C800 Psychology BSc Undergraduate 2020
|Mode of study||Full Time|
|Typical Offers||A Level|
|Please also check Requirements and Admissions.|
|Contextual Offers||You may be eligible for an offer which is one or two grades lower than our standard entry requirements. Find out more.|
|More information||Still have questions?|
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 (Hons) course in Psychology follows the British Psychological Society (BPS) guidelines with an extensive range of options in the final year, drawing both from work in fundamental scientific research and in applied psychology. These final year modules include topics in social psychology, developmental psychology, cognition and behavioural neuroscience, as well as neurorehabilitation, education and health.
Excellent research facilities are available, including a virtual reality suite, developmental testing facilities, and EEG labs. You are encouraged to get involved in experiments being carried out by your lecturers, thus gaining a deeper and more hands-on understanding of the issues you are learning about in your degree, and adding to your 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.
In the first year, you will take three core modules in Psychology:
- Introduction to Psychology 1: Cognitive and 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.
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: Abnormal Psychology, Biological, Cognitive, Developmental, Individual Differences, and, Social Psychology (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).
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 to year, but has included in the past:
- Learning and Animal Cognition (20 credits)
- Social Perception (20 credits)
- The Visual Brain (20 credits)
- Clinical Cognitive Neuroscience (20 credits)
- Psychology into Schools (20 credits)
- Psychology in the Workplace (20 credits)
- Psychopathy (10 credits)
- Forensic Psychology (10 credits)
- Psychological Practice (10 credits)
- Psychology and Health Promotion (10 credits)
- The Psychology of Illness (10 credits)
- Sport and Exercise Psychology (10 credits)
- Reward and Addiction (10 credits)
- Mind, Brain and Consciousness (10 credits)
- Vision and Visual Neuroscience (10 credits)
- Neuropsychology of Amnesia (10 credits)
- Cognitive Neuropsychology (10 credits)
- Child Health in a Social Context (10 credits)
- Fetal Development (10 credits)
- The Multisensory Body (10 credits)
- Human Evolutionary Psychology (10 credits)
- Atypical Development (10 credits)
- Cognitive Development (10 credits)
We review course structures and core content (in light of e.g. external and student feedback) every year, and will publish finalised core requirements for 2020 entry from September 2019.
You may be able to take a work placement. Find out more.
Course Learning and Teaching
The degree is delivered predominantly by leading research academics using a variety of methods including lectures, small group tutorials, workshops, and practical classes, as well as additional individual feedback and support opportunities from staff and student peers. Psychology and Behavioural Science 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 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 your learning of lecture-based material and that gleaned through independent study by promoting discussions and critical appraisal, developing your ability to organise and present information both orally and in a variety of written formats. Workshops and practical sessions enable you to gain first-hand experience of key research skills in Psychology and Behavioural Science, 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. However, there is a qualitative difference in the nature of the activities provided and in staff expectations: you are supported in becoming progressively more independent as thinkers and learners in preparation for further work or study on completion of your degree.
In the first and second years, you will 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, you are expected to undertake independent study to prepare for classes, complete assignments, and broaden your subject knowledge. The emphasis in Year 1 is to provide you 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 Year 2, your knowledge and skills are further developed and fostered; moreover, all the subject areas essential for accreditation by the British Psychological Society (BPS) and providing eligibility for Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) are covered (note that the BSc (Hons) in Behavioural Science is a new degree and accreditation is currently pending).
In the third year, you will select from a variety of specialist topic modules. As these are primarily provided by lecturers eminent in their field, you will have the unique opportunity to engage with and discuss the most recent theoretical and empirical issues. Year 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, you might expect to meet with your supervisor on average once a fortnight throughout the year.
Throughout your three undergraduate years, you will have access to all your 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 your 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 within the Department and the student-run Psychology Society hold talks and meetings.
Further non-timetabled opportunities for support and debate are provided by the Research Assistant Scheme, and by online discussion boards facilitated by the Psychology Department.
Subject requirements, level and grade
Grade 5 (or grade B) or above in Mathematics at GCSE (or equivalent) is required.
A level offer – AAA.
BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma/OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma – DDD.
IB Diploma score – 37 with 666 in higher level subjects.
In addition to satisfying the University’s general entry requirements, please note:
- 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.
- If you do not satisfy our general entry requirements, the Foundation Programme offers multidisciplinary degrees to prepare you for a range of specified degree courses.
- 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
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Fees and Funding
The tuition fees for 2020/21 academic year have not yet been finalised, they will be displayed here once approved.
Note: Fees are subject to review and change in-line with inflation.
Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.
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
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
Psychology aims to understand and improve how people perceive, think, act, react and interact. In a Psychology degree at Durham, you will examine all aspects of behaviour, by investigating the processes underpinning the thoughts, feelings and motivations behind our actions.
You will receive a genuinely research-led education. As well as learning the core principles of psychology, you will participate in research through seminars, conferences and research assistantship schemes. You will also have access to our world-leading clinical and experimental facilities, including motion capture, eye tracking and biophysical recording laboratories.
- World Top 100 in the QS World University Subject Rankings 2019.
- 5th in The Complete University Guide 2019.
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 laboratories as well as a wide variety of laboratory space. We have excellent facilities, with suites of teaching laboratories which are well-stocked with networked IT equipment. All facilities 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.