MSc Occupational Psychology

Key facts

  • Start date: September
  • Accreditation: Stage 1 qualification towards professional membership of the Division of Occupational Psychology with the British Psychological Society
  • Study mode and duration: 12 months full-time

Study with us

  • gain knowledge about applying psychology to people, work and organisations
  • learn advanced quantitative and qualitative research methods for psychology and develop data analysis skills which can be applied to the workplace
  • designed for those with an undergraduate degree in psychology or those from other backgrounds who wish to specialise in applying psychology to work and employment
  • ideal for professionals seeking a career change, or for those who recruit, manage, counsel and develop people and wish to gain further understanding of psychology at/of work
  • only course in Scotland to provide a Stage 1 qualification towards professional membership of the Division of Occupational Psychology with the British Psychological Society
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Why this course?

You'll develop knowledge in psychology and build analytical skills which can be applied in a range of careers, including occupational psychology, management, human resource management, recruitment, health and safety, engineering, the public sector, training and development, organisational change and development consultancy, and policy research.

Our teaching team draws from academics who are chartered psychologists, practitioners with industry experience, and expertise from a range of disciplines across the University of Strathclyde. Strathclyde Business School is home to many staff focused on the application of psychology to work and organisations, and has extensive collaborations with industry, policymakers and practitioners.

The Department of Work, Employment & Organisation, where the programme is based, is a Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) Approved Centre and recognised for its world-leading research and its real-world impact.

We're the only course in Scotland to provide a Stage 1 qualification towards professional membership of the Division of Occupational Psychology with the British Psychological Society.

What our students think

Watch our video to find out what our student Thrinath thinks about the course.

THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner

What you'll study

Classes cover seven core knowledge domains of work and occupational psychology:

  • psychological assessment at work
  • learning, training and development
  • leadership, engagement and motivation
  • wellbeing and work
  • work design, organisational change and development
  • applying psychology to work organisation
  • research design, advanced data gathering and analytical techniques

Cross-disciplinary electives also allow you to choose specialist classes, for example, in data science, health analytics, and human resource management/organisational development.

You'll take 180 credits over two semesters, made up from core and elective modules.

If you hold a BA Psychology degree which provides you with the Graduate Basis for Chartership (GBC) of the British Psychological Society (BPS), the MSc allows you to proceed to Stage 2 training towards professional membership of the Division of Occupational Psychology with the BPS (once accredited). To find out whether your degree is eligible, see the BPS list of accredited courses. If you believe you have an international equivalent, please review the ‘Non-UK applicants’ section of the BPS website.

If you do not have GBC, please see the non-accredited equivalent programme MSc Work & Organisational Psychology, that we run in conjunction with MSc Occupational Psychology.


The British Psychological Society accredited occupational psychology logo.

The MSc Occupational Psychology, has been accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS), making it the only BPS-accredited occupational psychology programme in Scotland. For students with Graduate Basis for Chartership (GBC) of the BPS, the course will provide a Stage 1 qualification towards professional membership of the Division of Occupational Psychology with the BPS. Accreditation means students will be eligible to progress to a Stage 2 qualification, or Chartership.

Strathclyde Business School

Strathclyde Business School was founded in 1948 and is a pioneering, internationally renowned academic organisation with a reputation for research excellence.

One of four faculties forming the University of Strathclyde, SBS is a triple-accredited business school (AACSB, EQUIS and AMBA) and was the first business school in Scotland to achieve this accolade in 2004. The Business School is home to seven subject departments and a number of specialist centres, all of which collaborate to provide a dynamic, fully-rounded and varied programme of specialist and cross-disciplinary courses.

Strathclyde Business Network

As a postgraduate student at Strathclyde Business School, you may choose to join the Strathclyde Business Network, a student-led initiative that facilitates interaction with business and industry leaders.

The Network aims to foster knowledge sharing, facilitate discussion and enable networking opportunities with the very best business professional in industry. Every year the Network organises Glasgow Business Summit, which is the first-ever student-led business conference in Scotland and brings together students with leading businesses from across the UK.

The programme's focus on practical skills and real-world applications of psychological theories and principles has helped me to develop the skills needed to succeed in a variety of organisational settings. The accreditation from the British Psychological Society is a significant factor in making this programme more attractive.
Bhagyashree Vijayakumar
MSc Occupational Psychology Student

International students

We've a thriving international community with students coming here to study from over 140 countries across the world. Find out all you need to know about studying in Glasgow at Strathclyde and hear from students about their experiences.

Visit our international students' section

Triple-accredited business school

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Course content

Assessment & Selection at Work

This class engages with contemporary knowledge about the assessment and selection of people at work. As well as developing a core appreciation for the psychometric principles underpinning assessment techniques, it aims to provide you with a critical understanding of the wider context of selection by considering key stakeholders and the implementation of selection as part of wider human resource systems. Topics include:

  • job analysis
  • techniques in developing assessment methods, including awareness of reliability, validity and utility
  • selection methods, such as employment interviews, assessment centres, situational judgment tests and digital methods
  • criteria for choosing and designing assessment methods, for example, diversity, fairness and candidate perspective

Work, Health & Wellbeing

This class will allow you to engage critically with key concepts related to understanding worker health and psychological wellbeing in contemporary working life. Topics covered include:

  • the role of the wider societal context and changing work environments in shaping work-related health and wellbeing
  • traditional and new work patterns, including remote work and impacts on work-life boundaries
  • models of stress and work
  • bullying, harassment and conflict management
  • an appreciation of the employment lifecycle, from unemployment to retirement
  • positive psychological perspectives and promoting resilience and wellbeing

Developing Talent

This class will introduce you to strategic human resource development and the theoretical and practical applications of training and career development in the workplace and labour market. Content includes:

  • theories of learning and skills development
  • learner-centred instructional design
  • training cycle: transferring learning to practice
  • psychological theories of occupational choice and career management
  • integrated approaches career development
  • evaluation of learning in the workplace
  • organisational and social factors in training and development
  • employability and unemployment policy

Leadership, Engagement & Motivation

This class will introduce theories of attitude and behaviour in the workplace, as well as performance management challenges including:

  • motivation and leadership in the workplace
  • engagement, commitment, values and organisational citizenship
  • appraisal and management of performance and potential
  • psychological contract and perceptions of justice
  • derailment and counterproductive behaviours
  • power, influence and negotiation in organisations
  • psychology of groups, teams and teamwork

Organisational Development & Change

This class will cover theoretical and critical perspectives across the following content:

  • organisational structure, design, culture and climate, including globalisation and international aspects
  • models and methods of organisational and individual change and development
  • wider context of change and implications for people management

People Analytics & Professional Practice (Consultancy)

This class adopts an applied approach to understanding the skills required to be an effective occupational psychologist or people management professional in practice. Topics focus on the practical and psychosocial aspects of professional practice at work, including:

  • self-management, project management and the consultancy cycle
  • writing client reports and proposals, making presentations
  • team development techniques

Quantitative Research Methods

This class aims to provide advanced training in a range of quantitative statistics likely to be required for analyses conducted in the dissertation. The class also aims to equip you with the statistical knowledge that is likely to be needed to aid the interpretation of results from previous empirical research. In addition, you'll develop the necessary statistical competences to support transfer to doctoral programmes and careers in academic or commercial research and teaching.

Qualitative Research Methods

An introduction to the theoretical and practical aspects of using qualitative methods within Psychology. Specifically, the class will focus on developing qualitative research questions, designing appropriate methods of data collection, and analysing qualitative data. To achieve this, you'll conduct a small group research project using qualitative methodologies.

Choose 20 credits from the following modules:

People, Technology & Work

This class will cover theoretical and critical perspectives across the following content:

  • design of jobs and work environments considering the wider context of automation and digitalisation of work and employment
  • human factors and ergonomics
  • workplace safety, risk management, and error prevention
  • organisational effectiveness, productivity, performance

10 credits

People Analytics & Professional Practice (Foundations)

This class adopts an applied approach to understanding the skills required to be an effective occupational psychologist or people management professional in practice. Topics include the foundational knowledge and skill required for professional practice:

  • the scientist-practitioner model and implications for evidence-based practice
  • ethical issues in working with individuals, teams and organisations
  • practical skills including, for example: running focus groups, workplace data capture and analysis

10 credits

HRM in a Business Context

The aim of this module is to explore human resource management as both a strategic function and essential aspect of the management role, which creates value for both business organisations and stakeholders through the effective organisation of people and associated work systems. The module examines the business context and socio-economic drivers which shape corporate strategies and in turn, shape the strategic policies and practices of human resource management.

20 credits.

Contemporary Employment Relations

The aim of this class is to provide a critical understanding of current developments in employee relations in the UK. It aims to provide a conceptual and theoretical understanding of the dynamics and the contours of the employment relationship. Particular attention will be focused on exploring the resilience of the traditional institutions and modes of employment regulation, as well as exploring current attempts to recast the dynamics of employee relations.

10 credits

Labour and Diversity in a Global Context

This module aims to explore causes and patterns of labour mobility in a global context. A key focus will be on the issue of diversity management within and between nation states in an era of more integrated markets and the practical implications these have for managers working in different political and economic contexts.

10 credits

Critical Issues in HRM

The aim of the module is to build upon core theories and strategic practices of HRM by examining emerging developments in people management, within complex and volatile global business environments.

10 credits

Design of Usable Health Systems (20 credits)

In this module, you'll learn the importance of understanding different types of users, context and usage scenarios for health devices and systems.

You'll conduct practical exercises to gather real life business requirements from a variety of stakeholders including patients, consumers and clinicians and practitioners. You'll learn to design, prototype and evaluate systems that are usable and fit-for-purpose.

Health & Care Data Analytics & Decision Support (20 credits)

The module will review the different types of data that health and wellness systems collect and process to allow informed care decisions about individuals or populations. We'll also cover analytical tools as well as visualisation and multimodal output. Plus, we'll look at information structures and standards required for interoperability and decision support functionalities.

Students with recognised previous experience in quantitative research methods may, with the agreement of the Head of Department, substitute Quantitative Research Methods for Big Data Fundamentals and either People, Technology & Work or People Analytics and Professional Practice (Foundations).

Business Analytics (20 credits)

Every two days, we generate as much data as the data generated in all human history up to 2003. From online data on every click of the mouse on the internet through the huge upsurge in manufacturing companies’ use of sensors to sports organisations collecting in-game data. With these increased quantities of data comes an increased need for tools to make sense of the main messages coming from these data.

The module will build on the fundamental multivariate statistics by developing both visualisation and advanced analysis techniques relevant in the area of big data. The focus will be on application and interpretation of techniques and there will be an investigation of what makes good data. The module will develop both new theoretical knowledge in the form of analytics techniques as well as new software skills in relevant analytics software.

Big Data Fundamentals (10 credits)

This module will introduce the challenges of analysing big data with specific focus on the algorithms and techniques which are embodied in data analytics solutions.

At the end of the module, you'll understand:

  • the fundamentals of Python for use in big data technologies
  • how classical statistical techniques are applied in modern data analysis
  • the limitations of various data analysis tools in a variety of contexts

During the summer, you'll undertake an independent empirical research project with the support of an academic dissertation supervisor. In some cases, this may involve a placement with an organisation in order to gather data. This project is intended to allow you to apply and build on the knowledge and skills acquired in the taught programme, particularly core research methods modules. It will develop your analytical, research design, data analysis and communication skills. You'll also have the opportunity to discuss your research with professional academic and practitioner audiences.

As well as preparing you for applied research and writing professional reports in a range of jobs, including as an occupational psychologist, the skills developed during the dissertation allow progression to doctoral studies for those who are interested in an academic career path.

Learning & teaching

Core and elective classes will be taught across two semesters, running from September to December and January to March. Classes will be taught through a combination of lectures and hands-on sessions using statistical software, alongside online material, with a variety of group and individual study and assignments. The project/dissertation is undertaken during the summer months.


Classes are assessed by various methods, including written assignments, exams, practical team projects, presentations and individual projects. Exams will take place at the end of each semester in December and April/May.

Chat to a student ambassador

Want to know more about what it’s like to be a Strathclyde Business School student at the University of Strathclyde? A selection of our current students are here to help!

Our Unibuddy ambassadors can answer all the questions you may have about their course experiences and studying at Strathclyde, along with offering insight into life in Glasgow and Scotland.

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Entry requirements

Academic requirements

Minimum second-class honours degree or overseas equivalent (see international entry requirements) psychology. Applicants with a lower degree and with demonstrable work experience will be considered on an individual basis.

Applicants with a degree from a non-UK university or from a non-accredited UK programme should review the guidance from the BPS to see if they are eligible to pursue the Chartership route. Evidence of graduate membership should be included as part of the application.

English language requirements

Students whose first language is not English must have a minimum of 6.5 IELTS score, with no individual score lower than 5.5. Get more information about the English language requirements for studying at Strathclyde.

Pre-Masters preparation course

The Pre-Masters Programme is a preparation course held at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre, for international students (non-UK/Ireland) who do not meet the academic entry requirements for a Masters degree at University of Strathclyde.

Upon successful completion, you'll be able to progress to this degree course at the University of Strathclyde.

Please note: Previous Maths & English qualifications and your undergraduate degree must meet GTCS minimum entry requirements as well as the pre-Masters course and an interview will be conducted before an offer can be made.

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Fees & funding

All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.

Fees may be subject to updates to maintain accuracy. Tuition fees will be notified in your offer letter.

All fees are in £ sterling, unless otherwise stated, and may be subject to revision.

Annual revision of fees

Students on programmes of study of more than one year (or studying standalone modules) should be aware that tuition fees are revised annually and may increase in subsequent years of study. Annual increases will generally reflect UK inflation rates and increases to programme delivery costs.

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England, Wales & Northern Ireland




Additional costs

Graduation gown hire.

International students

International students may have associated visa and immigration costs. Please see student visa guidance for more information.

Available scholarships

Take a look at our scholarships search for funding opportunities.

Please note: the fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.

How can I fund my course?

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Scottish postgraduate students

Scottish postgraduate students may be able to apply for support from the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS). The support is in the form of a tuition fee loan and for eligible students, a living cost loan. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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Students coming from England

Students ordinarily resident in England may be to apply for postgraduate support from Student Finance England. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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Students coming from Northern Ireland

Postgraduate students who are ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland may be able to apply for support from Student Finance Northern Ireland. The support is a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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Students coming from Wales

Students ordinarily resident in Wales may be to apply for postgraduate support from Student Finance Wales. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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International students

We've a large range of scholarships available to help you fund your studies. Check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

Glasgow is Scotland's biggest & most cosmopolitan city

Our campus is based right in the very heart of Glasgow. We're in the city centre, next to the Merchant City, both of which are great locations for sightseeing, shopping and socialising alongside your studies.

Life in Glasgow

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The programme will provide employment opportunities broadly in management, human resource management, recruitment, health and safety, engineering, public sector management (e.g. NHS), training and development, organisational change and development consultancy, and policy research.

As a professional qualification for those eligible for chartership in occupational psychology, the degree offers a range of opportunities to work in academia, as an independent consultant, or in a practitioner or policy advisory role across public, private and third sector organisations.

The degree also provides a pathway to a doctoral degree in psychology, human resource management, organisation studies, work/employment studies, management and other aligned social science and business and management subjects, especially given its emphasis on building graduates' advanced analytical data skills.

Applying occupational psychology

Occupational psychology is aligned with the work of engineers and designers, ensuring equipment, workspaces and products are suitable for the end user.

The roles available within Scottish Government demonstrate that the knowledge of occupational psychology is crucial to the delivery of public policy in practice. The delivery of devolved services (e.g. Social Security Scotland and employability programmes such as Fair Start Scotland) demands skills associated with occupational psychologists which support people both into work and within work. Examples of these ‘new’ vacancies include:

  • user-experience design of social security services/tools
  • Scottish Government and Parliament policy research and knowledge exchange
  • delivery of vocational rehabilitation and employability support for people with barriers to work
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For information and guidance on the application process, take a look at our How to Apply web page.

Start date: Sep 2024

Occupational Psychology

Start date: Sep 2024

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Contact us

SBS Postgraduate Admissions

Telephone: +44 (0)141 553 6105 / +44 (0)141 553 6116


Strathclyde Business School, University of Strathclyde
199 Cathedral Street
G4 0QU

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