Evolutionary and Comparative Psychology: The Origins of Mind (MSc) 2020 entry
The MSc in Evolutionary and Comparative Psychology provides advanced research training in a range of intellectual and practical skills associated with evolutionary, comparative and developmental approaches to the study of the mind.
Application deadline extension
The deadline for applications for this course has been extended to 30 June 2020.
Postgraduate, leading to a Master of Science (MSc)
- Start date: 7 September 2020
- End date: 30 September 2021
Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.
One year full time
- A good 2.1 Honours undergraduate degree in Psychology or a cognate discipline. If you studied your first degree outside the UK, see the international entry requirements.
- English language proficiency. See English language tests and qualifications.
The qualifications listed are indicative minimum requirements for entry. Some academic Schools will ask applicants to achieve significantly higher marks than the minimum. Obtaining the listed entry requirements will not guarantee you a place, as the University considers all aspects of every application including, where applicable, the writing sample, personal statement, and supporting documents.
UK and EU: £9,450
30 June 2020. Applicants should apply as early as possible to be eligible for certain scholarships and for international visa purposes.
- CV or résumé
- personal statement (500 words)
- sample of academic written work (2,000 words)
- two original signed academic references
- academic transcripts and degree certificates
- evidence of English language proficiency (required if English is not your first language).
For more guidance, see supporting documents and references for postgraduate taught programmes.
The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment. For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue which is for the 2019–2020 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2020 entry.
- Empirical Approaches to the Evolution of Communication: explores the evolution of human language and animal communication through the comparative study of communication and cognition in humans and a variety of non-human species.
- Methods of Data Analysis in Psychology: advanced training in research design, statistics, qualitative methods and modelling.
- Origins of Human Cognition: focuses on the origins of human cognition from evolutionary and developmental perspectives.
- Principal Approaches to the Origins of Mind: introduces distinct ways of studying the origins of mind within a comparative Tinbergian framework, emphasising both functional and mechanistic accounts.
Students choose two optional modules ('Generic Research and Professional Skills' count as two choices).
Here is a sample of optional modules that may be offered.
- Evolution and Development of Social and Technical Intelligence: traces the evolution and development of aspects of social intelligence such as imitation and theory of mind, and technical intelligence such as tool use and understanding of causality.
- Generic Research and Professional Skills in Psychology: introduces students to the various skills and issues that are of importance to academic psychologists irrespective of their particular area of research.
- Mechanisms of Behaviour: Integrating Psychological and Neuroscience Perspectives: explores the relationship between neural function and behaviour in a range of animal species, including humans.
- Methodologies for Psychology and Neuroscience: gives students a practical, hands-on experience of a number of laboratory techniques and of research methodologies as are employed by the principal investigators in the School.
- Origins and Evolution of Mind Reading (Theory of Mind): offers a comparative approach to the emergence of the ability to understand mental states in children and non-human primates, and its alteration in autism.
- Review - Approaches to the Study of the Mind: compares and contrasts different theoretical and methodological approaches to a particular topic in the study of the mind.
Optional modules are subject to change each year, and some may only allow limited numbers of students (see the University's position on curriculum development).
Students will undertake a significant piece of independent research as part of their final assessment. In the past, students have had the opportunity to perform fieldwork studying nonhuman animals at:
- Living Links Centre and Budongo Trail in Edinburgh Zoo
- Wolfgang Köhler Primate Research Center in Leipzig, Germany
- Budongo Conservation Field Station in Uganda
- Taï Monkey Project in Ivory Coast
- Inkawu Vervet Project in South Africa.
Additionally, the School of Psychology and Neuroscience has facilities for testing children. There are also facilities for testing adults in tasks related to evolutionary psychology.
Student dissertations will be supervised by members of the teaching staff who will advise on the choice of subject and provide guidance throughout the research process. The completed dissertation of not more than 15,000 words must be submitted by a date specified in August.
The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2020 entry. Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.