Psychology Courses

A degree in psychology takes a closer look at human behaviour. Examining issues including ageing, education, relationships, social standing, and employment.

Studying Psychology

The aim of the degree is to build your knowledge of the subject of psychology. Equipping you with valuable communication and analytical skills. Studying a psychology degree will give you a strong platform to pursue a career as a psychologist.

Completing a degree in psychology will usually take 3 years and is awarded as a BSc Psychology. However, if the degree is also combined with another subject area then it may be awarded as a BA.

The topics covered are dependent on the university but may include:

  • Abnormal and social psychology.
  • Individual differences.
  • Behavioural neuroscience.
  • Personality, development and intelligence.
  • Cognition, behaviour and brain: Cognitive psychology.
  • Cognition, behaviour and brain: Biological psychology.
  • Transferable skills.
  • Research methods.
  • Psychology of attractiveness.
  • Human origins.

The core themes will be introduced during your first year, and expanded on during the second. In your third and final year you will have the opportunity to pursue advanced and independent study. In the final year you will also be given a choice from a number of specialist modules.

You will be graded throughout on coursework and individual and group presentations. You will also be expected to complete a dissertation in your final year of study.

Some programs offer you the chance to take a language module. This counts towards your degree.

Top Ranked Universities for Psychology

Guardian 2018 Complete University Guide 2018 Institution
1 2 University of Bath
2 4 University of St Andrews
3 3 University of Cambridge
4 1 University of Oxford
5 5 University College London
6 11 Loughborough University
7 6 Durham University
8 19 University of Surrey
9 13 University of York
10 7 University of Birmingham

Postgraduate

A master's degree can open up exciting new pathways in your career, and people with experience in psychological research are increasingly in demand. A masters is more lucrative to employers than a BA, and it’s also ideal for students who don’t want to earn a doctorate.

Learning more about a master’s in psychology helps you to make the correct decision regarding what to study, and where to study. Not every university offers the same program and course structure, with each university specialising in one unique aspect of Psychology.

What Is A Masters In Psychology?

A masters in psychology is designed to help you find work in the field of psychology in the capacity you prefer. They generally comprise a core group of psychology classes and a specialist area, such as child psychology. There are two main types of this degree:

  • Master of Arts (MA Psychology)
  • Master of Science (MSc Psychology)

An MA usually focuses more on the humanities and liberal arts side of psychology, while an MSc is geared towards the sciences and includes a research-heavy program. But because the academic requirements have a lot in common, the type of award offered often depends on the program and the school. Most courses will finish with either a dissertation or a research project which will bring together everything you have studied so far and further enhance your research skills.

Some master’s psychology programs are referred to as terminal degrees, which is essentially a degree that prepares a student for professional practice in a specialised area. Some students might prefer to see their master’s as a stepping stone towards studying for a doctorate (PhD).

An master’s in psychology generally lasts for between one to three years, though the exact amount of time it takes to complete depends on whether you are studying part-time or full-time. Most full-time courses last for a year, and study will take place over a period of eight months.

Topics covered throughout a psychology degree

The precise topics that will be covered throughout your studies are dependent on the programme and the school, as well as the course structure and your specialist area. But some of the topics you can expect to study include:

  • Behavioural neuroscience
  • Developmental science
  • Cognitive neuroscience
  • Social psychology
  • Experimental psychology
  • Forensic psychology
  • Clinical psychology
  • Counselling psychology
  • Pathology
  • Criminal psychology (criminology)
  • Psychology Research
Each university offers different specialised courses. For example, London Metropolitan University specialises in Consumer Psychology.

Entry Requirements

Universities generally look for a wide range of GCSE subjects. Mathematics and English at Grade C level or above are required.

For A-Levels are a minimum of AAA from three A-levels. If one of the three A-levels is psychology, chemistry, physics, biology, statistics or mathematics then an AAB maybe ok.

There are no mandatory subjects needed for your application to be considered. However, it would be useful to have A-levels in psychology, sociology, biology or mathematics.

In your personal statement you should describe how you have pursued your interest in psychology. Include both academic and personal examples of how you have furthered your interest in psychology. Any relevant work experience should also be included. For help with writing your personal statement you should take a look at our guide on writing a personal statement.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees will likely be £9,250 per year. This is the current maximum UK universities can charge. However, if you opt to study part time this fee will be lower but you will study for a longer period of time.

Postgraduate

The exact entry requirements will be dependent on the course you are applying for, and at which university. Generally, graduates should have a recognised degree in Psychology that is at least at upper second-class BA level. Usually, applicants who have undertaken an Honours program but have achieved only a pass will not be eligible.

If you have previously studied a subject other than Psychology and achieved at least an upper-second class honours level, you might be offered the chance to take a conversion course before moving onto a Masters. Not all universities offer conversion routes, so check with your chosen university.

Some postgraduate degrees in Psychology may require students to attend an entrance interview. To help you understand postgraduate interviews we have put together an article for the top 10 questions that are likely to pop up and the best ways that you can answer them: Top 10 Postgraduate Interview Questions.

Career Prospects

A psychology degree equips you with a wide range of skills that cover not just the sciences. As such, lots of career pathways will open up to you as a psychology graduate. As well as going straight into a career in psychology, you will also have the qualifications needed to apply for an MSc in Psychology and continue in higher education as a psychology student.

Possible jobs you might want to consider upon graduation include:

  •   Counselling Psychologist.
  •   Educational Psychologist.
  •   Clinical Psychology.
  •   Health Psychologist.
  •   Occupational Psychologist.
  •   Forensic Psychologist.

You don’t have to limit yourself to the field of psychology. With a degree in psychology you can also consider the following wide range of careers:

  •   Counsellor.
  •   Forensic Accountant.
  •   Careers Advisor.
  •   Market Researcher.
  •   Human Resources Officer.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that, since a degree in psychology arms you with a number of versatile, transferable skills, employers from various fields of industry will be open to considering your application.

A master's degree opens up lots of new career options to you. The exact career opportunities available will depend on a few factors, including what area of psychology you specialised in.

The most popular degree options are:

  • Masters in Experimental Psychology: This degree is heavily research-based and as such will prepare you for a career in research. During the course, you will focus on a specialised area - for example, human factors - and upon graduation potential jobs will include lab manager, research assistant and market researcher.
  • Masters in Clinical Psychology: Further study is not necessary after this terminal degree, which prepares you for professional practice. It’s a practise-based program which can lead to jobs as a psychotherapy or psychological assessor.
  • Masters in an Applied Psychology Area: Taking a Masters in an applied psychology area, such as forensic psychology, gives you the best chance of finding work immediately upon graduation. An MS or MA in an applied field will prepare you to work directly in the specialise are you have studied. Careers in teaching will also be possible, both at college or uni level.

If you aren’t considering any of the above options, career opportunities are still plentiful. Some prior thinking and planning will help you to work out a career that works for you. Teaching positions are solid options, while working in some capacity for local councils or even the government are possibilities, too.

Other job roles to consider include:

  • Employment counsellor
  • Drug and alcohol specialist
  • Parole officer
  • Social service manager
  • Rehabilitation counsellor

Jobs in mental health and the health care sector will also be among your options.

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