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    MSc
    2024 start September 

    Psychological Research Methods with Advanced Statistics

    Department of Psychology, Faculty of Science

    Receive a comprehensive program of advanced statistical training that will equip you with the proficiency in statistical methods and software tools required to effectively manage, analyse, and derive insights from large datasets about human behaviour.
    Student conducting eye tracking experiment

    Course description

    This 12-month course is designed to train you in the advanced statistical skills and latest research methods that are needed to handle and interpret large datasets documenting human behaviour, preparing you for clinical training, a PhD or an exciting psychological career.

    Our advanced statistical training program will equip you with the latest modelling techniques, ranging from generalised and multilevel models to the intricacies of structural equation modelling. Our curriculum will teach you essential skills and provide hands-on opportunities to apply these techniques using the R statistical environment.

    Whether your interests lie in cognitive and developmental psychology, or you're drawn to social and clinical psychology, our program is tailored to enable the application of advanced statistical methods in these domains.

    Alongside your statistical training you will learn a broad range of research techniques such as neuroimaging (EEG, fMRI), behavioural genetics, clinical trial design, qualitative interview, diary study methodologies and specialist methods for working with infants, children and clinical populations.

    You will also begin training in a range of skills that are important for psychologists in academia and professional roles: you will understand ethical issues in research, learn how to write a grant proposal, and develop your presentation skills ready to take part in our annual student-led summer conference.

    The Research Project with Advanced Statistics and Systematic Literature Review course components, which include coverage of meta-analysis, give you the opportunity to focus on a chosen psychological research question in detail under the supervision of one of our world-class researchers. You can choose a supervisor from an area of psychology that matches your research interests and future career aspirations within cognitive, developmental, social or clinical psychology.

    These projects give you the opportunity to put your new statistical skills and research methods knowledge into practice while addressing an issue at the cutting edge of psychological research.

    MSc research projects and literature reviews often form the basis of publications in peer-reviewed journals.

    Example research projects
    • Identifying subtypes of autism
    • Relationships between drinking motives and alcohol consumption: secondary data analysis of the Offending, Crime and Justice Survey
    • Comparing the characteristics of child psychopathology reported by self, parent and teacher: Analysis of the British Child and Adolescent Mental Health Survey.
    Example student publications

    Psychological Research Methods at Sheffield

    In addition to Psychological Research Methods with Advanced Statistics, at Sheffield we offer two other specialist masters courses in this area that allow you to specialise further and develop the skills you need for a successful career:

    Modules

    A selection of modules are available each year - some examples are below. There may be changes before you start your course. From May of the year of entry, formal programme regulations will be available in our Programme Regulations Finder.

    Core modules:

    Research Project in Psychology with Advanced Statistics

    Students conduct, analyse and write up a research project under the guidance of their academic supervisor. The topic and methods chosen will normally be closely related to the area of expertise of the supervisor. In conducting the research project under supervision, students gain first-hand practical experience of managing the research process, starting with the formulation of a specific research question on the basis of review of relevant literature and guidance from the supervisor, through to the design, execution and analysis of a study, and the writing-up of a report. Data analysis for the project will involve the use of advanced statistical methods. All projects must be submitted to, and receive approval from, the Psychology Department Ethics Committee before they can proceed. Projects are written up in the standard format for submission to an appropriate academic journal (e.g., British Journal of Social Psychology).

    60 credits
    Intermediate Multivariate Statistics for Psychology

    This module covers the intermediate level statistical techniques needed in psychology. Lectures will be used to teach the rationale behind hypothesis testing and describe the principles behind techniques such as linear regression, including testing for mediation and moderation, reliability analysis and factor analysis. Students will also attend practical classes in order to apply and develop their knowledge with respect to selecting the appropriate analytic technique, interpreting output, and applying critical thinking to the results.

    15 credits
    Research Methods

    This course provides coverage of both quantitative and qualitative methods for psychology graduates. It emphasises the relationship between the research question being addressed and choice of method of data collection. The course combines lectures and tutorials to help students develop critical awareness of the conceptual basis of various methods, their advantages and limitations. Topics may change from year to year depending on staff availability but include: diary methods and experience sampling, eye tracking, EEG methods, fMRI, questionnaire design and behavioural genetics. This module will help in the integration of knowledge from different strands of Psychology, and how to think analytically, critically and logically. It will provide essential preparation for being able to critically evaluate scientific literature from broad fields of psychology. It will also enhance students' transferable skills in critical thinking, and skills necessary to present logically structured arguments.

    30 credits
    Advanced Statistical Methods for Psychologists

    This module covers advanced statistical techniques increasingly required in psychological research, specifically confirmatory factor analysis, structural equation modelling, multilevel modelling for both cross-sectional and longitudinal data, and generalised linear models. Lectures will be used to teach the rationale and principles behind these techniques, with practical sessions offering the opportunity to apply and develop students' knowledge. The course will use the statistical environment R.

    15 credits
    Professional Skills for Psychologists

    This module will provide training in a range of professional research skills including (a) understanding and critically discussing ethical issues related to psychological research, interpreting professional codes of practice, and understanding the work of ethical committees and professional discipline committees; (b) writing grant proposals and understanding the submission criteria and review processes for papers and grant proposals; (c) understanding issues of reproducibility of research and open science practices addressing them; and (d) understanding processes of dissemination to academic and non-academic audiences.

    30 credits
    Systematically Reviewing Psychological Research

    This module provides training in the advanced use of information retrieval and literature searching resources, such as Web of Knowledge and Google Scholar. Students will also be introduced to the different types of literature reviews that are commonly used to review psychological research, including narrative, systematic and meta-analytic reviews. In addition, students will be taught the use of a reference manager to organise and present references according to different journal styles. Students will be required to write a literature review of psychological research - the precise topic and journal styles will be agreed with the supervisor and module organiser.

    30 credits

    The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

    Open days

    An open day gives you the best opportunity to hear first-hand from our current students and staff about our courses. You'll find out what makes us special.

    Upcoming open days and campus tours

    Duration

    • 1 year full-time
    • 2 years part-time

    Teaching

    You’ll learn through small-group teaching in a mixture of seminars, workshops and one-to-one supervision.

    Your individual research project contributes one third of the overall course credit. Here you’ll gain first-hand experience as a researcher, and will have access to the outstanding research facilities offered in Sheffield.

    For the research project, you will be partnered with a dedicated academic mentor who will provide guidance and oversee your work. This involves weekly meetings with your supervisor, fostering a platform for in-depth discussions surrounding your independent exploration of the research question.

    For part-time students, the engagement with the research project and systematic review assignment takes place in the second year of the program, allowing for a structured and paced approach to your academic work.

    Assessment

    All assessment is coursework-based, encompassing a blend of written and programming assessments, and presentations.

    All assessment is individual, while the feedback is integrated throughout your modules, ensuring constructive guidance.

    Your career

    Previous graduates have gone on to PhD training with an advanced quantitative dimension in neuroimaging, health psychology and social psychology. Others have found employment in the higher education, health or charity sectors with job roles such as:

    • Graduate Statistical Analyst or Programme Analyst in Higher Education.
    • Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner, Assistant Psychologist or Research Assistant in NHS trusts or other public health organisations.
    • Psychological Researcher or Lecturer in academia.

    Discover where your psychology masters could take you

    Department

    Department of Psychology

    Lecturer demonstrating an EEG is a test to a class. A student wears a headpiece used to evaluate the electrical activity in the brain

    The Department of Psychology at Sheffield is focused on exploring the science behind the human brain and human behaviour.

    Our teaching is informed by cutting-edge scientific research, which ranges from neuroscience through to child development and understanding why psychological therapies are effective. All of this has an impact on wider society.

    Our work explores health and wellbeing, lifestyle choices, cognitive behavioural therapy, safe driving, mother-baby interaction, autism, Parkinson's disease, and reducing prejudice and inequality. It’s research like this that our students are able to get involved in throughout their course.

    Entry requirements

    Minimum 2:1 undergraduate honours degree in psychology or a related subject.

    Applicants will need evidence of undergraduate training in statistics for psychology.

    We also consider a wide range of international qualifications:

    Entry requirements for international students

    Overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component, or equivalent.

    Pathway programme for international students

    If you're an international student who does not meet the entry requirements for this course, you have the opportunity to apply for a pre-masters programme in Science and Engineering at the University of Sheffield International College. This course is designed to develop your English language and academic skills. Upon successful completion, you can progress to degree level study at the University of Sheffield.

    If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.

    Fees and funding

    Department bursaries

    Each year we offer two bursaries to students on this course. If you're awarded a bursary you'll receive a £1,500 reduction in your tuition fees. These bursaries are awarded on a competitive basis, based on:

    • academic performance as indicated by a grade point average and transcript
    • other relevant skills and knowledge (for example, programming courses outside the degree or relevant work experience)
    • research activity (co-authoring papers, conference presentations, etc)
    • personal statement, which should include information on why you want to do the course you have applied for and how it fits with your aspirations

    To be considered for a bursary in the year that you intend to start your course, submit your application to study with us by 31 May. All applications received before this deadline will automatically be considered for a bursary.

    Apply

    You can apply for 2024 postgraduate study using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It's a quick and easy process.

    Apply now

    Contact

    psy-pg-admissions@sheffield.ac.uk
    +44 114 222 6533

    Any supervisors and research areas listed are indicative and may change before the start of the course.

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    Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.