Consumer Psychology with Business MSc/PGDip/PGCert

Overview

Course facts

  • Name: Consumer Psychology with Business
  • Qualification: MSc/PGDip/PGCert
  • Duration: One full calendar year as a full time student. Also available part-time, over 2 years.

This course is also offered as an MA.

Have you ever wondered why you can remember an advert from your childhood but haven’t a clue what adverts you saw yesterday? Or maybe you’ve been in a supermarket and wondered why all of the cartoon characters on cereal boxes are looking down. If so you’re probably interested in consumer psychology. Consumer psychology is a specialty area of psychology that studies how feelings, beliefs, and perceptions influence the way consumers buy and relate to goods and services.

This exciting new discipline uses psychological insight and research and applies it to the problems facing markeeters, helping them make better decisions. For example, if a brand is developing a new advertisement, it is essential that it grabs consumers’ attention. Not only should it grab attention, but marketeers will want to ensure that consumers learn the targeted message - and psychologists can help achieve this.  For over a hundred years psychologists have studied concepts including: attention, perception, decision-making learning and motivation to name a few. While these have traditionally been studied in a laboratory based system, the relevance to marketing is obvious. By applying principles generated from learning psychology and our knowledge of how the visual system works, psychologists are able to develop advertisements that are more effective at capturing attention and more likely to be remembered.

Today consumer psychologists are working for some of the largest companies tackling questions ranging from the relatively simple (for example which product packaging grabs the most attention) to the hugely complex (how should the National Health Service use behaviour-changing interventions to reduce waiting times?). In order to help answer these questions techniques used range from traditional focus groups, questionnaires, and crowd-sourced data to the more specialised psychological based approaches including: laboratory experiments, brain imaging and eye tracking. 

This exciting new course will focus on the latest theoretical developments and explain how science is influencing: advertising, branding, consumer decision-making, merchandising, packaging store design and more. This course is perfect for any graduate wishing to start, or further develop a career in Consumer Psychology and Business and is delivered by schools that enjoy an international reputation in their respective fields.

The Teaching Team

Unlike many university courses, which are taught by academics that have no experience outside of academia, all of the teaching team on this course are either practising consumer psychologists, business consultants or both. Over the last ten years, the teaching team has independently worked on projects for companies including: Aldi, Cadburys, Iceland, Kraft, Mars, Tesco, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Walkers to name a few. The team are also regular contributors to both the BBC and Sky News, featuring on programmes ranging from the Today programme on Radio 4, to Don’t Get Done Get Dom. Not only do the teaching team regularly undertake consultancy work for companies but also a number of staff have permanent positions as scientific advisors for both advertising agencies and shopper research agencies’. Members of the teaching team are active members of both the British Psychological Society (BPS), Society for Consumer Psychology and the Association for Consumer Research. The teaching team is:

Facilities

All research students in the Psychology Department have access to a range of state of the art research laboratories, that are used both for teaching Consumer Psychology and when completing dissertation and research projects.  These facilities include:

  • Three dedicated consumer psychology testing laboratories
  • Portable Eye-tracking equipment (used for analysing how consumers behave in a retail environment)
  • Static eye-tracking equipment (used for analysing how consumers interact with webpages)
  • Facial Tracking equipment: (used for analysing how effective advertisements are at attracting consumers’ attention)
  • BIOPACs: (A device used to measure participants physiological responses e.g. heart rate, Galvanic Skin Response. For example to assess the psychological impact that advertisements have.  
  • A dedicated MRI/fMRI scanner: Used for conducting neuromarketing projects. For example read about a commercial neuormarketing project conducted at Bangor University investigating how consumers react to special offers while shopping here.
  • Five independent Electrophysiology (EEG) laboratories: Again used for conducting neuromarketing projects, but this is the equipment that the majority of the world’s leading neuromarketing agencies use.

Watch Professor James Intriligator talk about Consumer Psychology in this video.

Read the course leaflet. 

Student Comments and Profiles

"Thank you so much for running such a fantastic course as I think without this I wouldn’t have stood a chance of landing a place on the Ipsos Mori graduate scheme- all the presentations we did definitely helped. I think they loved my passion for brands and consumer-psychology stuff which is down to you and the awesome lectures. The job is in the ASI department which means I’m looking at consumer opinions of brands and adverts and all stuff like that which is amazing and pretty much exactly one of the things I wanted to do and it will really make use of my Psych stuff and especially my consumer psych stuff." LEANNE FOSTER, MSc Consumer Psychology and Business, 2013

To get a taste of what life as a postgraduate student in the School of Psychology is like, you may want to read the profiles of some of our current and past Postgraduate students.

Scholarships and Funding

You can find out more about Scholarships and funding sources here.

Course content is for guidance purposes only and may be subject to change.

Course Content

This degree aims to prepare students for a career within consumer psychology and the associated fields of behaviour change, advertising, market research and more general marketing roles. The first part of the course focuses on ensuring students’ have an excellent theoretical knowledge of consumer psychology. In the first semester two of the three modules focus specifically on consumer psychology. Students will explore classical psychological concepts and how they relate to the consumer domain. For example, what is the psychology behind how a consumer makes a purchase decision? What motivates consumers to buy one product and not others? Why do certain advertisements grab our attention? How do consumers learn a marketing message, and how can we use our knowledge of memory and learning to create more effective advertisements? The course also investigates exciting new developments being made in behavioural economics. We look at how the science of “nudges” influence consumer purchase decisions. For example, how the type of flooring in a shop can influence the way consumers move around or why limiting the number of choices presented to consumers can increase sales by 30%.

Unlike most masters’ degrees, students do not just learn the theory, but they are also given the opportunity and support to put their skills and knowledge into practice. As part of this degree all students complete a consultancy module, where they act as a consultant consumer psychologist. Under the supervision of a professional consumer psychologist, students manage and tackle a genuine research brief provided by a business. In previous years students have worked on projects for companies including; Tesco, Unilever, and Cadburys, and have explored topics as diverse as: testing and developing new product packaging, designing new store layouts, and redesigning brands websites. However, unlike in traditional market research, these projects seek to explore the psychology that drives consumer behaviour. So rather than just using questionnaires or interviews, students are given the opportunity to collect data using a range of different data collection techniques including eye-tracking, facial tracking and computer- or web-based experiments.  Of course, the students also occasionally use more traditional techniques including observations, questionnaires, interviews and focus groups.  In addition to working on their own consumer psychology research project, the students also get the opportunity to work as a consultant on all the other student projects.  This “meta-consulting” approach ensures that at the end of their training our graduates have worked on a very wide range of projects and have experience with many techniques and psychological theories/approaches within the consumer domain.

However, as well being taught by academics in both the Psychology Department and the Business School, the Consumer Psychology Department has excellent links with industry. Consequently the course will feature numerous guest lectures delivered by practitioners from a range of different fields including; advertising, market research, copy writing and branding. While the focus of this degree is clearly on consumer psychology, students are also given the opportunity to study a number of the more traditional marketing modules in the Bangor Business School. This enables students to understand traditional marketing philosophy and to see the links between the different approaches to studying marketing and consumer behaviour.

The final part of the course is the dissertation. This is an intensive research project where students explore a topic in detail that particularly interests them. Students work closely with their supervisor who is an expert in this area to plan, design and conduct their research. Students will have access to a range of different research laboratories at Bangor University to conduct their research including: The Laboratory for Advanced Marketing Psychology, Laboratory for Psychological Sciences, and the Social Brain in Action Laboratory. At the end of the project students present their research at the Masters Student Conference in Bangor. This conference is open to all students studying Psychology at Bangor University and a number of companies who work in the field of consumer psychology and marketing are invited to attend. This gives students the opportunity to present their research to both academics and business practitioners.

For full details of all the modules you will study on this course please see the links below. 

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Teaching occurs via a range of lectures, seminars, and tutorials delivered by both leading academic experts in the university and business experts who specialise in topics as diverse as: Market research, copy writing and advertising. This allows students the opportunity to understand both the academic content but also see the challenges of working in industry - something that no textbook can convey! Students will be assessed using a wide range of different assessment methods. Although these include some of the traditional methods including, essays, exams and dissertations, we recognise that virtually no one is required to write an essay in the workplace. Consequently, we include a number of assessment methods that replicate the type of tasks that consumer psychologists are required to do in the workplace. This includes: management reports, commercial proposals, blogs, oral presentations and interviews.

Modules for the current academic year

Module listings are for guide purposes only and are subject to change. Find out what our students are currently studying on the Consumer Psychology with Business Modules page.

Entry Requirements

Entry on to this degree requires a 2(ii) or higher in Psychology or a related degree (for example: Business, Marketing, Consumer Behaviour, Retail Science etc.) However, if you don’t have relevant academic experience but you have an equivalent professional qualification or relevant work experience, you will also be considered. For example if you’ve gained experience working in an advertising agency or have completed the CIM postgraduate Diploma in Marketing, you are likely to be accepted. In general, applicants are judged on their individual merits, where work experience and other factors are also considered. If you’re not certain that you quite meet the minimum requirements or if your experience is relevant, feel free to contact Gareth Harvey, the Course Director.

If your native language is not English, you must provide satisfactory evidence that you have an adequate knowledge and understanding of written and spoken English. IELTS: 6.0 (with no element below 5.5) and TOEFL test scores of no less than 600 are usually acceptable. It may be necessary for applicants falling short of this minimum standard to attend an intensive English Language course before registering for the academic programme. Such a course is available at Bangor, and full details are here

International Students

For information and further detailed guidance on entry requirements for International Students, including the minimum English Language entry requirement, please visit the Entry Requirements by Country pages on the International Education Centre section of our website.

Ask the IEC for assistance...

If you want advice or a general chat about what’s available contact the International Education Centre on +44 (0) 1248 382028 or email international@bangor.ac.uk

Apply

The University will accept applications throughout the year, but we would generally advise that you send in your application form by the end of June to ensure that you have time to make any funding and/or accommodation arrangements, and for documents such as transcripts and references to be obtained if not submitted with the application. This will also give you more time to meet any conditions we may potentially attach to an offer.

How to Apply

Home/EU students

Home/EU students: apply online yourself with the help of our Guidance Notes on online application for Home/EU students. We strongly recommend you read these before you start to apply online.

Apply online

Once you have read the Guidance Notes you should apply using our Online Application form.

Need help applying? Home/EU students please contact:

Postgraduate Admissions: postgraduate@bangor.ac.uk or write to:

Admissions Office
Bangor University
Gwynedd
LL57 2TF

Telephone: +44 (0)1248 383717.

International students

  • Agents: if you are an agent applying on behalf of the student, then you can Apply here.  For further guidance click here

Need help applying? International students please contact:

International Education Office: international@bangor.ac.uk or write to

International Education Centre
Bangor University
Gwynedd
LL57 2DG

Telephone: +44 (0) 1248 382028

When to apply

The University will accept applications throughout the year, but we would generally advise that you send in your application form by the end of June to ensure that you have time to make any funding and/or accommodation arrangements, and for documents such as transcripts and references to be obtained if not submitted with the application. This will also give you more time to meet any conditions we may potentially attach to an offer.

Careers and Employability

If you’re interested in working in advertising, branding, digital marketing, market research or retail management, this is the course for you. Over the last eight years, our graduates have gone on to work in 35 different countries and can now be found employed as: Brand managers, account planners, consumer insight directors, marketing managers and many more. Our graduates have been responsible for the launch of new products on the UK market for brands including Ella’s Kitchen, Head and Shoulders, and have managed research projects for companies including Carlsberg, Coca-Cola, and British Airways. To see a list of some of the companies our graduates are now working for, check out the list below. Or if you’d like to discuss career options, please feel free to contact Dr. Gareth Harvey – the Course Director.

Research/links with Industry

The consumer psychology team at Bangor University have excellent links with industry and this is used to help provide students with a springboard into the job market. Masters students have the option to work alongside academics engaged in consultancy projects, giving students the opportunity to work alongside a range of clients.

All students will also be required to present their final research project at the masters’ students’ conference. Not only will students be presenting to their peers and academic staff but also a large range of marketing and consumer psychologist professionals will be in attendance. In previous years representatives from some of the largest FMCGs, advertising agencies and market research agencies have been in attendance and have recruited number graduates.

consumer psychology logos

Funding

This course has traditionally attracted a lot of interest from applicants from countries that are supported by the Santander Universidades scheme and therefore eligible to apply to the Santander scholarship fund

There are also School-funded achievement scholarships for first class students, international scholarships and information on other funding sources on our scholarships School page.

Further information

Next steps