MSc International Marketing with Consumer Psychology

The course

Full-time, Part-time, Per course
Course type
Entry date

Heriot Watt University's MSc in International Marketing with Consumer Psychology delivers a strong understanding of psychological approaches and interventions in consumer-led marketing strategies.


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The MSc in International Marketing with Consumer Psychology provides insight into consumer behaviour against a background of international marketing concepts. 

There are eight taught courses, divided equally over two semesters, followed by an international marketing with consumer psychology dissertation in semester 3.  Part-time students register for two courses per semester and progress to the dissertation at the end of their second year. Assessment is specifically designed to develop professional career readiness and includes several collaborative projects with industry partners. 

There are two sets of mandatory courses.  The first set provides the foundation in international marketing concepts (International Strategic Marketing, Contemporary Consumer Behaviour, Marketing Metrics, Branding and Communications, Research Philosophy and Practice). The second set delivers insights into the application of psychology to marketing decision making (Introduction to Human Factors and Psychology for Marketing). 

In Semester 3 the International Marketing with Consumer Psychology dissertation is the capstone course where students “deep-dive” into their chosen area of research.  Students will demonstrate their mastery of the subject area by developing new insight from analysis of valuable primary research. 

Specialist Mandatory Courses: 

Semester 1

Introduction to Human Factors 

This course enables students to identify major issues in consumer ergonomics.  Students will gain an understanding of the different stages of design, where ergonomics come into play, and appropriate theoretical approaches.  The course provides opportunities for the application of these insights in a retail marketing context. 

Semester 2

Psychology for Marketing 

This course develops knowledge of foundational psychological theory which is relevant for consumer-focused aspects of marketing activity.  Students will gain an understanding of the varying theoretical approaches that have been used and will apply these approaches to the different stages of the consumption process.  

An MSc with industry demand

An understanding of consumer psychology is important for many marketing roles including consumer research, online behaviour analysis and persuasive marketing for social causes. Companies recognise that competitive benefits are gained from accurately interpreting the motivations and characteristics that drive customer behaviour.  International Marketing with Consumer Psychology MSc graduates have progressed to employment in marketing in the UK and internationally (organisations include JP Morgan and Chase and Del Decus Enterprises).  During your studies you will build your CV by gaining experience in online collaborative working, writing in business communication formats and synthesising diverse information sources.  

Heriot Watt is a global university and classes are shared with students from a range of MSc programmes and nationalities providing opportunities for professional networking that will be of benefit in professional life.  Students also can become involved in the Heriot Watt Marketing Society, a student-run society which hosts speakers from industry and organises social events. 

The MSc is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) within the Graduate Gateway programmes.  This provides graduate with a credit for prior learning upon completion of their degree or the choice of self-study for a CIM qualification during their programme of study.  This would require registration on one additional CIM training course to gain a CIM certificate or two additional courses to gain a CIM diploma.  

Our research: a driving force for new knowledge – 

The MSc International Marketing with Consumer Psychology Programme Director is Dr Ian Grant, and the Head of the Marketing Subject Group is Dr Kathryn Waite. The MSc International Marketing with Consumer Psychology is part of the Marketing Group's portfolio of programmes, which includes the MSc International Marketing, the MSc Digital Marketing,  and the MSc International Fashion Marketing.  The Marketing Group were ranked 1st in Scotland and 4th in the UK by the National Student Satisfaction survey 2021 highlighting how highly valued their degree programmes are.  

Faculty members involved in this have published in digital consumption (Dr Ian Grant, Professor Paul Hopkinson), entrepreneurship (Elaine Collinson), digital marketing (Dr Kathryn Waite, Rodney Mwenje, Kristen Marshall), retail atmospherics and consumer diversity (Dr Chris Dodd) and consumer identity (Dr Jane Preist). Professor Marylyn Carrigan is an internationally recognized expert in the field of ethical and sustainable consumption; she has won multiple research grants, published over 100 academic articles, and serves on the boards of several leading management journals.

Group members are active in several University research centres including the Centre for Research on Employment, Work and Professions (Dr Kathryn Waite), Centre for Logistics and Sustainability (Professor Marylyn Carrigan, Dr Ian Grant), and the Centre for Networks and Enterprise Excellence (Elaine Collinson, Dr Jane Preist).  The Marketing Group faculty also possess considerable practitioner experience of advertising and communication agencies (Dr Ian Grant), corporate and project communications (Jane Priest) and international industry/academic partnerships (Elaine Collinson).  Professor Carrigan has extensive contacts with industry including serving as a member of the Standards Committee for the Responsible Jewellery Council, and consulting for Fairtrade Gold and the BBC. Her work investigates the role that context plays in determining how consumers and firms are embedded or deterred from behaving sustainably and the tensions and conflicts resultant.

The Psychology courses are taught by members of the Psychology faculty and draws on high-impact, applied research.  Dr Terry C. Lansdown has been undertaking research into human factors for over twenty years. He is employed at Heriot-Watt University as an Associate Professor. He has managed and participated in numerous UK and European research projects. Dr Lansdown's research interests include: risk, attentional allocation and distraction, human error, system safety and usability. He has contributed to UK and Scottish Government policy reviews. Terry has contributed to his research areas via formal publication, international standards development, and via public engagement activities and consultancy.  Dr Mioara Cristea teaches the Psychology for Marketing course. Her research includes social representations and communication, social norms, attitudes and risk taking, behavioural change and environment as well social emotions and social influence.

The mandatory course in “Research Philosophy and Practice”, which is the springboard to the dissertation project, is taught by Dr Lina Fadel whose interdisciplinary research has addressed global challenges including ethnic group identity and the experiences of Syrian refugees in the UK. 

September 2024 entry

The deadline for applications from UK students is 30 August 2024. For EU and overseas applicants, we guarantee to consider applications submitted by 2 August 2024.


The Chartered Institute of Marketing: Graduate Gateway

Heriot-Watt University has joined forces with the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) to give students the opportunity to gain professional qualifications through CIM Graduate Gateway. CIM qualifications are highly sought after by employers, and map alongside our own degrees which ensures we are equipping students with the best opportunities for a successful marketing career.

Course content

Semester 1 (Sept - Dec)

  • International Strategic Marketing
  • Contemporary Consumers
  • Marketing Metrics
  • Introduction to Human Factors  

Semester 2 (Jan - April)

  • Branding and Communications
  • Psychology for Marketing
  • Research Philosophy and Practice
  • Choose ONE of the following options:Sustainable Marketing, Social Media Marketing or Issues or Trends in Tourism)

Semester 3 (May-Aug) 

  • International Marketing with Consumer Psychology Dissertation

Consumer Psychology Mandatory Courses

Introduction to Human Factors

This course enables students to gain an understanding in the different stages and types of design where ergonomics come into play and appreciate the different theoretical approaches.

 Psychology for Marketing 

This course introduces foundational psychological theory and applies these approaches to different stages of the consumption process.

Foundational International Marketing Mandatory Courses

International Strategic Marketing

This course identifies choices in marketing strategies for local and international brands, focusing on operating a global business.

Contemporary Consumers 

On this course you will learn about the conceptual, theoretical, and practical approaches to studying consumer behaviour. 

Branding and Communications

This course helps you to master the key principles of brand management by learning how integrated marketing communications creates a valuable brand with strong, effective messaging.

Marketing Metrics

This course helps you to develop the necessary knowledge and skills required to plan, implement and appraise marketing projects including the ability to evaluate financial returns on marketing investments. 

Research Philosophy and Practice

This course provides training in a range of research skills that prepares you for the dissertation project and provides the foundation for roles in market insight and business consultancy.

Dissertation Project

Over the summer the master's dissertation enables you to deepen your knowledge of consumer psychology through research into a topic of your choice. You will gather and analyse data from companies or consumers which directly relates to your ambitions and interests.

Examples of topics within this discipline are: 

  • Making the Magic: An empirical comparison of immersive consumer experiences provided by Walt Disney World Orlando and Disneyland Paris
  • How schema theory can help the brand positioning of museums a cross cultural study
  • Sensory influences: How can the combination of hearing and tasting evoke emotions and influence spontaneous purchases of international products.
  • The extent to which cultural values within individualistic (Britain) and collectivist (India) societies affect consumer decision making for apparel products.
  • Cross-cultural examination of the online shopping addiction: A comparison of Thailand and UK.

Entry requirements

A good Honours degree (first or second class) or its non-UK equivalent in a relevant subject 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 English language requirement for entry to this programme is IELTS 6.5 (or equivalent) with no component lower than 6.0.

If you do not have IELTS 6.5, we offer a range of English language courses to help you meet the English language requirement for this programme prior to commencing your studies:

  • 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)


Tuition fees for entry
Status Full-time Part-time Per course
UK £10736 £5368 £1342
Overseas £23248 £11624 £2906


  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. Fee per course (module). Refer to the Course Content to see how many courses comprise the full programme.
  3. 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.