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This is your chance to gain an advanced understanding of consumer psychology. Put yourself at the forefront of the discipline by joining one of the few European MScs offered in this area. Understanding the consumer lies at the heart of many businesses, so upon graduation you’ll be well placed to provide expertise to take companies forward.
Through five modules you will learn about Consumer Psychology. We are proud that the teaching team includes renowned academics and our psychology research has been classified as world-leading and internationally excellent in the Government’s 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF). You will be taught the workings of the consumer mind in order to explain why humans respond to different types of consumer stimuli. Specifically you will learn about what captures consumers attention, how their perception may be altered by different types of design element as well as factors that affect the consumer decision-making process.
You will also be taught social-psychological aspects of consumers’ functioning such as social influence tactics used in sales, persuasion and advertising alongside the role of consumer’s personality and identity. Furthermore, you will learn about the most commonly used statistical techniques as well as the theoretical and practical complexities of conducting psychologically based consumer research. You will be able to put your research skills into practice as you structure and execute your own piece of research.
This Masters degree is designed for graduates wishing to start, or further develop, careers in consumer psychology. The fact that this course is relevant to many job industries such as marketing, PR, advertising, and consumer research, marketing research and product development and is currently not commonly taught in the UK, will give the students a distinctive edge in a job market that is often competitive.
In order to further provide students with a springboard into the job market we will endeavour to facilitate research opportunities by encouraging students to engage with the Consumer Research Group based at ARU. Furthermore, the course staff work closely with a number of businesses with whom there may be opportunities for working experience or internships.
The abilities gained by undertaking the MSc in Consumer Psychology will place students in a strong position for pursuing a professional career in consumer psychology or further postgraduate study (eg, a PhD) and research, or employment in a university.
MODULES & ASSESSMENT
Issues in Scientific ResearchThis module is designed to help introduce you to the theoretical and practical complexities of the research process. The module will cover both qualitative and quantitative techniques, and it is aimed as a series of taster sessions. If you feel any of the techniques suits your research, your supervisor, and expert members of staff, will help you learn more about your chosen technique. Research training in the form of literature searching, constructing literature reviews, communicating and publicising your work will also be covered. Additional areas to be covered in this module include: The research process, research techniques, research ethics and scientific writing skills. This module is delivered face-to-face over 24h of lectures (2h per week) and requires 264h of student managed learning (11 hours for workshop preparation, 75h for reading and writing essays and 78 h for writing the portfolio) totalling 288h hours of learning activities.
Applied Consumer PsychologyThis module will focus on Social Psychological Approach to Consumer Psychology. Its overall aim is to provide an insight into the psychological and social factors that influence consumer behaviour at various stages of consumption. The module will emphasise the reasons why the study of contemporary consumerism is important in fully understanding human behaviour as well as modern economies. The module will discuss social-psychological aspects of consumers’ functioning such as social influence tactics used in sales, persuasion, advertising or e-commerce alongside the role of consumer’s personality and identity. Application of theories and research to topics such as sustainable consumption, food consumption, branding and advertising will be considered. The module is designed to illustrate the diversity of schools of thought, paradigms and methods present in the field and to demonstrate the multiple ways that the psychology of the individual and groups can be applied to understanding consumers. During the course of the module emphasis will be placed on critical consideration of the application of theory to consumer context. The module will equip students with a range of key transferable skills useful in the workplace, such as oral presentation skills, critical thinking, analysis of cases and application of theory to aid understanding of consumer behaviour. This module is delivered face-to-face over 12h of lectures and 12h of seminars (2h per week) and requires 276h of student managed learning (96 hours lecture/seminar reading and 180 hours reading and preparation for coursework and exam) totalling 300h hours of learning activities.
Quantitative Research MethodsDevelop a critical understanding of the principles of data collection and analysis for psychology and consider the theoretical basis of advanced quantitative methods. You will analyse example data sets using general linear models such as ANOVA, MANOVA, ANCOVA, multiple linear regression, and factor analysis. You will learn about good reporting practices and will learn how to report and interpret complex results. These chosen statistical methods have been directed by the Economic and Social Research Council’s Postgraduate Training Guidelines (fourth and fifth editions).
Consumer AnalysisIn the marketing literature, Consumer Analysis entails the initial steps in marketing research that identify and collect information on the target market’s needs, profiles and consumer behaviours. To do so effectively, an in-depth understanding of how the human mind works is essential. Therefore, this module will emphasise the workings of the consumer mind as well as how consumer responses can be altered and measured. In order to explain why humans respond to different types of consumer stimuli it is important to know what captures their attention, how they perceive what they encounter as well as how their memory works. For example, it will be explored how cognitive factors affect the consumer decision-making process and how tactile input can be used to alter or enhance the perception of a product. This module will also introduce you to the functional neuroanatomy and basic principles of brain organisation. Moreover, the module will cover different types of techniques that can be used to research consumer related activities, including experimental methodologies and neuroimaging. The capabilities and limitations of the methods will be discussed and practical examples of their application will be provided. The aim is to provide a coherent picture of how and why consumers act the way they do. The module will be delivered through lectures that will involve both taught content and interactive discussion. The module is assessed through a combination of a portfolio (consisting of 3 smaller components; one 2000 word essay and two 1000 word long critical evaluations) and one unseen exam. The module provides an opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of Consumer Psychology, something that is a key requirement for effective marketing management.
Psychology DissertationThis module requires you to undertake a significant research project in the chosen field of study and to present the results of that research in a thesis prepared to the highest scientific professional standards. The research will normally be based on preparatory work undertaken in the compulsory prerequisite modules: Issues in Scientific Research and Quantitative Research Methods. The topic may be drawn from a variety of sources including: departmental research groups, a lecturer suggested topic, or a professional subject of interest provided that suitable supervision is available. This module is delivered over 15 hours of individual supervision (based on 1 hour per week) and requires 585 hours of student managed learning (535 hours of practical session preparation and 50 hours of preparation for oral presentation) totalling 600 hours of learning activities.
We use a number of ways for you to demonstrate your learning from the modules, and to ensure you develop the knowledge and skills required to complete the course. These include presentations, exams, essays, reports and projects.