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Behavioural Decision Science MSc

Mode Duration Start date
Full time 1 year September 2017
Part time 2 years September 2017

Choose Kingston's Behavioural Decision Science MSc

This course explores recent developments in theories of behavioural decision-making science. It will enable you to critically examine theories of judgement and decision-making motivated by research in memory, perception, categorisation, reasoning, social psychology, economics, political and management sciences. The career-focused modules are designed to build on your workplace skills and develop new skills.

  • This course will enable you to develop the skills to evaluate research findings and to relate these findings to practical applications and solutions. It facilitates and encourages interaction between theory, policy and practice in relation to people's judgements and choices in politics, business, retail, health, leisure and sport.
  • You will benefit from regular public lectures organised by the Group for Decision, Thinking and Risk and delivered by internationally recognised researchers in the fields of decision-making, thinking and risk. In addition, you can attend weekly departmental research seminars, where international scholars and staff members present recent research findings.

Watch a video featuring some of our students talking about the Behavioural Decision Science MSc:

What will you study?

You will cover recent developments in normative, descriptive and experience-based theories of choice, as well as the impact of experience and expertise on judgements and choice. You will be introduced to applications of judgement and decision-making research in areas such as consumer behaviour, politics, sports, economics and health, providing a firm basis in both the theory and practice of cognitive science and decision-making. You will also explore a selection of current research topics relevant to individual and managerial decision-making, wellbeing and policy-making.


Assessment methods include essays, in-class tests, unseen examinations, laboratory reports and a dissertation.

Course structure

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list.

Core modules

  • The Applications of Behavioural Decision Science module provides students with the opportunity to identify and address real-world issues that can benefit from research input by behavioural decision scientists. This module offers interactive lectures (seminars and workshops) for which students will read pre-assigned scientific articles to inform critical discussions on the limitations and implications of these concepts for the development of applied decision-making competence. The module offers applied research training – working in small research groups/teams under the supervision of KU lecturers. The students will also benefit from regular public lectures by internationally recognised researchers.

  • The dissertation project will be based on a critical literature review addressing complex and contradictory evidence and will usually require carrying out an empirical study using one or more methodologies of data collection such as experiments, observation, psychometric testing, surveys and questionnaires, interviews and field studies. In all cases, the dissertation will involve the analysis of quantitative and/or qualitative data, as well as the presentation and critical evaluation of research findings. Through independent study and meetings with a project supervisor, the dissertation project will allow students to better understand the role of research methodologies, theoretical considerations and ethical issues in psychological research.

  • The module provides an advanced coverage of the design and analysis of psychological research. Building on a revision of intermediate inferential statistics (e.g. ANOVA, factorial ANOVA, regression and multiple regression), the course moves quickly towards a consideration of more advanced and specialised quantitative methods (e.g., multivariate statistics, co-variance, structural equation modelling, factor analysis, meta-analysis and advanced regression techniques) and their applications. The course introduces principles of questionnaire design, evaluation and data analysis, along with advanced qualitative research methods. The laboratory workshops combine formal teaching with hands-on activities. The material provides an important foundation for the development and execution of the master’s level research dissertation.

  • This module explores and critically examines theories of cognitive psychology and of judgement and decision-making. It explores the role of perception and memory in categorisation, thinking, judgement and choice. The module also covers recent developments in normative and descriptive theories of choice, as well as the impact of experience and expertise on categorisation and choice. The module encourages students to evaluate critically whether human thinking is rational, and the normative models with which that rationality is measured. It also introduces students to quantitative models of these processes. Finally, it introduces students to applications of judgement and decision making research in areas such as politics, sports, economics and health.

  • This module provides students with the opportunity to identify and address real-world issues that can benefit from research input by psychologists. Students will gain an appreciation of the challenges of conducting research in professional settings. Students will gain 50 hours of work experience working in a placement to identify and/or applying psychological research findings in a chosen context under the supervision of a workplace supervisor. In addition, 10 seminars will be held at the University where case studies and examples from current placements will be used to compliment the learning objectives. Students will be required to contribute and draw examples of their experiences in their work place and how this informs research in their specific placements. 

    It is expected that students will arrange their own work placements, the suitability of which will be discussed and agreed upon with the module leader and/or the course director. In the absence of an external placement, students will be offered a work placement in the Department of Psychology where they will contribute to a current programme of research relevant to their studies.

    The nature of the work will usually be determined in part by the focus of the postgraduate programme that the student is following. For example, students of child/developmental psychology may choose to collect data or implement research-led practice in local nurseries and schools; students of clinical psychology may evaluate the efficacy of procedures adopted by local rehabilitation services; and students on the Masters in Behavioural Decision Making are likely to choose a placement in organisation that monitors behavioural change.

    Please note that were appropriate, you will be required to ensure that you have CRB checks in place and if collecting data in the workplace, then the appropriate ethical approvals are in place prior to collecting data.

    The workplace activity is intended to extend students’ independent research skills in relevant contexts as well as enhance future employability.

  • The module will engage students with the main themes of contemporary health psychology and positive psychology with a particular focus on theory, research, intervention, and application. The students will gain an understanding of the importance of psychological processes in the experience of health and illness, and explore the role of behaviour and emotion in current trends of mortality and morbidity. In addition, students will gain an understanding of the role of positive emotions, optimism, spirituality, flourishing relationships, and community engagement in promoting health, well-being, and happiness. They will also become aware of the crucial roles health psychology and positive psychology have to play in the development and evaluation of physical and psychological health promotion interventions.


Optional modules to be confirmed.

You will have the opportunity to study a foreign language, free of charge, during your time at the University as part of the Kingston Language Scheme. Options currently include: Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

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This course is taught at Penrhyn Road

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Contact us

Admissions team


This course is taught at Penrhyn Road

View Penrhyn Road on our Google Maps
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