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MSc in Psychology


Please note that this qualification is only available until 31 December 2014. In order to claim this qualification you must have completed the required 180 credits by this time. This qualification is not available to new students.

If you have any questions about your eligibility for this qualification please contact the Centre for Qualifications and Ceremonies on +44 (0)1908 653003 or by email.

The MSc in Psychology course of study provides advanced study in different areas of psychology, including developmental psychology, biological psychology, forensic psychology, advanced experimental design, discourse analysis and psychometrics.

This MSc offers a choice of modules and aims to:

  • enable you to advance your knowledge in selected areas according to your personal and professional interests
  • provide you with an overview at postgraduate level of contemporary developments in the psychological field.

The MSc in Psychology is not designed to provide the British Psychological Society’s Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) [formerly GBR]. The Open University offers a BSc (Honours) Psychology (Q07) with potential exemption from OU level 1 study for graduate students who wish to take this route.

If your eventual goal is to study for a PhD, you are recommended to study for the MSc in Psychological Research Methods (F20) (please note that F20 will be withdrawn at the end of December 2014).

Planning your studies

The minimum entry requirement is a recognised UK honours degree or its equivalent.

Although the honours degree can be in any subject, you are unlikely to be prepared for this qualification if you have not had a prior academic grounding in the social sciences or psychology. This is because your postgraduate studies will assume you are familiar with social scientific or psychological language and concepts, and the characteristic ways in which social scientists and psychologists construct arguments, use theory and handle evidence.

Postgraduate study requires that you have the ability to:

  • write accurately, clearly and concisely
  • read large quantities of text quickly, accurately and critically
  • classify evidence precisely, and assess its value and reliability
  • argue logically, consistently and sceptically
  • marshal evidence to support a logical argument.

All our postgraduate modules are taught in English, so your spoken and written English must be of an appropriate standard for postgraduate study. If you’re not sure whether your English skills are good enough, there is some help and guidance at our Skills for OU Study website.

Most modules in the programme start in either May or November; one 60-credit module starts in October. 30-credit modules are taught over a sixteen-week study period, 60-credit modules over thirty-two weeks. Examinations are held in April and October.

Social science modules in this qualification are not available for study on a stand-alone basis.

It is expected that you will have commenced your studies towards the MSc in Psychology with one of the discontinued postgraduate foundation modules. This will have equipped you with the requisite skills to undertake postgraduate-level study.

Because of the demands that study of the degree will make on you we recommend that you take only one module at a time, particularly in your first year. You should also read the detailed advice about entry and preparation in the individual module descriptions. We cannot guarantee that the same selection of modules will continue to be available.

To claim this qualification you must complete the required 180 credits within eight years of the commencement of your study and by 31 December 2014.

You should note that the University’s unique study rule applies to this qualification. This means that you must include at least 60 credits from OU modules that have not been counted in any other OU qualification that has previously been awarded to you.

Career relevance and employability

By studying psychology at postgraduate level, you will develop a number of skills which will be of use in further studies as well as in employment. For example you will be able to evaluate, conduct and communicate research which will be helpful if you choose to go on to a PhD. However, such skills will also be of value to employers who recognise the need for an analytic approach. Secondly, you will have an understanding of the different areas of psychology and their impact on a number of other fields (depending on what modules you take), for example on health, education and law, thus providing you with insight into a broad range of areas and careers.

There is more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the OU’s Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also read or download our publication OU study and your career and look at our subject pages to find out about career opportunities.


For this 180-credit masters degree you require:

30 credits from one of the discontinued compulsory foundation modules:

D820, D821, D822

And a minimum of 30 credits from discontinued Group A optional modules:

 D840, D841, D842, D843, D844, D849, DT840, DTZY840, DZY843, DZY844

And a minimum of 90 credits from Group B optional modules:

Postgraduate optional modules Credits Next start
Understanding children's development and learning (ED841)

Examines children's development and learning in cultural, educational and social contexts and how children shape their own development through meaningful interaction with others.

See full description

60 Oct 2014
The discontinued 30-credit modules D872 and D873

Or, subject to the rules about excluded combinations, the discontinued modules D853, DS871, ED840, SD805

And the remaining 30 credits can be taken from either Group A or Group B optional modules.

Learning outcomes

The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Cognitive skills
  • Practical and professional skills
  • Key skills
Read more detailed information about the learning outcomes, and how they are acquired through teaching, learning and assessment methods.

Credit for previous study elsewhere

For this qualification, we do not allow you to count credit for study you have already done elsewhere.

On completion

On successful completion of the required modules you can be awarded the MSc in Psychology entitling you to use the letters MSc (Psych) (Open) after your name. 

You will have the opportunity of being presented at a degree ceremony.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the following regulations:

These regulations are also available on our Essential Documents website.

How to register

If you want to study for this qualification, read the description and check you meet any specific requirements (for example, some of our qualifications, require you to be working in a particular environment, or be sponsored by your employer). Then select the module you wish to study first and ensure it is suitable for you before following the registration procedure for that module. During the registration procedure you will be asked to declare which qualification you are studying towards.

See a full list of modules available for this qualification

About this Taught Masters
Code F15
Level Postgraduate
Made up of 180 credits

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