MSc
1 year full time
Starts September 2017

Marketing and Consumer Psychology

Psychology plays an important role in many aspects of business and marketing. Consumer psychology is the key to understanding buyer behaviour, enabling organisations to design innovative products and create effective communication messages. 

This course will prepare you for careers building on both disciplines – whether you wish to pursue a successful career in marketing, or more generally apply psychological theories to the world of business.

Your studies will culminate in a research project that bridges marketing and psychology.

Key facts

  • Marketing at Sussex is ranked 7th in the UK (The Complete University Guide 2018).
  • Psychology at Sussex was placed in the top 10 for research in the UK in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (2014 REF).
  • Benefit from the combined academic expertise and industry experience of the School of Psychology and the School of Business, Management and Economics at Sussex.

How will I study?

In the autumn and spring terms, you’ll study a series of core modules.

In the summer term, you carry out your research project.

Assessment is through a combination of coursework, projects, examinations and presentations.

What will I study?

  • Module list

    Core modules

    Core modules are taken by all students on the course. They give you a solid grounding in your chosen subject and prepare you to explore the topics that interest you most.

    • Advanced Research Methods in Psychology

      15 credits
      All Year Teaching, Year 1

      In this module you will learn about various advanced research methods and statistical techniques in psychology, by exploring their theoretical basis and their practical application. The module is typically taught as a set of 2-day workshops in which particular methods are considered in detail. You are expected to study three methods (ie attend three workshops) from the selection that is offered. The options available to you are likely to include the following:

      • Discourse Analysis for Psychology
      • Experiment Generators: Use of Eprime
      • Eye Tracking
      • Item Response Theory
      • Longitudinal Data Analysis
      • Measurement of Affective Processing Styles (MATLAB)
      • Meta-analysis; Multilevel Modelling
      • Service User Involvement in Clinical Research
      • Structural Equation Modelling
      • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)
      • Voice Analysis and Re-Synthesis
      • Latent Variable Analysis
      • Introduction to R
      • Randomised Control Trials.
    • Applications of Social Psychology

      15 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      The core objective of the module is to introduce you to contemporary theorising in social psychology that has the potential to address some of today's most pressing social issues. The module will consist of two parts: group and intergroup processes in society and changing behaviour in society. In the first, you will learn about some key theoretical developments in group and intergroup processes and consider their practical implications for contemporary social issues. In the second, the topic of how behaviour can change and is changing is the focus, with a number of issues in health psychology being considered. The module concludes with a discussion of the political and ethical limits of behaviour change.

      Group and intergroup processes in society: 

      • Intergroup contact and prejudice: panacea or pacifier? 
      • Real-world interventions aiming to improve intergroup relations 
      • Intergroup reconciliation in post-conflict societies
      • Acculturation and immigration
      • Applications of identity theories 
      • Mobilising collective action for social change 
      • Collective resilience in response to emergencies and disasters

      Changing behaviour in society:

      • The use of fear appeals changing people's health behaviours 
      • Using and abusing alcohol 
      • Sexual relationships and sexual health
      • Social relationships and social media 
      • Political and ethical limits of behaviour change
    • Buyer Behaviour

      15 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      This module is intended to develop your  understanding of theories and concepts drawn from research in marketing psychology and how these shed light on consumers' motivations and behaviours. You will address the individual, situational, environmental, inter-personal and cultural (sub-cultural) factors that shape consumer behaviour. You will also examine buyer decision-making stages (processes) and the extent to which the afore-mentioned factors influence buyer decision-making and behaviours. Through a focus on contemporary issues in buyer behaviour, and the challenges these may pose marketing managers, the course enables you to apply conceptual and theoretical ideas in marketing psychology to develop marketing strategies aimed at building and maintaining strong customer franchise. The module will emphasise understanding of the array of inter- and intra-influences on consumers and to encourage you to reflect and critically evaluate your own behaviours as a consumer. In addition, the influences will be presented in both a cross-national and multi-cultural national context, in order to encourage you to consider, interpret and demonstrate practical applications of course taught theories within broader or more diverse (national and cultural) settings.

    • Ethics, Philosophy and Methods of Research

      15 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      This module will consider the conceptual foundations of psychological research and is divided into three key elements.

      Ethics and research governance – during this part of the module you will learn about the ethical principles and guidelines relating to research in psychology, in particular the BPS code of conduct and how it applies to research studies, and the UK frameworks for research governance. The ethical issues involved in using animals to study psychology will also be addressed.

      Philosophy of Science – you explore different approaches to what it means for psychology to be scientific and why it matters. Half of the material considers classic philosophy of science as represented in the views of Popper, Kuhn and Lakatos and how they apply to psychology. The remaining material considers the foundations of statistical inference, comparing the conceptual basis of orthodox (Neyman Pearson) statistics with that of Bayesian statistics. The aim is to clear up popular misconceptions in interpreting statistics, not to teach any particular statistical technique.

      Qualitative methods – are becoming increasingly important in psychology and related disciplines (eg, biology, medicine, sociology). Nevertheless, heated debates continue to rage about their essential qualities (if any) and 'quality' (if any). In this part of the module we will examine all aspects of qualitative research, from (claimed) philosophical underpinnings, through method selection, project planning, ethical considerations, data collection, data analysis, and the production, assessment, and presentation of results, though to the scientific, practical, ethical, and theoretical benefits of the end product(s). Particular attention will be given to the prospects of developing qualitative methods that are truly complementary to quantitative ones.

    • Consumer Psychology and Neuromarketing

      15 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

    • Marketing Analytics and Metrics

      15 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      Learn how to analyse marketing data, looking at both qualitative and quantitative data.

      You explore how measuring success and monitoring analytics can improve the quality of marketing decisions. You learn to take a more evidence-based approach in marketing decisions, rather than relying on the preferences of decision-makers. 

      You explore: 

      • the fundamental analytical methods for answering marketing research questions
      • how to develop research questions, analyse data and draw inferences, with a view to making better marketing decisions
      • key descriptive and analytical methods, looking at a range of tools to analyse data within the context of marketing-related questions.
    • Social Psychology of Consumer Behaviour

      15 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      Consumer culture has become such a pervasive aspect of everyday life that it has profound social psychological effects. This module investigates social psychological processes underlying specific behaviours and outcomes, focusing particularly on consumers' identity and self-concept. It examines how consumers relate to their favourite material possessions, what motivates them to buy consumer goods, as well as predictors of excessive buying and the effectiveness of advertising. It also examines the influence of selected mass consumer aspects on individuals' stereotypes and well-being, including materialistic values, and the impact of advertising on stereotyping and body image.

    • Empirical Project in Marketing and Consumer Psychology

      45 credits
      Spring & Summer Teaching, Year 1

    Options

    Alongside your core modules, you can choose options to broaden your horizons and tailor your course to your interests.

    • Cognitive Psychology (Masters)

      15 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      This module comprises 24 one-hour lectures, two two-hour practicals and two one-hour seminars (which are linked to the practicals).

      The practicals and the seminars are taught by members of faculty. The lectures provide a broad coverage of Cognitive Psychology topics, from basic perception to thinking. Lectures include material on individual differences where appropriate.

      This module covers:

      1. Sensory systems and visual perception

      • introduction to the sensory systems
      • physiology and psychophysics of perception
      • theories of perception
      • the visual system.

      2. Sound & speech perception

      • sound production and perception
      • speech production and perception
      • categorical perception of speech sounds
      • evolution of speech & language.

      3. Attention

      • attention - what in the devil is it?
      • listen up - the better to hear the world
      • eyes right - the better to see the world
      • select or else - the better to act upon the world.

      4. Memory

      • short term and working memory
      • encoding in long term memory
      • forgetting and retrieval
      • implicit memory.

      5. Language

      • word meaning and concepts
      • word reading and dyslexia (including material on individual differences)
      • text comprehension (also including material on individual differences)
      • language and thought.

      6. Thinking

      • problem solving
      • expertise and creativity
      • hypothesis testing and everyday reasoning
      • rationality and irrationality

      Practical 1: Categorical Perception of speech sounds.

      Practical 2: Dot-probe task.

    • Global Marketing Management

      15 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      In this module, you learn about the the impact of marketing and how it contributes to organisational performance in today's globally competitive markets.

      You focus on the theories, concepts, models, techniques and best practice for developing and implementing marketing in a globalised environment.

      You look at:

      • opportunities and threats emerging from a diverse demographic
      • competitive and cultural environments
      • the implementation of marketing decision-making tasks at three levels. This includes, the macro level where country selection decisions are made, national level where market entry decisions are made, and market level where marketing mix decisions are made.
    • Applied Social Psychology Research Internship

      15 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module introduces you to the research process in a hands-on way, through working as a research assistant with a member of faculty in the field of applied social psychology. The nature of the work will depend on the research activities of the particular member of faculty you are supervised by, and it may involve working on a single project, or being involved in diverse activities linked to different projects. The research internship work could involve literature searches, running pilot studies for experimental or survey studies, creating stimulus materials (verbal or visual), collecting data, or entering data and data analysis.

    • Digital Marketing

      15 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This cutting-edge marketing module discusses how digital media technology has changed marketing and gives detailed strategies on how to embrace the online environment challenges.

      The main aim of this module is to provide you with a critical understanding of the key concepts, fundamentals and challenges of E-Marketing. We will explore the impact of the web on the traditional marketing mix of goods and services and examine the key ingredients of the online Micro and Macro environment. Moreover, E-marketing analyses online consumers’ behaviour and their response to social media strategies and new technologies used by companies.

      The impact of electronic technologies on marketing strategy, market segmentation, positioning, and communication strategies is also addressed. An emphasis is also placed on the utilisation of customer relationship marketing approaches within a dynamic online environment. Finally, online marketing strategy formulation and implementation within a changing technology environment is thoroughly described.

      By the end of the module, students are expected to develop and demonstrate knowledge and skills in the following areas:

      • the theoretical and practical importance of the E-marketing mix and its impact on marketing strategy
      • the online consumer behaviour and online decision-making process
      • various online marketing strategies for social media
      • strategic analysis of the online environment
      • online performance measurement.
    • Managing Customer Experiences and Customer Relationships

      15 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      In this module, you learn how firms create memorable customer experiences or events to attract a consumer, and drive sales for their product or service.

      You study:

      • management of consumer experiences
      • customer behaviour in service settings
      • internal marketing and the role of employees
      • the management of customer relationships.

      You also examine the importance of service quality, complaint handling and service recovery.

    • Structural Equation Modelling

      15 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      Structural equation modelling (SEM) is a general method of data analysis that brings together path analysis and factor analysis. In path analysis, the aim is to specify and test models of causal relationships among variables, and to estimate direct and indirect effects. SEM extends traditional path analysis by estimating models simultaneously and by providing overall measures of model fit. In factor analysis, the goal is to identify unobserved, latent variables that account for the relationships between observed variables. Traditionally, this has been data driven - that is, the factors emerge from the analysis - and known as exploratory factor analysis. In SEM, the emphasis is on confirmatory factor analysis where you propose a factor model and test to see whether it fits the data. Finally, SEM allows you to combine path analysis and confirmatory factor analysis by testing models of causal relationships among hypothesised factors.

      The module will provide a thorough introduction to SEM, and will also deal with some important, related issues. These include mediation analysis, and moderation, and methods for handling missing data. The emphasis will be on analyzing continuous variables with approximately normal distributions, but we will also cover how to handle nonnormal data. Most of the analyses will be carried out with a SEM software package and a further aim of the module is to enable you to use this program.

Entry requirements

An upper second-class (2.1) undergraduate honours degree or above, or equivalent professional qualification.

English language requirements

Standard level (IELTS 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each section)

Find out about other English language qualifications we accept.

English language support

Don’t have the English language level for your course? Find out more about our pre-sessional courses.

Additional information for international students

We welcome applications from all over the world. Find out about international qualifications suitable for our Masters courses.

Visas and immigration

Find out how to apply for a student visa


Fees and scholarships

How much does it cost?

Fees

Home: £10,250 per year

EU: £10,250 per year

Channel Islands and Isle of Man: £10,250 per year

Overseas: £17,450 per year

Note that your fees may be subject to an increase on an annual basis.

How can I fund my course?

Postgraduate Masters loans

Borrow up to £10,280 to contribute to your postgraduate study.

Find out more about Postgraduate Masters Loans

Scholarships

Our aim is to ensure that every student who wants to study with us is able to despite financial barriers, so that we continue to attract talented and unique individuals.

Chancellor’s Masters Scholarship (2017)

Open to students with a 1st class from a UK university or excellent grades from an EU university and offered a F/T place on a Sussex Masters in 2017

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Chancellor’s Masters Scholarship

Sussex Graduate Scholarship (2017)

Open to Sussex students who graduate with a first or upper second-class degree and offered a full-time place on a Sussex Masters course in 2017

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Graduate Scholarship

Sussex India Scholarships (2017)

Sussex India Scholarships are worth £3,500 and are for overseas fee paying students from India commencing Masters study in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex India Scholarships

Sussex Malaysia Scholarships (2017)

Sussex Malaysia Scholarships are worth £3,500 and are for overseas fee paying students from Malaysia commencing Masters study in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Malaysia Scholarships

Sussex MBA Scholarship (2017)

The Sussex MBA Scholarship is available on a competitive basis to UK, EU and international applicants who have been offered a place on The Sussex MBA.

Find out more about the Sussex MBA Scholarship

Sussex Nigeria Scholarships (2017)

Sussex Nigeria Scholarships are worth £3,500 or £5,000 and are for overseas fee paying students from Nigeria commencing a Masters in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Nigeria Scholarships

Sussex Pakistan Scholarships (2017)

Sussex Pakistan Scholarships are worth £3,500 and are for overseas fee paying students from Pakistan commencing Masters study in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Pakistan Scholarships

The Hornsey Scholarship (2017)

A £10,000 award for an outstanding student on the MSc in International Accounting and Corporate Governance.

Application deadline:

31 July 2017

Find out more about the The Hornsey Scholarship

How Masters scholarships make studying more affordable

Living costs

Find out typical living costs for studying at Sussex.


Faculty

  • Marketing faculty

    Dr Achilleas Boukis
    Lecturer In Marketing
    A.Boukis@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Consumer branding, Innovation Management, internal branding, Service Encounter, Services Marketing

    View profile

    Dr Marv Khammash
    Lecturer in Marketing
    M.Khammash@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: consumer activism, Consumer behaviour, Consumer health, Consumer studies, digital identities, Digital Marketing, digital media, ethical consumption, Forecast Models, ICT and Digital Technologies, Internet of things, Marketing, Marketing Research, Mobile Apps, online identity, Peer to Peer Computing, Pharmaceutical marketing, Piracy, Psychosocial methods, Social networking, technology foresight

    View profile

    Ms Ruxandra Luca
    Lecturer in Marketing
    R.Luca@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Advertising, Attention, Cognitive Psychology, Consumer behaviour, Decision making, Marketing, Neuromarketing, Neuroscience, Psychology

    View profile

    Ms Ngoc Luu
    Lecturer in Marketing
    N.Luu@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Buyer-Seller Relationships, Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Marketing Research

    View profile

    Dr Maria Restuccia
    Lecturer In Marketing
    M.Restuccia@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Marketing, Marketing Research, New Product Development, Policy, Arts Management & Creative Industries

    View profile

    Prof Chris Storey
    Professor of Marketing
    C.D.Storey@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Buyer-Seller Relationships, innovation, Marketing, New Product Development, Services Marketing

    View profile

  • Psychology faculty

    Dr Rod Bond
    Senior Lecturer
    R.Bond@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Psychology

    View profile

    Prof Zoltan Dienes
    Professor in Experimental Psychology
    Z.Dienes@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Bayesian Methods, Consciousness, Experimental psychology, Psychology

    View profile

    Dr Helga Dittmar
    Reader in Psychology
    H.E.Dittmar@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Psychology

    View profile

    Dr John Drury
    Reader in Social Psychology
    J.Drury@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Collective action, Crowding and personal space, Crowds, Disasters, Empowerment, Mass emergencies, Protest, Social identities, Social movements, Social psychology

    View profile

    Prof Alan Garnham
    Professor of Experimental Psychology
    A.Garnham@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Experimental psychology, Psycholinguistics, Psychology

    View profile

    Prof Pete Harris
    Professor of Psychology
    P.R.Harris@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Motivation, Obesity, Public health, Vaccination

    View profile

    Dr Megan Hurst
    Lecturer in Social Psychology
    M.Hurst@sussex.ac.uk

    View profile

    Dr Donna Jessop
    Senior Lecturer in Health Psychology
    D.Jessop@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Psychology

    View profile

    Dr Michael Morgan
    Senior Lecturer in Experimental Psychology
    M.J.Morgan@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Motivation, Psychology

    View profile

    Dr Paul Sparks
    Senior Lecturer in Social Psychology & Health
    P.Sparks@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Environmental Psychology, Health, Identity, Social Influence processes, Social psychology

    View profile

This MSc will help you develop unique insights into the minds of consumers – successful organisations are built on such insights.”Chris Storey
Professor of Marketing
Course Convenor of the Marketing and Consumer Psychology MSc

Careers

This course is for you if you aim to work in:

  • digital marketing
  • international marketing
  • marketing research, consultancy and public relations
  • new business development
  • research or doctoral study
  • sales management.

You could also go on to psychology-based roles in advertising, branding, and management, where understanding people as consumers is essential.

Graduate destinations

95% of students from the Department of Business and Management were in work or further study six months after graduating. Our graduates have gone on to jobs including:

  • marketing manager, Constant Casting
  • designer, Parallel World Technology Company
  • media executive, Carat Media Services

(EPI, Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey 2015 for postgraduates)

Working while you study

Our Careers and Employability Centre can help you find part-time work while you study. Find out more about career development and part-time work