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C800 Psychology BSc Undergraduate  2018


UCAS code C800
Degree BSc
Mode of study Full Time
Duration 3 years
Location Durham City
Typical Offers A Level
International Baccalaureate
Please also check Requirements and Admissions.
Alternative qualifications

Department(s) Website
Telephone +44 (0)191 334 3264

Course Summary


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. Our breadth of research strength means that you are guaranteed to be taught by some of the leading figures in their field of research. Furthermore, as an expanding department we expect that the range of opportunities for students will grow over the coming years.

Our BSc course in Psychology follows the BPS guidelines with an extensive range of options in the final year drawing both from work in fundamental scientific research and in applied psychology. Research facilities which support these final year modules include those for studying perception, developmental psychology, cognition and behavioural neuroscience, and on the more applied side for studying neurorehabilitation, education and health amongst others. Students on the 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 degree, adding to their contextual experience.

Psychology is essentially concerned with understanding the mind and behaviour in humans and non-human animals, 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. The degree provides the opportunity for the development of extensive subject specific and transferable skills.

You will take modules to the value of 120 credits each year.

Year 1

In the first year, you will take three core modules in Psychology:

  • Introduction to Psychology 1: Cognitive & Biological Psychology (20 credits)
  • Introduction to Psychology 2: Developmental and Social Psychology (20 credits)
  • Introduction to Psychological Research (40 credits).

In addition, you will take the following compulsory tutorial-based module:

  • Classic Papers: A Tutorial Introduction to Psychological Science (20 credits)

The above compulsory Psychology modules count for 100 of your 120 credits (three single modules, plus the double module), so in addition you may choose:

  • A module to the value of 20 credits from another University department (including modules from the University’s Centre for Foreign Language Study).

For modules taken from another University department you must meet their entry requirements and must be able to timetable your additional subjects to fit in with your compulsory modules.

Year 2

In the second year, you will build upon your first year and complete 120 credits of compulsory Psychology modules:

  • Modules in the core areas of Psychology: Biological, Cognitive, Individual Differences, Abnormal Psychology, Social, and Developmental (6 x 10 credits)
  • A tutorial-based module on contemporary issues in Psychology (20 credits)
  • Research Methods in Psychology (20 credits)
  • Statistics for Psychology (20 credits).

Year 3

In your final year, you may choose to take modules to the value of up to 80 credits in Psychology.  Alternatively, you may choose 60 credits in Psychology and modules up to the value of 20 credits from another department (including Modern Foreign Languages). In Psychology we offer a range of 10 and 20 credit modules. The final-year Psychology modules are on specialist topics and include lectures, workshops, practical work and continuous assessment. In addition to your chosen modules to the value of 80 credits, 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 core double module (40 credits).

The list of final-year Psychology option modules may vary from year, but has included in the past:

  • Learning and Animal Cognition (20 credits)
  • The Visual Brain (20 credits)
  • Developmental Psychology (20 credits)
  • Clinical Cognitive Neuroscience (20 credits)
  • Social Perception (20 credits)
  • Psychology into Schools (20 credits)
  • Psychology in the Workplace (20 credits)
  • Educational Psychology (10 credits)
  • Special Needs in the Classroom (10 credits)
  • Psychopathy (10 credits)
  • Forensic Psychology (10 credits)
  • Psychology and Health Promotion (10 credits)
  • The Psychology of Illness (10 credits)
  • Sports and Exercise Psychology (10 credits)
  • Psychology in Practice (10 credits)
  • The Biological Basis of Abnormal Psychology (10 credits)
  • Reward and Addiction (10 credits)
  • Neuropsychology of Amnesia (10 credits)
  • Fetal Development (10 credits)
  • The Multisensory Body (10 credits)
  • Cognitive Neuropsychology (10 credits)
  • Advances in Neural Engineering (10 credits)
  • Human Evolutionary Psychology (10 credits)

Course Detail

To find out more about the modules available to students studying at Durham University please click here.

Please note: Current modules are indicative. Information for future academic years may change, for example, due to developments in the relevant academic field, or in light of student feedback.

Course 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. Psychology modules up to the value of 120 credits 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 Society 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.

Admissions Process

Subject requirements, level and grade

In addition to satisfying the University’s general entry requirements, please note:

  • Grade B / 5 in Mathematics at GCSE, or equivalent, is required 
  • We do not include General Studies or Critical Thinking as part of our offer
  • Whilst not essential if Psychology has been studied at A Level (or equivalent), then this will form part of the offer (see our website for further details)
  • Typical IB score 37 to include 666 in higher level subjects. Higher level and standard level subject requirements apply, see above
  • 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 2018 entry in the summer of 2017 and will publish finalised entry requirements for 2018 entry on the University’s website and at UCAS from September 2017
  • 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.
  • If you are an international student who does not meet the requirements for direct entry to this degree, you may be eligible to take an International Foundation Year pathway programme at the Durham University International Study Centre.
  • We accept applications for deferred entry.

Science A-levels

Applicants taking Science A-levels that include a practical component will be required to take and pass this as a condition of entry. This applies only to applicants sitting A-levels with an English examination board.

English Language requirements

Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.

How to apply

Information relevant to your country

Fees and Funding

Full Time Fees

EU Student £9,250.00 per year
Home Student £9,250.00 per year
Island Student £9,250.00 per year
International non-EU Student £23,100.00 per year

Note: Fees are subject to review and change in-line with inflation.

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and funding 

Career Opportunities


The Psychology department comprises members of academic staff who use cutting edge techniques in order to become world leaders in their research field. The experience gained with us will therefore enable you to enter the workplace with knowledge and hands-on experience of how psychological issues are investigated and how this knowledge is applied to solve problems in the world.

Of those students who studied Psychology that left in 2013:

- 44% are in full time paid employment

Of those in employment:

- 65% are graduate level employment

- Median salary £19,000

Of those students in further study:

- 100% are in graduate level study, in areas including:

  • Conversion course/Speech & Language Therapy
  • PhD/Psychology
  • Masters/Psychology
  • PGCE/Primary
  • PGCE/Secondary
  • Conversion course/Law

(These statistics are based on the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey of 2012/13 graduates. The DLHE survey asks leavers from higher education what they are doing six months after graduation. Full definitions for the DLHE Record can be found here:

I had an excellent experience as an undergraduate on the Psychology (Applied) course. My experience at Queen's Campus has been second to none, I found the course intersting and enjoying the three years I spent there. The excellent research-led teaching, combined with the wide range of final year options, is what - in my opinion - makes this degree in Psychology far superior to others. The third year modules allowed me to get to grips with more practical aspects of Psychology and guided my decision of what to do after graduating.

Of those students who studied Psychology (Applied) at Queen's Campus, who left in 2013:

- 41% are in full time paid employment

Of those in employment:

- 52% are graduate level employment

- Median salary £15,500

Of those students in further study:

- 100% are in graduate level study, in areas including:

  • Conversion course/Speech & Language Therapy
  • PhD/Psychology
  • Masters/Psychology
  • PGCE/Primary
  • PGCE/Secondary
  • Conversion course/Law

(These statistics are based on the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey of 2012/13 graduates. The DLHE survey asks leavers from higher education what they are doing six months after graduation. Full definitions for the DLHE Record can be found here:

Employment development opportunities

The Careers, Employability and Enterprise Centre works closely with the Psychology Department to ensure that students receive information, advice and vacancies relevant to their needs.  A Careers Adviser delivers talks focused on ensuring that students receive the most relevant and up to date advice about professions that are of interest to students in the department.  This includes inviting professionals such as Educational, Counselling, Clinical and Forensic Psychologists onto campus to talk to students about their work.

A wide range of work is carried out in conjunction with the Careers, Employability and Enterprise Centre to develop students' employability skills, including presentations/workshops on CVs, applications, assessment centres, interviews, commercial awareness, leadership, etc. 

A wide range of recruiters of Durham Psychology graduates attend careers fairs and run presentations on campus, from career areas including: Psychology, Teaching, Accountancy, Law, HR, Retail, Management Consultancy, Marketing Advertising, PR, Banking, IT, to name a few.

Work experience

Our department encourages you to gain experimental expereince during your time with us. To that end you can get involved via a participant pool scheme for which you can gain credit and also take part in our research assistant scheme. In this scheme you have the opportunity to join a research group in the department to see first-hand how ideas turn into experiments, how those experiments are run and what the results mean.
We also encourage our students to find related vacation experience either within the department through a summer bursary (external funding) or by working with one of our employability partners.

Professional recognition

Our degrees are accreditied by the British Psychological Society as conferring eligibility for the *Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership, which is the first step in your career as a psychologist. 

(*minimum of a second class honours degree required)

Neuro Partners are a company who specialise in care and support for people with Neurological Conditions and Brain Injury. We have over 250 employees across the North of England and although everyone works towards the same standards across the company, each individual brings their own knowledge ambition and expertise. Durham University produces high calibre Psychology graduates who boast all of the key skills we require when recruiting for Assistant Psychologists and Support Workers to work within our Service.

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:

Discover Durham Tours

Discover Durham tours offer a brief introduction to the University. The tour begins at one of our undergraduate colleges, where you will receive an introductory talk from a member of college staff, followed by a tour of the college by current students.

Overseas Visit Schedule

Department Information



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 one of the leading universities in the UK 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 genuinely research-led education and, as well as undertaking your course-based studies, we invite students to participate actively 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 that are transferable to a diverse array of professions.


  • 92% of our Psychology students were satisfied with the quality of their course in the National Student Survey 2016 (sector-wide average 89%).
  • 4th for graduate prospects in the Complete University Guide 2016.


For a current list of staff, please see the Psychology Department web pages.


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.