For more information about Political Psychology at University of Kent, please visit the webpage using the button above.

The award
MSc

How long you will study
12

Domestic course fees
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How you will study
full-time, part-time

Course starts
September

International course fees
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All study options

About Political Psychology at University of Kent

The MSc in Political Psychology is an exciting new programme exploring the relationships between political and psychological processes. It combines modules from the School of Psychology and the School of Politics and International Relations to offer a unique interdisciplinary focus on key current issues in political psychology.

Overview

The programme focuses on key topics including political ideologies, government perceptions, justice and inequality, beliefs in political conspiracies, and political conflict and violence. Develop your knowledge of theory and practice by studying a range of areas such as advanced intergroup relations, public opinion, and statistics and methods.

Gain an understanding of political psychology through academic, practical and research training, with a strong focus on quantitative methods. Information about the existing interdisciplinary research on the links between psychological processes and politics is available from the Kent Political Psychology Lab website.

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.

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 UK and the Equality and Human Rights Commission and collaborative studentships with partners such as People United.

About the School of Politics and International Relations

The School of Politics and International Relations is a leading school within the discipline, with strengths in several areas related to political psychology, notably conflict analysis, negotiation and mediation and the analysis of public opinion. The School boasts a wide range of postgraduate courses, along with a dynamic programme of visiting speakers, including policy makers. 

In the Research Excellent Framework for 2014, the School was rated a top 20 department for research power. In addition 94% of our research has been ranked as world leading or of international significance. The School was also ranked joint first in the UK for our research impact, with 100% of our impact case studies evaluated as being either outstanding, or having very considerable impact.

National ratings

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.

Careers

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

  • Policy development
  • Political consultancy
  • Public relations
  • Pollingand electoral analyses
  • Conflict management. 

Uponcompleting our Master's courses, our graduates have also pursued doctoral studyand academic careers at higher education institutions.

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.

The School of Politics and International Relations has a strong international research profile in numerous areas, including: conflict and security, regional and comparative politics, and political and social theory. The School's research is organised within four research centres: the Conflict Analysis Research Centre, the Centre for Critical Thought, the Centre for Federal Studies and the Global Europe Centre. The School also hosts the Comparative Politics Group, which includes various researchers pursuing empirical analysis of key issues within political science. Further details of the School's research activities can be found here.

Research activity in the School of Psychology 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
  • to develop, report and analyse research, and host 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. The Centre attracts a stream of major international social psychology researchers, who regularly visit to work with our staff and are officially affiliated to the Centre. 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. Some of this research activity occurs in the Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience and Cognitive Systems, a strategic partnership between the Schools of Psychology and Computing.

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 three 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 regularly visit to work with our staff. The Centre also edits an international journal, Group Processes and Intergroup Relations.

Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience and Cognitive Systems

The objective of the Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience and Cognitive Systems (CCNCS) is to harness the potential for cross-disciplinary research at the junction of cognitive psychology and the computational sciences. The Centre focuses on how behavioural and neuro-physiological experimentation needs to inform and be informed by the construction of computational models. Furthermore, the results of such studies should inform the construction of artificial systems, such as forensic imaging, human-computer interfaces and robotic systems.

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.

Study options

  • Taught

Fees

The 2017/18 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

Political Psychology - MSc at Canterbury:UK/EUOverseasFull-time£6500£14670Part-time£3250£7340

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.*

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.

General additional costs

Find out more about accommodation and living costs, plus 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:

  • University and external funds
  • Scholarships specific to the academic school delivering this programme

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Entry requirements

Entry requirements Applicants should hold a 2.1 at undergraduate level and a Merit at Master's level in a relevant discipline, from a UK or other approved university and/or equivalent. You must submit a research proposal of approximately 1,500 words on your intended topic. All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, and professional qualifications and experience will also be taken into account when considering applications. International students Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information for your country. Meet our staff in your country For more advice about applying to Kent, you can meet our staff at a range of international events. English language entry requirements 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. Need help with English? 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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