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Explore the relationship between political and psychological processes to develop an advanced understanding of the psychological roots of political behaviour. Our Master’s degree gives you an excellent grounding in political psychology and can lead to a career in survey and consumer research, marketing, public relations, political communications and government.
There is a growing interest among researchers and policy makers in the psychological underpinnings of individual and group behaviour in the political arena. This postgraduate degree is one of the few political psychology courses in the UK and explores how people engage with politics and the psychology behind this behaviour.
Our Political Psychology Research Group is actively researching the consequences of conspiracy theories, the impact of identity rhetoric, and how public opinion on social policy develops and changes over time, and how it shapes society.
Our Master’s programme offers a unique interdisciplinary focus on key current issues such as the nature of political ideologies, support for socio-political systems, perceptions of government, justice and inequality, beliefs in political conspiracies and political conflict and violence.
You are more than your grades
For 2022, in response to the challenges caused by Covid-19 we will consider applicants either holding or projected a 2:2. This response is part of our flexible approach to admissions whereby we consider each student and their personal circumstances. If you have any questions, please get in touch.
A final degree classification (grade average) of at least a 2.2 or Merit in the UK system. Results from institutions in other countries will be assessed individually according to this standard. However, applicants who do not meet this criterion are still welcome to apply, and their individual circumstances will be considered on a case by case basis.
Applicants with undergraduate degrees in psychology or political science are preferred and those with related social sciences or science degrees are also considered. If it is in a different subject, or if it is not accredited by the British Psychological Society, please ask your academic referee to complete the Pro forma for Political Psychology and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This programme includes a one-year statistics sequence which you must normally pass in order to receive your award. The teaching assumes that you are familiar with the following topics:
Therefore, your existing degree transcript should note that you have taken and passed a minimum of one term each in statistics and social science research methods courses (or two terms of a joint statistics and research methods course).
All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, professional qualifications and relevant experience may also be taken into account when considering applications.
Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information. Due to visa restrictions, students who require a student visa to study cannot study part-time unless undertaking a distance or blended-learning programme with no on-campus provision.
The University requires all non-native speakers of English to reach a minimum standard of proficiency in written and spoken English before beginning a postgraduate degree. Certain subjects require a higher level.
For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages.
Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.
Duration: One year full-time, two years part-time
The modules below are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.
This module complements the core programme module ('Political Psychology') by providing students with a detailed introduction to the nature and study of public opinion. Opinion and attitudes are central to the choices that citizens make and to the way they behave, which in turn are core outcomes in politics. Yet the nature and formation of those attitudes are complex, and shaped by a range of individual and contextual factors, which are central subjects within psychology. This module therefore brings together perspectives from both political science and psychology, in helping students to understand how citizens form attitudes and opinions, the processes and considerations that underpin attitude formation, the factors and actors that influence these formative processes and the effect that citizens’ attitudes have on their behaviour. The module will also consider the principal ways in which we identify and measure public opinion, notably through surveys. Underpinning the module will be the central question of whether the nature of citizens’ opinions are consistent with the assumptions and demands of modern democratic states.
This module provides a postgraduate-level orientation to both basic and advanced contemporary statistical and methodological issues in psychology. The methodological issues considered include qualitative research methodologies; experimental, quasi-experimental, and correlational research designs in the laboratory and field; and the fundamental issues in psychological measurement including reliability and validity. The statistical techniques taught include univariate and multivariate descriptive and inferential statistics; basic and advanced topics in ANOVA and ANCOVA; linear and logistic multiple regression; some scaling methods; classical test theory, factor analysis; fundamentals of structural equation modelling (path analysis, confirmatory factor analysis, multiple-group analysis), and some item response theory.
This module provides an opportunity to study at an advanced level the literature on intergroup relations. The module builds upon knowledge gathered in the undergraduate degree on social and personality psychology. It will stress how social-psychological and personality theories in combination can explain intergroup processes. Emphasis will be placed on applying theoretical models and empirical findings to the analysis of real-world problems. Topics that will be addressed include social identity and social categorization, social inequality, prejudice, intergroup conflict and innervations to improve intergroup relations. The module relies primarily on research in social and personality psychology, but we will also consider perspectives from other fields, such as political science and sociology. This module relies heavily on student presentation, participation and student discussion.
This module provides an opportunity to study at an advanced level the literature on political psychology. The module will stress how psychology and political science in combination can serve to analyse and explain political processes. Emphasis will be placed on applying theoretical models and empirical findings to the analysis of real-world problems. Topics that will be addressed include political ideology, social justice and inequality, political engagement and extremism, political leadership and perceptions of government and authority. This module relies heavily on student participation and discussion.
To provide students with an understanding of academic research and an ability to identify and utilise appropriate strategies and techniques for the purpose of individual investigation, research and practice within a subject specific area of their course route. This module will prepare students to undertake the dissertation module in Stage 2 of their course.
The course provides an overview and a framework for considering the field of international conflict resolution. The students have the opportunity to explore conflict resolution methods such as mediation, negotiation, collaborative problem solving, and alternative dispute resolution. The approach is interdisciplinary and juxtaposes traditional approaches in conflict management with the scientific study of conflict and cooperation. Across the term students will be exposed to a range of different theories and approaches to conflict management and be required to practically apply the course content in a number of simulations.
The course provides an overview and framework for considering the evolving field of international conflict resolution with an emphasis on negotiation and mediation. The module will focus primarily on the practical as well as on the theoretical aspects of negotiation and mediation, or more broadly third party intervention in conflicts. Its aims are to give the students an overview of the main problems involved in negotiation and mediation (broadly defined), but also to give them a chance to work individually and in groups on case studies and material related to the resolution of conflicts. The course is designed to introduce the students to theories of negotiation and bargaining, discuss the applicability of various tools and techniques in problem solving real cases of international conflict, and allow them to make use of such techniques in role playing and simulations.
The module draws from comparative politics, international relations, and political thought to analyse the past, present, and future of the democratic national state, the dominant form of political system in today's world. It addresses questions such as: Why are some states federal and others unitary? What explains the resilience of nationalism? Does economic integration leads to political disintegration? Why has regional integration gone much further in Europe than elsewhere? Is multi-national democracy possible? The module first charts the emergence of the modern state and its transformation into a national and democratic form of political system. Subsequently, it explores some key aspects of the formation, structuring, restructuring, and termination of states such as the unitary/federal dichotomy, processes of devolution, the challenge of secession, the question of the connections between the economic environment and the number and size of states, the phenomenon of supra-state regional integration, and the connections between nationality and democracy. It concludes by assessing the challenges facing the democratic national state in the 21st century and their likely trajectory in the foreseeable future.
This module provides an understanding of current conceptual debates in Social Psychology together with an appreciation of how practitioners apply behavioural principles in their field of work. The module focuses on the application of conceptual and methodological insights to significant real-world problems, as well as the development of new theoretical approaches based on the lessons learned from applied research and practice.
This module provides an opportunity to study the literature on group processes at an advanced level and familiarises students with current theorising and research on the psychology of groups and teams in organisations. The module introduces theoretical and empirical background, and uses these to help students develop ideas for further research and practice.
The module builds upon knowledge of social psychology gained at undergraduate level and draws primarily on small group research in social and organisational psychology, but perspectives from other fields such as moral psychology and economics will also be considered. Seminar topics include social identity, group cohesion, status and leadership, creativity, social dilemmas, trust/distrust, as well as moral judgment and behaviour. The module involves a great deal of student presentation, participation and discussion.
All students undertake a supervised empirical research project relevant to their chosen MSc programme, and submit it as a typed dissertation of approximately 8,000 words.
For Cognitive Psychology/Neuropsychology, Developmental Psychology, and Social Psychology MSc-T dissertations, the project should be grounded in the area of psychology.
For Organisational and Business Psychology dissertations, the project should include an examination of an identifiable organisational or business issue or problem within the context of relevant psychological theory, such as social, organisational or business psychology.
For Political Psychology dissertations, the project should be grounded in the area of psychology or political science and informed by the other discipline.
The aim of the dissertation is to test the student's ability to plan, execute, analyse, and report a piece of independent research in the relevant setting. The dissertation requires detailed theoretical knowledge of the relevant discipline (or disciplines), an appreciation of the ways in which that knowledge has been applied in previous research and practice, and the methodological and statistical skills to set up a scientific investigation. Supervision is provided by the principal teaching staff and by other appropriate staff with research interests in a student's chosen area. Students are advised to read the School's Ethics pages for information on submitting applications for ethical approval to the School and to relevant outside bodies.
Assessment is mainly by coursework assignment (4-6,000-word essays), examination (for the Advanced Statistics and Methodology module only), plus the dissertation.
Our aims are to:
You develop intellectual abilities in the following:
You gain subject-specific skills in the following:
You gain transferable skills in the following:
The 2022/23 UK fees for this course are:
For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.
For students continuing on this programme fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact email@example.com.
The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.
Find out more about general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.
Search our scholarships finder for possible funding opportunities. You may find it helpful to look at both:
In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, research by the School of Psychology was ranked 11th in the UK for research intensity.
An impressive 95% of our research-active staff submitted to the REF and 97% of our research was judged to be of international quality. The School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of world-leading research.
The School of Psychology at Kent has a strong international profile for its research. As well as a long-established international reputation in social psychology, we have also established strengths in cognitive, developmental and forensic psychology.
Our academic community consistently attracts substantial research and innovation funding from UK research councils, European research programmes, charities, learned societies and businesses.
As well as generating theoretical innovations, the outcomes of our projects help health professionals, educators, charities, the public sector, government and commercial partners understand how people think, behave and interact to meet a range of personal, social and economic challenges.
Of relevance to students of this Master's degree, the Social Psychology Group conducts research into all areas of social psychology, with some work overlapping into organisational psychology and cognitive science.
The Centre for the Study of Group Processes (CSGP) conducts research into the social psychological processes affecting group and intergroup relations.
The School of Politics and International Relations is widely recognised for its strong international research profile in conflict and security, regional and comparative politics and political and social theory.
We develop relationships with a wide range of non-academic partners to enhance the relevance of our research outside higher education. We help to develop our researchers' skills, so their work reaches further and has more impact.
Our research is making a difference in the world. Our research on conflict resolution has enhanced professional training in the field and improved democratic participation in conflict-ridden societies.
Following the most recent Research Exercise Framework we were ranked in the top 20 for research impact in the UK by the Times Higher Education.
For information about the interdisciplinary links between psychological processes and politics, please see the Kent Political Psychology Lab website.
Full details of School of Psychology staff research interests can be found on the School's website.
Information about expertise in the School of Politics and International Relations is available from their website.
You learn a set of skills that will allow you to pursue a career in areas such as:
Upon completing our Master’s courses, our graduates have also pursued doctoral study and academic careers at higher education institutions.
The School has excellent facilities for both laboratory and field research, including advanced laboratory and teaching facilities. Resources include:
Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. Among others, they have recently contributed to: Journal of Experimental Social Psychology; Journal of Personality and Social Psychology; Child Development; Clinical Psychology Review. Details of recently published books can be found within the staff research interests.
All students registered for a taught Master's programme are eligible to apply for a place on our Global Skills Award Programme. The programme is designed to broaden your understanding of global issues and current affairs as well as to develop personal skills which will enhance your employability.
The online application form will ask you to provide the name and email address of one academic referee from your degree-granting institution. On submission of your application, they will receive a reference request by email.
To save time, we recommend that you notify your referee in advance. Their reference should describe their impression of your academic achievements, preparedness and motivation for postgraduate study in your chosen field, and personal qualities relevant to postgraduate study.
Learn more about the applications process or begin your application by clicking on a link below.
Once started, you can save and return to your application at any time.
T: +44 (0)1227 768896