C800 Psychology BSc Undergraduate 2016
|Mode of study||Full Time|
|Typical offers||A Level|
|International Baccalaureate (IB)|
|Telephone||+44 (0)191 334 3264|
Durham’s Psychology Department is a department with excellence in both research and teaching. This research strength extends across the wide variety of academic interests of the Department’s staff, from child health and development, perception, cognitive and behavioural neuroscience to the evolutionary basis of behaviour. The wide range and quality of the research interests of the staff in the Department allows us to offer a broad range of final-year option courses on both our degree courses. Our breadth of research strength means that you are guaranteed to be taught by some of the leading figures in their field of research.
We are the only university to offer two psychology degrees, Psychology and Psychology (Applied), with both courses demonstrating extensive depth and breadth in the field of psychology. Our applied research facilities related to neurorehabilitation, education, social, health and developmental psychology are based in Durham University’s Queen’s Campus and so this is where we offer our Psychology (Applied) degree course, while our Psychology course is based on the Mountjoy Site in Durham, which houses facilities for studying perception, developmental psychology, cognition and behavioural neuroscience, amongst others. Students on each degree course are encouraged to get involved in experiments being carried out by their lecturers, thus gaining a deeper and more hands-on understanding of the issues they are learning about in their degrees, adding to their contextual experience.
Psychology is essentially concerned with understanding human nature and it is closely related to a wide range of other disciplines, including biology, anthropology, philosophy and education. You will get the chance to study people in terms of their internal mental processes, the biological mechanisms that underlie their behaviour, and the social and developmental context in which they act.
In the first year, you will take three core modules in Psychology:
- Introduction to Psychology 1: Cognitive & Biological Psychology
- Introduction to Psychology 2: Developmental, Social & Abnormal Psychology
- Introduction to Psychological Research (double module).
The compulsory Psychology modules count for four of your six modules (two single modules, plus the double module), so in addition you may choose either:
- The optional module, Classic Papers: A Tutorial Introduction to Psychological Science plus one optional module from another University department, or
- The optional module, Classic Papers in Applied Psychology: A Tutorial Introduction to Psychological Science plus one optional module from another University department, or
- Two optional modules from any of the other University departments, including modules from the University’s Centre for Foreign Language Study, as long as you meet their entry requirements and can timetable your additional subjects to fit in with your compulsory modules.
In the second year, you will build upon your first year and complete six modules in Psychology:
- Topics in Cognitive Psychology
- Social & Developmental Psychology
- Biological Psychology and Perception
- Individual Differences & Abnormal Psychology
- Research Methods in Psychology
- Statistics for Psychology.
In your final year, you may choose to take four modules in Psychology or two or three Psychology modules plus one or two from the Psychology (Applied) Year Three modules on offer or even one from another department (including Modern Foreign Languages). The final-year Psychology modules are on specialist topics and include lectures, workshops, practical work and continuous assessment. All Department of Psychology final-year modules have an end of year examination. In addition to your chosen four modules, you will carry out and write up your own Research Project (Psychology Dissertation), supervised by a member of staff. The range of possible topics is very wide and research can take place in settings such as schools or hospitals, as well as in research laboratories in the Department of Psychology. The Dissertation is a double module.
The list of final-year Psychology option modules may vary from year to year but normally includes:
- Neuropsychology of Memory
- Developmental Psychology
- Child Health Psychology
- Social Psychology
- The Evolution of Human Behaviour
- Brain and Cognition
- Emotion & Social Cognition
- The Visual Brain
- Learning and Animal Cognition
- Modules from the University’s Centre for Foreign Language Study.
Learning and Teaching
The programme is delivered predominantly by leading research academics using a variety of methods including lectures, small group tutorials, workshops, practical classes, as well as additional individual feedback and support opportunities from staff and student peers. Up to six psychology modules are taken in each of the three years of study, with each module having clearly defined aims and learning outcomes encompassing graduated subject-specific knowledge, subject-specific skills, and generic transferable key skills.
In general, lectures highlight the main areas of concern within a module topic, covering historical and current empirical findings and methodological issues together with their concomitant theoretical interpretations. Small group tutorials guide students’ learning of lecture based material and that gleaned through independent study by promoting discussions and critical appraisal, developing students’ ability to organise and present information both orally and in a variety of written formats. Workshops and practical sessions enable students to gain first-hand experience of key research skills in Psychology and to learn and apply associated statistical and IT packages.
The number of weekly timetabled contact hours does not vary radically across the three years of the degree programme. However, there is a qualitative difference in the nature of the activities provided and in staff expectations: students are supported in becoming progressively more independent as thinkers and learners in preparation for further work or study on completion of their degree.
In the first and second years, students typically attend six hours of research-driven psychology lectures every week; additionally, timetabled tutorials, practical classes, workshops, feedback and support sessions are held regularly throughout the year. These constitute an additional two to three hours contact time per week. Outside timetabled hours, students are expected to undertake independent study to prepare for classes, complete assignments, and broaden their subject knowledge. The emphasis in Level 1 is to provide students with fundamental knowledge and skills as a foundation for those who have had no previous experience of psychology and providing the bases underpinning second and third year modules. In Level 2, students’ knowledge and skills are further developed and fostered; moreover all the subject areas essential for accreditation by the British Psychological Association and providing eligibility for Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) are covered.
In the third year, students select from a variety of specialist topic modules. As these are primarily provided by lecturers eminent in their field, students have the unique opportunity to engage with and discuss the most recent theoretical and empirical issues. Level 3 modules are delivered through weekly two-hour lectures, seminars and workshops typically totalling eight hours per week. Additionally, building on research skills developed in their first and second years, and under the supervision of a member of staff, each third year student completes an independent empirical study. Depending on the nature of the investigation, a student might expect to meet with their supervisor on average once a fortnight throughout the year.
Throughout their three undergraduate years, students have access to all their lecturers informally on a ‘drop-in basis’, by email appointment, or through advertised weekly office hours. All staff are willing to engage in discussions, provide support, feedback and guidance where relevant. There are also Module Leaders who are members of staff designated to deal with issues relating to modules as a whole and Year Tutors who are available to help when necessary with any problems that may generally affect a student’s studies in Psychology.
The department has a thriving research community: Seminars are held at least once a week during term time to which undergraduate students are warmly invited. Additionally research groupings (such as the Centre for Vision and Visual Cognition) within the department and the student-run Psychology Society hold regular talks and meetings.
Further non-timetabled opportunities for support and debate are provided by Peer Parenting Schemes, the Research Assistant Scheme, and by online discussion boards facilitated by the Psychology Department.
Subjects required, level and grade
In addition to satisfying the University’s general entry requirements, please note:
- Grade B in Mathematics at GCSE or equivalent is required
- We do not include General Studies or Critical Thinking as part of our offer
- If Psychology has been studied at A Level (or equivalent), then this will form part of the offer (see our website for further details)
- We welcome applications from individuals with other qualifications equivalent to our standard entry requirements and from mature students with non-standard qualifications or who may have had a break in their study.
- We will be reviewing our entry requirements for 2016 entry in the summer of 2015 and will publish finalised entry requirements for 2016 entry on the University’s website and at UCAS from September 2015
- If you do not satisfy our general entry requirements, the Foundation Centre offers multidisciplinary degrees to prepare you for a range of specified degree courses.
- Please consult the University website for required evidence of English language proficiency.
- We accept applications for deferred entry.
English Language requirements
IELTS of 6.5 (no component under 6.0); TOEFL iBT 92 (no component under 23); Cambridge Proficiency (CPE) Grade C; or Cambridge Advanced (CAE) Grade A.
Requirements and Admissions
The University accepts the following alternative English language tests and scores.
Information relevant to your country
Fees and Funding
Fees have not been set for this academic year.
Scholarships and funding
Open days and visits
Pre-application open day
Pre-application open days are the best way to discover all you need to know about Durham University. With representatives from all relevant academic and support service departments, and opportunities to explore college options, the open days provide our prospective undergraduates with the full experience of Durham University.
Please see the following page for further details and information on how to book a place: www.durham.ac.uk/opendays
Overseas Visit Schedule
Psychology aims to understand and improve how people perceive, think, act, react and interact. It examines all aspects of behaviour by investigating the processes underpinning the thoughts, feelings and motivations behind our actions.
Durham is the leading university to offer degrees in Psychology and in Applied Psychology with both courses demonstrating extensive depth and breadth in the field of psychology. You will receive genuine research-led education and, as well as undertaking your course-based studies, we invite students to actively participate in our research environment through seminars, conferences, research assistantship schemes and access to our clinical and experimental facilities.
Our degrees are accredited as conferring eligibility for the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) of the British Psychological Society (BPS) and represent the first step in qualifying as a professional psychologist; however, they also provide you with an excellent variety of skills and abilities which are transferable to a diverse array of professions.
- 94% of our Psychology students said they thought staff were good at explaining things in the National Student Survey 2014 (sector-wide average 92%).
- Ranked 4th from 107 departments nationally for the number of graduates in graduate level employment or further study (Complete University Guide 2015).
- 7th in The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2015.
Our extensive suite of research tools allows us to take advantage of such techniques as functional brain imaging (fMRI), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), event-related potentials (ERPs) visuomotor performance, eye tracking and biophysiological recording. Along with this we have extensive Child and Baby Laboratories as well as a wide variety of laboratory space. We have excellent facilities across both the Queen’s and Durham Campuses, with suites of teaching laboratories which are well-stocked with networked IT equipment. All facilities across both campuses are conveniently located close to other departments, the University Libraries and the Computer Centre. We use IT systems such as email and web-based databases and discussion boards as a matter of routine and all first-year students are introduced to these systems. You will also have access to the campus computer network.
We are a friendly community of staff, students and research workers in purpose-built modern buildings. Students across both degrees have their own common rooms which allow them to spend time and socialise with other members of their course. The Department also has a study library, which contains the main course text books, copies of papers referred to in lectures and seminars and copies of third year student projects and MSc and PhD theses. We also encourage our students on both Single Honours degrees to mingle, by providing cross-campus events, and encouraging students to attend all departmental events and seminars across both campuses.
NB: Information contained on the website or in the literature with respect to the fee is correct at the time of publication but the University reserves the right to change the course information or fee at a later date.