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These pages give an overview of the MSci programme at the University of York. The MSci is a four-year integrated Masters programme - one of the first such Psychology courses in the UK. It offers more extensive training in transferable skills than the BSc, alongside specialist modules reflecting a range of current psychological research areas, and a more substantial final year Project

We outline the overall structure of the course below, and you can find out more detail on the organisation of different elements of the course (year 1 and 2 "strands" and third- and fourth-year modules) by following the links. Note that this guide describes the the course as it currently runs. The core structure of the course is stable but we may change some of the details from one year to the next (for example, the order and content of individual teaching blocks and range of advanced modules may change). These pages and the accompanying Handbook provide key information that you will need throughout the course. Once you are enrolled on a particular module you can find much more information about day-to-day requirements, resources (such as reading lists and lecture recordings) and announcements through the Yorkshare VLE (University login required). 

For those starting in year 3 of the MSci 2018-2019 forYears 3 and 4 MSci students choose from three pathways: Neuroscience & Neuroimaging, Developmental Disorders, or Experimental, Cognitive & Social Psychology. Each pathway has its own unique specialist modules, and the focus can also be reflected in project and literature survey areas. All MSci students also benefit from a module on Advanced Research Methods and a Year 3 Research Project, and Advanced Modules which are scheduled over two years to allow sufficient time in Year 4 for a substantial final-year project. For Students starting Year 3 in 2019-2020, there are two new pathways; Clinical Psychology and Forensic Psychology.

For students starting Year 3 in 2018-2019, there are three pathways

For 2019-2020, there will be five pathways:

You can find out more about the different specialisation options on the pathway pages:

Neuroscience & Neuroimaging Pathway: how can behavioural and neuroscientific methods be combined to address questions about human cognition? This pathway provides the skills and knowledge needed to understand and design experiments in cognitive neuroscience and to undertake a project in the area.

Developmental Disorders Pathway: how do developmental disorders emerge, and how are they assessed and treated? This pathway provides grounding in research on typical and atypical development, from both theoretical and clinical perspectives, equipping students with the skills necessary to carry out a project in these fields.

Experimental, Cognitive and Social Psychology Pathway: human behaviour is complex, and often seems unpredictable, so how do we acquire reliable data to test ideas about cognition and behaviour? This pathway provides the additional more advanced skills and knowledge needed to understand and design robust experiments and to undertake a substantial project in cognitive or social psychology.

Clinical Psychology “Clinical Psychology aims to reduce psychological distress and to enhance and promote psychological well-being using the agency of words” (BPS Website). What therapeutic practices do Clinical Psychologist use to achieve this aim? This pathway will provide an in-depth coverage of therapies and professional practice within Clinical Psychology.  There is also the potential for a placement within the Final Year.(Available 2019-2020)

Forensic Psychology Pathway: How do Forensic Psychologists contribute to the criminal justice process? What are the practical skills used by psychologists use in assessing, interviewing and treating offenders? This pathway will provide you with exposure to the theory and methods used with Forensic Psychology (Available 2019-2020)

Years 1 and 2

Teaching in the first two years consists of five courses, or strands, that run in parallel. Together these strands give a broad coverage of the main areas of Psychology, and this part of the course is the same for MSci and BSc Psychology Students.

  • Brain & Behaviour. This strand examines the structure and function of the brain as it affects behaviour. It will focus on how basic neuroscience, the effects of brain injury and the latest neuroimaging techniques can be used to explain the brain processes that underpin behaviour and cognition.

  • Perception & Cognition. This strand discusses the processes through which our senses gain and interpret information about our world. The strand describes in detail how information from our major senses passes to the brain for further processing. Cognitive psychology concerns the underlying nature of human intellectual abilities such as attention, thinking and memory.
  • Development & Language. This strand focuses on how infants and children learn to perceive and interpret the outside world, how they acquire language and how they learn to reason. It also explores abnormalities of development and how development can be affected by deprivation.
  • Social, Personality & Abnormal PsychologyThis strand covers core themes of the social human being including personal relationships, aggression and co-operation, personality and individual differences. The clinical aspect of this strand examines the causes of mental illness, including schizophrenia, anxiety and depression.

  • Research Methods in Psychology. This strand provides students with the practical skills in experimental design, methods and data analysis needed for the programme. Practical classes linked to the other strands furnish the student with hands-on experience in all aspects of psychology as an experimental science.

Year 3

Pathway-specific modules

Each pathway involves two specialised modules developing practical skills and knowledge relevant to current research. More details are given on the pathway pages:

Advanced modules

In the third year MSci students choose two advanced modules from a selection offered each year. The topics offered can change from year to year. We are currently offering the following advanced modules (2015-16):

These are the Advanced Modules for the academic year 2018-19.

BSc students take two modules each term, one module from each cluster. Please click on the blue links to access the information about each of the modules.

Year 3 MSci students take one module per term, which may come from either cluster.  Please click on the blue links to access the information about each of the modules.

Year 4 MSci students take one module per term, which may come from either cluster. Please click on the red links to access the information about each of the modules.

* Clinical modules are capped at 30 places and have a separate application process.  Only students in Year 3 can apply for the Clinical modules.

** MPsych students take a compulsory version of this module in the summer term of Year 3

* Clinical modules are capped at 30 places and have a separate application process.  Only students in Year 3 can apply for the Clinical modules.

Literature Survey

Final year students also undertake a literature survey which requires researching a clearly defined area of study of your choice. Recent examples include:

  • The effect of child abuse on self-esteem
  • Sensation seeking and risky sport
  • The critical period hypothesis in second language acquisition
  • Do environmental factors lead to late-onset Alzheimer’s disease?
  • The effect of birth order on personality development
  • The relationship between eating disorders and superficial self-harm.

Year 4

Advanced modules

In the fourth year MSci students choose a further two advanced modules from a selection offered each year (see tables above). Note that the assessment for fourth year MSci students differs from that applying to other undergraduate students, but you will attend the same classes.


The final year research project is the single most important component of the MSci degree and requires students to conduct and write up an original piece of research, working closely under the supervision of a member of staff. The MSci project is significantly longer and more substantial than the BSc Psychology project.

Progression, transfer and assessment

  • Transfer from the BSc to the MSci at the end of year 2 requires an average mark of 55% in year 2
  • Progression from year 2 to year 3 of the MSci requires an average mark of 55% in year 2
  • The contribution of years 2, 3, 4 of the MSci to the final degree mark is weighted 2:3:3. This means that year 2 contributes 25% of the MSci final degree mark, year 3 contributes 37.5% and year 4 contributes 37.5%.

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