Evolutionary and Comparative Psychology: The Origins of Mind (MSc) 2016 entry
The MSc in Evolutionary and Comparative Psychology provides advanced research training in a range of intellectual and practical skills associated with evolutionary and comparative approaches to the study of the mind.
Postgraduate; leading to a Master of Science (MSc)
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.
UK and EU: £6,800
- personal statement (500 words)
- sample of academic written work (2,000 words)
- two original signed academic references
- academic transcripts and degree certificates
- English language requirements certificate.
For more guidance, see supporting documents and references for postgraduate taught programmes.
If you are looking to start this programme in 2017, you can find information about 2017 entry on the 2017 Evolutionary and Comparative Psychology: The Origins of the Mind MSc page. Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in our archive.
- Students gain a detailed knowledge of the evolutionary and comparative literature and principal theoretical and methodological issues in this field.
- The course equips students with the necessary skills to pursue a research degree at MPhil or PhD level in the area of psychology or to go on to a clinical training programme.
- Students have the opportunity to undertake independent research at a variety of research centres in the UK and abroad, typically over the summer period.
- The course is taught by members of the internationally recognised Origins of Mind research group, with additional classes by members of the wider Centre for Social Learning and Cognitive Evolution and related academic staff with interests in evolutionary and comparative psychology.
The MSc in Evolutionary and Comparative Psychology is a full-time taught postgraduate programme run by the School of Psychology and Neuroscience. This distinctive programme tackles fundamental issues associated with the origins of human cognition via a wide range of theoretical and methodological approaches.
Over two semesters, students take four compulsory modules and 30 credits of optional module(s). The modules are taught through lectures, seminars, workshops and tutorials. Assessment comprises entirely of coursework; there are no exams. On average, class sizes range up to 80 students for lectures and 20 students for seminars.
The final three months of your course will be focused on researching and writing the final assessment piece, a 15,000-word research project dissertation.
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.
- Principle 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.
- 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.
- Origins of Human Cognition: focuses on the origins of human cognition from evolutionary and developmental perspectives.
- Methods of Data Analysis in Psychology: advanced training in common statistics (including regression, analysis of variance and multivariate techniques) plus additional training in qualitative methods.
Students choose two optional modules; Generic Research and Professional Skills counts as two choices.
- 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.
- Review: compares and contrasts different theoretical and methodological approaches to a particular topic in the study of the mind.
- 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.
The modules listed ran in the academic year 2015-2016 and are indicative of this course. There is no guarantee that these modules will run for 2016 entry.
Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.
Research project and dissertation
Students will undertake a significant piece of independent research as part of their final assessment. Students have the potential opportunity to work at:
- Living Links Centre and Budongo Trail in Edinburgh Zoo
- Wolfgang Köhler Primate Research Center in Leipzig
- Budongo Conservation Field Station in Uganda
- Taï Monkey Project in Ivory Coast
- Inkawu Vervet Project in South Africa.
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.
Evolutionary and Comparative Psychology at St Andrews
Conferences and events
The School of Psychology and Neuroscience hosts a weekly seminar programme at 3.30pm on Fridays in the Old Library of the Psychology Building. These seminars include public lectures, open school discussions and papers presented by a variety of guest lecturers from the UK and abroad. Following the seminar, a wine reception is held in the staff common room.
The School also hosts an annual Jeeves Lecture as part of its seminar programme. The lectures are given by eminent psychologists and neuroscientists. Staff, students and members of the public are welcome at this lecture.
After the MSc
67% of graduates from Evolutionary and Comparative Psychology continue their education by enrolling in PhD programmes at St Andrews or elsewhere.
The Medical Research Council and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council offers studentships for PhD research in health, biological and related sciences covering up to four years funding and, in some cases, accommodation fees.
The vast majority of our postgraduates have gained postdoctoral and lecturing positions in universities across the world while others have jobs in research, wildlife conservation, academic publishing and management services.
The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students on a taught postgraduate course and offers a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills.
Admission to the University of St Andrews is governed by our Admissions policy.
As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online. (PDF, 72 KB).
The University will clarify compulsory fees and charges it requires any student to pay at the time of offer. The offer will also clarify conditions for any variation of fees. The University’s approach to fee setting is described online. (PDF, 84 KB).