Full time 12 Month(s), Part time 24 Month(s)
Advertising is everywhere. Always transient, sometimes trivial, yet it can be incredibly powerful in changing our perceptions, our beliefs and our behaviour. Through this programme, you will develop an advanced understanding of how advertising affects the human mind, giving you unique and valuable insight into the industry.
This unique course provides an interface between theory and practice, understanding and skills, by giving you a thorough grounding in the psychology underpinning persuasion, in the context of how it is applied – and how it might be applied more radically – in the communications industry.
The course combines small-group ‘knowledge-exchange’ with innovative student-led teaching, built around our outstanding expertise in cognitive, developmental, social and neuropsychological aspects of advertising. You will benefit from perspectives and contributions from academic researchers, seasoned advertising practitioners, and original commercially-oriented research.
Studying a combination of skills and theory-based modules, you will develop a high-level of technical understanding of the discipline. You will have the opportunity to practise and develop analytical and interpretation skills alongside modules that will enhance your ability to conduct and present psychology research.
Your knowledge and understanding of the psychology of advertising and advertising theory will also develop as you engage with specialist modules focused on these topics. Studying the relationship between advertising and the human mind, and applying your learning to advertising strategy, positioning, brand, and marketing communications will prepare you for the competitive world of advertising and marketing. The advanced skills and knowledge you develop through these modules will be invaluable as you progress into a career or further research.
During the year, you will also complete a dissertation project, supported by an academic supervisor. This will be an opportunity for you to demonstrate everything that you have learnt and put theory into practice. You will develop your data-handling skills as well as your ability to accurately and appropriately present your research.
In addition, your dissertation can be completed in parallel or sequentially with an industry placement. This would give you the opportunity to gain hands-on experience, while applying your skills and knowledge to address a real-world, industry-focused challenge. This practical, relevant experience of working for an external organisation (and the networking opportunities this brings) is hugely beneficial when applying for jobs at the end of the course.
This course is designed for graduates who come from a wide range of disciplines and plan to pursue a career in advertising or communications, or who wish to refresh their skills or shift focus to a more planning-based trajectory. It is also suitable for those who wish to undertake further research into the psychology of advertising and related fields at PhD level.
You will study a range of modules as part of your course, some examples of which are listed below.
This module offers an exploration into a wide range of research approaches used in contemporary psychological research. It enables students to expand their existing knowledge of theoretical ideas, emphasising research techniques as well as their implementation. Students will develop a professional writing style in accordance with the American Psychology Association, learn how to write an ethics proposal associated with a particular research design and gain a working knowledge of how to implement different types of research procedure. In addition, the module will enhance students’ ability to differentiate between the benefits of qualitative and quantitative design, as well as understanding the staples of psychological research, including reliability and validity, importance of ethical issues and research methods such as oculomotor, questioning and observation.
All elements of this module are assessed through a range of coursework, with a large portion deriving from article writing. Due to its literary nature, participation in this module will help increase the student’s probability of becoming a published author in psychology.
A range of analytical techniques, both written and practical, that are standard in professional practice in psychological research will be taught. With emphasis on quantitative observation, students will explore a core set of analytic methods through a combination of lectures and practical workshops, and will learn how to apply statistical tests, such as AVOVA, multiple regression and t-tests, in a variety of settings. Problem solving skills will be honed by learning how to define the link between observed outcomes and psychological effects in a wide range of contexts.
Students with be equipped with the capacity to confidently identify the appropriate technique for analysing data across a wide range of investigation types, applying SPSS statistical application for their own research. They will reinforce decision making and evaluation skills through examining different forms of evidence and gain experience in presenting analysis findings, and psychological interpretations, effectively in a journal-style short report.
Paired lectures and seminars will cover a wide range of indicative topics, including auditory and visual languages, psycholinguistic programmes and the subliminal power of advertising such as non-conscious effects, persuasion and emotional appeals.
Students will advance their skills in the critical examination of empirical evidence and theoretical arguments. They willexamine the main cognitive psychological factors that impact on advertising success, ranging from lower-level perceptual, attentional and memory processes through to higher-level interpretational and inferential processes.
In addition, this module provides an understanding of the psychology of advertising from both a developmental and adult perspective, while also examining methodological issues associated with the study of child and adult cognition.
An advanced understanding of concepts, models and theories relating to advertising and marketing, in addition to general skills in the critical analysis of theoretical concepts will be covered in this module.
Students will develop their knowledge in a broad range of areas within marketing, such as advertising strategy and positioning, integrated marketing communications, brand equity, global marketing and advertising and the importance of planning. In addition to developing a critical awareness of cultural issues and global marketing, students will learn how to critically evaluate theories and models relating to advertising. Regularly assessed coursework will enable students to engage in writing critical analyses of theoretical concepts and learn the process of synthesising points, ideas and arguments into a structured narrative.
Expanding upon previously taught skills, students will delve deeper into theories which they may already be familiar with, whilst harnessing new skills that are crucial to role of marketing and the essence of advertising, including an advanced understanding of how advertising works. Marketing communication such as brand promotion and general advertising will also be explored throughout the course.
Students will apply and enhance their quantitative and qualitative research in a real-world environment, with potential to explore areas of ethical sensitivity and issues associated with advertising research, such as catering for vulnerable audiences, sensitive markets, regulation, codes of conduct and the collection and use of behavioural data.
The writing process will progress in stages, where students will be able to communicate views and opinions in both writing and discussions, and support these views and opinions with well-reasoned arguments. In addition to this, students will develop the ability to conduct and manage an advertising project throughout all of its key stages and demonstrate skills in quantitative and/or qualitative research methods by addressing research questions as part of a real-world advertising project.
Assessment will be both through focused practical work (market analysis and research, in addition to strategy development) and expert review sessions, offering professional feedback and advice from tutors and commercially based practitioners.
This module focuses on developing the skills required to analyse psychological data using software, such as R Statistical application, as well as modern statistical approaches. Students will develop the ability to conduct and present quantitative data analysis techniques through a combination of lectures and workshops.Practical exercises will draw upon observations taken from real psychological data to develop flexibility and the capacity for critical thinking in the application of analytic skills.
These techniques will include modelling approaches such as (general) linear models and (generalised) linear mixed-effects models due to their power, flexibility and accuracy across the widest range of applications in psychological science.
With an emphasis on qualitative research, this module will address a range of uses for verbally acquired data, for example from interviews and focus groups, and enable students to apply this content for conversational analysis.
Students will develop a range of skills including sampling, ethics and transcription, resulting in the ability to conduct and write-up a piece of independent qualitative research. There will be opportunity for students to develop practical and analytic skills and technique, and expand their knowledge of the underlying epistemological assumptions of a range of qualitative methods.
The difference between discursive psychology and discourse analysis will be explained, complimented with thematic analysis and interpretive phenomenological analysis and, through the method of coursework, students will be encouraged to conduct and report independent qualitative research.
A range of contemporary theories in social psychology will be explored, with students gaining familiarity with key methods and debates concerning core social psychological constructs. They will develop an understanding of the ways in which social psychological theory, findings, and methods can be applied to contemporary social problems. The aim is to get students thinking like independent researchers,by encouraging them to engage critically with issues relating to the practicality, ethics and political issues of real-world application. Students will be empowered with the ability to address social psychological questions in the real-world via applied work in social psychology.
This module will equip students with the skills required to critically evaluate social psychological theory and research, with a view to questions of methodological adequacy, theoretical integrity, and the quality and quantity of empirical evidence.
This module involves a self-directed literature review, undertaken by the student on a psychological topic of their own choosing, under expert supervision. Students will be encouraged to develop an in-depth knowledge of a specific area of psychological research. This will include both classic theories and studies in the area, as well as up-to-date knowledge of current approaches and recent research findings.Students will engage and develop skills in literature searching, in addition to the understanding they will gain in evaluating evidence, summarising findings from primary sources, and drawing conclusions on the basis of existing research. Students will obtain the practical knowledge and experience required to use electronic and other forms of library resources to identify published research in psychology, and will be aware of different traditions of theory and research in their chosen topic area.
Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, but changes may be necessary, for example as a result of student feedback, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes, and new research.
Director of Studies: Leslie Hallam
Duration: 12 months, full-time or 24 months, part-time
Entry requirements: 2:1 (UK hons) degree in Psychology or a related discipline including Marketing, Advertising, Media or Business studies; a wide range of undergraduate subjects and/or relevant experience will be considered
If you have studied outside of the UK, you can check your qualifications here: http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/international-qualifications/
We may consider non-standard applicants, please contact us for further information.
English language: IELTS: Overall score of at least 6.5, with no individual element below 6.0 We consider tests from other providers, which can be found here: http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/study/international-students/english-requirements/requirements-p2/
If your score is below our requirements we may consider you for one of our pre-sessional English language programmes:
10 week- Overall score of at least 5.5, with no individual element below 5.0http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/study/international-students/pre-sessional-english-language/postgraduate-students/ 4 week- Overall score of at least 6.0, with no individual element below 5.5http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/linguistics/study/summer-schools/english-for-academic-purposes/
Funding may be available, further information can be found here: http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/postgraduate-fees-and-funding/postgraduate-scholarships-&-bursaries/
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