Noelle McAra

Noelle McAra

School Academic Advisor (School of Applied Sciences), Lecturer

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Personal profile

Personal profile

I am the Academic Advisor for the School of Applied Sciences  and as such I offer direct support to students on issues such as eligibility for extensions, deferrals, missed studies, and liaise with academic staff and student services staff to help students progress. I offer advice on university procedures and regulations that might affect students’ progress and advise students on progression panel decisions.  I also support students undertaking appeals, helping them prepare their case by directing them to the appropriate regulations and support services.  I provide academic input to Fitness to Study panels, and in conjunction with the HoDs, investigate cases of academic misconduct/plagiarism.  I also represent the School at Student Disciplinary Panels for academic misconduct

I am a Lecturer in Psychology and began working at Abertay in 1999 part time and became a full-time lecturer in 2006, having previously taught Psychology at the Open University and at Dundee College. 

My research interests focus on gender differences and on women – for example changes in psychological functions, mood and wellbeing relating to phases of the menstrual cycle.

I hold an MA (Hons) Psychology and an MSc in Applied Computing, both from the University of Dundee as well as a PgCert HET and an MPhil from Abertay University.  I’m also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)

I have been a STEM ambassador since 2009 and am actively involved in outreach activities including judging Big Bang Scotland.


I currently teach research methods and statistics in second and third year   I am module lead for PSY206 Essential Research Methods and Analysis for Psychology and PSY420 Work-Based Learning.  I teach into PSY303 Advanced Research, Design and Analysis, PSY210 Research Methods (Direct Entry) and contribute to PSY410 Psychology Honours Project. 

Research interests

My undergraduate dissertation examined the effects of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) on mother's attitudes towards their children and while studying for my MSc Applied Computing I worked on the development of a website for survivors of rape and sexual abuse.  My MPhil used a mixed methods approach to examine changes in psychological functions across the menstrual cycle. 

I am currently examining the role of empathy in relation to facial recognition to establish whether there are differences in facial recognition between high and low empathy participants.  I am also examining well-being and happiness in women to determine how these change over the course of the menstrual cycle. 

Pedagogical Projects

As School Academic Advisor (SAA), I am interested in examining how we can best support our students in completing their degrees.  In collaboration with Lynn Wright and Aimee Grant I am examinng why students might choose not to submit assessments.  In collaboration with other SAA's and Student Support Officers, I am examining reasons given by students for not completing their degree.

Funded projects

Savage, A., Wright, L., & McAra, N. (2016).  Development of on-line resources to support Research Methods and Statistics in Psychology, Life Sciences and Analytical Chemistry: £1400

Wright, L., McAra, N., Scrimgeour, A. & Wilson, K.  (2008). Enhancing RE-search methods (£720)

Wright, L., Hardie, S.M., & McAra, N. (2014).  r-E:search methods for post-graduate students: £2800

Current projects

Collaborating with Dr Lynn Wright to collect qualitative data from final year students to consider how we can improve their experience of their projects.

Collaborating with Dr Christopher Watkins and Dr Fiona Stirling on a thematic analysis of interview data exploring the impact of meeting with professional psychologists on career orientation in students.

Research Degree Opportunities

I am willing to supervise students in any of these or related areas, and we offer the following research degrees: one-year MSc by Research, two-year MPhil or three-year PhD.  For more information please email  or telephone 01382 308587.


I have been a STEM ambassador since 2009 and was a judge for Big Bang Scotland in 2011, 2012 and 2013. 

Education/Academic qualification

Psychology, MPhil, A Mixed Methods Examination of Attitudes and Perceived Mood Change and Well-Being Across the Menstrual Cycle.

Award Date: 26 Oct 2017


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