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Psychology - MSc

  • Level: Postgraduate Taught
  • Starting: September 2021
  • Study mode: Distance Learning
  • Location: City Centre

Looking for a psychology conversion course? Our MSc Psychology degree is an online conversion course, fully accredited by the British Psychological Society.

This is an an online conversion course, fully accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS), designed to help students with a non-Psychology degree gain a Psychology Master's qualification.

This course has been designed for students wanting to pursue careers in chartered areas of psychology who need to gain the psychological background in order to gain the accreditation by the BPS. This distance learning (online) course allows you to study around your own commitments, reflecting the inclusivity at the heart of Birmingham City University.

If you have any questions about how the course is run, please check out our Course In Depth tab for a full FAQ.

What's covered in the course?

The course covers the core areas of psychological knowledge so that our graduates gain breadth and depth across key psychological theory and research. For example in Lifespan we answer questions such as how do babies recognise faces, and how do we acquire language? In Applied Social Psychology we examine cross-cultural psychology and the formation of groups and what impact this has on the real world. We also look at examples of atypical behaviours and how psychological disorders are assessed and diagnosed.    

In the course we cover two research methods modules (quantitative and qualitative) where you get an opportunity to carry out a small-scale study and write this up as a laboratory report. For your final dissertation you will work one-to-one with a member of staff to carry out a piece of research in an area that interests you. We find that most people will align this with the area of psychology that they wish to pursue and this can be a great talking point in interview. You’ll be taught how to submit a research ethics proposal, how to write a laboratory report as well as presenting a poster similar to an academic conference and writing a critical review. All of your assignments will be coursework based rather than exams.  

Across the course we embed real world examples and make links to chartered careers in psychology to ensure that you are ready for your next step in becoming a psychologist. Our alumni on the course are already studying for doctorates in clinical and educational psychology as well as working in hospitals, schools, prisons and the charity sector. We also have a number following in our footsteps pursuing careers as academics by completing a PhD!

Why Choose Us?

  • Staff contact and online delivery provide ample opportunity for you to pursue related interests outside the course in the areas of clinical, educational and forensic psychology etc. You are encouraged to bring these experience to the forefront of your learning experience, ensuring you are developing into a well-rounded, lifelong learner.
  • This course is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) and gives you Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) when you pass the course. 
  • Our staff are research active, allowing research-informed teaching and learning activities. You will be given the opportunity to learn and participate in a number of research projects throughout the year and we hold regular academic research seminars, which are recorded for our online students.
  • A number of our recent conversion course students have been successful in gaining further training and employment in highly competitive areas of psychology, including Clinical Doctorate courses and research posts with national charitable organisations.
  • You will be allocated a personal tutor, who will provide pastoral and academic support, as well as preparing you for your career in Psychology.
  • Our Psychology department has a wide range of psychology testing labs to suit all needs, including our BPS computer lab, which consists of more than thirty networked computers with Psychology-specific software such as SPSS, NVivo and others such as Opensesame.
  • The Division of Psychology also offers MSc Forensic Psychology and MSc Health Psychology, providing you with many networking opportunities.

Find out more

Students outside Millennium Point

Open Days

Our Open Day for this course will take place in Spring 2021. Register now and we will contact you when the booking form goes live.

Register your interest

This course is open to International students

School of Social Sciences

Discover the School of Social Sciences

Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

Visit the School website

New £11,222 postgraduate loans

You may be able to take advantage of the government’s plans to make loans of up to £11,222 available for postgraduate study.

More about postgraduate loans

Course Accreditations

This course is accredited by:

The British Psychological Society (MSc Psychology)

Entry Requirements

Essential Requirements
Typical Offers (UK Students)

Applicants must have a minimum 2:2 degree. At the point of enrolment you must have GCSE English Language and Mathematics at grade C or above.

All exemptions must be approved by the Admissions Tutor prior to starting the course.

The British Psychological Society (BPS) requires all graduates to obtain a minimum of 50 per cent overall in order to meet the criteria for Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC).

Please note that you will not be able to progress on to the MSc level and work towards eligibility for Society membership if you do not hold an undergraduate degree, regardless of whether you have postgraduate qualifications. This is a requirement set by the British Psychological Society.

Additional information for EU/International students

Applications from international applicants with equivalent qualifications are welcome. Please see your country page for further details on the equivalent qualifications we accept.

In additional to the academic entry requirements listed above, international and EU students will also require the qualifications detailed in this table.

English language requirements 2020/21

6.0 overall with 5.5 minimum in all bands

If you do not meet the required IELTS score, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English courses. Please note that you must have a Secure English Language Test (SELT) to study on the pre-sessional English course. More information.

Other accepted qualifications Visit our English language page
International Students

Entry requirements here

International Students

Don't meet our entry requirements? You could apply for courses at our International College.

Apply now

  • UK students
  • International students

Award: MSc

Starting: Sep 2021

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Distance Learning
  • 1 Year
  • £8,800 per year
  • Distance Learning
  • 2 Years
  • Show fees
  • Year 1 (60 credits) £3,000
  • Year 2 (120 credits) £6,000

Fees for Distance Learning students

This course can be studied on a Distance Learning study basis. The cost per year of study is based on credit requirements for that year as shown here.

Award: MSc

Starting: Sep 2021

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Distance Learning
  • 1 Year
  • £13,200 per year

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form and equal opportunities PDF form instead. The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.

Personal statement

Students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.

Your postgraduate personal statement is going to shine a light on your personal experience, academic success, personal skills and any other factors that will support your application for further study.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Your passion and motivations

Studying a postgraduate course usually means you want to specialise in something. So what’s driving you?

Why this course?

Show that you’ve researched the course offering. What is it about this particular course that appeals to you? Is it the lecturers? The modules? Etc.

What makes you a good postgraduate candidate?

Tutors want to know that you can handle postgraduate study, so show them how your undergraduate experiences or work life has equipped you for a more advanced level of study. Key areas to address are research and group work but this can vary depending on your chosen course.

Relevant academic or work experience

Add anything relevant that relates back to your chosen course and shows how your skills will contribute towards your learning. What extra-curricular activities have you taken part in? What awards have you won? What employment or voluntary experience do you have that has helped you develop transferable skills? How do these specifically relate to the course you are applying for?

You should also mention your future plans and how a postgraduate qualification fits in. Try to look beyond your postgraduate study – do you plan to jump straight into a specific career or follow your studies with a research degree? Lastly, use plain, professional English and, where possible, utilise the language of your chosen industry.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

Additional costs

While there are no additional costs associated with purchasing text books, there may be other costs to you. If you are joining the course which has a professional body accreditation you may be required to pay membership or examination costs. For details of these costs, please click on the link below.

Based on the past experience of our students, you might find it helpful to set aside about £50 for each year of your studies for your personal stationery and study materials. All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

Find additional costs for your course

Accommodation and living costs

The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible postgraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

Did you know that you will soon be able to apply for a postgraduate loan of up to £1,222 for some courses and options?

Postgraduate loans


In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 180 credits):

20 credits

This module introduces students to key concepts in research methods and analysis, and begins to prepare students for undertaking advances independent research. The QAA and BPS outline learning outcomes which need to be achieved in order to read the graduate basis for Chartership status. These include practical and research skills, which this module directly relates to.

20 credits

This module aims to investigate human development throughout the lifespan focusing on changes to biological, cognitive, social and emotional elements of psychological functioning. The module will provide you with an understanding of the general principles and concepts, different theoretical perspectives, research methodologies, contemporary debates and areas of application of Lifespan Development.

20 credits

Introduction to Psychopathology will introduce the key perspectives in psychology which contribute to the explanation of abnormal states and their impact on disordered thinking, functioning and behaviour. The diagnosis and assessment process of a psychological disorder will play a central role in this module.

20 credits

This module aims to develop key transferable skills such as online group discussion, critical evaluation and evidence-based reasoning. The module consists of research-led teaching, which explores key debates and methodologies used in neuropsychology and cognitive psychology. The GBC areas of biological and cognitive psychology are supplemented through this module.

20 credits

The applied social psychology module focuses on exploring how social psychological theory and research can be applied to real life and equips you with the knowledge and understanding to effect change in individuals, groups and society. Throughout the module you will be presented with a number of contemporary social issues that will be underpinned by three broad perspectives:

  1. Crosscultural psychology
  2. Individual differences
  3. Critical social psychology
20 credits

This module provides you with an overview of the purpose, design, and conduct of qualitative research in psychology. This module provides students with grounding in the use of qualitative research methods and analysis techniques commonly used in psychology. All sessions are structured to facilitate both conceptual learning and the development of applied research skills. More specifically, this module aims to help you develop skills in research and inquiry and develop academic attributes such as being able to think critically about different methodologies and knowledge claims.

60 credits

Understanding research issues is an essential skill for psychologists operating in an evidence-based paradigm. The ability to produce an in-depth dissertation and present a logical argument using such research is a crucial skill for a successful psychology graduate.

We focus on ensuring the core elements of psychology are taught in an applied, real-world context. We expect you to be active in the online learning community bringing your experiences, ideas and questions to the forefront of the learning journey.

The coursework is designed in such a way that you can tailor it to your interests, whilst developing your softer, employability skills as well.

The course will allow you to interact and learn alongside students from all over the country and the world, expanding your networks and perceptions of psychology.


How does the online course work?

You have pre-recorded video lectures that you can watch in your own time as well as activities to complete such as quizzes, journals and formative assessments. You will also have online seminars (usually five per module) that you can participate in live and these are generally offered at a variety of times and are recorded if you cannot make that time. You will also be required to read around the subject area using journals.

How is the course assessed?

All by coursework. There are different types of coursework such as posters, pre-recorded presentations, lab reports, essays and critical reviews.

Should I do the course full-time or part-time?

If you are planning to work then really the part-time option is more appropriate. As Psychology is a new subject area for most students on the course there is a lot to cover and you need adequate time to read around the topics.

What equipment do I need?

As this is an online course you will need a computer and a good internet connection. A microphone headset would also be helpful for the online seminars.

Can I come to the campus if I wish?

You can come in to use the library and resources and you may meet members of staff if you wish, but this is instead of your online contact time not as well to make it fair for all students.

If we struggle with the research methods section of this course will there be any kind of assistance or statistics workshops provided? Whether it be online or face to face?

If you struggle with the research methods then you can read through the textbooks, ask the module co-ordinator, chat with your peers and we also have advisers who support statistics in the centre for academic success -

Which books do I actually need to buy?

Most of the books will be available as ebooks via the University or you are welcome to come in and use the library. Some will have chapters digitised and put on moodle for you. There will be alternative texts listed in the module guides that might be cheaper and also available as an ebook. If you are wanting a physical copy second hand versions are usually fine and places like are quite good. Access to journal articles is provided through the university and journals will form most of your assignment reading.

How do we pay our fees?
Will the web-conferences (online seminars) be scheduled repeatedly at different times?

Yes, and they will also be recorded so that students who cannot make them can still use them as a video lecture.

Will there be many online tests?

The only online quizzes (we do not like the word tests!!) will be for you to check your understanding. All credits are gained from online coursework

How easy is it to go 'on ahead' with work?

Regarding getting ahead - all topics will be uploaded at the start of the course. So you can work ahead to some extent. Certainly you can do all the textbook reading as soon as you want. But I will ask that people do not post to discussion forums 'out of order'. This is so we get everyone involved in each topic debate at the same time. This allows us to maximise the amount of engagement and discussion on each topic by having as many people as possible on that forum at the same time. We also intend to run web conferencing sessions which will not occur till the week of the topic

Is SPSS a programme that we have to buy ourselves or will the university provide us with a download for the time that we need this?

SPSS is provided by the university. There are instructions on Moodle about how to download it

Should I join the BPS?

We would suggest that you sign up as a student member. You get access to some journals as well as career advice (and a monthly magazine).

This course is accredited by:

The British Psychological Society (MSc Psychology)
The British Psychological Society (MSc Psychology)

The Psychology MSc is accredited by the British Psychological Society.

Find out more about British Psychological Society accreditation.

Further Study

Upon completion of this course, students can pursue internal PhD opportunities offered within the Psychology department at Birmingham City University.

Campus Tours - Postgraduate

Didn't make it to an Open Day? You still have the opportunity to come and see what our postgraduate courses have to offer. If you would like to enquire about campus tour availability, just drop us an email.

Employment Opportunities

To pursue a career as a professional psychologist further training at MSc and or doctorate level is required. This can lead to employment in the areas of:

  • Clinical neuropsychology

  • Educational psychology

  • Forensic psychology

  • Health psychology

  • Occupational psychology

  • Counselling psychology

  • Teaching and research

  • Sports and exercise science.

GBC graduates who do not wish to pursue a career in Professional Psychology also enter into employment areas such as, recruitment consultancy, human resources, civil service, researcher and data analyst, Improving Access


OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

Welcome to the School of Social Sciences, home to students from all around the world!

All of our undergraduate and postgraduate social sciences courses are open to international students, and our courses have been tailored to take a global approach to learning. We frequently welcome international students through the Erasmus scheme, from countries including Germany, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.


BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Our MSc Psychology course is delivered through the Moodle online learning resource, with online study materials to guide you through the appropriate topics, as well as providing links to other resources. You will also need textbooks, and a full reading list is provided with each module syllabus.

Although it is taught by distance learning, you will still have regular contact with your module tutor by email or telephone. You also have access to all the facilities at our City Centre Campus. 

Pelham Carter Staff Profile Image 100x150

Dr Pelham Carter

Senior Lecturer in Psychology

Pelham was drawn to Psychology initially by his interest in animal behavior, then followed maze experiments and finally using virtual environments to explore human behavior.

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Dr Rebecca Semmens-Wheeler

Senior Lecturer; Co-Course Director, MSc Psychology; Mental Health and Wellbeing Co-lead

Rebecca Semmens-Wheeler joined BCU’s Psychology department in 2016 and is co-Course Director for the BPS accredited MSc in Psychology. 

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Dr Emily Coyne-Umfreville

Deputy Head of Psychology, Senior Lecturer in Applied Psychology

Emily Coyne-Umfreville is a Senior Lecturer in Developmental and Educational Psychology. Emily’s doctoral thesis was entitled “Capturing Reading Strategies in Young children.”

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Dr Emma Tecwyn

Lecturer in Psychology

After studying and researching Animal Behavior, Dr Emma Tecwyn became curious about animal minds, and subsequently human minds, which led to her move into Psychology.

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Dr Olga Fotakopoulou

Senior Lecturer in Developmental Psychology

Dr Olga Fotakopoulou is a developmental psychologist and is interested in human development from birth to adolescence with a special interest in socio-cognitive, emotional and pro-social development. She has worked as a researcher of children’s development since 2004 and as a Counsellor in various educational and clinical settings.

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Dr Ian Mundy

Lecturer in Psychology

Dr Ian Mundy is a cognitive developmental psychologist with particular interests in language processing and literacy ability. Ian completed his MSc and PhD at the University of Warwick.

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Dr Lesley Storey


As an individual who has spent her life asking “why”, it was more a case of academia choosing Dr Lesley Storey, more than her choosing to be an academic. Lesley's work allows her to harness that curiosity and use it to explore issues affecting our everyday lives.

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Dr Damien Neadle


Dr Damien Neadle particularly enjoyed teaching statistics and research methods, He has a specific interest in research ethics and integrity and spends a lot of time focusing on the Open Science movement. 

Staff Profile

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Dr Natalie Kelly

Lecturer in Psychology

Natalie's research focuses on visual perception and attention, and how such processes are affected by factors such as healthy ageing and atypical neurological development (ASD, ADHD).

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Dr Jeffrey Wood

Senior Lecturer in Psychology

Dr Jeff Wood originally completed his undergraduate degree in Psychology in 2006 before working in mental health for 2 years.

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Dr Emily Harrison

Dr Emily Harrison

Senior Lecturer in Psychology

Dr Emily Harrison completed an undergraduate degree in Psychology in 2011 and went on to complete a PhD in reading development in early 2015. Her research has largely focused on children’s reading development, more specifically to do with the role of rhythmic awareness in the development of early literacy skills.

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