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Department of Psychology

Psychology (Applied) (C817)

Single honours BSc degree courses in Psychology and Psychology (Applied) are similar in the first two years but they differ in emphasis. This difference is brought sharply into focus by the different final year options that are offered in Psychology (Applied). The course is designed to cover the essential material for BPS accredited Psychology degrees in the first two years, and to allow for specialization in the third year. You will study six modules per year, and your overall final degree classification will be based on your second and third year performance, weighted 40/60 in favour of final year work.

The Psychology (Applied) degree programme is organised around three broad approaches to the subject: Cognitive, Biological and Social & Developmental. That is, we 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 addition, we consider ways of assessing individual differences between people, and consider abnormal and clinical aspects of psychology. From the very beginning of the course Psychology (Applied) students are asked to think about how the material they have learned is relevant in the real world. Students are instructed in the statistical and methodological techniques that form the basis of psychological research. Widespread use is made of computers during the course, although no prior knowledge is assumed and the emphasis is on ease of use. Practical work does not involve the use of animals.

It is in the final year that the difference between the two single honours programmes is the most apparent. Whereas the modules available to students who are undertaking the Psychology or Joint Honours degrees place more emphasis on addressing theoretical issues in psychology, the modules available to students who are undertaking the Psychology (Applied) degree place more emphasis on practical application; for example neuropsychology may be considered in the context of neuropsychological rehabilitation, working memory in the context of its implications for designing multimedia systems for learning, and development in the context of education.

Our BSc Psychology (Applied) (C817) programme is taught at Queen's Campus Stockton, where the department has rooms and offices in both the Ebsworth building and the prestigious Wolfson Research Institute. Students studying this programme are required to be members of one of the two colleges based at Queen's Campus, Stockton.

C817 Psychology (Applied) BSc

Degree BSc
Year of Entry 2016
Mode of study Full Time
Duration 3 years
Location Queen's Campus
Typical offers A Level: AAB

Please also check Requirements and Admissions .
Alternative qualifications
Department(s) Website
Telephone +44 (0)191 334 0101


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 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.

If you want a degree course that explains behaviour in the context of real life, then this is the one for you. Our degree course in Psychology (Applied) emphasises psychology’s relevance to a range of everyday issues such as health, crime, education, technology and neuropsychological rehabilitation.

The first two years of your degree cover the fundamental areas of psychology required for accreditation by the British Psychological Society (BPS). Students are asked to think about how the material they are learning about is relevant in real-life situations. Your final year is made up of options that focus on the ways that psychology is applied to everyday problems and used in practical settings.

Year 1

In the first year, over five modules you learn about four major areas of psychology: cognitive psychology (the study of mental processes), social psychology (the study of relations between individuals), developmental psychology (the study of intellectual and social change in humans) and biological psychology (the study of the relation between the brain and changes in mental state and behaviour). You will also learn important techniques in experimentation, observation and statistical analysis. For your sixth module, you may choose Classic Papers in Applied Psychology: A Tutorial Introduction to Psychological Science, Classic Papers: A Tutorial Introduction to Psychological Science which is taught and assessed at Durham; or modules from the University’s Centre for Foreign Language Study.

Year 2

In the second year you will further tackle the core areas of psychology considered by the British Psychological Society when it accredits a psychology degree. Over six modules you will develop your in-depth knowledge and understanding of the areas introduced in your first year and take up the study of neuropsychology, perception, abnormal psychology and psychometrics (the selection and use of psychological tests).

Year 3

In your final year, you may choose to take three or four modules in Psychology (Applied) or two or three Psychology (Applied) modules plus one or two from the Psychology Year Three modules on offer (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 (Applied 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 option modules may vary from year to year but in the past has included:

  • Psychology and Health
  • Forensic Psychology
  • Applied Developmental Psychology
  • Applied Psychology in Action
  • Psychology into Schools
  • Clinical Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Advanced Research Methods for Applied Psychology
  • The Science of Consciousness
  • Modules from the University’s Centre for Foreign Language Study.

The programme is delivered predominantly by leading research academics using a variety of methods including lectures, small group tutorials, seminars, 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 and seminars 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, seminars, 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 Applied 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 graded

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

  • Grade C in Mathematics at GCSE or equivalent is required, although a B is preferred 
  • 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.

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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.

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Take a virtual tour of the Psychology (Applied) programme and hear what our students and research staff have to say about the department and its facilities at Durham University Queen's Campus.  Click on the video clip below.

Studying Psychology (Applied) (C817)


Applying to Durham for Psychology?


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