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Study Psychology, why & how to study

A Psychology degree can make you highly employable, leading to a possible career in law, social work, teaching, business and much more.

Woman talking while a psychologist takes notes

CONTENTS

  1. What’s Psychology?

  2. What Psychology degrees can you study?

  3. What do you need to get onto a Psychology degree?

  4. What topics does a Psychology degree cover?

  5. How will you be assessed?

  6. Why study Psychology?

  7. What do Psychology graduates earn?

  8. What jobs can you get as a Psychology graduate?

  9. What are the postgraduate opportunities?

  10. Similar subjects to Psychology

  11. Have any questions?

What’s Psychology?

Psychology is the study of the mind. It's an applied science that seeks to understand how individuals and groups think and behave, using case studies to diagnose.

Being a clinical or chartered psychologist are two ways you can practice psychology professionally, with both requiring postgraduate training and certification. Psychologists attempt to understand the role of a person's cognitive functions on behaviour and how they behave in a social environment.

Year-on-year Psychology is growing in popularity. UCAS noted that, compared to 2021, there was a 5.31% increase in applications by the January deadline for 2022.

What Psychology degrees can you study?

Undergraduate degrees in Psychology may incorporate clinical training or be offered in combination with other subjects, for example: 

  • Applied Psychology (Clinical) MSci
  • Business & Psychology BSc
  • Cognitive Science BSc
  • Psychology BSc
  • Psychology with Sport & Exercise Science BA

Course options may include an integrated foundation year, a master’s or an accelerated degree programme. Some degrees may have a professional placement year. January start dates are available.

  1. GO TO 
  2. Find a Psychology undergraduate degree 
  3. Types of undergraduate degrees 

What do you need to get onto a Psychology degree?

Typical entry requirements for a Psychology degree at university are between 104–156 UCAS points. This could include the qualifications and range of grades as follows:

  • A Levels: A*A*A*–BCC
  • BTECs: DDD–MMM
  • Scottish Highers: AAAAA–CCCCC (Advanced Highers: AAA)
  • International Baccalaureate: 42–30
  • Universities will usually ask that you’ve studied: a science subject at advanced or higher level

Other good subjects to have studied include:

  • Biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics or psychology
  • Combined subjects may have their own requirements, e.g. A Level/Higher maths if studying computing science with psychology
  • General subjects may be excluded

Experience that would look good on your application:

  • Work experience or shadowing an occupation that may be relevant to your future career, such as in a school, university department (for research), care sector or business
  • Independent reading into the subject, or areas of research at your chosen uni
  • Online content, such as relevant MOOCS or courses, or the BPS website (British Psychological Society)
  • Summer schools, if available – check out the Sutton Trust or UNIQ

Other requirements for this subject include:

  • Interview and entry assessments may be required by some universities
  1. GO TO 
  2. Entry requirements 
  3. About UCAS points 
  4. Alternatives to A Levels

What topics does a Psychology degree cover?

Modules for courses in this subject may include:

  • Social psychology
  • Research methods in psychology
  • Developmental psychology
  • Cognitive processes in psychology
  • Issues in personality and individual differences
  • Evolutionary psychology
  • Behavioural psychology

How will you be assessed?

Assessments are usually carried out by a mixture of the following and will vary from module to module:

  • Case studies
  • Computational tests
  • Essays
  • Exams
  • Lab/research reports
  • Multiple choice
  • Poster presentations
  • Reflective accounts
  • A final year dissertation or research proposal/project

Why study Psychology?

Psychology allows you to understand the principles of what makes people think and behave in the way they do. Reliant on scientific methods, the statistics involved are tricky to understand but worth it in the long run. You’ll also be taught to think critically and gain a whole raft of skills useful for your future career.

Career-specific skills:

  • The knowledge and practical skills to study the workings of the mind, such as running experiments with human participants
  • A range of research methods, from qualitative to quantitative

Transferable skills:

  • Communication
  • Critical thinking
  • Data handling and analysis
  • IT literacy and numeracy
  • Organisation and project management
  • Presentation and report writing
  • Problem-solving
  • Teamwork
  • Time management

Professional accreditation: 

  • Degrees may be accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS), meaning graduates may be eligible to become a graduate member of the BPS on completion of the required elements of study and achieving the required grades
  1. GO TO
  2. Read Reasons to study Psychology

What do Psychology graduates earn?

Psychology graduates can expect an entry-level salary of £17,680–£23,000. 

A clinical psychologist working within the NHS may earn from £32,500 while training, up to £90,000 as an experienced consultant psychologist. Another route might be to work with offenders: a senior counselling psychologist can earn £42,500–£51,000 working for HM Prison Service.

  1. GO TO 
  2. See what students do and earn after graduation 

What jobs can you get as a Psychology graduate?

A Psychology degree could lead to a variety of careers from healthcare to business or marketing. Roles could include:

  • Counselling psychologist
  • Digital analyst
  • Drug and alcohol recovery practitioner
  • Educational psychologist
  • Forensic psychologist
  • High-intensity therapist
  • Mental health support worker
  • Occupational psychologist
  • Psychological wellbeing practitioner
  1. READ MORE
  2. Careers with a Psychology degree

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

Postgraduate training is required if you want to become a practising psychologist. Other master’s or doctoral studies may examine the link between the mind and AI, business, health and more. Examples include:

  • Clinical Psychology DClinPsych
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy PGCert/MSc
  • Computation, Cognition and Language PhD
  • Management – Organisational Behaviour MRes/PhD
  • Social Psychology MSc
  1. GO TO
  2. Find postgraduate courses for Psychology
  3. Type of postgraduate degrees

Similar subjects to Psychology

If you’re interested in the workings of the mind and how people live, you could consider these subjects:

Have any questions?

Ask us! You can email ask@thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk with your question about studying Psychology – we’re keen to hear from you.

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