MSc
1 year full time
Starts September 2017

Experimental Psychology

This MSc is a conversion course that gives you a thorough grounding in psychology. You don’t need any prior formal psychology education.

You cover:

  • biological, cognitive, social and developmental psychology
  • philosophical and ethical foundations of psychology
  • research methods.
“The programme was demanding but extremely rewarding, providing a fundamental knowledge base whilst also being stimulating and enjoyable.” Jack HollingdaleResearch assistant, University of Sussex

Key facts

  • This MSc is accredited by the British Psychological Society as a qualification for the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC). 
  • Psychology at Sussex was placed in the top 10 for research in the UK in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF).
  • We are one of the largest psychology units in the UK, with research groups in Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience, Cognitive Psychology, Developmental and Clinical Psychology, and Social and Applied Psychology.

How will I study?

This MSc is intensive and consists of lectures, tutorials, seminars and practical classes on the core modules, plus accompanying reading and essay writing.

As well as unseen examinations, you complete an experimental dissertation supervised by a member of faculty.

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.

    • 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.

    • Developmental Psychology (Masters)

      15 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      This module provides you with a basic grounding in developmental psychology from the prenatal period through adolescence.

      Topics that are covered include:

      • developmental research methods
      • theories of child development
      • prenatal development
      • behavioural genetics and individual differences
      • perceptual development
      • early cognitive development
      • attachment
      • temperament
      • categorisation
      • language acquisition
      • motor development
      • children's understanding of mathematics
      • gender development
      • adolescent development.
    • Discovering Statistics (Masters)

      15 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      This module has two components:

      1. statistical analysis
      2. empirical research.

      The empirical project enables you to carry out independent research that will develop your skills in experimental research. This project helps to prepare you for your final empirical research project. The statistical analysis parts of the module build upon existing knowledge of statistical theory to enable you to analyse more complex data structures through understanding the general linear model (regression, ANOVA, etc).

      Practical classes compliment the lectures by providing guidance on applying the general linear model using SPSS, advice on designing and executing projects, and conducting experimental research.

    • 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.

    • Brain and Behaviour (Masters)

      15 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      The module demonstrates how knowledge of the structure and function of the nervous system can give us insights to the understanding of human behaviour. Topics covered will normally include: functional neuroanatomy of the human brain; brain development and neurogenetics; ionic mechanisms underlying the nerve action potential; synapses and neurotransmission; neuropharmacology of commonly used anxiolytic drugs; neural mechanisms in emotion and motor behaviour; neural mechanisms underlying plasticity and learning.

    • Clinical Psychology and Mental Health (Masters)

      15 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      The broad aim of this module is to provide an introduction to the main diagnostic categories of psychological disorders, the major theories of causation and approaches to treatment, and to encourage you to appreciate the links between theory and treatment of those disorders.

    • Social Psychology (Masters)

      15 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module will provide an overview of major theories, methods, research findings and debates in social psychology. Students will examine classic studies and current findings and evaluate published research reports. The first half of the module focuses on micro-social phenomena and examines key areas of social cognition, including attitudes and attributions, the cognitive construction of self and others as well as identity and self-esteem. The second half of the module will cover basic intergroup and intragroup processes, such as social influence, group membership and identity, prejudice and collective behaviour, and the psychology of culture.

    • Social Research Methods in Psychology (Masters)

      15 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module complements the term 1 module 'Discovering Statistics'. It has three components:
      (a) statistical analysis for questionnaire construction and interpretation;
      (b) observational methods;
      (c) qualitative data-gathering and analysis.

      There are two assessed empirical reports using some of these techniques, which will enable students to develop skills in research design, data-gathering and analysis and which will therefore equip students for their empirical research projects. The statistical analysis parts of the module build upon existing knowledge of statistical theory (in term 1 module). Practical workshops complement the lectures by providing hands-on experience and guidance in using the methods, both with SPSS, and through small group work on relevant tasks.

    • Research Dissertation

      60 credits
      Spring & Summer Teaching, Year 1

      This module enables you to undertake a piece of psychological research under the supervision of a member of faculty who is expert in the relevant area. For clinical psychology students this may involve collaboration with a field supervisor in the Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust. You will be involved in the design and execution of a substantial piece of empirical research on a topic that is relevant to your course. The dissertation will consist of a research report detailing the project you have carried out or been involved with.

Postgraduate student Emily Collins talks about her Experimental Psychology MSc

Entry requirements

This MSc is designed for students who do not have previous training in psychology. It is open to those with an upper second-class (2.1) undergraduate honours degree or above in another subject who want to obtain a qualification that provides the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC, formerly GBR) with the British Psychological Society.

Well-qualified applicants will be interviewed either at the University or by Skype.

Applicants who do not have 60 credits or equivalent in psychology from previous study must also pass our in-house psychology assessment test at the start of term in September. As an offer holder, you'll receive a reading list and sample paper.

Applications for this course are competitive and can close early. We therefore recommend an early application - ideally by April.

English language requirements

Higher level (IELTS 7.0, with not less than 6.5 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: £9,250 per year

EU: £9,250 per year

Channel Islands and Isle of Man: £9,250 per year

Overseas: £18,750 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 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

How Masters scholarships make studying more affordable

Living costs

Find out typical living costs for studying at Sussex.


Faculty

Meet the people teaching and supervising on your course.

  • Faculty profiles

    Prof Aldo Badiani
    Professor of Psychology & Addiction Medicine
    Aldo.Badiani@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Drug addiction, Electrophysiology, Emotion, Environment, functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), Human psychopharmacology, Immunohistochemistry, Motivation, Reward

    View profile

    Prof Robin Banerjee
    Professor of Developmental Psychology
    R.A.Banerjee@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Developmental psychology, Emotion, Motivation, Psychology, Social behaviour, Social cognition, Youth

    View profile

    Dr Chris Bird
    Senior Lecturer in Psychology
    Chris.Bird@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Hippocampus, Memory, Neuropsychology

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    Dr Jenny Bosten
    Lecturer in Psychology
    J.Bosten@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: colour, GWAS, Individual differences, Matlab, Psychophysics, Virtual Reality

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    Prof Rupert Brown
    Professor of Social Psychology
    R.Brown@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Acculturation, hate crime, Identity, Immigration, Intergroup relations, post-conflict reconciliation, Prejudice, Prejudice reduction, refugees, Social psychology, team-building in organisations

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    Dr Daniel Campbell-Meiklejohn
    Senior Lecturer in Psychology
    daniel.cm@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Behaviour, Decision making, functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), Psychopharmacology, Social cognition

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    Dr Kate Cavanagh
    Senior Lecturer in Clinical Psychology
    kate.cavanagh@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Psychology

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    Dr Hans Crombag
    Senior Lecturer
    H.Crombag@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Addiction and law, Associative learning, Motivation, Neurobiology of behaviour, Reward

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    Prof Graham Davey
    Emeritus Professor
    grahamda@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Anxiety, Clinical Psychology, Psychology

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    Dr Richard De Visser
    Reader in Psychology
    R.De-Visser@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Alcohol, Gender and Sexuality, Health - behaviours, Psychology, Public health

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

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

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

    Research interests: Psychology

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    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

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    Prof Dora Duka
    Professor of Experimental Psychology
    T.Duka@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Addictions, Alcohol, Cognition, Emotion, Human psychopharmacology, Motivation, Smoking

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    Dr Benjamin Dyson
    Senior Lecturer in Psychology
    B.J.Dyson@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Art and design, Cognitive Psychology, Electrophysiology, Multi-sensory processing, Perception, Serious games

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    Dr Matthew Easterbrook
    Lecturer in Psychology
    M.J.Easterbrook@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Applied Statistics, Motivation, Self-identity, Social class and educational disadvantage, Social identities

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    Dr Tom Farsides
    Lecturer in Social Psychology
    T.L.Farsides@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Psychology

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    Prof Andy Field
    Professor of Child Psychopathology
    andyf@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Anxiety, child development, Emotion, Statistical Methodology

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    Dr Sophie Forster
    Lecturer In Psychology
    S.Forster@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Attention, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Cognitive Neuroscience, Distraction, Individual differences, Mind wandering, Psychology

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    Prof David Fowler
    Professor In Psychology
    D.Fowler@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Psychology

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    Prof Anna Franklin
    Professor of Visual Perception and Cognition
    Anna.Franklin@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Cognition, Perception, Vision

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

    Research interests: Experimental psychology, Psycholinguistics, Psychology

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    Dr Darya Gaysina
    Lecturer In Psychology
    D.Gaysina@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Behavioural genetics, Depression in humans, Developmental psychology, Epidemiology, Health and ageing, psychopathology

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    Dr Catherine Hall
    Senior Lecturer in Psychology
    Catherine.Hall@sussex.ac.uk

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    Prof Gordon Harold
    Andrew and Virginia Rudd Chair in Psychology
    G.Harold@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Biosocial Research, child development, Family Relationships, Longitudinal Methods, Mental Health, Prevention Science

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

    Research interests: Motivation, Obesity, Public health, Vaccination

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    Dr Graham Hole
    Senior Lecturer in Psychology
    G.Hole@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Age perception, Configural processing of faces, Face Identity After Effects, Face recognition, Looked but failed to see errors in driving, Mobile phones and driving, Motorcycle conspicuity, Perceptual and attention in relation to driving

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    Dr Jessica Horst
    Senior Lecturer In Psychology
    jessica@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Categorisation, child development, Cognitive Development, Infancy, Language Acquisition, Picturebooks, Psychology, Reading to Children, Storybooks, Toddlers, Word Learning

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

    Research interests: Psychology

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    Dr Sarah King
    Reader in Behavioural Neuroscience
    S.L.King@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Addictions, Alzheimer's Disease, Behavioural Neuroscience, Gene manipulation, Mouse genetics, Neurodegeneration, Neuroscience (Human disease), Neurotransmitter receptors

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    Dr Eisuke Koya
    Senior Lecturer in Psychology
    E.Koya@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Associative learning, drugs of abuse, Motivation, neuronal ensembles, nucleus accumbens, palatable foods, Prefrontal Cortex, slice electrophysiology

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    Dr David Leavens
    Senior Lecturer in Psychology
    davidl@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Animal Cognition, Cognitive Development, Communication, Comparative psychology, Developmental psychology, Evolution of language, Experimental psychology, Gestures, Observational methods, Pointing

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    Dr Kathryn Lester
    Lecturer in Psychology
    K.Lester@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Anxiety, Cognition, Developmental psychology, Emotional Processing, Fear

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    Dr Karen Long
    Lecturer in Social Psychology
    K.M.Long@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: intragroup processes, online identity, Social networking, Social psychology

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    Prof Karen Mccomb
    Professor Of Animal Behaviour & Cognition
    karenm@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Animal behaviour, Psychology

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    Dr Eleanor Miles
    Lecturer In Psychology
    E.Miles@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Embodiment, Emotion, Meta Analysis, Psychology, Social cognition, Social psychology

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

    Research interests: Motivation, Psychology

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    Prof Jane Oakhill
    Professor of Experimental Psychology
    J.Oakhill@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Experimental psychology, Psychology

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    Dr Bonamy Oliver
    Senior Lecturer in Psychology
    Bonamy.Oliver@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Behavioural genetics, child behaviour, child well-being, conduct problems, externalising, family, Family Relationships, parent-child relationships, parenting, Psychology, psychopathology

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    Prof Thomas Ormerod
    Professor of Psychology
    T.Ormerod@sussex.ac.uk

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    Dr Alison Pike
    Reader in Psychology
    alisonp@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: child well-being, family psychology, parenting, Psychology, siblings

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    Prof David Reby
    Professor of Ethology
    D.Reby@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Animal behaviour, Animal Cognition, Babies' cries, Evolution of communication, Experimental psychology, Human Vocalisations, Psychology, Sexual communication, Vocal anatomy, Vocal communication, Voice & Gender

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    Prof Jennifer Rusted
    Professor of Experimental Psychology
    J.Rusted@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Behavioural Neuroscience, Cognitive decline with age, Dementia, Experimental psychology, neuropsychopharmacology

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    Dr Ryan Scott
    Lecturer in Psychology
    R.B.Scott@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Psychology

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    Prof Julia Simner
    Professor of Psychology
    J.Simner@sussex.ac.uk

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

    Research interests: Attitudes, Environmental Psychology, Health Psychology, Social Influence

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    Dr Peggy St Jacques
    Lecturer in Psychology
    P.StJacques@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Autobiographical Memory, functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), Memory

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    Dr Vivian Vignoles
    Reader In Social Psychology
    V.L.Vignoles@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Cross-cultural psychology, Culture, Identity, Identity motives, Mental Health and Well-Being, Motivation, Psychology, Social identities, Social psychology

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    Prof Jamie Ward
    Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience
    jamiew@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Experimental psychology, Psychology

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    Prof Martin Yeomans
    Professor of Experimental Psychology
    martin@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Appetite, Cognitive Performance, Experimental psychology, Flavour, Food Choice, Food Preference, Nutrition, Satiety

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    Dr Nicola Yuill
    Senior Lecturer in Psychology
    nicolay@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Autism Spectrum Disorders, child development, children and technology, Experimental psychology, human-centred technology, Psychology, reading comprehension, social development, technology for autism

    View profile

Careers

Graduate destinations

96% of students from the School of Psychology were in work or further study six months after graduating. Recent graduates have gone on to jobs including:

  • psychiatry trainee, East London NHS Foundation
  • research assistant, University College London
  • psychological therapist, Time To Talk.

(HESA EPI, Destinations of Post Graduate Leavers from Higher Education Survey 2015)

Your future career

Our graduates have gone on to pursue careers in mental health, administration, counselling, research, nursing, teaching and lecturing, and clinical psychology. Others have gone on to further studies at doctoral level.

Employers of our graduates include:

  • charities
  • universities
  • local councils
  • health authorities, trusts and the NHS.

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

Contact us