide covers everything you need to know about applying.

How to apply


Qualification MSc
Home / UK £11,300
International £11,300

Additional information for international students

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you may be asked to complete a fee status questionnaire and your answers will be assessed using guidance issued by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) .

These fees are for full-time study. If you are studying part-time, you will be charged a proportion of this fee each year (subject to inflation).

Additional costs

All students will need at least one device to approve security access requests via Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). We also recommend students have a suitable laptop to work both on and off-campus. For more information, please check the equipment advice.

We do not anticipate any extra significant costs, alongside your tuition fees. You may wish to purchase your own books which you would need to factor into your budget.


There are many ways to fund your postgraduate course, from scholarships to government loans.

We also offer a range of international masters scholarships for high-achieving international scholars who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers.

Check our guide to find out more about funding your postgraduate degree.

Postgraduate funding


We offer individual careers support for all postgraduate students.

Expert staff can help you research career options and job vacancies, build your CV or résumé, develop your interview skills and meet employers.

Each year 1,100 employers advertise graduate jobs and internships through our online vacancy service. We host regular careers fairs, including specialist fairs for different sectors.

International students who complete an eligible degree programme in the UK on a student visa can apply to stay and work in the UK after their course under the Graduate immigration route. Eligible courses at the University of Nottingham include bachelors, masters and research degrees, and PGCE courses.

Graduate destinations

Psychology graduates can find rewarding careers in clinical, health, educational, and occupational psychology, and criminology. Psychologists are also welcome in many other contexts, such as human resources, management and marketing.

Our graduates have gone on to work for organisations such as the UK Government, the NHS and charities.

MSc students may also continue onto PhD level.

Career progression

78.9% of postgraduate taught students from the School of Psychology secured graduate level employment or further graduate study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £23,016.*

* HESA Graduate Outcomes 2019/20 data published in 2022. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on data from graduates who completed a full-time postgraduate degree with home fee status and are working full-time within the UK.

British Psychological Society

This course is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS). This provides the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership, which is required for entry to many postgraduate professional psychology programmes. 

Two masters graduates proudly holding their certificates
" Our postgraduate courses offer students an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of our discipline and begin to explore specialist areas. We have a range of courses across the breadth of Psychology, delivered by leading experts in their respective areas. They offer a fantastic opportunity to develop specialist knowledge, research skills and highly transferable skills relevant to future employers. "
Dr Claire Gibson, Professor of Psychology

Related courses

This content was last updated on Wednesday 26 October 2022. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, but changes are likely to occur given the interval between the date of publishing and course start date. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply.