Comparative, Evolutionary and Developmental Psychology: Origins of Mind at University of St Andrews - UCAS

University of St Andrews

Degree level: Postgraduate

Comparative, Evolutionary and Developmental Psychology: Origins of Mind (Taught)

Course options

Course summary

This MSc provides advanced research training in a range of intellectual and practical skills associated with evolutionary, comparative and developmental approaches to the study of the mind. The MSc in Comparative, Evolutionary and Developmental Psychology is a one-year taught postgraduate programme run by the School of Psychology and Neuroscience. This MSc programme explores the evolution and development of behaviour and cognition in human beings and non-human animals. It provides students with the academic knowledge and practical skills required to study the origins of mind, using a broad range of theoretical perspectives and experimental approaches. The modules are taught by renowned researchers, and students normally have the opportunity to conduct an independent research project. Highlights

  • The core curriculum provides a broad understanding of the evolution and development of behaviour and cognition, supplemented with options that allow students to explore specialist topics at an advanced level.
  • Students gain a range of valuable transferable skills that are highly relevant for pursuing a postgraduate research degree or other research-related careers.
  • Students have the opportunity, subject to availability, to conduct an independent research project, supervised by our academic staff, and that sometimes include fieldwork and zoo-based animal studies, and experimental studies on children and adult humans.
  • The course is mainly taught by members of the origins of mind research group, with additional contributions from other members of the School of Psychology and Neuroscience and the wider Centre for Social Learning and Cognitive Evolution.


The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2023 entry. Compulsory

  • Empirical Approaches to the Evolution of Communication: explores the evolution of human language and animal communication through the comparative study of communication and cognition in humans and a variety of non-human species.
  • Methods of Data Analysis in Psychology: advanced training in research design, statistics, qualitative methods and modelling.
  • Origins of Human Cognition: focuses on the origins of human cognition from evolutionary and developmental perspectives.
  • Principal Approaches to the Origins of Mind: introduces distinct ways of studying the origins of mind within a comparative Tinbergian framework, emphasising both functional and mechanistic accounts.
Optional Modules Students choose two optional modules ('Generic Research and Professional Skills' count as two choices). Here is a sample of optional modules that may be offered.
  • Animal Models in Psychology & Neuroscience
  • Evolution and Development of Social and Technical Intelligence
  • Evolution of Human Behaviour and Culture
  • Generic Research and Professional Skills in Psychology
  • Mechanisms of Behaviour: Integrating Psychological and Neuroscience Perspectives
  • Methodologies for Psychology and Neuroscience
  • Origins and Evolution of Mind Reading (Theory of Mind)
  • The Impact of Science
Research Project Students will undertake a significant piece of independent research as part of their final assessment. The research projects will be supervised by members of the teaching staff, who will advise on the choice of study subject and dissertation topic. In addition, they will provide guidance throughout the research process. The completed dissertation of not more than 15,000 words must be submitted by a specific date in mid-August. Further information is available via the "Course contact details" section at the bottom of this webpage.

Assessment method

The types of assessment might include coursework essays, research proposals, lab reports, statistical analyses,  and exams, in addition to the research project dissertation.

Entry requirements

A good 2.1 Honours undergraduate degree in Psychology or a cognate discipline. If you studied your first degree outside the UK, please see the university’s international entry requirements.

English language requirements

For the current English Language requirements please visit the English language requirements for postgraduate students on the University of St Andrews website.

English language requirements for postgraduate students

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

No fee information has been provided for this course

Additional fee information

For the most current information on course fees please visit

Sponsorship information

Carnegie-Cameron bursaries; entrant accommodation bursary; Formula Santander postgraduate scholarship; recent graduate discount; Thomas and Margaret Roddan Trust bursary.

Comparative, Evolutionary and Developmental Psychology: Origins of Mind at University of St Andrews - UCAS