Psychology and Sociology, MA

Psychology and Sociology, MA

Introduction

Are you interested in the way we behave and interact with each other? Do you enjoy problem solving people? Psychology and Sociology are two very similar fields which combine well. Psychology is the science of mental processing and behaviour whereas Sociology is the study of modern societies and their development.

Study Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
MA
Duration
48 months
Study Mode
Full Time
Start Month
September
UCAS Code
LC38
Pathway Programme Available
Undergraduate Foundation Programme
Degree marketing image

Psychology covers a wide range of theoretical and applied disciplines including cognition, perception, language, mental health, lifespan development, neuropsychology, the dynamics of social groups, and psychometric testing, including the measurement of personality and intelligence.

Sociology is involved with why we do what we do, such as love, families, crime, law, poverty, wealth, gender, ability, population growth, war, peace and development.

You can go on to careers in either or both subjects combined to public sector organisations in social and community work, or study towards specialisms in behavioural areas.

This page provides information on what you will study on the MA Psychology and Sociology joint Honours degree. For more detailed information about Psychology and/or sociology please visit the relevant single Honours programme pages.

What You'll Study

A degree in Psychology and Sociology is taught via a selection of compulsory and optional courses to enhance your learning, preparing you for a future career or further study. In each year you will take courses adding up to 120 credits. Depending on the number of compulsory and optional courses offered by your degree, you can also choose other eligible courses which fit your timetable.

Year 1

Compulsory Courses

Academic Writing for Social Sciences (AW1006)

This compulsory evaluation is designed to find out if your academic writing is of a sufficient standard to enable you to succeed at university and, if you need it, to provide support to improve. It is completed on-line via MyAberdeen with clear instructions to guide you through it. If you pass the evaluation at the first assessment it will not take much of your time. If you do not, you will be provided with resources to help you improve. This evaluation does not carry credits but if you do not complete it this will be recorded on your degree transcript.

Getting Started at the University of Aberdeen (PD1002)

This course, which is prescribed for level 1 undergraduate students (and articulating students who are in their first year at the University), is studied entirely online, takes approximately 5-6 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks.

Topics include orientation overview, equality and diversity, health, safety and cyber security and how to make the most of your time at university in relation to careers and employability.

Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’.

Introductory Psychology I: Concepts and Theory (PS1009)

15 Credit Points

PS1009 introduces you to major concepts and theories in psychology to provide you with a strong understanding of the human mind and behaviour. You will attend lectures on biological, social and cognitive psychology and participate in tutorials where you will work with peers to discuss topics related to the lecture materials. Studying psychology is beneficial to a wide range of careers including management, education, and counselling, to name a few.

Introductory Psychology I: Methods and Applications (PS1011)

15 Credit Points

PS1011 is the perfect combination of subject-specific knowledge and transferable skills. In weekly lectures and practicals you will learn how various research methods are applied across a variety of Psychology sub-fields. As you do so, you will learn to read scientific articles and will begin to critically evaluate them. Knowledge and skills will be practiced and assessed using a variety of methods: Critical reviews, close-reading exercises and oral presentations. The strong emphasis on developing critical thinking skills means that this course will be a valuable addition to any degree.

Introduction to Sociology I: Self, Identity & Society (SO1007)

15 Credit Points

Sociology is the study of human social groups. It particularly focuses on modern societies, analysing how they work and how the major social institutions in them (such as religion, the media, government and the economy) operate. The course provides students with a general introduction to the unique manner in which sociologists seek to understand contemporary societies. Students are presented with current and classical approaches to understanding the social processes that underlie self-construction, group formation and social interaction, within urbanizing and globalizing social contexts.

Introductory Psychology II: Concepts and Theory (PS1509)
Introductory Psychology II: Methods and Applications (PS1511)

15 Credit Points

PS1511 builds onto PS1011. You will learn more about research methods in Psychology through lectures, practicals and taking part in research. You will also learn how to set up and conduct a Psychology study yourself. Part of the lectures will focus on statistics, to equip you with the skills to analyze and interpret your own data. In doing so, you will also learn about the role of ethics in research. The main assessments are two research reports and and MCQ test about the lectures.

Introduction to Sociology II: Systems of Power (SO1509)

15 Credit Points

This course is an introduction to macro-sociology, which analyses the ways that people’s lives are shaped by large-scale forces, structures, and institutions. Students are introduced to the particular ways in which classical and contemporary sociologists understand social forces in the modern domestic and global environment and learn to think critically about those social forces that impact their everyday lives using the sociological imagination. Substantive topics likely to be covered in this course include the media, politics, religion, surveillance, education, class stratification, international inequalities, and the relationship between humans and other animals.

Optional Courses

Select a further 60 credit points from courses of choice.

Year 2

Compulsory Courses

  • PS2518 - ADVANCED PSYCHOLOGY 2 - METHODS AND APPLICATIONS
Advanced Psychology A - Concepts and Theory (PS2017)

15 Credit Points

This course builds on the material covered in the 1st-year courses, expanding on psychology’s concepts and theories. The course covers three core areas of psychology: language and cognition, perception, and individual differences.

Advanced Psychology 1 - Methods and Applications (PS2018)

15 Credit Points

This course introduces students to fundamental concepts and methods in psychological research and data analysis. Lectures cover distributions and probability, null hypothesis significance testing, t-tests, chi-square tests, and correlations. Practical classes involve the application of these methods to research examples from different areas of psychology, using the statistical software package SPSS.

Advanced Psychology B - Concepts and Theory (PS2517)

15 Credit Points

This course builds on the material covered in the 1st-year courses, expanding on psychology’s concepts and theories. The course covers four core areas of psychology: social psychology, behavioural neuroscience and developmental psychology.

Sociology of Everyday Life i: the Embodied Self (SO2006)

30 Credit Points

This follows on from level-one sociology. It is designed to highlight the ways that sociological theory informs the research endeavour, not only the questions sociologists raise, but also the particular modes through which we go about investigating them. The module examines these points in relation to a range of micro-level topics – the body, food and feeding, health and illness, the emotions, group behaviour, sex and gender, the life course and death and dying – all of which emphasise the nature of human interaction and sociological efforts to understand it.

Sociology of Everyday Life II: Global Issues in the 21st Century (SO2509)

30 Credit Points

This macro-sociology course extends students’ understanding of large-scale social, as well as political and economic, processes and institutions. Particular focus is on the sociological analysis of global issues and socio-political controversies, many of which are subject to topical and, at times, contentious debate at the beginning of the 21st century. The substantive topics include areas of social and political concern such as globalisation; the changing nature of economy, work and leisure; risk and insecurity; multiculturalism; food production and security; social movements; nationalism and identities.

Year 3

Compulsory Courses

Psychological Assessment (PS3011)

15 Credit Points

Psychological assessment is used by chartered psychologists in a number of areas, including clinical, occupational and forensic applications. The aim of this course is to introduce students to psychometric theory, real life applications of psychological assessment and the legal and ethical issues surrounding test administration.

Topics covered on this lecture based course include: IQ and mood assessment; clinical neuropsychological tests of cognitive dysfunction and memory; assessment of dementia and forensic aspects of assessment (legal malingering).

An ideal course for students intending to secure a career in applied psychology.

Methodology A (PS3015)

15 Credit Points

The main aim of this course is to help students prepare, evaluate and run their own Psychological research. As such this is a ‘hands-on’ course, where students will have the opportunity to conduct a small qualitative research project and practice using SPSS for a variety of statistical analyses. The course provides a thorough grounding in qualitative and quantitative research methods through a lecture series. Specific topics covered in this course include: verification and falsification of results; ANOVA and qualitative research strategies.

Developmental Psychology (PS3518)

15 Credit Points

The aim of this course is to consolidate and extend students’ knowledge of a number of core areas of developmental psychology, focusing on the age range of young children (3 years) to adolescence. This course will examine both historical and contemporary issues and findings in (1) cognitive development and (2) social-emotional development. In one half of the course students will evaluate how some main types of memory undergo developmental changes, and how cognitive plasticity develops. In the other half students will evaluate the development of aggression and its risk factors, and gain a deeper understanding of the role of play in typical and atypical development of social interaction with a focus on autism. There will also be opportunity to learn about some intervention programmes aimed at improving cognitive and socio-emotional skills in childhood. The broad range of developmental topics makes this an ideal course for anyone with interest in working with children.

Social Psychology (PS3520)

15 Credit Points

Social Psychologists explore the psychological factors that influence individual behaviours within social situations. As such, the aim of this course is to provide students with an introduction to the range of topics within experimental social psychology, with a defined focus on social cognition.

Topics covered within this lecture based course include: Stereotypes; social perception and action; self-control; consciousness and mimicry.

This course provides a scientific explanation for social phenomena, making it ideal for students with an interest in individual and group behaviour.

Optional Courses

Select ONE from each of the following options:

  • Thinking Sociologically (SO3066) OR Modernization (SO3069)

AND

  • Social Research Methods (SO3524) OR Ten Sociological Studies (SO3568)
Thinking Sociologically (SO3066)

30 Credit Points

Thinking Sociologically is the department's core sociological theory module. The course offers our students an introduction to a range of key sociological thinkers and bodies of thought, both classical and contemporary, that inform sociological analysis of social life and social institutions. As such, this course is intended to provide our honours students with a conceptual 'toolkit', that can be applied to facilitate understanding, insight and informed critique with respect to a broad range of historical and contemporary social, political and economic phenomena.

Modernization (SO3069)

30 Credit Points

The course uses the changes in the nature and power of religion brought by industrialization to examine modernization. The shift from imposed communal faith to free choice in a diverse market is used to illustrate and explain social differentiation, egalitarianism, individualism, social cohesion, community, association, immigration, conversion, trust, social influence, recruitment, gender, and cultural defence.

Social Research Methods (SO3524)

30 Credit Points

Sociologists use a range of methods and techniques to explore and test sociological theory. This module introduces many of these methods and techniques. It aims to ground students’ theoretical understanding of society through the practical analysis of a variety of data. It starts by introducing the varying philosophical starting points of research and goes on to provide foundation level critical analysis skills in the key quantitative and qualitative methods that sociologists have deployed to understand and ‘capture’ the social world.

Ten Sociological Studies (SO3568)

30 Credit Points

This course bridges the theoretical emphasis of SO3066 and the practical elements of SO3524. It presents sociology as a social science by having students examine in detail ten reports of sociological research. The works chosen will vary from year to year but typical examples are Laud Humphrey’s Tearoom Trade, Leah Bassel and Akwugo Emejulu’s Minority Women and Austerity, Ray Pahl’s Divisions of Labour, Stan Cohen’s Folk Devils and Moral Panics, Dorothy Smith’s K is Mentally Ill, and Richard Sennett’s Corrosion of Character. Students will be expected to do a considerable amount of private reading.

Year 4

Compulsory Courses

Advances in Biological Psychology (PS4033)

15 Credit Points

This course aims to provide students with a good understanding of the biological basis of behaviour and cognition. The course is split into two sections, each featuring 5 lectures. Section 1 focuses on psychopharmacology, which is the investigation of the effect of medication on normal and abnormal brain function. Section 2 focuses on neuropsychology, examining what can be learnt about psychological processes from studying patients with brain damage.

Specific topics that will be covered include: neurotransmitters; drug effects; psychedelic drugs; impaired object and face recognition; amnesia; and disorders of motor control.

Perceptual Processes (PS4037)

15 Credit Points

Interaction with the world around us involves perceptual processing using our three main senses: visual (seeing), auditory (hearing) and haptic (touch). The aim of this course is to consider a range of approaches to human perception, from historical beginnings to recent innovative research.

Topics covered include: colour perception; face recognition; perception of pain and age related changes in perception. Students will also engage in guided debate with their peers regarding media portrayal of recent research findings.

This course is intended for students completing joint honours degrees in Behavioural Studies or Psychology.

Memory and Language Processes (PS4532)

15 Credit Points

The memory component of this course aims to introduce students to the main theoretical components of memory (working and autobiographical memory). Psychological theories of forgetting and eyewitness memory will also be discussed.

The second component of the course, language, will introduce students to the key issues in psycholinguistics. This will include assessment of sentence processing, analysis of the processes underlying language production and factors that influence communication in different settings.

This course is intended for students completing joint honours degrees in Behavioural Studies or Psychology.

Psychology Joint Honours Thesis (PS4038)

15 Credit Points

This course focuses on two broad areas of psycholinguistic research. The first half of the course covers developmental disorders of reading skills in children. The second half of the course provides an introduction to bilingualism research and covers key questions in the field.

Optional Courses

Select a further 60 credit points from the level 4 courses in Sociology listed below:

  • SO4058 - Sociology of Religion & Culture
European Societies (SO4051)

30 Credit Points

The course aims to give an overview of European issues and current debates. It provides a deeper insight into how European issues affect our lives and why this matters. It addresses current issues of concern such as Brexit, migration, Coronavirus, family and work in comparative perspective. In doing so it blends together sociological and social policy approaches.

Animals and Society (SO4065)

30 Credit Points

This course introduces students to Human-Animal Studies (HAS) and the ‘animal turn’ in the social sciences. It also explores the sociological significance and political implications of human-animal issues in contemporary modern societies and the academy. To develop a more critical and nuanced understanding of interspecies interactions/contexts students will consider the contested nature of the human/animal boundary, changing attitudes towards animals in modern postmodern societies, and the ambiguous status of animals, especially in practice. By drawing on perspectives such as ecofeminism, symbolic interactionism, actor-network theory and Critical Animal Studies this will further contextualise current debates about humans and other animals.

Peace, Conflict and Society (SO4070)

30 Credit Points

This course utilises a range of disciplinary and theoretical approaches to analyse the concept of ‘transition’ as a fundamental condition of world history. It examines this through two related processes: the transition from peace to conflict and from conflict to peace at both a macro and micro level. Topics include how states transition through revolutionary violence or through peaceful means, how individuals are radicalized into terrorist groups or become involved in non-violent movements, and transitions in global institutions, norms and technology that generate local and individual changes.

Sexualities and Gender Diversity (SO4072)

30 Credit Points

This course provides students with theoretical and empirical understanding of sexualities and gender diversity in contemporary societies, paying particular attention to the historical conditions that have shaped how we conceptualise and experience sexualities and genders today. By mapping interconnections between wider power relations, and individual identities and bodies, it examines the intersectional ways in which sexualities and gender diversity are expressed, represented, and regulated.

Political Sociology (SO4554)

30 Credit Points

This course aims to give students an understanding of the social basis of political power. It begins by examining the classic paradigms of political sociology, paying particular attentions to those developed by Marx, Weber, and Tocqueville. It then examines several substantive issues and debates on the nature of contemporary political life, such as those surrounding the changing nature of civil society, the power of large corporations, the relative decline of class politics and rise of cultural politics, the media's influence on public opinion, and globalization's effect on democracy.

Politics and Religion (SO4557)

30 Credit Points

Religion inspires political action, pervades national identities, and shapes political regimes. Afghanistan, Iraq, Ukraine, Nigeria, Mali, Syria; the conflicts in these countries all involve religious differences. Religion may be in decline in the West but even in Europe there are arguments about the proper place of religion and about religious exemptions from general laws. In the USA religious conservatives use the courts, state legislatures and Congress to fight against abortion and gay rights. Taking a very broad view of politics, this course examines the links between religion and politics.

Sex, Death and the Afterlife (SO4565)

30 Credit Points

This course explores the key existential questions in the modern world. Through a series of theoretical approaches and case studies it examines the changes in individuals' understanding of sex, the meaning of life, and death. The overarching theme of the course focuses on the changing attitudes and practices surrounding existential issues in light of an increasingly secularised social context. As church involvement and knowledge of Christian beliefs have declined, people have little choice but to become increasingly inventive, which in turn affects the shape of the modern self. The course addresses these individual and cultural shifts through a sociological framework.

Social Inequality (SO4569)

30 Credit Points

Inequality permeates all aspects of social life and structure. This course focuses on the major sociological approaches to the study of social inequality. Emphasising historical, social, and political processes, it utilises social science data and theory to explore key patterns and consequences of inequality in Scotland and beyond. In addition to examining distribution of income, it also focuses on occupational and class hierarchies, power conflicts, racial, ethnic, and gender inequality, poverty, social mobility, and inequality of educational opportunities.

Contemporary Perspectives on Race and Ethnicity (SO4571)

30 Credit Points

From the Black Lives Matter movement to the ‘migrant crisis’ in the Mediterranean and even the increasing prevalence of cultural ‘blackfishing’, race and ethnicity are increasingly important – and controversial – topics. This course takes a global approach, focusing on key debates and perspectives in race and ethnicity and providing deeper insight into the social, economic, and cultural structures which shape our everyday interactions and understandings of race and ethnicity.

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

How You'll Study

Teaching is by means of lectures, laboratory practicals, workshops and tutorials, with more extensive experimental projects at year 3 and 4. Assessment is by means of examination and continuous assessment.

Learning Methods

  • Group Projects
  • Individual Projects
  • Lab Work
  • Lectures
  • Tutorials

Assessment Methods

Students are assessed by any combination of three assessment methods:

  • coursework such as essays and reports completed throughout the course;
  • practical assessments of the skills and competencies learnt on the course; and
  • written examinations at the end of each course.

The exact mix of these methods differs between subject areas, year of study and individual courses.

Honours projects are typically assessed on the basis of a written dissertation.

Why Study Psychology and Sociology?

  • Study with Internationally recognised researchers in social cognition, neuroscience, lifespan development, perception, language and cognition and occupational/industrial psychology.
  • The School is the oldest in the UK. Founded over 100 years ago, it maintains a strong commitment to providing a supportive and stimulating environment for undergraduate studied.
  • Sociology at Aberdeen is consistently rated very highly in all the main rankings for undergraduate degrees. It has also, year-on-year, achieved extremely high student satisfaction ratings in the National Student Survey (NSS). It is one of the best places to study sociology in the UK, as evidenced by students' feedback on our teaching.
  • The Scottish Higher Education Funding Council judged the department to be "excellent" in its most recent Teaching Quality Assessment exercise: the highest grade possible.

Entry Requirements

Qualifications

The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.


General Entry Requirements

2022 Entry

SQA Highers

Standard: AABB

Applicants who have achieved AABB (or better), are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/ Advanced Highers may be required.

Minimum: BBB

Applicants who have achieved BBB (or are on course to achieve this by the end of S5) are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will normally be required.

Adjusted: BB

Applicants who have achieved BB, and who meet one of the widening participation criteria are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will be required.

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

A LEVELS

Standard: BBB

Minimum: BBC

Adjusted: CCC

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

International Baccalaureate

32 points, including 5, 5, 5 at HL.

Irish Leaving Certificate

5H with 3 at H2 AND 2 at H3.

Entry from College

Advanced entry to this degree may be possible from some HNC/HND qualifications, please see www.abdn.ac.uk/study/articulation for more details.

2023 Entry

SQA Highers

Standard: AABB

Applicants who have achieved AABB (or better), are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/ Advanced Highers may be required.

Minimum: BBB

Applicants who have achieved BBB (or are on course to achieve this by the end of S5) are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will normally be required.

Adjusted: BB

Applicants who have achieved BB, and who meet one of the widening participation criteria are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will be required.

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

A LEVELS

Standard: BBB

Minimum: BBC

Adjusted: CCC

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

International Baccalaureate

32 points, including 5, 5, 5 at HL.

Irish Leaving Certificate

5H with 3 at H2 AND 2 at H3.

Entry from College

Advanced entry to this degree may be possible from some HNC/HND qualifications, please see www.abdn.ac.uk/study/articulation for more details.

The information displayed in this section shows a shortened summary of our entry requirements. For more information, or for full entry requirements for Arts and Social Sciences degrees, see our detailed entry requirements section.


English Language Requirements

To study for an Undergraduate degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:

IELTS Academic:

OVERALL - 6.0 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 5.5; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0

TOEFL iBT:

OVERALL - 78 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 18; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21

PTE Academic:

OVERALL - 59 with: Listening - 59; Reading - 59; Speaking - 59; Writing - 59

Cambridge English B2 First, C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency:

OVERALL - 169 with: Listening - 162; Reading - 162; Speaking - 162; Writing - 169

Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

International Applicants who do not meet the Entry Requirements

The University of Aberdeen International Study Centre offers preparation programmes for international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements for undergraduate study. Discover your foundation pathway here.

Fees and Funding

You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.

Fee information
Fee category Cost
RUK £9,250
Tuition Fees for 2022/23 Academic Year
EU / International students £19,800
Tuition Fees for 2022/23 Academic Year
Home Students £1,820
Tuition Fees for 2022/23 Academic Year

Scholarships and Funding

Students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland, who pay tuition fees may be eligible for specific scholarships allowing them to receive additional funding. These are designed to provide assistance to help students support themselves during their time at Aberdeen.

Additional Fees

  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.

Careers

At the University of Aberdeen, we give you every opportunity to broaden your horizons and develop the professional and personal skills and attributes you will need to build a successful career. The high quality of our degrees combined with our strong focus on employability opens up a wide range of career options, which is demonstrated by our consistently high rate of graduate employment.

Accreditation

This degree holds accreditation from

Founded Over 100 Years Ago

The School of Psychology at Aberdeen is one of the oldest in the UK.

Our Experts

The School of Psychology provides an exciting and vibrant research environment. Our degrees are taught by a range of experts across our 3 research themes: Cognition, Perception and Attention and Social Cognition.

Director of Undergraduate Teaching
Dr Jason Bohan

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

World Class Facilities

There is a range of specialised laboratories including those for brain imaging analysis, eye movement recording, movement analysis and visual neuroscience.

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Eye Tracking Facilities

Eye Tracking Facilities

The School of Psychology has four in-house eye trackers. The Eyelink 1000 system allows the recording of eye gaze at a sampling rate of 1000 Hz.

Image for Psychophysiology Centre
Psychophysiology Centre

Psychophysiology Centre

This facility consists of several spacious rooms that house electroencephalographic (EEG) equipment and sound-attenuated, shielded testing booths.

Image for Sir Duncan Rice Library
Sir Duncan Rice Library

Sir Duncan Rice Library

The University’s award winning Sir Duncan Rice Library is listed in the “Top 20 spellbinding University libraries in the World”. It contains over a million volumes, more than 300,000 e-books and 21,000 journals.

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