Behaviour Change

You are viewing this course for September start 2024

The MSc Behaviour Change at Aberystwyth University takes a novel multi-disciplinary approach to equip you with the skills necessary to forge a successful career in this evolving and stimulating field. As you confront the complex issues faced at national and global level in areas such politics, crime, the environment, food security, health and education, you will explore creative solutions to a series of collective action problems and learn how to apply behaviour change principles to real-world challenges in key sectors. 

This degree will imbue you with the knowledge and expertise required to inform organisations, influence policy-makers and implement strategic change in behaviours to have a positive effect which will benefit businesses, governments, communities and societies at large.

As part of your training you will design innovative, evidence-based solutions to the tangible behaviour change challenges faced by our external collaborators and professional partners, enabling you to see first-hand the impact of your recommendations in practical contexts.

On completion of the course you will emerge with essential employability skills as highlighted in the World Economic Forum’s top 15 desirable skills and develop crucial proficiencies in problem-solving, communication and teamwork which are in high demand amongst employers.

Typical Entry Requirements

Entry Requirements 2:1 Bachelors (Honours) degree, or equivalent, in any subject discipline, to include demonstrable evidence of prior study of behaviour change.

English Language Requirements IELTS 7.0 with minimum 6.0 in each component, or equivalent

Other Requirements Applicants are encouraged to submit an up-to-date CV as part of their application.

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Course Overview

Behavioural insight is employed by experts and practitioners in numerous, diverse subject areas and professional applications; indeed, psychological understanding is at the core of the work of many healthcare professionals, geographers, international relations and business leadership experts as they seek to optimise human behaviour in niche domains.

This innovative degree draws on multi- and transdisciplinary scholarship from the Department of Psychology, Department of Geography and Earth Sciences, Aberystwyth Business School and the Department of International Politics, enabling you to specialise in your preferred discipline: geography, psychology, business or international relations. Your optional modules and the dissertation will reflect your chosen specialist discipline.

You will be introduced to the psychology of human behaviour and mechanisms of behaviour change from numerous psychological perspectives (including evolutionary, cognitive, social, biological and developmental branches of psychology). You will also learn about the structural, institutional and systemic bases of behaviour, as well as the principles and practice of transdisciplinary dialogue and collaborative working.

Specialist opportunities for Behaviour Change students at Aberystwyth include:

  • a thorough psychological grounding in behaviour change as well as a comprehensive sociological foundation
  • training in collaborative problem-solving for contemporary challenges to prepare you for the workplace
  • numerous coursework assessments and dissertation options based on experiential stakeholder-posed behavioural challenges
  • tuition in quantitative and qualitative research methods
  • guest lectures from external collaborators and stakeholders such as Public Health Wales, Hywel Dda University Health Board, Dyfed-Powys Police, Natural Resources Wales, Dwr Cymru (Welsh Water), local businesses and the Welsh Government. 

About this course

Degree type: MSc

Course code: C801

Duration: 1 year (full-time) or 2 years (part-time).

Contact time: Approximately 10-14 hours a week in the first two semesters, then mutually agreed contact time with assigned supervisor.

Modules September start - 2024

Please note: The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery during the next academic year and may be subject to change. They are included here to give an indication of how the course is structured.

* Also available partially or entirely through the medium of Welsh


According to the QS 2019 Global Skills Gap Report, the current most important employability skills are problem-solving, communication, and teamwork; the top three skills gaps are in problem-solving, resilience, and communication; and employers are the least satisfied with their employees’ negotiating skills, leadership, and commercial awareness. Similarly, The Future of Jobs Report 2020 (World Economic Forum) lists analytical thinking and innovation, active learning and learning strategies, complex problem-solving, critical thinking and analysis, and creativity, originality and initiative in its Top 15 skills for 2025. Finally, a Pearson report, 'The Future of Skills: Employment in 2030', lists judgement and decision-making, fluency of ideas, active learning, systems evaluation, complex problem solving, management of personnel resources, and active learning amongst its top-ranking skills of the future. With its rigorous transdisciplinary approach, focus on skill development as well as knowledge advancement, and engagement with external collaborators in its design and delivery, our MSc Behaviour Change clearly places an emphasis on all of these employability skills.

Graduates of MSc Behaviour Change would be suited to roles in the health sector, business and management, local and national government, NGOs, lobbying, environmental planning and consultancy, and in any context in which it would be helpful, ethical, and desired to facilitate behaviour change.

Teaching & Learning

Core modules that you may study on this course include:

  • The Psychology of Behaviour Change
  • Transdisciplinary Dialogue
  • Research with People
  • Risk, Resilience and Behaviour in a Changing Environment.

You will also choose two modules from contributing departments (subject to availability) according to your own interests, which may include:

  • Implementation Science (Psychology)
  • Global Climate Change: Debates and Impacts (Geography)
  • People and Organisations (Business)
  • Global Challenges and the Future of International Relations Theory (International Politics)
  • Managing Environmental Change in Practice (Geography)
  • Marketing Management Strategy (Business).

Modes of teaching

You will be taught by expert academic staff across lectures, tutorials and seminars.

During the first two semesters (September to May), you will normally have 3-4 hours of direct contact time with your tutor per module, with an expectation of substantial guided and independent study time outside of the classroom. There will also be additional sessions working towards developing your dissertation. During semester 3 you will receive support from your assigned dissertation supervisor; contact time will be by mutual agreement.

Methods of assessment

You will be assessed through essays, report-writing and presentations (oral and poster), including mini conferences.