MSc Social Neuroscience

The University of Bolton's MSc in Social Neuroscience supports you to develop an advanced knowledge of how the brain responds to and makes sense of the social world. Our expert team will also help build your confidence in using neuroscientific research skills (for instance, electrophysiology and eye-tracker experiments).

Social Neuroscience

Key information



Mode of Study:



18 months


University of Bolton

Start date:


Course Details

Humans' social nature is based on neural, hormonal, and molecular structures and networks that we have started to understand only relatively recently. This includes studying the processes behind the sensation and perception of social stimuli and the behaviours associated with social interactions. This highly progressive Master's programme is designed to give you excellent learning opportunities in Social Neuroscience – supported by our department's enthusiastic, supportive teaching staff and a technology-enriched learning environment.

Studying at the University of Bolton's town centre campus, you'll explore issues from a variety of perspectives, underpinned by a research-informed knowledge base, as you develop an in-depth knowledge of social neuroscience. Our expert team will also encourage and support you to refine and enhance your critical evaluation and reflection skills.

As you progress, you'll have the opportunity to build your research skills, helping you conceptualise, design and implement a substantial piece of independent research. This, in turn, offers you a unique opportunity to contribute to the ongoing development of new ideas and approaches in social neuroscience.

Successfully completing our MSc in Social Neuroscience will open up a wide range of opportunities for employment or further study at the doctoral level.

  • We'll support you as you develop an in-depth and advanced knowledge of social neuroscience, both in terms of theory and evidence.
  • You'll have ongoing opportunities to develop highly sought-after skills in critical evaluation and reflection relating to social neuroscience theories and research techniques.
  • Our focused research training will support and guide you in conceptualising, designing and implementing independent research in social neuroscience.
  • We work hard to create a learning environment that offers innovative teaching and assessment methods and access to high-specification facilities such as our observation and psychophysiology laboratories, Neuroscan software and hardware, and Stim3 software.
  • This postgraduate course is designed to enhance your employability in the sector or help you progress to further studies in psychology.
Key Features
  • Enthusiastic, dedicated and supportive teaching makes this an engaging and exciting postgraduate opportunity.
  • The course curriculum explores issues from a balanced range of perspectives, supported by a research-informed knowledge base.
  • With a strong emphasis on research and critical enquiry, we aim to build your ability to contribute to the ongoing development of new knowledge in social neuroscience.
  • Learning and teaching are student-centred and involve small group sessions and one-to-one tutorials. Your studies will be supported and enhanced by the University's virtual learning environment.
  • The programme includes a lab-based work experience module that gives you access to live research projects within the School of Education and Psychology.
  • By choosing to study with us, you'll have the chance to enjoy Bolton's many shops, bars, restaurants and leisure facilities. Manchester, one of the UK's most multicultural and lively cities, is less than 20 minutes away by train. Not forgetting, the North West of England is renowned for its beautiful countryside, coastline and heritage. This makes Bolton an ideal base from which to explore some of the best cultural and outdoor activities the UK offers.

  • You should have an upper second class (2.1) honours degree (or above) in Psychology, which is accredited by the British Psychology Society for Graduate Basis for Registration (GBR) of the British Psychological Society (BPS).
  • If you have a lower second class (2:2) honours degree in Psychology, you may be accepted to the programme following a successful interview. We may also ask you to provide a portfolio of your work as part of the application process.
  • We'll also be happy to consider your application if you're a graduate of an alternative but related degree (for instance, neuroscience or biology). We'll require you to attend an interview, and we may ask you to provide a portfolio of your work to help determine your suitability for the course.
  • Relevant work experience can also provide an advantage.
  • We'll consider applications where appropriate work experience can be demonstrated in lieu of, or in addition to, the published academic qualifications in line with the University’s Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning (RPEL) procedures.
  • This course does not confer Graduate Basis for Registration (GBR) with the British Psychological Society (BPS) – if you're seeking to achieve GBR, please consider applying for our MSc Psychology (Conversion) programme.
  • If English isn’t your first language, you’ll also need IELTS 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in any band (or equivalent). We also accept a range of other English language qualifications – please visit our English Language Requirements web page for more details.

Where changes are made to material information contained in this course description or a decision is taken to suspend a course between the offer of admissions and enrolment, we will inform applicants at the earliest possible opportunity and will outline the various options available to the applicant.

Graduates of our MSc Social Neuroscience degree will have a thorough grounding in the neural mechanisms underpinning human social perception, cognition and behaviour. Upon successful completion, you'll possess a range of highly transferable skills, such as oral and written communication, and the management and analysis of complex data sets.

This MSc is designed to prepare you for a potential career in research. It's also relevant if you have an interest in clinical psychology or wish to work in the biomedical sector.

What can I do with this qualification?

As a graduate of this forward-thinking postgraduate degree, you'll possess knowledge and skills that are highly valued in academic research and the clinical professions. Undertaking the MSc in Social Neuroscience can help you to access roles in healthcare, science, the media, business and education. If you're already a professional in a caring/educational field, completing this course will contribute to your professional development.

This MSc is an ideal springboard for PhD studies, particularly research in cognitive or social neuroscience. It's also an excellent preparation for further professional training in clinical psychology or a related discipline.

Alternative career options

Graduates can also use this qualification as a stepping-stone into a range of other careers, bearing in mind that some of these roles may require relevant experience and/or postgraduate study. Some possibilities include:

  • Lecturing
  • Research and development
  • Medicine
  • Biotechnology and contract research
  • Human resources
  • Social work
  • Counselling
  • Family mediation and support
  • Nursing
  • Child psychology
  • Police
  • Media and advertising
  • Communications
  • Sport psychology
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Clinical sciences
  • Publishing

Course fees

Home students starting this course in the first year will be required to pay a Home fee of £5,664 for the academic year 2024/25.

Overseas students starting this course in the first year will be required to pay a Overseas fee of £15,950 for the academic year 2024/25.

Useful information

Please note the total course fee for a Home student starting this course in 2023/24 will be £7,920. As this is an 18-month course, the fees are £5,280 for the first year and £2,640 for the final semester.

Important note regarding tuition fees for the 2020-2021 academic year: EU nationals who meet residency requirements (have settled or pre-settled status) may be eligible for 'Home' fee status. If you do not meet these residency requirements, overseas fees will apply. Irish citizens living in the UK or Ireland will be eligible for 'Home' fee status under the Common Travel Area arrangement. Please read the student finance for EU students web page on for information.

The fees for a student's course of study will be set for the normal duration of that course subject only to inflationary increases – measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) recorded in March each year to take effect for subsequent start dates.


Click here for more information on our Master's Bursaries.

For details of how to apply for this course, please choose your status from the options below:

You may apply directly to the University using the University's online application form. Please select your chosen start date from the list below:

You should have to hand:

  • Details of the educational establishments you attended and dates

  • Your certificates for the qualifications you are using to gain entry to the course – you will need to enter the completion date and upload copies

  • Details of any employment history including name, address, dates and role

  • Personal statement – this can be either input into the relevant field or uploaded separately

  • Details including e-mail addresses of two referees, at least one of which should be someone who can provide an academic reference

Please make sure any documents you wish to upload in support of your application are in pdf or jpeg format. Personal statements may be word documents.

Please ensure your data is correct at each stage of the application before you proceed to the next page. If you use the back button at any time during the application, you should check the validity of the data you have already input.

If you experience difficulties during the application process, contact the Admissions Team on 01204 903394 or

Thank you for your interest

In order to determine your suitability for this course as an international student and also to confirm you meet any initial eligibility criteria, we need you to answer a few short questions.


You'll experience a diverse range of teaching methods designed to complement each other and help you achieve the course's intended learning outcomes. You'll attend lectures, seminars, workshops and lab sessions. We'll also expect you to undertake significant independent reading and investigation, complete seminar-related work and prepare for workshops, presentations and group discussions. Some modules will require you to follow up taught sessions by using online resources and completing complementary tasks.

Assessment methods are also varied, allowing you to demonstrate your learning in various ways. For example, module assessments may require you to complete reports, essays, presentations, literature reviews, or review journal articles, write up laboratory tasks, complete short question and answer sessions relating to statistical analysis, and present reflective journals.


The modules listed below may be a mixture of compulsory and optional. You may not have the opportunity to study all the modules shown as part of the course.

  • Psychological and Social Research: Review, Evaluation and Design
  • Quantitative Inquiry 1
  • Quantitative Inquiry 2
  • Advanced Social and Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Social Neuroscience Techniques
  • Social Neuroscience Laboratory Practical
  • Psychology Dissertation
Assessment methods
LevelAssesment method
Level oneCoursework 100%
Learning activities
LevelLearning activity
Level oneGuided independent study 85%, Scheduled learning and teaching activities 15%


The university will use all reasonable endeavours to deliver your course as described in its published material and the programme specification for the academic year in which you begin your course. The university considers changes to courses very carefully and the university will minimise any changes. Please be aware that our courses are subject to review on an ongoing basis and changes may be necessary due to legitimate staffing, financial, regulatory and academic reasons. The content of course modules and mode of associated assessments may be updated on an annual basis. This is to ensure that all modules are up-to-date and responsive to employment and sector needs. The published course material and the programme specification contain indicative ‘optional modules’ that may be subject to change due to circumstances outside of our control. For this reason, we cannot guarantee to run any specific optional module.

The academic staff detailed above teach across a range of courses in this subject area and may not teach on this course specifically.

Programme Contacts

Pedro Vital
Programme Leader

+44 (0)1204 903685

Enquiry Team
University of Bolton

+44 (0)1204 903903

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Help Centre

We have the answers to your questions, find all the advice and support in one place.

Part of the University of Bolton Group

Bolton college
Alliance learning
Anderton centre2
QQA Scheme Participant