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Organizational Psychology (MSc)

Offered for both face-to-face evening study at Birkbeck and via network (distance) learning, this highly respected Master's degree will develop your understanding of people and organisations within the context of both occupational psychology and organisational behaviour. Network learning at Birkbeck differs from traditional distance learning, as it includes attendance at termly weekend workshops and tutor-facilitated computer conferencing, in addition to online materials. The five weekend workshops are an integral part of the network learning programme and cover topics such as life career development, organisational change, and employee relations and motivation.

Teaching on the course is informed by cutting-edge research in the field and you will be encouraged to engage in critical thinking and to reflect on theory and practice. You will also acquire applied research skills in preparation for an independent research project on a subject that interests you. 

You will be taught by leading academics and practitioners who have a wealth of experience in supporting and encouraging students who are studying in the evening and via network learning. Ours is a friendly, welcoming community of learners who are keen to work hard, share their professional experience with classmates and network and make contacts.

This course is also available for full-time accelerated network learning over one year

Highlights

  • This degree provides the materials to enhance or develop your career in organisational psychology, management, human resources, training and development or consultancy.
  • Accredited by the British Psychological Society as providing the knowledge base for progress towards professional qualification as an occupational psychologist. 
  • You will have access to an extensive range of electronic resources for each module. 
  • Celebrating our 55th anniversary in 2017, Birkbeck's Department of Organizational Psychology was the first department of occupational psychology in the UK. We continue to play a distinctive role in British occupational psychology - and, increasingly, within organisational behaviour. We have been delivering programmes by network learning for nearly 30 years and we are established experts in using digital technologies to create and maintain an engaged and supportive learning environment for our students.
  • Network learning students attend five weekend workshops. These are non-residential and run from late on Friday afternoon through to lunchtime on Sunday. There are evening activities at all the workshops. (Please note: you must be able to attend the first weekend workshop, normally the last weekend in September, if you wish to be accepted onto the course.) 

Course structure

You complete eight taught modules and a research project. You will begin by examining ideas about careers as the axis of the individual-organisation relationship, important at social and economic levels and relevant to you at any stage of your life. Simultaneously, you will be learning about a range of organisational research methods in preparation for carrying out your own research project. You will go on to cover learning, motivation, organisational change, leadership, selection and assessment and wellbeing.

You will complete an independent applied research project, with support from one of our academics.

Get your studies off to a great start by exploring our introductory reading list

Module groups

  • Entry Requirements

    Entry requirements

    Our standard postgraduate entry requirement is a second-class honours degree (2:2 or above) from a UK university, or an equivalent international qualification.

    We will review every postgraduate application to Birkbeck on its individual merits and your professional qualifications and/or relevant work experience will be taken into consideration positively. We actively support and encourage applications from mature learners.

    On your application form, please list all your relevant qualifications and experience, including those you expect to achieve.

    Apply now to secure your place and allow enough time for the application and enrolment process. You do not need to have completed your current qualification to start your application.

    Course specific entry requirements

    A second-class honours degree. Work experience of any kind is desirable.

    To proceed to Stage 2 of accreditation with the British Psychological Society (BPS), you need to fulfil the requirements for the Graduate Basis for Chartered (GBC) Membership of the BPS. This requires a BPS-recognised qualification in psychology.

    Management development professionals and consultants without a first degree but with suitable professional qualifications or significant work experience in a range of organisations may be considered in line with Birkbeck’s mission of widening participation.

    If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, the requirement for this course is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 7.0, with not less than 6.5 in each of the sub-tests.

    International Entry Requirements

    Our standard postgraduate entry requirement for international students is a second-class honours degree (2:2 or above) from a UK university or an equivalent international qualification.

    Find details of entry requirements and equivalencies for over 120 countries worldwide.

    If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests. Some courses may require higher scores, particularly in the following subject areas:

    • arts management
    • cultural studies
    • development studies
    • film and media
    • geography
    • history
    • law
    • organizational psychology
    • psychology.

    Please carefully check the Course-Specific Entry Requirements on your chosen programme for details of higher English language entry requirements.

    If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses, foundation programmes and language support services to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.

    Visa requirements

    If you are not from the European Economic Area (EEA) and/or Switzerland and you are coming to study in the UK, you may need to apply for a visa.

    The visa you apply for varies according to the length of your course:

    • Courses of more than six months' duration.
    • Courses of less than six months' duration.
    • Pre-sessional English language courses.

    International students who require a Tier 4 visa should apply for our full-time courses (with the exception of modular enrolment certificates of higher education and graduate certificates), as these qualify for Tier 4 sponsorship. If you are living in the UK on a Tier 4 visa, you will not be eligible to enrol as a student on Birkbeck's part-time courses (with the exception of some modules).

    For full information, read our visa information for international students page.

    Credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL)

    If you have studied at university previously, you may have accumulated credits through the modules you studied. It may be possible to transfer these credits from your previous study to Birkbeck or another institution. You should discuss this with the Programme Director when you are making your application.

    Find out more about credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL).

  • Fees

    Fees

    To be confirmed

    Additional costs

    As well as fees, you should expect to pay other study-related expenses, for travel to and from College, books, stationery, etc. Birkbeck provides advice and financial support for students who experience hardship in meeting the travel costs of essential fieldwork or study visits.

    On this programme, you will also have to pay for the following additional costs:

    • The five weekend workshops are a compulsory element of this programme for all students (network learning and evening study). The cost of travel to, and accommodation for, the workshops will depend on individual circumstances and choice.
    • You may also have to pay registration costs to join the professional bodies that have accredited this course. The costs will vary according to the professional bodies.
  • Teaching and assessment

    Teaching

    At Birkbeck, almost all of our courses are taught in the evening and our teaching is designed to support students who are juggling evening study with work and other daytime commitments. We actively encourage innovative and engaging ways of teaching, to ensure our students have the best learning experience. In the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), the government’s system for rating university teaching, Birkbeck was allocated a Silver award.

    Teaching may include formal lectures, seminars, and practical classes and tutorials. Formal lectures are used in most degree programmes to give an overview of a particular field of study. They aim to provide the stimulus and the starting point for deeper exploration of the subject during your own personal reading. Seminars give you the chance to explore a specific aspect of your subject in depth and to discuss and exchange ideas with fellow students. They typically require preparatory study.

    Our distance-learning and blended-learning courses and modules are self-directed and we will provide you with interactive learning opportunities and encourage you to collaborate and engage via various learning technologies. These courses involve limited or no face-to-face contact between students and module tutors.

    In addition, you will have access to pastoral support via a named Personal Tutor.

    Methods of teaching on this course

    Lectures and group work.

    You will also study via network learning which combines online tutor-supported discussion groups with face-to-face weekend workshops involving lectures and group exercises.

    The weekend workshops are non-residential and will be held at Birkbeck in central London.

    Contact hours

    On our taught courses, you will have scheduled teaching and study sessions each year. Alongside this, you will also undertake assessment activities and independent learning outside of class. Depending on the modules you take, you may also have additional scheduled academic activities, such as tutorials, dissertation supervision, practical classes, visits and fieldtrips.

    On our taught courses, the actual amount of time you spend in the classroom and in contact with your lecturers will depend on your course, the option modules you select and when you undertake your final-year project.

    On our distance-learning and blended-learning courses, discussion, collaboration and interaction with your lecturers and fellow students are encouraged and enabled through various learning technologies, but you may have limited or no face-to-face contact with your module tutors.

    Timetables

    Timetables are usually available from September onwards and you can access your personalised timetable via your My Birkbeck Profile online (if you have been invited to enrol).

    Indicative class size

    Class sizes vary, depending on your course, the module you are undertaking, and the method of teaching. For example, lectures are presented to larger groups, whereas seminars usually consist of small, interactive groups led by a tutor.

    Independent learning

    On our taught courses, much of your time outside of class will be spent on self-directed, independent learning, including preparing for classes and following up afterwards. This will usually include, but is not limited to, reading books and journal articles, undertaking research, working on coursework and assignments, and preparing for presentations and assessments.

    Independent learning is absolutely vital to your success as a student. Everyone is different, and the study time required varies topic by topic, but, as a guide, expect to schedule up to five hours of self-study for each hour of teaching.

    On our distance-learning and blended-learning courses, the emphasis is very much on independent, self-directed learning and you will be expected to manage your own learning, with the support of your module tutors and various learning technologies.

    Study skills and additional support

    Birkbeck offers study and learning support to undergraduate and postgraduate students to help them succeed. Our Learning Development Service can help you in the following areas:

    • academic skills (including planning your workload, research, writing, exam preparation and writing a dissertation)
    • written English (including structure, punctuation and grammar)
    • numerical skills (basic mathematics and statistics).

    Our Disability and Dyslexia Service can support you if you have additional learning needs resulting from a disability or from dyslexia.

    Our Counselling Service can support you if you are struggling with emotional or psychological difficulties during your studies.

    Our Mental Health Advisory Service can support you if you are experiencing short- or long-term mental health difficulties during your studies.

    Assessment

    Assessment is an integral part of your university studies and usually consists of a combination of coursework and examinations, although this will vary from course to course - on some of our courses, assessment is entirely by coursework. The methods of assessment on this course are specified below under 'Methods of assessment on this course'. You will need to allow time to complete coursework and prepare for exams.

    Where a course has unseen written examinations, these may be held termly, but, on the majority of our courses, exams are usually taken in the Summer term, during May to June. Exams may be held at other times of the year as well. In most cases, exams are held during the day on a weekday - if you have daytime commitments, you will need to make arrangements for daytime attendance - but some exams are held in the evening. Exam timetables are published online.

    Find out more about assessment at Birkbeck, including guidance on assessment, feedback and our assessment offences policy.

    Methods of assessment on this course

    Essays or reports; written examinations each year; and an independent applied research project (10,000 words), normally submitted at the end of the final year. Full-time students complete the same number of assessments in one year.

  • Careers and employability

    Careers and employability

    Graduates go in to careers in psychology, human resources, and management. Possible professions include occupational psychologist, human resources officer, or probation officer. This degree may also be useful within management roles, including management consultant, retail manager, or logistics and distribution manager. 

    We offer a comprehensive Careers and Employability Service to help you advance your career, while our in-house, professional recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, works with London’s top employers to help you gain work experience that fits in with your evening studies.

  • How to apply

    How to apply

    You apply directly to Birkbeck for this course, using the online application link. Please note that online application will open in September.

    You will need to prove your identity when you apply - read more about suitable forms of identification.

    When to apply

    You are strongly advised to apply now, to ensure there are still places on your chosen course and to give you enough time to complete the admissions process, to arrange funding and to enrol.

    You don't need to complete your current programme of study before you apply - Birkbeck can offer you a place that is conditional on your results.

    You will also receive information about subject-specific induction sessions over the summer.

    Help and advice with your application

    Get all the information you need about the application, admission and enrolment process at Birkbeck.

    Our online personal statement tool will guide you through every step of writing the personal statement part of your application.