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MA in Work and Organisational Psychology/Behaviour

Who is this course for?

The MA Applied Psychology (Work and Organisational Psychology) is aimed at psychology graduates while the MA Applied Psychology (Work and Organisational Behaviour) is aimed at non-psychology graduates. Both programmes are available for 1 year full-time or 2 years part-time (see restrictions on part-time options).


Psychology applied to the domain of work is a fascinating and multi-faceted area. From improving recruitment decisions to understanding how technology affects our work performance and experience, from coaching individuals to developing organisational capacity, psychology can be applied to enhancing peoples' well-being and performance at work and contributing to organisational effectiveness. This programme will be of interest to anyone who wishes to enhance their knowledge and skills in work psychology and pursue career options in that area.

By engaging with the programme you will develop a range of practical skills in conducting research, critical thinking and analysis, and a range of competencies relevant to professional work such as selection and assessment, negotiation, consulting, etc. The aim is to equip graduates of this programme with the building blocks to operate as effective and reflective professionals. The MA in Work and Organisational Psychology (UCC programme codes are CKD41 for the full-time and CKD42 for the part-time option) is fully accredited and recognised by the Psychological Society of Ireland. The MA in Work and Organisational Behaviour is an option for those who graduated with a related degree other than psychology (UCC programme codes are CKD43 for the full-time and CKD44 for the part-time option).

The programme is delivered via blended learning. The modules incorporate a combination of self-guided online materials, web-based lectures and seminars, occasional online discussion groups and online assessments. Students must also attend face-to-face classes on campus on a weekly basis during semester one and two.

Why Choose this Course? Unique Aspects

Programme Flexibility

The blended nature of this programme (delivered partly online and partly on campus) offers students flexible access to pursue a Masters qualification. In our experience, this combination supports all those students who are already in employment or are sponsored by their employer to attend this programme.

School Expertise

This Masters is underpinned by three key themes that differentiate it from other programmes in Ireland. These themes are based on our school’s particular areas of expertise and address contemporary workplace concerns and challenges. Drawing on our digital futures research team we address themes around technology mediated work and organisations; from our resilience and transition team we address themes of well-being, resilience and diversity at work; and finally from our individual differences experts we address themes of recognising and assessing individual abilities and potential in the workplace.

Knowledge Exchange: Your Experience Counts!

We welcome students from all walks of life. As a result, we tend to have a good mix of students with and without human resource/training/coaching/consulting experience in our cohorts. This combination usually supports knowledge exchange (e.g., research methods know-how in exchange for practical insights).

Practice-Orientated Dissertations to Get a Start on your Future Career

Dissertation supervision is managed by a number of faculty associated with this MA programme, but also other MA programmes in our Schools. This ensures that our students have access, via our faculty, to different areas of expertise and knowledge of different professional domains (e.g., mental health/healthcare, coaching, and guidance counselling).

Students are positively encouraged to select a dissertation topic that may pave the way for their envisioned future career goal. When students are already in employment, the option to study a topic close to their employers’ interest is supported as long as the dissertation requirements are met. Students are encouraged to seek out potential dissertation advisors within one month of starting the programme to facilitate a well-coordinated and timely delivery of the dissertation in the first (for part-timers second) year.

The benefits of linking research to practice are apparent in a number of success stories, for example:

“My dissertation supervisor emphasised the importance of making sure that my research was directly applicable to the workplace. Having a large piece of work, with findings and recommendations relevant to organisations really makes you stand out during the interview process. The organisation I worked with as part of my research actually asked me to interview for a position that became available during the year.”

Skills and Careers Information

Career Success of Alumni

Graduates of this programme can look forward to a wide range of career options across both the public and private sectors applying psychology at work. Graduates may enter careers as work and organisational psychologists, or may consider careers in human resource management, human resource development, consultancy, organizational research or academic/research careers.

To date, a number of our alumni have been recruited nationally and internationally as an outcome of completing this MA in Work and Organisational Psychology/Behaviour. For alumni who were already in employment, a number of our former students were subsequently promoted to new roles. Examples of areas where alumni ended up working include: Human Resources positions, organisers/facilitators of Organisational Development and Change / Community Development initiatives, occupational psychologists in training, consultants (e.g., recruitment and selection).

The success is also reflected in student experiences:

“The course emphasised the application of theory in the workplace and I found this to be very useful when going to interviews. Completing this course helps you to develop a diversity of thought that makes you stand out amongst other applicants at interview stage and has played a pivotal role in helping me secure my current job.”

“The lectures and content were a good mix of interesting and challenging. Working now as a trainee occupational psychologist it’s really evident how practical the course is.”

Student Experiences

Several of our alumni and graduating class shared their thoughts on the programme and described their experience as following:

“I really enjoyed the course and would recommend it to anyone looking to apply psychology in the real world.”

“I am really delighted I decided to do this masters. From beginning to end the department and the staff supporting the course have been really helpful and supportive. I originally completed my undergrad in psychology in UCC and have found my experience in the department to be top class on both occasions.”

“This MA gave me a whole new perspective and pushed me to develop my critical thinking. In addition to self-directed learning, it challenged the class through engaging discussions, to look at every day work related issues, bringing a new open minded perspective.”

“One of the most enjoyable aspects of the MA in Work & Organisational Psychology/ Behaviour was the diverse mix of experience within the class and a learning environment which encouraged students to learn from each other’s experiences. Having worked in Human Resources for many years it was great to listen and learn from the workplace experiences of others with a variety of work backgrounds and of recent graduates preparing for the workplace.”

Practice Opportunities: Supporting Employability

Where possible, we also support practical skills training. A number of our alumni have been introduced to practitioners in the field who offered internships and other training opportunities. We continue to support such initiatives to marry the academic with the practical aspects of this degree to support graduate employability.

This is also confirmed by reports our graduates:

“The cross over between theory and application has been fantastic and my experience of the masters has left me very confident in embarking on a career as an occupational psychologist.”

“The emphasis that is placed on applying your knowledge in the real world helps you communicate to interviewers the value that your skills and psychology can bring to the workplace.”

“During the year we had many interesting guest speakers and I was lucky enough to be offered a paid internship in one of their companies. The experience of working alongside a fellow work and organizational psychologist was invaluable and my employer has since offered to be my supervisor as I begin the journey of becoming chartered”.

“The MA certainly helped me secure my current position as the Further Education and Training Recruitment Officer […]. With the moratorium on recruitment of new staff, the ageing workforce, restructuring, the changing expectations from both employers and employees, the psychological contract, I am actually putting into practice my learnings from the Masters programme on a daily basis.”

For those students interested in research careers, our graduates may also consider progressing to doctoral studies in the area or engage in further specialisation in the area of work psychology. Our School offers both funded and self-funded PhD opportunities.

Who to Contact

For more information contact Course Director Prof Carol Linehan (

To find out more and for details on how to apply click here.

Please note that upon receipt of an offer, a deposit for 500 Euro will be requested from applicants to confirm acceptance of the place. The deposit is not refundable and payable by the deadline specified in the acceptance offer.

School of Applied Psychology

Síceolaíocht Fheidhmeach

Cork Enterprise Centre, North Mall, Cork.,