Organisational and Business Psychology - PCert, PDip, MSc

Kent’s Organisational and Business Psychology MSc develops your theoretical and research-based knowledge of social and occupational psychology to enhance your understanding of workplace behaviour. It offers you a pathway to a career as a practitioner or academic researcher in the field of organisational psychology. Flexible PDip and PCert options are available for working professionals.

Overview

This MSc programme brings together aspects of psychological research into applied, social, and organisational psychology modules from Kent's School of Psychology with modules on organisational behaviour and people management from Kent Business School.

This MSc provides insights into the psychology of selection and assessment, methods and statistics, employee wellbeing, entrepreneurship and people management. The programme will develop your understanding of the contextual forces within organisations and the role of organisational psychology, including political, environmental, technical, social and legal.

Watch an additional video about Taught MSc Degrees in the School of Psychology and find out about the excellent support we give to our students.

About the School of Psychology

As a student within the School of Psychology at Kent, you benefit from our supportive, dynamic and diverse environment for creative research and learning.

All of our taught Master’s (MSc) programmes have been recognised by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as meeting the nationally recognised criteria for preparation training for PhD research.

Conducting both basic and applied research in several areas, Psychology at Kent is highly regarded as a leading European centre for postgraduate research. Our long-established international reputation in social psychology is complemented by our strengths in cognitive, developmental and forensic psychology. We attract excellent visiting scholars and postgraduate students from both within the UK and overseas.

Some of our PhD students are self-funded, and others are funded by grants or awards either from the School, UK or their countries of origin. Some are also paid to undertake part-time teaching within the School. We have a strong track record of attracting ESRC research studentship funding, which involves partnerships with external organisations such as Age Concern England and the Equality and Human Rights Commission and collaborative studentships with partners such as People United.

Entry requirements

A final degree classification (grade average) of at least a 2.1 or Merit in the UK system (the second highest classification after First/Distinction). 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 and business/management sciences are preferred and those with related social sciences or science degrees are also considered.

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Some typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice.

If you are an international student, visit our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country, including details of the International Foundation Programmes.

English language entry requirements

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

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Course structure

Duration: MSc 1 year full-time, 2 or 4 years part-time

The MSc in Organisational and Business Psychology includes lecture and seminar-based teaching, visiting lecturers/speakers, company visits, as well as a research apprenticeship.

The MSc programme is composed of five compulsory modules and three optional modules.

Core modules are: Advanced Topics in Business PsychologyGroups, Teams and OrganisationsOrganisational Psychology: Methods and StatisticsThe Psychology of Selection and Assessment; and a Research Apprenticeship Dissertation.

The programme is also offered as a 120-credit (60 ECTS) Postgraduate Diploma which entails the same taught curriculum as the MSc but does not require a dissertation. 

A 60-credit (30 ECTS) Postgraduate Certificate in Organisational and Business Psychology offers another opportunity to take one compulsory module (The Psychology of Selection and Assessment) and three optional modules.

View this year's timetable. Please note that timetabling and modules may change from year to year.

Modules

The following modules 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. 

Compulsory modules currently include

This module will provide students with a range of theoretical and practical knowledge, providing them with the opportunity to think critically and evaluate the theory and practice of employee resourcing. This will enable students to develop and apply employee resourcing tools and techniques to specific organisational contents in which they might operate. Indicative topics of study are as follows:

• Overview of the selection process

• The role of legislation

• Job and competency analysis

• Selection Tools: Recruitment and application forms; individual differences and psychometrics; selection interviews; work samples, and situational judgement tests

• Fairness and diversity in assessment.

• International selection methods

• Evaluating Selection from a candidate's perspective

• Assessment beyond selection: Appraisal, 360 degree appraisals and promotion

Find out more about CB8029

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.

Find out more about SP844

This module focuses on developing and extending students' knowledge of research methods and statistics. There is an important element of the module which focuses on developing students' understanding of the basics of research methods and statistical analysis. However, the module also goes further by teaching students about some advanced methodological and statistical tools. Topics to be covered include:

a) Searching and reviewing relevant literature for a research project.

b) Research design, variables, sampling, levels of measurement, surveys and experiments.

c) Descriptive statistics (frequency, mean, mode, median).

d) Basic inferential statistics (t-test, correlations, chi-square, One-Way ANOVA).

e) Advanced inferential statistics (Multivariate ANOVA, Linear & Logistic Regression).

f) Qualitative research methods (focus groups, interviews)

g) Presenting statistical findings in an understandable way when writing research reports.

Find out more about SP857

This module examines key concepts and emerging themes in Psychology applied to work and organisations; for example, work motivation, leadership and management, nudging, and well-being — with a particular focus on areas of research within the School of Psychology. Applications of psychological and behavioural science to work and organisations will be enriched by case studies and situated in the wider business context in which psychologists practice and provide consultancy, including relevant ethical and legal frameworks.

Find out more about SP863

Optional modules may include

This module focuses on helping students develop the skills of working in an innovative environment as a social scientist. Innovation has become important to organisations. The practice of hypothesis-driven or lean innovation provides a unique role for the social scientist within start-ups and large organisations. During this module, students will learn about the theory and practice of innovation. Students will also work with a team on validating a product idea.

Find out more about SP858

In this module, students conduct an extended literature review and critique on a topic relevant to organisational psychology. The topic will be developed through discussion with an academic supervisor, to identify a particular area of research that is relevant and topical. The module will develop advanced research skills and problem solving. On completion of the modules, students will have specialist knowledge and evidence of independent research.

Find out more about SP859

Key elements of professional HRM&D competence in organisations are a strategic business orientation and a concern with adding value through HR practice. This module introduces students to the aims and objectives of HRM&D function in organisations and how these are met in practice

The module is designed to introduce students to the range of practical skills required by HR professionals. Building on their understanding of the basic notions in the field, students will learn current best practices and procedures within organisations.

The module will include core lectures but its focus will be on case studies, practice based workshops and directed learning activities. These will include activities around various HRM functions within an ethical and legislative framework.

Topics of study are as follows:

- Aims and objectives of HRM&D functions and current developments

- Human Resource Management & Development in different organisational contexts

- Effective leadership and methods of leadership development

- Employee motivation, commitment and engagement

- Flexible working

- Change management

- Ethical issues and practices in HRM&D

- Contemporary research and debates in Human Resource Management

Find out more about CB9046

This module aims to provide learners with a rigorous framework of knowledge and understanding concerning people management and development that they will need whatever the degree of specialisation they later elect to follow. It has a number of distinct learning objectives. Firstly, the module seeks to familiarise students with major contemporary research evidence on effective approaches to leadership and learning and development practice. Research focusing on the links between people management practices and positive organisational outcomes is covered, as is research that highlights major contemporary changes and developments in practice.

Secondly, the module introduces students to major debates about theory and practice in the specific fields of leadership, change management, and leadership development. The aim is to help them become effective leaders as well as effective HR specialists, managing others fairly and effectively and increasing levels of engagement, commitment, motivation and performance. Finally, the module requires students to reflect critically on theory and practice from an ethical and professional standpoint and provides opportunities for applied learning and continuous professional development.

Find out more about CB9047

Compulsory modules currently include

All students undertake a supervised empirical research project in an area of organisational psychology to gain practical experience of research. The module allows students to develop research skills by working closely with expert researchers or practitioners. The research will be conducted as a research apprenticeship, so the student will work on a wider programme or research developed by the supervisor, or on a project specific to an organisation (still with close supervision from an academic supervisor). Some of the apprenticeship will involve working in collaborative teams (e.g. for data collection) but all students will write up the research independently in the form of a dissertation. Most projects will be with academics from the University (School of Psychology, Kent Business School, or related disciplines) but there will be some opportunities for students to work on projects outside the University with external research partners.

Find out more about SP855

Teaching and assessment

Assessment methods will include essays, seminar contributions, examinations, presentations, and the dissertation.

Programme aims

Our aims are to provide you with:

  • a programme that satisfies the academic requirements of the knowledge base specified by QAA and other relevant external agencies 
  • specialised knowledge of theoretical approaches to organisational psychology and related areas so that you can take effective roles within the discipline
  • statistical and methodological expertise, and a multidisciplinary approach to the subject
  • the necessary research and transferable skills for entering academic or other careers as practising professional psychologists
  • the ability to manage your own learning and carry out independent research
  • critical, analytic and problem-solving skills that can be applied in a wide range of settings
  • the benefit of our close ties within Europe and elsewhere, especially external organisational partners (eg Dstl, NHS).

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • the key issues in organisation psychology
  • a range of conceptual, historical, theoretical and philosophical issues underlying the discipline of organisational psychology
  • research and analytic techniques and methodologies employed by organisational psychologists
  • the contextual forces within organisations and the role of organisational psychology, including political, environmental, technical, social and legal
  • the utility of psychology and management science to the application of organisational psychology within management and business
  • the use of relevant communication methods for the research and application of organisational psychology.

Intellectual skills

You develop intellectual abilities in the following:

  • critical reflection on key themes through oral discussion and written analysis
  • evaluating and generalising appropriately, using critical thinking and creativity
  • selecting and synthesising complex material through organising, developing and evaluating relevance
  • systematic approaches to problem solving, individually and in groups
  • studying independently and using resources in a way suited to further study or practice
  • communicating persuasively and leading and co-operating within a team.

Subject-specific skills

You gain subject-specific skills in the following:

  • the use of major analytic techniques employed by organisational psychologists
  • evaluating and selecting appropriate methods for researching questions in organisational psychology
  • applying ethical values to research and practice related to organisational psychology
  • conducting research in the discipline to address business and management issues
  • finding, recording, organising and contributing to knowledge on organisational psychology
  • understanding how psychological scientific theories and methods can be applied to organisational issues.

Transferable skills

You gain transferable skills in the following:

  • numeracy - data analysis skills to integrate numerical and other forms of information; understanding statistical analyses conducted by others in published works and the limits of arguments based on quantitative arguments
  • communication - writing coherently and concisely; oral discussion and presentation; negotiating/persuading or influencing others using a wide range of media
  • working with others - reviewing the work of others; working co-operatively in a team/group to recognise and maximise the contribution of yourself and others; understanding ethical issues and methods of obtaining ethical approval for research
  • personal development - exploring personal strengths and weaknesses; time management; autonomy; self-motivation and self-management; respect for diversity in people
  • technology - computer use for data analysis, research, word processing, reports, presentations and bibliographic research
  • problem solving - identifying and defining problems; exploring and discriminating alternatives; testing solutions; scanning and organising data to abstract meaning and potential solutions.

Fees

The 2021/22 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

Organisational and Business Psychology - MSc at Canterbury

  • Home full-time £9100
  • EU full-time £14300
  • International full-time £19000
  • Home part-time £4550
  • EU part-time £7150
  • International part-time £9500

Organisational and Business Psychology - PDip at Canterbury

  • Home full-time £6067
  • EU full-time £9600
  • International full-time £12670
  • Home part-time £3034
  • EU part-time £4800
  • International part-time £6330

Organisational and Business Psychology - PCert at Canterbury

  • Home full-time £3034
  • EU full-time £4800
  • International full-time £6330
  • Home part-time £1517
  • EU part-time £2400
  • International part-time £3170

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 information@kent.ac.uk.

Your fee status

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.

Additional costs

General additional costs

Find out more about general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent. 

Funding

Search our scholarships finder for possible funding opportunities. You may find it helpful to look at both:

The Complete University Guide

In The Complete University Guide 2021, the University of Kent was ranked in the top 10 for research intensity. This is a measure of the proportion of staff involved in high-quality research in the university.

Please see the University League Tables 2021 for more information.

Complete University Guide Research Intensity

Independent rankings

School of Psychology

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.

Kent Business School

In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, we were placed 25th (out of 101 institutions) in the UK for research intensity in business and management studies and 98% of our research was judged to be of international quality. The School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of research of international excellence.
The School was also ranked 24th for its breadth and depth of research across the whole community of research active staff by the Association of Business Schools.

Research areas

Research themes

The School of Psychology is highly regarded as a leading European centre for postgraduate research, with an international reputation for excellence in social psychology (including group processes and intergroup relations); cognition and neuroscience; developmental psychology; and forensic psychology. We have staff who can supervise research degrees in all of these areas. The research environment is designed to sustain a strong, vibrant research culture, encourage collaboration, and unite staff and students with shared research interests. Our themes ensure critical mass and create a highly energetic and stimulating intellectual climate.

Research activity is supported by:

  • centrally co-ordinated provision and use of laboratories and technical support
  • selection of speakers for our weekly departmental research colloquia
  • weekly research meetings within each theme
  • developing, reporting and analysing research, and hosting our many visiting scholars
  • several monthly small meeting series on specific areas of cross-cutting research (such as forensic, social development, emotion, social cognition and health).

Social Psychology

Much of our social psychology research is co-ordinated through the Centre for the Study of Group Processes (CSGP), the largest research group in this area in Europe. CSGP attracts a stream of major international social psychology researchers, who are officially affiliated to the Centre and regularly visit to work with our staff. The Social Psychology group also includes the co-editor of Group Processes and Intergroup Relations (Abrams).

Social psychology research at Kent is funded by a variety of British and international sources, currently and recently including ESRC, British Academy, Leverhulme, Age Concern, European Commission, European Science Foundation, Home Office, Equality and Human Rights Commission, Nuffield, and Joseph Rowntree Foundation, as well as government departments such as the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Department for Work and Pensions.

The Social Psychology group includes the following themes:

Prejudice, intergroup contact and social categorisation

This research is carried out in our social psychology laboratories, at schools and in business organisations. For example, research within this topic focuses on questions such as: how contact between members of different social groups is represented psychologically, how intergroup contact affects prejudice, when outgroups are seen as less human, when and why children show prejudice, and why organisational mergers sometimes fail.

Social inequality and cohesion

Research on this topic combines theory-driven research and engagement with policy. It is conducted in real-life settings such as the workplace, and involves national and international surveys. For example, the research focuses on the well-being of elderly people in Britain, work participation and motherhood, and discrimination against different groups in society.

Group dynamics and social influence

Laboratory studies and community-based research are conducted on this topic. For example, research focuses on co-operation in small groups, group decision-making, perception and influence of leaders, social communication and language, subjective group dynamics in adults and children, the dynamics of prison gang activity, and the impact of alcohol on group processes.

Personality and social motivation

Much of this research is carried out in laboratories, through surveys and in clinical or other applied settings. For example, research has examined aggression, the adaptive functions of perfectionism, and consequences of mortality salience.

Cognition and Neuroscience

Research under this theme has an international reputation in the topic areas of Visual cognition, attention and memory, and Language and communication. 

Visual cognition, attention and memory

Research on this topic focuses primarily on the role of vision and visual perception in human performance. The fundamental aim of this work is to identify the cognitive processes and neurological mechanisms underlying various visual tasks. Studies involving neurologically healthy volunteers examine issues such as face recognition and identification, eyewitness testimony, person detection, emotion processing, episodic memory and pattern and motion recognition.

Language and communication

Research in this group examines various aspects of semantic, pragmatic and syntactic understanding. Research questions on healthy populations include the role of executive functions in successful language use and communication, how language influences attentional processes and perspective taking, anomaly detection, and the effect of interruptions on reading. Work on developmental populations examines issues such as how children learn to understand and produce sentences in their own language, and how they learn conversational conventions and self-repair. Research also examines developmental disorders of communication, including autism spectrum disorders and dyslexia. This research group has links with researchers in the School of European Culture and Languages, as part of the Centre for Language and Linguistic Studies.

Forensic Psychology

Forensic Psychology research at Kent and all forensic-related teaching operates through our newly constituted Centre of Research and Education in Forensic Psychology (CORE-FP). Current research is focused on bullying in prisons, prison gang behaviour, jury decision-making, child sexual offending, rape, rape proclivity, female sexual offending, theories of offender rehabilitation, firesetting, sexual harassment, violence, aggression and alcohol, and the infrahumanisation of offenders. Other areas of research include social cognition, social and moral emotion, and group process theory, all of which are applied to the study of offending behaviour or court process issues.

Forensic psychology research at Kent is funded by various national and international sources, which include: The British Academy, Economic and Social Research Council, Home Office, Leverhulme, Ministry of Justice and the Nuffield Foundation.

Research may be carried out with staff or offenders/ex-offenders in a variety of settings, including prisons, youth offender institutions, secure mental health units and probation offices. Alternatively, research may take place with students or members of the community in our newly equipped laboratories.

Developmental Psychology

Much of the research conducted by members of the Developmental Psychology group is conducted with neurotypical infants, children, and adolescents.  However, we also take a lifespan approach to the study of development and conduct research with older adults.  Moreover, a key focus of our research is on neuro-developmental disorders.  Central research topics include:

Social development

Developmental group members are particularly interested in the expression and control of ethnic and gender prejudice, social ostracism and inclusion, conversational norms and group identity in children.  We also conduct research on social aspects of older adulthood, in particular self-stereotyping and prejudice against elderly people.

Cognitive development

Cognitive development is a major focus of many of our developmental psychologists.  In particular, members of the Developmental Psychology group actively research topics such as the development of social cognition and theory of mind, language, information and sensory processing, and conversation and pragmatic skills.

Forensic research

Our developmental research also focuses on adolescence, as well as infancy, childhood and older adulthood.  In particular, we are interested in the emergence of gang activity and antisocial behaviour during this period of development.

Developmental psychopathology

We also conduct cutting-edge research into neuro-developmental disorders, such as autism and language impairment, with a view to understanding the nature and basis of, and best ways to treat, these disorders.

Research centres

The School of Psychology currently includes two formally constituted research centres, representing areas of concentration and excellence in research.

Centre for the Study of Group Processes

The Centre for the Study of Group Processes (CSGP) was set up in 1990 to consolidate the School’s excellent international reputation for social psychological research into group processes and intergroup relations. CSGP is now a thriving international research community, including 15 full-time academic staff and a large number of research fellows and PhD students. The Centre also attracts a stream of major international group researchers, who are officially affiliated to it and visit regularly to work with our staff. The Centre also edits an international journal, Group Processes and Intergroup Relations.

Centre of Research and Education in Forensic Psychology

The main aim of the Centre of Research and Education in Forensic Psychology is to conduct high-impact psychological research to further understand key forensic issues of social significance, and to lead to cutting-edge teaching and research opportunities for postgraduate students. Forensic psychology is an extremely popular and rapidly developing branch of psychology that seeks to understand the psychological processes underlying offending behaviour (including group processes), the reduction and supervision of offending behaviour (ie rehabilitation, treatment and management of community risk), victim responses to offending, the mechanisms underlying the criminal justice system more generally (ie jury decision-making and the courts), and attitudes to offenders and offender reintegration in society.

Careers

You learn a set of skills that will allow you to pursue a career such as:

  • Human resource management
  • Recruitment
  • Psychometric testing
  • Coaching and training
  • Counselling in the workplace
  • Organisational development consultancy. 

Upon completing our Master’s courses, our graduates have also pursued doctoral study and academic careers at higher education institutions.

Professional recognition

All of our taught Master’s (MSc) programmes have been recognised by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as meeting the nationally recognised criteria for preparation training for PhD research.

Study support

Postgraduate resources

The School has excellent facilities for both laboratory and field research, including advanced laboratory and teaching facilities. Resources include:

  • three fully equipped colour video laboratories for face-to-face group research, together with ten satellite laboratories connected via remote-control CCTV and two-way audio links
  • 58 research laboratories, all containing networked computers
  • a further 80 PCs available exclusively to Psychology students, including a designated MSc computer-networked room providing full email and internet access
  • shared offices and a personal, networked computer for research students
  • a full range of computer-based experiment generators and productivity software installed on all the School’s systems
  • an upgraded laboratory suite with equipment for digital sound and vision recording
  • four Brain Vision EEG labs (including one for simultaneous TMS & EEG, and one portable EEG system)
  • two trans-cranial direct current electrical stimulators (GVS, Magstim)
  • Neuroconn tDCS/tACS electrical stimulator with facilities for simultaneous EEG
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) PowerMAG Research 100 High Frequency Stimulator
  • two Tobii eye-trackers (Tobii X120 & Tobii T60 XL portable)
  • one Arrington eye-tracker
  • a suite equipped with Bio-Pac recorders to allow for a range of physiological measures to be taken during stressful and other tasks
  • specialist laboratories equipped for face processing and vision research
  • CRS ColorCal II Colorimeter/Photometer
  • CRS Audiofile for synchronized audio-visual presentation
  • numerous PC and Mac labs to run behavioural experiments
  • Mirror Stereoscopes for dichoptic presentation and stereo vision research
  • immersive virtual reality lab (including integrated eye-tracker)
  • a social cognition laboratory
  • creation in 2010 of the Kent Child Development Unit and research team focusing on how children learn about their world, about other people and about the language they hear around them.

Dynamic publishing culture

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.

Global Skills Award

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.  

Apply now

References

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.

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United Kingdom/EU enquiries

MSc at Canterbury

PDip at Canterbury

PCert at Canterbury

Admissions enquiries

T: +44 (0)1227 768896

E: information@kent.ac.uk

Subject enquiries

For further information please contact the Programme Director, Dr Hannah Swift
E: Hannah Swift

For informal enquiries please contact Carly Turnham
T: +44 (0)1227 824775
E: psypgadmissions@kent.ac.uk

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International student enquiries

Enquire online

T: +44 (0)1227 823254
E: internationalstudent@kent.ac.uk

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