How to Get Into MSc Organisational Psychology

Thinking of applying for a Master’s in Organisational Psychology? This guide contains everything you need to know about what Organisational Psychology is and how to get into a postgraduate Organisational Psychology course in the UK.

 

What is MSc Organisational Psychology?

 

Organisational Psychology, which is also referred to as Industrial, Business or Occupational Psychology, is a branch of Psychology that focuses on the social and psychological processes operating in organisations/businesses. It is closely related to fields such as Human Resources or Behavioural Studies and is very different from Clinical Psychology, which is primarily concerned with the assessment and treatment of mental illness and behavioural problems.

On an MSc Organisational Psychology degree, you will learn the methodologies and theories used by Psychology researchers and practitioners to investigate and optimise the way organisations operate. You will then learn to apply these methodologies to real-life contexts in order to solve problems in the workplace and improve the quality of life of employees.

 

What are BPS-accredited courses?

 

MSc Organisational/Occupational Psychology courses that are accredited by the BPS (British Psychological Society) allow their students to go on to become Chartered Occupational Psychologists. Only 20 universities in the UK offer MSc Organisational Psychology and/or MSc Occupational Psychology courses that are accredited by the BPS, and these are:

  • Birkbeck University of London (MSc Organizational Psychology)
  • City, University of London (MSc Organisational Psychology)
  • University of East Anglia (MSc Organisational Psychology)
  • University of East London (MSc Occupational and Organisational Psychology)
  • Goldsmiths, University of London (MSc Occupational Psychology)
  • University of Greenwich (MSc Occupational Psychology)
  • University of Hertfordshire (MSc Occupational Psychology)
  • King’s College London (MSc Organisational Psychiatry and Pscyhology)
  • University of Leeds (MSc Organizational Psychology)
  • University of Liverpool (MSc Occupational and Organisational Psychology)
  • University of Manchester (MSc Organisational Psychology)
  • Northumbria University (MSc Occupational and Organisational Psychology)
  • University of Nottingham (MSc Occupational Psychology)
  • Nottingham Trent University (MSc Occupational Psychology)
  • University of Sheffield (MSc Occupational Psychology)
  • University of Strathclyde (MSc Work & Organisational Psychology)
  • University of Surrey (MSc Occupational and Organizational Psychology)
  • University of Sussex (MSc Occupational and Organizational Psychology)
  • University of Wolverhampton (MSc Occupational Psychology)
  • University of Worcester (MSc Occupational Psychology)

 

5 tips for getting into MSc Organisational Psychology

 

1. Check the entry requirements

Each Organisational Psychology course will have different entry requirements depending on the university, the contents of the course, and the competitiveness of the course. Most universities do not require applicants to have studied a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, however a degree of prior understanding and knowledge will be required. Therefore, studying Psychology at undergraduate level can be an advantage, particularly on competitive courses.

Some Organisational Psychology Masters require applicants to hold a Graduate Basis of Registration (GBR) of the British Psychological Society (BPS). This membership is usually granted automatically to individuals who have completed an undergraduate degree in psychology that is recognised by the BPS.

UniversityCourseEntry requirements
London School of Economics (LSE)MSc Organisational and Social PsychologyMinimum 2:1 degree or equivalent, with a considered interest in the area covered by the MSc.
King’s College LondonMSc Organisational Psychiatry and PsychologyMinimum 2:1 degree ​​or equivalent professional qualification. Applicants should have undertaken some Psychology modules and research methods in their degree. Experience in the workplace is desirable but not essential.
City, University of LondonMSc Organisational PsychologyMinimum 2:1 degree or equivalent.
You should also be able to demonstrate some form of work experience within your application. Work experience in a Psychology-related or Human Resources setting is highly desirable, but not essential.
Applicants who are interested in becoming a chartered psychologist within the British system should hold the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) with the British Psychological Society (BPS).
University of ManchesterMSc Organisational PsychologyMinimum 2:1 (with 60% average) degree from a UK university or equivalent. This degree must be recognised by the BPS as providing the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) of the BPS. You will need to provide evidence that you have GBC or are eligible for GBC.
Relevant work experience is also considered desirable, but is not essential.
University of SussexMSc Occupational and Organisational PsychologyMinimum 2:1 degree or above, or a 2:2 degree with at least 57% (or work experience) will also be considered on an individual basis.
Your degree should be in Psychology or a relevant subject (such as Business and Management, Sociology, Healthcare, etc.) and demonstrate a high level of research methodology.
University of GreenwichMSc Occupational PsychologyMinimum 2:2 degree from a Psychology programme accredited by the BPS
or
Minimum 2:2 degree in Psychology or equivalent subject and successful completion of a research methods assessment.
University of ExeterMSc Social and Organisational PsychologyMinimum 2:1 degree in Psychology (or equivalent). A degree in another discipline may be accepted if it included substantial content in Psychology, research methodology and statistics.
Due to the nature of the programme, the university requires applicants to have studied and achieved a 2:1 or equivalent in at least two statistics/research methods modules previously.

Opening/closing dates for applications

Unlike undergraduate courses, universities can set their own opening and closing dates for postgraduate courses like Organisational Psychology. Therefore, application dates will vary between universities and academic years, so it’s important to check this information in advance.

Most universities operate on a rolling admissions cycle, meaning there is no fixed closing date for entries. For example, for LSE’s MSc Organisational and Social Psychology course, there is no application deadline and places are filled on a first come, first serve basis. However, there are funding deadlines to look out for (27th April 2023 for 2023 entry).
Similarly, although you can apply at any time, the University of Manchester begins processing applications for 2023 entry from the 10th October 2022 onwards, so it’s often best to submit your application before or around this date.

Top tip: With Organisational Psychology Master’s courses, it’s usually best to apply as soon in the admissions cycle as possible in order to maximise your chances of receiving an offer. However, you should make sure that you’re prepared in advance to ensure that you don’t have to rush your application. Working with a Profs admissions expert in the months before you apply is a great way to ensure that you submit the best possible statement and have any other required materials ready to go.

2. Write your statement of academic purpose

What you should include in your statement of academic purpose/personal statement depends on the specific course and university you are applying to. Each Organisational Psychology course is slightly different and, as you can see from the table in step 1, have different entry requirements, so you should tailor your statement accordingly.

Generally, universities will be looking for the following information in your statement for MSc Organisational Psychology:

  • Your relevant academic interests, strengths and background. Although it is not always an entry requirement, studying Psychology at A-level or degree-level can give you an advantage as it shows your understanding and passion for the subject. You should also include evidence of your academic interest in Psychology, whether through readings, specific university modules, work experience or other means. Additionally, we recommend that you include evidence of your aptitude for statistics and/or research methods, as this is often an important skill on Organisational Psychology courses.
  • Your areas of specific interest within the course. Unlike an undergraduate UCAS personal statement, Master’s statements can be tailored to each individual course that you apply for. It’s important that you make the most of this by citing topics and modules covered on the course that you are particularly interested in and why.
  • Your academic preparedness for the course. If you have studied Psychology previously, it is worth mentioning this in your personal statement; a Psychology background is often desirable as it shows an existing understanding in the subject. If you have not studied Psychology before, demonstrate your aptitude for learning new skills and give evidence of relevant topics that you have studied before (for example, topics rooted in Psychology, such as Linguistics, as well as Sociology, Business and Management, and other Social Sciences).
  • Your motivation for undertaking the course. It is important to include your motivation/s for studying Organisational Psychology and what you hope to achieve during your time on the course. You can (and should) refer to specific modules and topics that you are specifically interested in and why you want to study those in particular.
  • Any academic or professional aspirations, and how the course might help you realise such aspirations. You should include your long-term goals and aspirations in your statement of academic purpose. These may be academic, such as going onto further study or growing your knowledge about a particular topic of interest, or professional, such as training to be an Organisational/Occupational Psychologist or advance in your existing career.
  • How you will contribute to all aspects of the course and what makes you an outstanding applicant. Universities won’t just be looking at what they can offer you, but what you can offer them if they award you a place on your chosen course. Think carefully about what makes you a unique candidate and what you can contribute to the course, specifically previous work experience or particular areas of interest that you are keen to pursue.

How long should your statement of purpose be?

The length of your statement of purpose (or personal statement) will depend on which university you are applying to. For example, City University of London expects statements of purpose to be around 800-1,200 words, while LSE specifies that statements should be 1,000-1,500 words. You should check the word count on your chosen course page before writing your statement.

Looking for support with your academic statement?

Your statement of academic purpose (or personal statement) is one of the most important parts of your Master’s application, so you should ensure that it is as tailored, unique and compelling as possible. The Profs’ postgraduate admissions tutors can support you with developing and writing a statement that stands out to your chosen university. Reach out to our team for a free discovery call.

3. Check what else is required

Some universities also require applicants to provide additional supporting documentation. For example, the University of Manchester requires applicants to provide their first and second year transcripts in order to be considered, while LSE requires both a statement of academic purpose and an up-to-date CV. Make sure you check what else is required before submitting your application to ensure that you are considered.

In most cases, you will also be required to submit 1-2 academic references. Usually, these can be provided by a previous academic adviser, dissertation supervisor, or lecturer you worked closely with. You can check with the university directly for information and guidance on sourcing a reference and what should be included.

English language test

If you are applying to a UK Organisational Psychology course from abroad, you will be required to take an English language test. The most common test (and often preferred by universities) is the IELTS (International English Language Testing System). The score you are required to achieve in the IELTS will differ depending on the university you’re applying for, so it’s important to check this in advance. The table below shows the minimum IELTS score required by a handful of top UK universities.

UniversityMinimum IELTS score required
University of Oxford7.5 overall and no other element below 7.0.
University of Manchester7.0 overall and no other element below 6.5.
LSE7.0 overall and no other element below 6.5.
University of Exeter6.5 overall and no other element below 6.0.

For more information about the IELTS, check the IELTS website or get in touch with The Profs’ experienced IELTS tutors. Our experts can help you prepare for the test and reach the increasing minimum scores required by top universities.

4. Prepare with additional readings

Whether you have previously studied Psychology or not, it is important to gain a wide understanding of the theories and principles underpinning Organisational Psychology. Some universities publish recommended readings on their course page, so make sure you check for specific readings. Some Organisational/Occupational Psychology texts to get you started include:

  • The Psychology of Behaviour at Work: the individual in the organization by A Furnham
  • Psychology in Organizations: the social identity approach by S A Haslam
  • Organizational culture and leadership by E H Schein
  • Sensemaking in organizations by K E Weick
  • Framing uncertainty: narratives, change and digital technologies by L Garcia-Lorenzo
  • Managing, managerial control and managerial identity in the post-bureaucratic world by S McKenna, L Garcia-Lorenzo and T Bridgman
  • Changing the NHS a Day at a Time: the role of enactment in the mobilisation and prefiguration of change by L Moskovitz & L Garcia-Lorenzo
  • Predictors of change in postmerger identification during a merger process: a longitudinal study by I H Gleibs, A Mummendey and P Noack

Remember that readings can be a great way to demonstrate your interest in the subject area, so make sure you include them in your personal statement.

5. Reach out to an Organisational Psychology admissions expert

Applying for a Master’s can be an unfamiliar and oftentimes overwhelming process. However, that needn’t be the case. The Profs have a network of expert postgraduate admissions tutors and Organisational Psychology specialists that can support you with all aspects of your application. From finding the most suitable course for you to helping you tailor your statement of purpose, our experts work closely with you at every stage to maximise your chances of getting into your first choice university. Get in touch with our team today to get started.

 

FAQs

 

Do I need a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology to study a Master’s in Organisational Psychology?

Most UK universities do not require MSc Organisational Psychology applicants to have studied their undergraduate degree in Psychology, however a certain level of knowledge is required. For example, universities that do not require applicants to have a Psychology degree may instead require (or recommend) sufficient work experience in a Psychology-related or Human Resources setting, or other suitable/related professional qualifications. Additionally, holding a degree in a Social Science or a subject related to psychological theories or human behaviour can show your aptitude for a Master’s in Organisational Psychology.

If a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology is required, universities may also require that this degree is accredited by the BPS. If your degree is not BPS-accredited, you can take a BPS-accredited Psychology conversion course.

Do I need to take the GRE/GMAT for Organisational Psychology?

In most cases, you will not be required to take the GRE/GMAT to apply for a Master’s in Organisational Psychology. However, always check the entry requirements of the specific course/s you are looking to apply for.

What can I do with an Organisational Psychology degree?

If you study a BPS-accredited MSc Organisational Psychology degree, you will be able to pursue a career as a professional Organisational/Occupational Psychologist. However, not all Organisational Psychology courses are accredited and there are other career routes available, including:

  • Human Resources (e.g. HR Manager)
  • Consultancy (e.g. Internal Consultant in a large industrial organisation)
  • Public Sector (e.g. the NHS, Police, Civil Service)
  • Management Consultant

There is also the option to remain in academia. There are many PhD programmes available at top UK universities in the field of Organisational Psychology, including Cambridge’s Organisational Behaviour PhD Pathway, Imperial’s Strategy & Organisational Behaviour doctoral programme, and Birkbeck’s MPhil/PhD Organizational Psychology.

How do I become a Chartered Organisational/Occupational Psychologist?

In order to become a Chartered Organisational/Occupational Psychologist, you must first complete a BPS-accredited Master’s degree in Occupational and/or Organisational Psychology. Once you have completed this degree, you will need to complete the BPS QOP (Stage 2): a minimum 2-year, doctoral-level qualification. During your QOP (Stage 2) training, you will also need to be employed as a trainee Occupational Psychologist. Upon successful completion of the QOP (Stage 2), you will be eligible to apply for registration as an Occupational Psychologist with the HCPC (Health and Care Professions Council) and accreditation as a Chartered Psychologist with the BPS.