All academic studies are challenging, but psychology and it’s study of how the human brain works is a particularly difficult subject get through. Despite this it is a popular degree programme that gives students a significant breadth of skills and knowledge that will make them considerably more employable across a whole spectrum of careers.

With the science of psychology constantly changing it is important that students are taught the latest developments and theories. UK universities excel at this and possess a well deserved reputation for having academic environments where teaching and research are carried out to the highest possible standards.

The ultimate aim of a psychology degree is to prepare you to work within a multidisciplinary healthcare team, providing your patients with the best care by assessing and treating their psychological needs.

Psychology degree course overview
Studying psychology at degree level will you a window into the workings of the human mind. It is a fascinating subject that will give you a good idea about what motives people, why things are done and what makes us who we are. You will learn how to use a number of approaches to answer these questions as well as clearer understanding of scientific methods, statistics and research methodology.

At the start you will learn the fundamentals of what it takes to become a psychologist, building on from this you will explore it’s more detailed aspects. Towards the end and in the final year you will consolidate and extend what you have previously learnt and also focus on studying the latest discoveries in psychology.

Apart from studying the core subject matter a good degree course will also help students to develop a wide range of transferable skills that they will find useful in other careers. These highly valued capabilities include key areas such as essay writing, IT skills, data management, written and oral communication skills and also the ability to work in groups.

Try to enrol for a degree course where you can study at a manageable pace and where the students are fully supported and the teaching methods are flexible and convenient.

In a psychology degree course you will essentially be studying

  • The science of human behaviour.
  • Why we behave the way we do.
  • Whether our genes play any part in our psychological make up.
  • Looking at research and theories that have shaped psychology today.
  • Concepts and theories.

The degree will assist you to

  • Develop your own independent learning skills.
  • Take responsibility and initiative for your own learning.
  • Cultivate valuable analytical and communication skills.
  • Voice your opinions with confidence.
  • Thinking critically about evidence.
  • Contribute to a fast-moving research community.
  • Carry out an investigation of a topic and then write up as a dissertation.

A honours degree will normally take between three to four years to complete. The length can depend on whether you have the required entry requirement grades.

Year one

  • Develop the key background knowledge and skills that you will need to learn and understand of psychology.
  • Study the basics and foundations of psychology.
  • Getting a overview of the evolution of psychology.
  • Focus on discovering, evaluating and questioning established facts.
  • Learn research methods and skills.
  • The practical applications of psychology in society.
  • Learn how to conduct experiments, analyse data and come to conclusions.
  • Learn how to write up reports in a scientific manner.
  • Biological and cognitive psychology
  • Psychological aspects of health.
  • Learning memory in humans and animals.
  • Science and Psychology.
  • The emergence of thought, language and social awareness in infancy and childhood.
  • Psycholinguistics.
  • Counselling and Coaching Psychology

Year two

  • Look into psychology in greater depth, particularly the principles and practises of psychology.
  • You will be encouraged to carry out your own research.
  • Reading scientific papers critically.
  • Looking at the application of psychological knowledge in a range of professional areas.
  • Understanding complex concepts.
  • Neuropsychology
  • Study evolutionary psychology, introspection, behaviourism and psychodynamic theory.
  • Neuroscience and development.
  • Language and perception.
  • Cognition and the process of imagination, perception, memory and language.
  • Perception and Development, including visual perception and the development of social and Communicative capacities.

Year three

  • Clinical and abnormal psychology
  • Psychology of emotion, sexuality and gender.
  • Mental health and society.
  • Writing up your own research.
  • Judgement and decision-making.
  • Social and emotional development.
  • Memory and Cognition.
  • Statistical analysis for psychologists.
  • Psychology in the media.
  • Individual Differences and Abnormal Psychology.

Other areas of study

  • Problem-solving and Reasoning
  • The applied nature of psychology
  • Assessment and treatment of offenders
  • Criminal behaviour: psychological theories
  • Psychological theory
  • Social psychology
  • Developmental psychology
  • Cognitive psychology
  • Biological psychology
  • Statistics
  • Research methodology

How are modules and course work typically assessed
Aside from having to attend lectures students throughout your course, you will also have to participate in seminar discussions that include fellow students and members of staff. Other forms of assessment will include being involved in practical research classes, producing technical reports and also giving oral presentations.

  • By coursework and examination.
  • Writing dissertations to demonstrate effective research.
  • Essays.
  • Practical reports.
  • Assessed talks.
  • Undertaking mini projects.
  • Conducting literature reviews.
  • A students writing structure, including structure, coherence and clarity.
  • Interpretation and description of literature.

Questions to ask about the course

  • Are any of the lecturers involved in any active research.
  • What are the range of modules.
  • Does the course offer both clinical and classroom based experience.
  • Is the degree qualification recognised by the British Psychological Society (even if it is not then it is still highly valuable and can be very useful in a range of other vocations).
  • Are any of the lecturers actively involved in any internationally recognised research.
  • What sort of psychology community is there at the university i.e. dedicated common room where psychology students can socialise and relax.
  • Does the course cover all of the major areas of human experimental psychology.
  • Will there be any practical placements in working environments.
  • Are there any opportunities to visit institutions such as police stations, prisons, victim support organisations and to also meet experts in these areas?
  • What are the teaching and research facilities like, for instance is there a dedicated cognitive and biological psychology lab?
  • Are there any opportunities for further study in psychology.

As a psychology student you must demonstrate an ability to

  • Give relevant, outstanding and well organised answers.
  • Through your writing provide evidence of a high level of independent originality and background research.
  • Show a clear and logical understanding of the subject matter, including theoretical issues.
  • In your essays give straightforward arguments, evidence and ideas on psychological concepts and topics.

Career prospects
Obtaining a psychology degree is the first step towards becoming a chartered psychologist. A good degree course will give you the qualification and practical experience linked to academic study that employers are looking for.

After graduating many graduates have to gain relevant work experience before they can move into fields such as sports, forensic, health or clinical psychology.

Enrolling for a psychology degree is a excellent investment in your future as it will enhance your employability in a range of careers and also increase your long term earning potential. After learning about human behaviour a psychology degree can leave you well equipped for various other roles in marketing, human resources, career advice or counselling.


Below is a professionally written psychology personal statement that has been broken down into sections, and that you can use as a guide. You are advised not to copy it word for word.

Psychology personal statement example 1

‘What’s on your mind’, for me this frequent query sums up what psychology is all about. The subject has been described as a window into the human mind, and my initial interest in psychology was sparked by thinking about issues like this, and subsequently led to a desire to learn more about people, society and their interactions.

Why I want to study psychology
So why else do I want to study psychology at university? Well there are four main reasons, the first one is simple, I like to understand human behaviour, actions, and interactions. I want to know the reason behind things and learn more about human development.

The second reason is that I would like to pursue a degree in a field that I am passionate about, excites me and that I have always been interested in. Its such a varied and diverse field, with many interesting areas to delve into, meaning there will always be something new to learn.

The third reason is the fact that a degree in psychology offers great employment prospects. There are a large number of careers in psychology, not only that the skills you learn will also readily transfer to many other careers. These skills include oral and written communication, computer literacy, numeracy, problem-solving and the ability to carry out independent research.

My final reason for wanting this role is because it will get me into a job where I can talk to people directly, ideal for me as at heart I’m a people person. I will be working directly with people who have problems that I can help to resolve, and very often I will get an opportunity to see the results of my work.

Personal strengths
In my opinion to be successful as a psychologist, a person must have certain personal qualities and strengths, one of the most important ones being emotionally stability. This is something I have in abundance, a solid emotional footing that allows me to handle the stress and emotional turmoil that can come from communicating with unsettles individuals. As a trustworthy person I am able to convey and receive sensitive information effectively, whilst providing empathy and reassurance to those I am communicating with. I am also open-minded and tolerant of all kinds of people and situations, which helps me to be more receptive to new research and ways of thinking that might challenge established ideals. On top of these points I also consider myself to be a very patient individual who is able to conduct long periods of research, and who understands that significant periods of time can pass before substantial results can be seen.

College experience
At college, were I studied psychology at A level, I really enjoyed the workshops and the practical classes, and although I read more journal articles there than I could ever have imagined, I really enjoyed the whole experience. I learnt quiet a lot about making observations, manipulating test materials, writing reports, and thinking logically and creatively.

I have found that one of the most enjoyable aspects of the course was the social support I received from my tutors and
fellow students. There are a small number of people in class, but we all worked together to share knowledge and resources, as well as offering assistance to each other.

Relevant work experience
Away from my studies I have tried to get as much relevant work experience as possible, this included a recent period of working as a volunteer with a mental health charity. Whilst there I gained experience of working with patients who had mental health issues within a clinical, social care and educational setting. I was part of a multi disciplinary team that assessed patients who suffered from depression, schizophrenia, neurological disorders, addictive behaviours, challenging behaviours and eating disorders. I came away from this experience with a better understanding of the legislation and guidelines that govern the profession, and their implications for clinical practice and professional management of adult mental health clients.

Future ambition
I am currently looking to enrol on a psychology degree course at a reputable and well established university. Once I have completed my degree I am planning on working in the public health sector for a number of years, preferably in the area of adult psychopathology.

Why I chose to apply to your university
After looking at all my options I have decided to apply to your university for a number of reasons.
Your delivery of materials, activities, and discussion opportunities enables students to learn at their own pace, combining work and study. The sheer number of topics covered in your programmes, allows for a wide choice of career options from which to choose. Your institution also provides access to a huge amount of facilities such as dedicated departmental computers, an observation laboratory, a psychophysiology laboratory and specialist research software.

As a highly motivated in individual, I can assure you that I will strive to play an active and positive role in your at your university. I hope you will look favourably on my application.”


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