MSc by Research

Key Information


1 year


Part-time study is available, please enquire for details.

Entry Requirements

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Brayford Pool

Start Dates in October and January

Programme Overview

MSc by Research students are able to conduct independent research into an area of psychology of their own choice and produce a thesis with guidance from two academic supervisors who have specialist knowledge of the subject area. Students can also receive training in the research methods relevant for their project and are expected to contribute to the School's research environment.

The MSc by Research programme is most suitable for students who want to gain advanced experience of research in psychology before deciding whether they want to apply for an MPhil/PhD. The thesis for a MSc by Research is a smaller piece of work that the thesis required for an MPhil/PhD, and it usually contains 1 or 2 chapters with novel results. Students have the option to enrol in the MSc by Research programme and then transfer to a MPhil/PhD within the first 8 months of their degree.

The School's active research base ensures academic staff are involved in current debates and that they are up-to-date with emerging developments in psychology. Research in the School is organised in three research groups (forensic and clinical psychology; perception, action, and cognition; development and social behaviour) and two research centres (autism research innovation; Lincoln sleep).

Please visit the research pages of the School find out more, and to identify potential academic supervisors:

Potential applicants are invited to contact the supervisors that they feel are best suited to their research area to discuss the process further. Projects that fall within the supervisor's ongoing research are usually more likely to be completed on time, since the time required for the project design and ethical approval is often shorter than for completely new projects.

Key Features

Conduct independent, original, and academically significant research

Benefit from training courses to develop key research skills

Supervision and support from an advisory panel of academic staff

Present at talks and seminars to showcase your work

Enrol in January or October each year

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How You Study

Due to the nature of postgraduate research programmes, the majority of time is spent in independent study and research. Students will have meetings with their academic supervisor, but the frequency of these will vary depending on individual requirements, subject area, staff availability, and stage of programme.

We encourage students to be actively involved in the research activities of the School, to improve their communication skills, network, and to broaden their knowledge of the different areas of psychological research. Students are expected to attend the weekly research seminars of the School, take part in the meetings of their relevant research group or centre, and give a talk about their project to members of their group or centre.

Students are expected to attend the 1-hour long weekly School seminar and the meeting of their research group or centre (both meeting are usually on Wednesdays).

The amount of time dedicated to self-study, to meetings with the supervisors or to training depends on the specific project.

How you are assessed

An MSc by Research is usually awarded based on the quality of the student's thesis and ability to present and successfully defend their chosen research topic in an oral examination (viva voce).

The oral examination is attended by two examiners (a member of the school not involved in the project and an examiner from another University), a viva chair and the student.

The examiners are chosen by the Director of studies and the supervisory team, in agreement with the student; they read and review the thesis before the viva. The viva chair is responsible for making sure the examination is conducted in accordance to University regulations. The students are expected to demonstrate how their research findings have contributed to knowledge or developed existing theory or understanding. Finally, they are expected to demonstrate that they can become an independent researcher at the end of the programme.

How to Apply

Postgraduate Research Application Support

Find out more about the application process for research degrees and what you'll need to complete on our How to Apply page, which also features contact details for dedicated support with your application.

How to Apply
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Entry Requirements 2024-25

Entry Requirements

First or upper second class honours degree.

Overseas students will be required to demonstrate English language proficiency equivalent to IELTS 6.5 overall, with a minimum of 6.0 in each element. For information regarding other English language qualifications we accept, please visit the English Requirements page.

If you do not meet the above IELTS requirements, you may be able to take part in one of our Pre-session English and Academic Study Skills courses. These specialist courses are designed to help students meet the English language requirements for their intended programme of study.


Applications for an MSc by Research are reviewed by the Postgraduate Committee of the School and then passed to the potential supervisors.

The applicant will attend an interview, in person or online, with at least two members of the School, usually the potential Director of Studies and second supervisor. The supervisors will make a recommendation to the Post-Graduate Committee, based on the interview, the applicant’s CV, the feasibility of the proposed project and its financial costs. The applicant will be informed on the outcome of their application by the College Postgraduate Board.

Programme Fees

You will need to have funding in place for your studies before you arrive at the University. Our fees vary depending on the course, mode of study, and whether you are a UK or international student. You can view the breakdown of fees for this programme below. Research students may be required to pay additional fees in addition to cover the cost of specialist resources, equipment and access to any specialist collections that may be required to support their research project. These will be informed by your research proposal and will be calculated on an individual basis.

Programme Fees

Funding Your Research

Loans and Studentships

Find out more about the optional available to support your postgraduate research, from Master's and Doctoral Loans, to research studentship opportunities. You can also find out more about how to pay your fees and access support from our helpful advisors.

Explore Funding Options
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Career Development

A research programme provides the opportunity to build expertise in your chosen field, while developing a range of valuable transferable skills than can support your career progression. A research-based degree is also the most direct pathway to an academic career, and are a great chance to expand your network and meet diverse people with similar interests, knowledge, and passion.

The University’s Doctoral School provides a focal point for Lincoln’s community of researchers, where ideas and experiences can be developed and shared across disciplines. It also offers support and training to help equip you for both academic and non-academic careers.

Doctoral School

Academic Contact

For more information about this course, please contact the Programme Leader.

Dr Simon Durrant

Research at Lincoln

Through our research, we are striving to change society for the better. Working with regional, national, and international partners, our academics are engaged in groundbreaking studies that are challenging the status quo. We also understand the importance of providing the best possible environment for pursuing research that can support our communities and make a tangible difference to the world around us.

Explore Our Research
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The University intends to provide its courses as outlined in these pages, although the University may make changes in accordance with the Student Admissions Terms and Conditions.