MSc Social and Behavioural Research Methods

Key information

Mode of delivery
Delivery type
Start date
1 year


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The MSc Social and Behavioural Research Methods provides a rigorous programme of methodological training suitable for students who wish to pursue a research career, whether in academia or beyond.  Designed to meet the Economic & Social Research Council's (ESRC) criteria for accreditation*, the programme is the ideal preparation for students looking to pursue a PhD.  Built upon a core set of compulsory courses and featuring tailored pathways across our areas of expertise in Psychology, Business Management, Finance and Accounting, it enables students to select a pathway through the programme that is appropriate to their own needs and interests.

*Programme pending accreditation 

Course content

Year 1

Year 1 

The full-time programme features a common set of introductory research methods courses in semester 1, delivered through a combination of online learning materials and teaching sessions (60 credits). This is followed by a range of specialist optional courses, delivered through a series of weekly face-to-face sessions in semester 2 (60 credits), with a dissertation in the Spring/Summer (60 credits). 

In semester 1, students will have the opportunity to attend regular Q&A sessions focused on various aspects of doing research, including research integrity, and career opportunities after graduation.

Mandatory courses

  • Research Methods 1: An Introduction to Research Methods
  • Research Methods 2: The Qualitative Researcher
  • Research Methods 3: The Quantitative Researcher

Optional courses 

Students select four optional courses from the list below:  

  • Big Data Analytics
  • Network Analysis for Business
  • Systems Thinking and Analysis
  • Econometric Methods for Economic Research
  • Comparative Financial Reporting
  • International Accounting Theory
  • Empirical Financial Modelling
  • Psychological Interventions
  • Research in Action
  • Discourse Analysis
  • Advanced Statistics using R
  • Advanced Experimental Design


Students can choose the appropriate dissertation course based on their chosen pathway. 

  • Business Management
  • Accounting, Banking or Finance
  • Independent Project in Psychology

Go Global

Some of our Postgraduate Taught Masters Programmes are eligible for Inter-Campus Transfer. Please contact for further information.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

Tuition fees
Status [footnote 1] Full-time
UK 9152
Overseas [footnote 2] 20376


  1. Your residency 'status' is usually defined as the country where you have been ordinarily resident for the three years before the start of your course. Find out more about tuition fees.
  2. Overseas includes applications from European Union countries who do not hold Pre-Settled or Settled status in the UK. Read more about the application process for EU nationals.

Scholarships and bursaries

We aim to encourage well-qualified, ambitious students to study with us and we offer a wide variety of scholarships and bursaries to achieve this. Over £6 million worth of opportunities are available in fee and stipend scholarships, and more than 400 students benefit from this support.

View our full range of postgraduate scholarships.

Entry requirements


For MSc entry, students will typically have a good honours degree (first or 2:1), or its non-UK equivalent, in a relevant subject area  from a recognised British or overseas university.

English language requirements

If your first language is not English, or your first degree was not taught in English, we'll need to see evidence of your English language ability. The minimum requirement for English language is IELTS 6.5 or equivalent. Please view our English language requirements.

We offer a range of English language courses to help you meet the English language requirement prior to starting your masters programme:

20 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.0 with no skill lower than 4.5)
14 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.0 with minimum of 5.0 in writing and no skill lower than 4.5)
10 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with no skill lower than 5.0)
6 weeks English (for IELTS 5.5 with no skill lower than 5.5)

Why Heriot-Watt?

Psychology facilities

Our Edinburgh-based researchers benefit from refurbished research facilities, comprising three expertise-specific research spaces

Psychology Student Society

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Edinburgh Campus facilities

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Living in Edinburgh

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Employers around the world actively seek out our graduates because they are work-ready. All our degrees are career-focused and relevant to the needs of industry. Around 95% of our students are in employment or further study within six months of graduating.

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