Business Psychology MSc

Understand human behaviour in the work place on our Business Psychology MSc. What makes individuals thrive at work, how do we improve organisational performance and how can we make the workplace a healthier, happier environment?

Location: Aston University, Birmingham

Course type

Full-time

Course format

Duration

1 Year

UCAS code(s)

N/A

Start date

Overview
Explore Business Psychology MSc at Aston University

Aston University graduate Nina Voge discusses her experience of studying MSc Organisational Behaviour.

Lowri

"I love the city, having lived here for the last four years – there’s so much going on from music events, art galleries and shops."

Lowri Evans
Research Assistant, University of Birmingham

Lowri

"I love the city, having lived here for the last four years – there’s so much going on from music events, art galleries and shops."

Lowri Evans
Research Assistant, University of Birmingham

Course outline and modules

Understand human behaviour in the work place on our Business Psychology MSc. What makes individuals thrive at work, how do we improve organisational performance and how can we make the workplace a healthier, happier environment?

What does effective leadership look like in today’s globalised marketplace?

Whether you’re interested in a leadership role, career paths in human resources, marketing, employee relations, or any role that would benefit from understanding other people in the work place, this course is for you. You will develop your critical understanding of the main theories of effective leadership and organisational behaviour and how they can be applied in real-life business scenarios.

You’ll also develop your own skills in relation to human behaviour and leadership in the workplace, preparing you for a wide range of business and management roles across a variety of sectors.

At Aston University, you’ll learn from one of the best known and most successful academic groups in work and psychology in Europe. The department is recognised internationally for its research activities. We research the challenges concerning the future of work and organisations.  Staff are active in research studies including aspects of leadership and innovation, strategic and international human resource management, diversity, inclusion and meaningful work, CSR, ethics and sustainability. You will find their practical knowledge of organisational behaviour and workplace psychology incredibly valuable.

This course is open to graduates from a variety of academic backgrounds, but particularly relevant to psychology, social science and business graduates at undergraduate level.

How will my skills develop?

The course will develop your skills in relation to human behaviour in the workplace. You’ll examine people and relationships within a professional context and explore areas of study that influence professional practice, such as how to assess individuals, design selection procedures, employee well-being, talent management, employee reward and change management.

We’ll provide you with a critical understanding of the main theories of effective leadership. You will examine how leadership concepts are applied in practice through case studies, and you will have opportunities to develop your leadership skills through group activities and workshops. This means you will be able to understand, predict and successfully manage people in working environments in the future.

You’ll also develop a range of specific practical skills and learn how to apply these to different organisational settings, such as the public or private sectors. We will teach you about effective training and development tools, methods of employee appraisal as well as negotiating techniques, which are key to dealing with difficult workplace situations.

You’ll study The Aston Global Advantage module which focuses on professional development and employability, helping you to apply the key skills that you will gain throughout the year.

You’ll also have the opportunity to study abroad with one of our international partners, undertake an internship placement in the UK or overseas or get involved in a global business challenge simulation.

How will this course help my career?

Whatever career path you’re looking to take, we can help you get on the right track.

With a wide selection of optional modules, this course provides you with opportunity to tailor your studies to suit your interests or professional ambitions. Core modules will equip you with advanced level understanding of organisational behaviour and development, learning and talent development and research methods for example, whilst optional modules can be chosen in areas such as marketing, human resources or employee relations.

This course is designed to enhance your employability prospects and we ensure you gain exposure to opportunities throughout your studies. In your third term you’ll have the choice of studying abroad or pursuing an internship.

Our courses offer a range of opportunities to gain practical experience through things such as, consultancy projects and entrepreneurial opportunities. Find out more here.

The course concludes with a Business Project or Dissertation, giving you the opportunity to analyse a business problem and practically apply the knowledge and skills developed during the course to outline your recommendations. This will also help to show prospective employers how you are able to impact their business.

This course offers an opportunity to study a second degree at one of our international partner institutions once you have completed your year at Aston. Find out more here.


This course is accredited by the Association for Business Psychology.

Areas of Business Psychology

Business Psychology can be applied to almost any people issue at work. Nonetheless, there are several well established domains of Business Psychology, which include:

  • Selection and assessment
  • Organisational development
  • Coaching
  • Leadership development
  • Learning and development
  • Talent management
  • Employee engagement
  • Safe and user-friendly work environments
  • Performance management and appraisal
  • Culture
  • Health and well-being at work
  • Psychometric testing

Note: this course is NOT accredited by the BPS and graduates would not be eligible for registration with the HCPC as a practitioner psychologist.

Modules

Core modules
  • Organisational Behaviour - Through a mix of theory and case studies, we examine people and relationships within a professional context. We will explore what motivates employees, how people work together and relationships between managers and their staff. This helps you to understand how to manage people in working environments and how to be managed.
  • Organisational Development - This module takes a strategic view of organisational development, design and the management of organisations, people and change. It achieves this by focusing on organisational diagnosis aimed at achieving strategic transformation of organisations and developing High Performance Work Systems. It also deals with recent strand of scholarly debate on the role of consultancies.
  • Learning and Talent Development - For most organisations, their biggest expense comes from their people. You will learn differing views on how to best develop people and ensure they add value to an organisation. We also look at talent management and succession planning approaches for getting capable people into more senior positions.
  • Research Methods - This module will help prepare you for your dissertation. We'll introduce various research methods which can be used in the context of HRM Work Psychology and Organisational Behaviour. We'll look at how to effectively use primary and secondary data and you'll develop your quantitative and qualitative research skills as well as your analytical abilities.
  • Ethics in Research Practice - This module provides an introduction to the Academic Offence framework. By completing the resources, you will understand the key principles underpinning the submission of academic assignments. These principles can then be applied to the rest of the modules studied at the university.
  • Assessment, Performance and Reward - In this module you’ll be introduced to the approaches and theories for ensuring the right people are recruited into the business and that they then perform effectively. You’ll cover thought-provoking topics, such as how reward can be used to enhance performance, how to measure staff performance and how to manage employees who are under-performing.
  • Strategy, Change and Leadership - This module encourages you to consider the role of strategy and leadership in shaping and changing organisations. Through exploring the complexities of strategic change, you will be encouraged to develop critical insights on what appear to be everyday business decisions. Reflecting on the role of the leader, you will appraise different approaches to leadership and examine their impact.
  • The Aston Global Advantage - The Aston Global Advantage is our professional development programme that runs throughout all MSc programmes at Aston Business School. Focusing on professional development and employability, this integrated module gives you the opportunity to identify, develop and apply the key transferrable skills you will gain throughout the year.
  • Business Project or Dissertation - The Business Project/Dissertation is a chance for you to carry out an original piece of work applying material that you have learnt in the taught element of your degree. Specific requirements will be explained relating to different degree programmes but in summary you must demonstrate both theoretical and practical knowledge of your chosen area of specialism.
Optional modules
  • Employee Relations in Context - Relationships matter within organizations. You will often find the main reasons for people leaving a role is down to poor relationships with manager or peers. In this module we will look at the way organizations can improve working relationships, reduce employee turnover and enhance employee satisfaction.
  • Careers and Counselling - This module will help you develop an understanding of concepts and models for counselling in the workplace and use case studies to critically evaluate their effectiveness. We examine the theories of vocational development and look at the practice of executive coaching at work. You will also learn appropriate people management techniques to manage conflict situations effectively.
  • Employee Relations and Counselling
  • Strategic and International Human Resource Management - In this module we look at the theory and practice of (International) Human Resource Management and consider how external and internal factors shape HR strategy and policy in private, public, SME and multinational companies. You’ll discover the benefits of managing people in different settings in different ways and learn to identify the appropriate people strategy for the context.
  • Marketing Management - In this module you will gain a comprehensive understanding and critical evaluation of marketing management practices, underpinned by relevant theories and conceptual frameworks. These frameworks are applied to contemporary issues and organisational strategies within national and international contexts and culminating with the creation and the proposal of a professional marketing plan.
  • Operations Management - In this module you will gain a detailed understanding of how operations management contributes to business competitiveness. We examine the theories and approaches to effective planning and the organising of production and manufacturing processes, as well as those associated with the provision of services. With case studies and an innovative simulation challenge, you’ll benefit from a highly-applied learning experience.
  • Strategic Management - This module starts with the purpose of strategy, including stakeholder and governance issues, and introduces tools and techniques for analysing external environments and internal capabilities. You will learn theories and frameworks/ models for assessing and evaluating organisations’ strategic options, which are then applied in analysing contemporary case studies and through engaging in a rich business strategy simulation that involves strategic decision-making.
  • Management of Innovation - This module introduces you to key concepts and models of innovation management and guides you through their critical evaluation. Using recent real-world cases, the module develops your ability to analyse innovation management of business organisations in practice and to formulate and communicate innovation-based strategies for both short- and long-term successes.
  • Economic Environment of Business - We focus on key economic concepts and principles that are most useful for businesses and managers. Throughout this module we stress their application in an international context, drawing on their real-world significance, and the importance of communicating economic ideas in a clear and precise manner. In this way you will understand the significance of economics in a globalised world.

Entry requirements

UK/EU students

One of the following:

  • A good UK honours degree (minimum lower second class) in a relevant subject area. This would include degrees where psychology was the main area of study or part of the curriculum. 
  • Applications from students who have studied social sciences or business may also be considered providing the degree included some evidence of human resources, psychology, or organisational behaviour content or alternatively the applicant may have had relevant work experience.
  • Equivalent overseas degree recognised by Aston University.

As well as:

  • Two professional references – at least one must be from an academic referee.
  • An official academic transcript of your university grades to date 
  • A completed application form.
Tab International students
  • An official academic transcript, with an official English translation, of your university grades to date.
  • Students whose native language is not English will also need to satisfy our English language requirements. Pre-sessional English language programmes are available for good applicants whose English qualification falls just short of these requirements.
  • Postgraduate masters students enrolling to Aston Business School with a 5.5 in one of the four IELTS sections will be required to engage with English language tuition as part of our professional development programme, The Aston Global Advantage. There will be no extra cost to the student.
  • For students who do not meet our minimum academic and English language requirements for this course, we offer an alternative pathway to an Aston Master’s with Kaplan International College, London.
  • For more information about qualifications, view our Aston in your country webpage.
Extensive work experience

We recognise the value of extensive professional experience. If you do not have the academic qualifications, but have extensive and relevant professional experience and a proven ability to succeed, we would welcome your application.

The information contained on this website details the typical entry requirements for this course for the most commonly offered qualifications. Applicants with alternative qualifications may wish to enquire with the relevant admissions teams prior to application whether or not their qualifications are deemed acceptable. For less commonly encountered qualifications this will be judged on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the academic admissions tutor.

Learning, teaching and assessment

We are recognised for the quality of our teaching and research, with 100% of our business research achieving the highest rankings in the latest Research Excellence Framework.

Thanks to our expertise and experience in education and effective teaching methods, we have developed an innovative approach for this course.

Learning and teaching

We are committed to delivering this course in an innovative and inspiring way. Our teaching is interactive and encourages participation. This ensures you get the most out of your studies and you enjoy the time you spend in the classroom.

We use a range of teaching methods, such as lectures, tutorials, case studies, workshop activities, group work and critical thinking exercises. You’ll learn from experts working in the industry, who will deliver guest lectures and share their experiences of real-life business scenarios.

One module, Learning and Talent Development, is taught using an innovative flipped classroom approach which enables students to immerse themselves in online materials and link these with practical classroom based activities.

Skills workshops will help you to develop various professional competencies, such as interviewing, report writing, presenting and questionnaire and survey design. This emphasis on practical skills is key to enhancing your employability and will provide you with a competitive edge when applying for graduate positions.

Our online learning platform will support you with your studies. It has all the digital resources you need when revising, including lecture slides, access to e-books and online journals, as well as video recordings of teaching sessions. Your lecturers will also be on hand to offer one-to-one support with any topics you have difficulty with.

Some of our modules are partnered with leading organisations. This means that they provide live business issues for our students to work on. Students present back to the organisations and the top students may be offered a placement as a result.

Assessment

We use a mix of assessment methods, including assessed case studies, coursework essays, group or individual presentations and close book examinations.

Student experience and employability

International students

Aston University is a diverse, close community and welcomes international students on many of our postgraduate programmes. Students from over 120 different countries chose to study with us every year and Aston is not only a great place to study, based in the centre of Birmingham it’s also a great place to live.

Post-study work visa

Aston University welcomed the creation of a new immigration route which will enable international students to remain in the UK for two years after they have completed their studies to find work. The new post-study work visa will apply to international students starting undergraduate and postgraduate courses from 2020. Click here for more information on post-work visas.

Overseas opportunities

We benefit from an extensive network of partner institutions, including some of the highest ranked business schools in Europe, such as Kedge Business School in France. We also have partnerships with universities worldwide, from Australia, to China, and USA to Singapore.

You’ll have the chance to gain valuable work experience as part of this course. It’s a fantastic opportunity to apply your learning within a business environment. A work placement will also enhance your CV and help you stand out from the crowd when applying for graduate roles.

You can spend up to 12 months on a work placement with a company of your choice, in the UK or overseas. Our students have been successful in gaining work placements with leading international companies, non-governmental organisations as well as small businesses. Students have benefited from gaining hands-on experience across a number of roles, such as Human Resources Advisor and Research Assistant.

We also give you the opportunity to support start-ups and SMEs with business projects through our Aston Business Clinic. Working with other students, you’ll collaborate to solve a strategic problem for a company.

Our careers team is always on hand to help you find work placements and graduate positions. The team can also lend their expertise to assist you with your CV and interview technique.

Trips and visits

There will be a series of networking opportunities and guest lectures during your time here. Industry professionals visit campus as guest speakers and provide you with an insight into specific roles, practises and challenges related to occupational psychology.

Recruitment fairs take place regularly with graduate employers visiting campus and providing information on their graduate vacancies and training programmes. These are a great opportunity to meet with companies, get an insight into their requirements and see if they match what you’re looking for in an employer.

Various Schools within the University, societies and sports clubs organise field-trips and leisure activities throughout the year. You will have the chance to find out more about these on campus.  

Fees and scholarships

UK/EU students (2020/21)

Annual tuition fees: £10,550

International students (2020/21)

Annual tuition fees: £16,650

Tuition fees are reviewed annually and may increase in subsequent years in line with inflation linked to the Retail Price Index (RPI) to take account of the University’s increased costs of delivering the Programme. When undertaking a placement year a placement year fee applies.

More information on fees

Scholarships

At Aston University we are committed to supporting the most talented and hardworking students to achieve their potential by providing a range of scholarships to help lower tuition and living costs. Find out more about our scholarships here.

Career prospects

This course prepares you for a wide range of professional and management careers across business functions and sectors including marketing, operations, HR and strategic management as well as organisational psychology.

Recent graduates

You will develop a wide range of business and transferable skills and knowledge demanded by graduate employers.

Our strong links with industry have enabled us to tailor the course to meet the needs of employers looking for highly skilled graduates. Our graduates have gone on to work in companies such as;

  • The Ministry of Human Resources (Malaysia)
  • Prodos Ltd (Nigeria)
  • Transport for London (UK)
  • Ford Motor Company.

Roles have included; Administrative and Diplomatic Officers, Business Development Managers, Human Resource Advisors and Human Resource Partners.

Our graduates have secured a breadth of job roles including HR Management Consultant, Health and Well-being Manager and Recruitment Consultant.

Frequently asked questions

Why study Business Psychology at Aston University?

With an active group of researchers in this field, our course has been designed with industry input to equip you with the right knowledge and applied experiences to excel in whatever specialism you are interested in.

We will also provide you with a breadth of exposure to employers, such as an internship or study abroad opportunity in your third term, through to the Business Project at the end. Not only does this bring your learning to life, it will also really help you to secure a job once you complete the course.

What kind of career will I develop with a masters in Business Psychology?

Any business needing effective leadership and strong people management need the knowledge and skills developed on this business psychology masters. You will gain practical experience of designing and evaluating employee reward schemes, understanding effective leadership models as well as developing your own leadership skills and a critical understanding of organisational psychology.  

Our graduates have gone on to work in a breadth of roles across all business functions including marketing, HR, operations, employee engagement and organisational psychology. 

Why choose to study with Aston Business School?

Aston Business School is part of an elite group of business schools thanks to our triple accreditation from AACSB, EQUIS and AMBA. We can help to enhance your career prospects, boost your earning potential and set you on the pathway for a successful, and rewarding career.

Aston University is renowned for its excellence in teaching and research and the employability of our graduates. At Aston Business School we are committed to innovative approaches to teaching and education. We are dedicated to providing students with a competitive advantage in the jobs market by delivering the knowledge students need to pursue the many career tracks available to them with a background in international business. Teaching on the course is informed by our world-class scholars and provides you with a deep understanding and skills for conducting business on a global scale. At Aston University, we aim to prepare students for the real world challenges. There are plenty of opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience and apply their knowledge in real-life situations by engaging in live projects and internships.

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