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MSc Psychological Research Methods with Advanced Statistics

The availability of large behavioural datasets is growing thanks to large sale longitudinal studies such as the Millennium Cohort Study, social media, healthcare information and consumer internet use. As the size of datasets grows, the sophistication of statistical methods and software tools used to model and analyse data is also increasing, driving the demand for psychologists with strong quantitative skills.

Through your MSc Psychological Research Methods with Advanced Statistics training, you'll develop your skills in the statistical methods and specialist software that is needed to handle and interpret large datasets about human behaviour, led by a professional statistician. Alongside your statistical training, you'll learn the latest techniques that are applied in cutting-edge psychology research from the psychologists who are using them in their published studies. The techniques covered range from intermediate multivariate approaches such as generalised linear modelling, to advanced multilevel modelling, confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modelling (using Mplus software). You'll also receive professional skills training in grant proposal writing, academic presentation skills and research ethics before completing an extended research project using advanced statistics in your chosen area of psychology.

Learn the statistical skills that employers are looking for and tailor your studies to your research interests in clinical, cognitive, developmental or social psychology, ready to take the next step towards a PhD, clinical training or a career in psychological research or data science.

Training from a professional statistician

Our advanced statistical training is led by Dr Chris Stride, a professional applied statistician. Chris is strongly committed to furthering the statistical knowledge and practical analysis skills of both students and academics.

Through your statistical training you'll develop skills in the statistical methods and software tools needed to manage and analyse large and complex datasets, and interpret and present results in a way that's accessible to non-specialists.

Applying

To apply for this course, complete the University of Sheffield's postgraduate online application form.

Online application form

Programme codes:

One year full time: PSYT35
Two year part time: PSY36

You can find more information about the application process on the University's postgraduate webpages.

How to apply: applying essentials

Contact

Course Director: Professor Richard Rowe

If you would like to know anything else about this course, contact: psypgt@sheffield.ac.uk | +44 (0)114 222 6534

You can also visit us throughout the year:
Postgraduate open days, visit afternoons and online chats

Pathway programme for international students
Don't meet our entry requirements? Pre-Masters in Science and Engineering

About the course

This 12-month course is designed to train you in the advanced statistical skills and latest research methods that are applied in cutting-edge psychology research, ready for clinical training, a PhD or an exciting psychological career. Your statistical training is led by professional statistician Dr Chris Stride who will teach you the latest techniques including confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modelling (using Mplus software), multilevel modelling and generalised linear models. Throughout your course, we'll teach you the skills you need and give you the opportunities to apply them to the area of psychology that you're interested in: from cognitive and developmental, to social and clinical psychology.

Alongside your statistical training you'll learn a broad range of research techniques from neuroimaging (EEG, fMRI), behavioural genetics, through experimental methodologies and clinical trial design, to qualitative interview, diary study methodologies and specialist methods for working with infants, children and clinical populations. You'll also begin training in a range of skills that are important for psychologists in academia and professional roles: you'll 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. It's common for MSc research projects and literature reviews to form the basis of publications in peer-reviewed journals.

Example research projects include:

  • 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 past papers published including student authors:

  • Matthews, D., Biney, H., Abbot-Smith, K. (2018). Individual differences in children’s pragmatic ability: A review of associations with formal language, social cognition, and executive functions. Language Learning and Development.
  • Johnston, S., Krasuska, A., Millings, A., Lavda, A., & Thompson, A. R. (2018). Experiences of rosacea and its treatment: An interpretative phenomenological analysis. British Journal of Dermatology, 178, 154-160. doi: 10.1111/bjd.15780.
  • Vogt, KS., & Norman, P. (2018) Is mentalization-based therapy effective in treating the symptoms of borderline personality disorder? A systematic review. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice.

In addition to technical skills and specialist knowledge of psychological research methods and advanced statistics, throughout your course you’ll also develop transferable skills around problem solving and communication, sought after by employers around the globe. In order to build these skills, you’ll learn through small-group teaching in a mixture of seminars, workshops and one-to-one supervision. All assessment is coursework-based.

Read more about this course on the University of Sheffield's webpages for postgraduate students:

MSc Psychological Research Methods with Advanced Statistics

After your degree

This course is designed to train you for a wide range of exciting careers in psychology and beyond. Graduates will be equipped with the specialist knowledge and transferrable skills to either prepare for the next step to begin clinical training or further study to PhD level, or pursue a career in statistical analysis within a wide range of disciplines.

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.

The University's Careers Service runs workshops on CV and application writing, job hunting and preparing for interviews. They offer events where you can meet employers, and opportunities to get work experience while you study. The Careers Service will even continue to support you for three years after you graduate.

Entry requirements

For this course, we usually ask for an upper second class (2:1) honours degree or equivalent in psychology or a related discipline. You will also need to provide evidence of undergraduate training in statistics for psychology.

We can also accept qualifications from other countries. You can find out which qualifications we accept from your country on the University's webpages for international students.

Prospective international students: Your country

International pathway programmes

If you are an international student who does not meet our entry requirements, the University of Sheffield International College offers a Pre-Masters in Science and Engineering programme. This programme is designed to develop your academic level in your chosen subject, introduce you to the study skills that will be vital to success and help with language if you need it.

Upon successful completion, you can progress to this degree at the University of Sheffield.

Pre-Masters in Science and Engineering

English Language Requirements

If you have not already studied in a country where English is the majority language, it is likely that you will need to have an English language qualification.

  • International English Language Testing Service (IELTS): Overall grade of 6.5 with 6.0 in each component

You can find out whether you need to have an english language qualification, and which other English language qualifications we accept, on the University's webpages for international students.

English language requirements

The English Language Teaching Centre offers English language courses for students who are preparing to study at the University of Sheffield.

English Language Teaching Centre

Fees and funding

Up-to-date fees and funding opportunities can be found on the University of Sheffield's webpages for postgraduate students. These may include scholarships for home and international students and a 10% discount for University of Sheffield graduates.

Tuition fees

Funding your postgraduate course

Current modules

All students will study:

Research Project with Advanced Statistics (60 credits)

Module leader: Professor Richard Rowe
Project supervisors: All academic staff

You'll conduct a complete empirical project including design, analysis and write-up, under the guidance of a member of academic staff. Projects may be published in peer-reviewed journals, for example:

  • Vabalas, A., & Freeth, M. (2016). Brief report: Patterns of eye movements in face to face conversation are associated with autistic traits: evidence from a student sample. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 46(1), 305-314.
Research Methods in Psychology (30 credits)

Organiser: Dr Jilly Martin

Seminars on the methods currently being applied by psychologists are presented by experts in their application. Methods covered include behavioural genetics, eye-tracking, questionnaire design, experimental methods for working with infants and children, qualitative data collection and analysis, and neuroimaging (EEG, fMRI).

Intermediate Multivariate Statistics for Psychology (15 Credits)

Module leader: Dr Chris Stride

The course addresses a range of commonly applied quantitative methods including multiple regression (including testing for mediation and moderation), analysis of covariance, exploratory factor analysis and reliability analysis. The emphasis is on conceptual understanding of when to apply these techniques and how to interpret the output rather than on the underlying mathematics. Additionally a three day course in using SPSS software is offered in the Spring semester.

Advanced Statistical Methods for Psychologists (15 Credits)

Module leader: Dr Chris Stride

This module covers advanced statistical methods and software skills increasingly required by researchers and data analysts in psychology and other social science disciplines. Specific techniques covered include confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modelling (using Mplus software), multilevel modelling for both cross-sectional and longitudinal data, and generalised linear models. Lectures will be used to teach the rationale behind and principles behind these techniques, with practical sessions offering the opportunity to apply and develop student's knowledge.

Systematically Reviewing Psychological Research (30 credits)

Module leader: Professor Richard Rowe
Review supervisors: All academic staff

Seminars address searching on-line databases such as Web of Knowledge and Google Scholar, the process of conducting systematic and narrative literature reviews and meta-analysis. The application of reference managing software to manage reference libraries is also addressed. You will complete your own literature review on a topic of your choice under supervision of an academic member of staff.

Professional Skills for Psychologists (30 Credits)

Module leader: Dr Claudia Von Bastian

Seminars address a range of skills that will important for psychologists in both academia and professional practice. Topics include ethical issues, presentation skills, grant proposal writing and managing conferences.

The modules listed above are examples from the current academic year. There may be some changes before you start your course.

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.