Applied Psychology PgCert/PgDip/MSc

1. Overview

Are you looking to develop a career in psychology or further your understanding of psychology; the scientific study of people, the mind and behavior?

This MSc conversion course in Applied Psychology, delivered via distance learning, is designed to allow students who do not hold a psychology undergraduate degree to develop the wide range of subject-specific and generic skills required to pursue a career as a professional psychologist in practice or academia.

2. What you will study

You will study core modules in:

  • Biological Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Individual Differences
  • Social Psychology
  • Conceptual and Historical Issues in Psychology
  • Research Methods

The flexible nature of the course also allows you to study an elective module in an applied area of your choice. In addition the final research project, written up as a dissertation, enables you to explore psychological questions in a real-world context that are relevant to your interests, experiences and future career ambitions. All classes and activities will be done online and in your own time with the exception of a two hour fortnightly online workshop. The precise timing of the workshop will be discussed with the student cohort upon course commencement.

The modules will focus on Applied Psychology; using knowledge of psychology to understand real-world problems and create changes in areas such as education, the workplace, mental health and psychological well-being, counselling, physical health and illness, behaviour change, forensic and legal settings, sport and exercise, and social problems such as prejudice and discrimination.

Masters degrees prepare you for entering a professional area, whether this is as a chartered psychologist, in academic research (e.g. PhD study) or elsewhere. The MSc will train you to apply your thinking to examine the theories and practices that make up the professional knowledge in Psychology.

You will build on these skills to become an independent researcher. Rather than just working within the key issues or debates in Psychology, you will be expected to examine the edges and boundaries of Psychology and understand how knowledge is constructed.

3. How you will learn

You will experience a supportive and structured learning environment, with access to a comprehensive online library of psychology resources delivered via the University's virtual learning environment CampusMoodle and plenty of opportunity to interact with tutors and other students. All classes and activities will be done online and in your own time with the exception of the fortnightly online workshops.

Learning will involve online lectures, interactive discussion forums and virtual classroom sessions.

You will also receive one-to-one support from a specialist supervisor when you begin your empirical research project.

Assessment methods include online examinations, written coursework in the form of essays and reports, empirical research projects and a range of online activities.

4. Entry Requirements

Applicants should have an Honours degree with a final degree classification of at least 2:2 or international equivalent. Degrees in areas related to the social sciences, education, health and social care, and experience in research methods are desirable.

English Language

Applicants whose first language is not English should have an IELTS of 6.5 overall, with no component lower than 5.5, or an equivalent.

We accept a variety of in-country and secure English language tests, find out more:

English Language requirements

* All entry requirements listed here should be used as a guide and represent the minimum required to be considered for entry. A small number of courses require higher levels, but this will be stated explicitly on your offer letter.

5. Placements and Accreditations

This course is accredited by The British Psychological Society

6. Student Funding

Students may be eligible for a pro rata discount for Recognition for Prior Certified Learning.

Robert Gordon University graduates are also eligible for the University Alumni Discount.

7. Course Fees

For Academic Year 2018/2019

UK/EU Students

Distance Learning Full-time

  • £6,500 .

Distance Learning Part-time

  • £2,440 for stage 1
  • £2,440 for stage 2
  • £1,620 for stage 3

International Students

Distance Learning Full-time

  • £11,020 .

Distance Learning Part-time

  • £4,130 for stage 1
  • £4,130 for stage 2
  • £2,760 for stage 3

For Academic Year 2017/2018

UK/EU Students


  • £5,180 .

Distance Learning Part-time

  • £1,940 for stage 1
  • £1,940 for stage 2
  • £1,300 for stage 3

International Students


  • £10,050 .

Distance Learning Part-time

  • £3,770 for stage 1
  • £3,770 for stage 2
  • £2,510 for stage 3

For Academic Year 2016/2017

All Students

Distance Learning Part-time

  • £2,920 for stage 1
  • £2,920 for stage 2
  • £1,960 for stage 3

UK/EU Students

Distance Learning Full-time

  • £5,500 .

International Students

Distance Learning Full-time

  • £11,900 .


Course fees are reviewed periodically and so are subject to change for new applicants. All tuition fees are fixed for the duration of a course at the rate confirmed in your offer letter. You will also be liable to pay a graduation fee of £40 before receiving a University award.

For further information see Student Finance pages


8. How to apply

Applications for 2018 will open on Monday 11 December 2017 and will close on Friday 1 June 2018.

All students can apply online by visiting Apply Online.

If you have any queries, please contact our Admissions Office:

If you are an International Student and would like further information and application advice:

In order to be considered for the course, applicants must provide the following along with their application.

  • Evidence of an Honours Degree at 2:2 or above, and a copy of their Degree Certificate
  • Academic Transcript
  • A personal statement indicating a desire to pursue a career in a psychology related field
  • A reference, preferably academic, on headed stationery, signed and dated. Work references may be accepted as long as they refer to the candidate’s academic suitability for postgraduate study.
  • An English language proficiency certificate (if necessary) - e.g. IELTS, TOEFL, PEARSONS
  • A C.V.

What will happen to my application?

The PG admissions team will firstly screen applications, if they include all the materials detailed above they will be forwarded to the course leader to make a decision. When screening applications we look for those that meet the entry requirements (both essential and desirable) and demonstrate clear evidence of a desire to study Psychology. Because the course is limited to 40 places, offer decisions will be further determined by the strength of the field.

Terms and Conditions of Admissions

The Terms and Conditions of Admission describe to applicants holding an offer of a place to study at RGU, the principal rights, duties and obligations of both the applicant and the University prior to enrolling on a course of study.

Terms and Conditions of Admissions (PDF 142KB)

9. Prospects

Successful completion of the MSc will enable students to pursue further training as a HCPC-registered and/or Chartered Psychologist in a range of areas such as:

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Counselling Psychology
  • Educational Psychology
  • Forensic Psychology
  • Occupational Psychology
  • Health Psychology
  • Sport and Exercise Psychology
  • Teaching and Research in Psychology

On graduation students will be equipped with a broad range of skills including the ability to: solve problems and reason scientifically; make critical judgements and evaluations; demonstrate ethical awareness and sensitivity to contextual and interpersonal factors; communicate and collaborate successfully. Given the distance learning nature of the course, students will also be adaptive and responsible in order to be effective independent learners. Such soft skills are highly valued by employers for jobs across a wide range of occupations that involve work with people, and will prove invaluable for those applying for further training as a HPC-registered and/or Chartered Psychologist.

10. Accreditation of Prior Learning

Students may be eligible for Recognition for Prior Certified Learning (RPCL) for up to three modules. An application for RPCL can only be made once students have been offered a place on the course. All applications for RPCL will be done in accordance with the University RPCL policy and must be approved by the course management team. Following approval of RPCL, course fees will be discounted on a pro rata basis.

11. Frequently Asked Questions

How is the full time course structured?

The full time course is completed within 1 academic year (12 months). Semester 1 begins in September and consists of 4 modules taught over a 12 week period followed by an assessment period. Semester 2 begins at the end of January and again consists of 4 modules taught over a 12 week period followed by an assessment period. Students who successfully complete Stage 1 (the taught phase of the course) will progress to Stage 2 (the dissertation project) following the June assessment board. The dissertation module then takes place over the summer months (June-August).

How is the part time course structured?

The part time course can be completed over 24 or 36 months. Students complete 2 taught modules per semester over 2 academic years (8 modules in total). Students then have the choice of completing the dissertation full time over the summer months of year 2 (24 month option) or taking a further year to complete their dissertation (36 month option). The Course Information Database provides further details about the course structure and individual modules. The Academic Calendar contains relevant information relating to semester dates.

Should I apply for the full time or part time degree option?

It is strongly recommended that you apply for the part time degree if you will be working more than 18 hours per week (see required hours of study per week below).

How many hours of study are required per week?

As a postgraduate student you are expected to dedicate a nominal 10 hours per week to each taught module in your study programme. Each taught module you study and pass provides 15 SCQF credits, notionally 150 hours. Normally each module will provide 2 - 3 hours of teaching per week (through CampusMoodle), and in addition it is recommended that you spend at least 6 - 7 hours per week on additional study for each module. For example you may spend 3 hours on directed study (following set reading and completing set activities) and 3 hours of self-study (conducting your own research, writing up your own notes, working in a study group, revision etc.) per week. You will also need to spend a significant amount of time researching assignments and conducting group projects.

Is everything online or do I have to visit the RGU campus?

There is no requirement to attend our campus in person, however, if students would like to arrange a visit to meet lecturers or use the facilities they are welcome to do so.

I have a degree but this is not in a related discipline – can I still apply?

A 2.2 Honours degree or equivalent is the minimum requirement to apply. However due to the limited number of spaces those with related degrees, work experience and/or research methods experience will be prioritised.

What if I have never studied psychology before?

Successful applicants who have not studied Psychology previously are provided with recommend reading to complete prior to starting the course.

Is the course British Psychological Society (BPS) Accredited?

The MSc course is BPS accredited, however, accreditation does not apply to the PGCert or PGDip. Only those students who successfully pass the dissertation and achieve an average grade of C or above on the MSc qualify for Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC).

The MSc Applied psychology is highly rated by students and received 100% satisfaction rates from students in the 2016-2017 Student Experience Questionnaire (SEQ) for Overall Course, Motivation and Engagement, and Assessment and Feedback.

"I chose this course because of the convenience of distance learning together with the BPS accreditation it confers, as well as the highly competitive fee level. I am very glad I went for RGU and have found the standard of teaching and level of support to be excellent. It has been a privilege to study perhaps the most fascinating subject there is: the science of mind and behaviour! I am keen to now work towards chartered Psychologist status and feel very much spurred on by this MSc. I have found RGU’s focus on real world application and strong career support to be especially valuable in helping me towards this aim."

Shona Horsman, MSc Applied Psychology Student

"I spent a long time searching for the right masters degree and I am delighted I finally chose the MSc in Applied Psychology at RGU. I was a little bit worried about distance learning but I could not have asked for more from RGU. The material is delivered really well and the staff were excellent. The MSC was part of a career change for me so I was also worried about finding work but I have already found a job in the area of mental health and I am enjoying it much more than my previous line of work. I plan now to go on and achieve chartered psychologist status in clinical psychology"

David McManus, MSc Applied Psychology Student

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Start Date


Course Length

12 months Full-time or 24-36 months Part-time

Mode of Attendance

Distance Learning

Academic School
School of Applied Social Studies
More Information:
Postgraduate Admissions +44 (0) 1224 262209
Accredited By
BPS - British Psychological Society

Postgraduate Guide