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Widening career paths with the MSc Work & Organisational Psychology

By Joanna Butler - Posted on 16 June 2022

Joanna Butler has helped introduce the new MSc Work & Organisational Psychology at Strathclyde Business School - she explains the benefits and opportunities involved in this new programme.

The University of Strathclyde has previously delivered an MSc Occupational Psychology in collaboration with Glasgow Caledonian University; however, the last cohort was in 2008 – one year after I gained my MSc on the programme. And as a Strathclyde alumnus (UG, MSc, PhD) and a Chartered Occupational Psychologist it has been a passion project of mine to bring an accredited postgraduate programme back to the Business School. Evident from the work I do in the design and implementation of employability and skills services in the UK and internationally, there is an ever-presented demand for the knowledge and skills of occupational psychologists.

The last three years have been a prime example of the changing nature of work, and as occupational psychologists, our knowledge and skills have been brought to the forefront as a profession that offers value to individuals, organisations and society.

The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of well-being at work, accelerated technological adaptation, and the adoption of flexible and remote working. Emerging from the pandemic, understanding the psychology of people at work is crucial for any professional who recruits, manages, counsels and develops people in the context of a ‘new normal’ (whatever that may mean in practice!). Organisations will need to motivate, engage, and retain employees, ensure their health and wellbeing, help individuals develop their skills, adapt to new digital technologies at work, and cope with unemployment or re-employment.

Therefore, the demand for work and organisational psychologists will only grow. 

 At the same time as demand increases, there is a shortage of psychologists in the UK, and Scotland has been behind UK and international comparators in its postgraduate work and organisational psychology offer.

To address that gap, we have introduced a new MSc Work and Organisational Psychology, and I couldn’t be more pleased.

A unique feature of the programme is its combination of core psychological science and interdisciplinarity which will ensure a contemporary perspective of occupational psychology, while also providing students routes for more specialist career paths.

Modules are aligned to the British Psychological Society’s (BPS) core domains including:

  • Assessment and Selection at Work
  • Work, Health and Wellbeing
  • People, Technology and Work
  • Developing Talent
  • Leadership, Engagement and Motivation
  • Organisational Development and Change
  • People Analytics and Professional Practice

Core research methods classes will be provided by the School of Psychological Sciences and Health (Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences). In addition, optional classes from other faculties (Engineering and Science) will acknowledge important issues for applying occupational psychology in a wider societal context, such as digital health, data science, and environmental ergonomics.

Taught by academics and practitioners, you will be part of a growing network of organisational and work psychologists in Scotland.

We intend to support students’ development to become practitioner occupational psychologists. To deliver ‘useful learning’, we encourage external engagement and students will benefit from our professional networks (across the UK and internationally) who will be invited to give talks on the profession in practice and also provide dissertation research placements during the summer.

The programme is embedded in a Business School and department which is recognised for its research quality in areas directly relevant to work and organisational psychology. WEO is Scotland’s leading centre for research, knowledge exchange and education in human resource management (HRM), employment studies/industrial relations, and organisational behaviour/studies.

This course will also be the only one in Scotland to provide a Stage 1 qualification towards professional membership of the Division of Occupational Psychology with the British Psychological Society (application for accreditation submitted to the BPS). This means students will be eligible to progress to Stage 2 qualification, or chartership. This is one option and there is an alternative route for students who do not have the Graduate Basis for Chartership (GBC)*.

Designed for those with an undergraduate degree in psychology or from other backgrounds who wish to specialise in applying psychology to work and employment, the programme is also ideal for professionals seeking a career change, or for those who wish to gain further understanding of psychology at/of work.

At the end of the MSc a range of career opportunities which will be opened up to students, including those in management, HR, recruitment, wellbeing, health and safety, engineering, training and development, civil servants, NHS, organisational change and development consultants, and policy research.

As a professional qualification for those eligible for chartership in occupational psychology, the degree offers a range of opportunities to work in academia, as an independent consultant, or in a practitioner or policy advisory role across public, private and third sector organisations.

The degree also provides a pathway to a doctoral degree in psychology, human resource management, organisation studies, work/employment studies, management and other aligned social science and business and management subjects, especially given its emphasis on building graduates' advanced analytical data skills.


*Eligibility criteria can be found on the BPS website, or further information can be obtained from joanna.butler@strath.ac.uk. For more information on WEO’s research and knowledge exchange activities see Research Themes & Centres.

Contact details

 Undergraduate admissions
 +44 (0)141 548 4114

 Postgraduate admissions
 +44(0)141 553 6118 / 6119


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