Taught course

Social and Behavioural Research Methods

Heriot-Watt University · School of Social Sciences

Entry requirements

For MSc entry, students will typically have a good honours degree (first or 2:1), or its non-UK equivalent, in a relevant subject area from a recognised British or overseas university.

Months of entry


Course content


The MSc Social and Behavioural Research Methods programme at Heriot-Watt University provides you with excellent training in research methods and will prepare you for a career in research, whether you want to work in academics or in other fields.

During the master’s programme, you’ll develop advanced research skills and techniques relevant to your chosen field of study. You’ll understand the principles of research design and strategy and be able to formulate research questions which are amenable to empirical investigation. You’ll be able to understand and apply a broad range of research methods, including quantitative and qualitative, and will use appropriate software for their application.

Each course will equip you with highly employable expertise and skills in psychology, business management, finance and accounting. You’ll have the opportunity to choose four optional courses, including research in action, big data analysis, systems thinking and analysis, psychological interventions, advanced experimental design and international accounting theory. This will allow you to customise your learning and develop your specific interests. Your dissertation will allow you to engage in an independent in-depth critical examination based on your chosen pathway, from an independent project in psychology, business management and accounting, banking or finance.

You’ll benefit from the industry relevance of the programme, which will set you up for life after graduation. Upon completion, you’ll be able to use a significant range of professional skills, techniques and materials to understand the application of good ethical practice across the entire research process.


The MSc Social and Behavioural Research Methods degree is taught by experienced, leading academics who, in many cases, have published the research which shapes their disciplines and written the books which will guide your learning. Many academics balance teaching time with continued professional practice as translators, interpreters, practitioner psychologists, tax and finance specialists and management consultants. They bring real-world experience to the classroom.

Your learning environment

The MSc Social and Behavioural Research Methods programme has excellent research facilities such as eye trackers, driving simulators and consistent environment labs which will support your independent research project.  

This degree is taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials and lab work. You’ll also take part in regular Q&A sessions which will focus on various aspects of doing research, including research integrity and career options after graduation.

You’ll be assessed through a mix of coursework and a dissertation. You’ll receive support and feedback throughout the programme.

Customise your learning

The MSc Social and Behavioural Research Methods provides you with training and hands on experience of research methods that will equip you with the ability to produce new knowledge in the field of psychology.

You’ll learn from three core courses on the syllabus, with the choice of four optional courses to focus on including psychological interventions, research in action and network analysis for business. This gives you the opportunity to customise your degree to match your specific interests or career pathway by selecting a specialist course option.

In semester three, your dissertation will allow you to explore in-depth a topic of particular interest in the field of management. You’ll be able to critically analyse and review academic studies in an objective and well-judged manner. You’ll have the opportunity to carry out a survey, construct questionnaires and use appropriate tools to analyse and present your results. You’ll learn and demonstrate a critical ability to use a range of techniques and research methods to produce this project.

You may have the opportunity to Go Global on our Inter-Campus Transfer. Opportunities for postgraduate study abroad are assessed on a case-by-case basis and if you are interested in studying at our Dubai campus or Malaysia campus for a semester or longer, you should contact the Go Global Team. 


We work closely with industry to ensure our course content is up-to-date and reflects the current and emerging needs of industry and employers. You’ll gain the right blend of knowledge, practical skills and soft skills to set you up for life after graduation.  

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

See University website.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MSc
    part time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

PGT Admissions