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BSc Psychology

Why we're great

  • You gain professional status on our British Psychological Society (BPS) accredited courses.
  • You have unparalleled access to research equipment such as EEG, TMS and eye tracking.
  • Our outstanding purpose-built teaching and research facilities include specialist labs.

Course options2017-18

BSc Psychology Full-time

UCAS code: C800
Duration: 3 years
Start month: October
Location: Colchester Campus
Based in: Psychology
Fee (Home/EU): £9,250
Fee (International): £15,450
Fees will increase for each academic year of study.
Home and EU fee information
International fee information

UCAS code: C803
Duration: 4 years
Start month: October
Location: Colchester Campus
Based in: Psychology
Fee (Home/EU): £9,250
Fee (International): £15,450
Fees will increase for each academic year of study.
Home and EU fee information
International fee information

Course enquiries

Telephone 01206 873666
Email admit@essex.ac.uk

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About the course

How do we understand relationships and interpret the behaviour of others? What drives people to act, respond, remember and recognise things in the way they do? Is it possible to predict with complete certainty how someone will behave? At Essex you can satisfy your curiosity about how our mind works and what drives human behaviour.

Psychologists undertake scientific study to try to explain and predict how people work. It is the study of our mind and body, our thoughts and behaviour, feelings and perceptions. We conduct experiments in order to investigate how people develop throughout childhood, the way in which they acquire language, and the behavioural changes that can occur as a result of brain injury, disease, or life experience.

On our course you experiment, explore and research why we think, feel and act the way we do. You cover core areas of psychology including:

  • Sensation and perception
  • Learning and memory
  • Clinical psychology
  • Personality and individual differences
  • Social and health psychology

We provide one of the most immersive and exciting experience of studying the human mind in the UK. You learn from our researchers and can work together in the same space via our Research Experience Scheme (RES) which gives you the opportunity to work one-on-one with a psychologist as their research assistant.

Our Department of Psychology is top 20 in the UK for research quality, with 90% of our research rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ (REF 2014).

“Within a day of being at Essex, I could feel how friendly and welcoming the campus was. In my first year I created SX:TV, our Students’ Union’s very own television station and became station manager. My time at Essex was unforgettable and not only set me up for a great future but also left me with many fond memories.”

Ricardo Clarke, BSc Psychology, 2011

Professional accreditation

This course is fully accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS). This is required for graduate psychology courses, and means future employers will understand the value of your course.

If you graduate with at least second-class honours, then you are eligible for Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC). This is essential if you want to go on to practise as a chartered psychologist in areas such as clinical, educational and forensic psychology.

Study abroad

Your education extends beyond our University campus. We support you extending your education by offering you an additional year at no extra cost. The four-year version of our degree allows you to spend your third year studying abroad or employed on a placement, while otherwise remaining identical to the three-year course.

Studying abroad allows you to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised.

We have exchange partners in the United States, Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Latin America, the Middle East, Hong Kong and Japan.

Our expert staff

Our psychology lecturers include award-winning teachers and prize-winning researchers who are international experts in their own research areas.

The Cognitive and Developmental Psychology Group work are researching attention, language, decision-making, and memory. Recent projects have investigated the psychology of energy reduction, the enhancement of human memory through technology, and improvements in the usability and design of transport maps.

The Social and Health Psychology Group work on motivations, needs, intercultural contact, and sexual attraction. Recent projects include the impacts of living and studying abroad, and how personal relative deprivation is linked to problem gambling.

The Cognitive and Sensory Neuroscience Group research brain function and human behaviour. Recently they have been working on projects on the neural processes underlying language production, how motivations are communicated through tone of voice, and how the brain performs 3D vision. They previously developed the BioAid mobile phone app that turns an iPhone into a biologically inspired hearing aid.

Specialist facilities

We are committed to giving you access to state-of-the-art facilities in higher education, housed entirely within our purpose-built psychology building on our Colchester Campus:

  • Dedicated laboratories including a virtual reality suite and an observation suite
  • Specialist areas to study visual and auditory perception, developmental psychology and social psychology
  • Study the development of perceptual and cognitive abilities in infants in our Babylab
  • Our multimillion pound Centre for Brain Science (CBS) allows staff to investigate brain activity, and to measure eye movements and other physiological responses

Your future

Psychology now influences an increasing range of fields, from working with clinical disorders, to managing education and training. Today, it is widely used in industry, sport and employment to improve performance, as well as affecting legal and health matters.

Our students go on to follow diverse career paths. Our BPS accreditation helps many to pursue careers as clinical, forensic, educational, or occupational psychologists. Others work in related fields such as special educational needs, social work, or mental health care. However, many graduates pursue successful careers further afield, working in areas like management, human resources, financial services, the media, information technology, and market research.

For example, some of our recent graduates have gone on to work for a wide range of high-profile companies including:

  • East of England Strategic Health Authority
  • The Crown Prosecution Service
  • M&G Investments
  • NHS Suffolk
  • Accenture
  • The BBC

We also work with the University’s Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

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Example structure

Studying at Essex is about discovering yourself, so your course combines compulsory and optional modules to make sure you gain key knowledge in the discipline, while having as much freedom as possible to explore your own interests. Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore to ensure your course is as relevant and up-to-date as possible your core module structure may be subject to change.

For many of our courses you’ll have a wide range of optional modules to choose from – those listed in this example structure are just a selection of those available. The opportunity to take optional modules will depend on the number of core modules within any year of the course. In many instances, the flexibility to take optional modules increases as you progress through the course.

Our Programme Specification gives more detail about the structure available to our current first-year students, including details of all optional modules.

Year 1

From this module you will gain an introduction to some of the various sub-fields that comprise psychology. It will include lectures on topics such as sensation, perception, learning, memory, abnormal psychology, child development, language, personality and social psychology.

This module introduces you to the basic principles of research design, and to a variety of experimental and correlational techniques for studying behaviour. Learn to apply techniques of statistical analysis to data collected from experiments, and write laboratory reports for all the research you carry out, which will form part of your assessment.

The main purpose of this module is to make you a better psychologist by giving you the skills to analyse and present psychological data, and to improve your ability to understand and assess the psychological research that others have carried out. Use the techniques and skills you develop in this module in the Year 1 research methods module (PS114) and throughout all three years of your degree course

This module will help you develop the skills and techniques you will need to get the most from your psychology degree. The module will take place during your first two weeks which means you can start applying your new knowledge and skills almost immediately. You’ll also benefit from an extra revision session at the end of the spring term

It’s important to plan your career. This is the one of three modules that will make sure you are career ready when you leave university. You will decide on your career aspirations and goals, plan how you will achieve them and identify the resources available to help you.

Discover how the discipline of psychology informs and shapes five psychological professions: clinical psychology; educational psychology; forensic psychology; occupational psychology; and sports and exercise psychology. In a mixture of lectures and classes, you will evaluate how psychological theories and knowledge gained from research are used in each of these aspects of human behaviour, and how they can be used to solve some of the problems encountered in different areas of life.

Year 2

Building upon the statistics knowledge gained in your first year this module combines statistics lectures with computer workshops. You will be taught the data analysis skills and underlying principles needed to carry out a range of statistical tests. There are a number of studying formats from group and peer collaboration, observing graduate demonstrations and computer work, which will give you the opportunity to question and analyse the work you have done so far.

Explore classical and contemporary themes of child development such as prenatal and perceptual development, early language acquisition, and cognitive and social development, whilst examining the research methods and designs employed in Developmental Psychology.

Through exploring and addressing a range of theories and research on how people think and behave, you will gain a clear understanding of the topics social psychologists are interested in and their approaches to studying them.

The brain is an extremely complex organ, and there is much that we still have to learn about its processes and functions. This module will detail the psychological mechanisms that underlie human behaviour and highlight the possibility that even our deepest thoughts and feelings arise from electrical and chemical activity in our brains.

An in-depth look into cognitive, trait and biological theories and approaches to personality, individual differences and intelligence. This module will also give you the opportunity to cover and debate contemporary topics in individual intelligence (such as how individual differences explain behaviours, feelings and thinking).

This module will introduce you to cognitive psychology and covers major areas such as visual and auditory perception, and visual cognition. Through a series of laboratory sessions you will study the methods, theory and data underpinning our understanding of the processes involved in visual and auditory perception, and visual cognition.

Building on your knowledge from Cognitive Psychology 1, this module covers the major areas of cognitive psychology such as language, memory, and attention. You will develop your understanding of the psychological theories and data related to major areas of cognitive psychology.

It’s important to plan your career. This is the one of three modules that will make sure you are career ready when you leave university. You will decide on your career aspirations and goals, plan how you will achieve them and identify the resources available to help you.

Final year

This module gives you the chance to utilise the statistical and research methodology which you gained during your first two years and apply it to your own original research project. You’ll submit a written report and a supporting poster which will be assessed.

Be introduced to the key concepts of animal behaviour from an ethological and comparative cognition viewpoint. By taking a critical look at published work and research and identifying the frameworks that underlie animal behaviour, you will become familiar with aspects such as the evolution of behaviour and the cognitive capabilities of different species.

Build on your existing knowledge of cognitive psychology, attention, and perception, in this final year module, which will introduce you to contemporary issues, debates, and the empirical studies that help decide these debates. By taking a critical look at primary accounts and attending lectures, you will explore the fundamental issues relating to processing and representation, and how these mechanisms contribute to everyday behaviour.

Is human sexuality shaped by nature or nurture? Why do men and women differ in their sexuality? What are the consequences of sexual assault? These are just some of the questions you will tackle during this module, which provides an in-depth exploration into the science of human sexuality. You’ll learn to interpret systematic research, and will have the chance to voice your own opinions and insights into this topic.

It’s important to plan your career. This is the one of three modules that will make sure you are career ready when you leave university. You will decide on your career aspirations and goals, plan how you will achieve them and identify the resources available to help you.

Placement

On a placement year you gain relevant work experience within an external business or organisation, giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market and providing you with key contacts within the industry. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.

Year abroad

On your year abroad, you have the opportunity to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.

Teaching

  • A typical timetable includes around eight to fourteen one-hour lectures per week with associated classes or laboratories
  • We combine small and large-group teaching with regular laboratory-based research exercises

Assessment

  • Your assessment is based on written essays, practical lab reports, and examinations

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Qualifications

UK entry requirements

A-levels: BBB
GCSE: Mathematics C

IB: 30 points, including Standard Level Mathematics grade 4, if not taken at Higher Level. We are also happy to consider a combination of separate IB Diploma Programmes at both Higher and Standard Level. Please note that Maths in the IB is not required if you have already achieved GCSE Maths at grade C or above.

Exact offer levels will vary depending on the range of subjects being taken at higher and standard level, and the course applied for. Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.

Entry requirements for students studying BTEC qualifications are dependent on units studied. Advice can be provided on an individual basis. The standard required is generally at Distinction level.

International and EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Email admit@essex.ac.uk for further details about the qualifications we accept. Include information in your email about the high school qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

IELTS entry requirements

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall. (Different requirements apply for second year entry.)

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

If you are an international student requiring a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels required. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications.

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Visit us

Open days

Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. In 2017 we have three undergraduate Open Days (in June, September and October). These events enable you to discover what our Colchester Campus has to offer. You have the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

Check out our Visit Us pages to find out more information about booking onto one of our events. And if the dates aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing tours@essex.ac.uk and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.

Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.

Exhibitions

Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.

Applying

Applications for our full-time undergraduate courses should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Applications are online at: www.ucas.com. Full details on this process can be obtained from the UCAS website in the how to apply section.

Our UK students, and some of our EU and international students, who are still at school or college, can apply through their school. Your school will be able to check and then submit your completed application to UCAS. Our other international applicants (EU or worldwide) or independent applicants in the UK can also apply online through UCAS Apply.

The UCAS code for our University of Essex is ESSEX E70. The individual campus codes for our Loughton and Southend Campuses are ‘L’ and ‘S’ respectively.

Visit days and interviews

Resident in the UK? If your application is successful, we will invite you to attend one of our visit days. These run from January to April and give you the chance to explore the campus, meet our students and really get a feel for life as an Essex student.

Some of our courses also hold interviews and if you’re invited to one, this will take place during your visit day. Don’t panic, they’re nothing to worry about and it’s a great way for us to find out more about you and for you to find out more about the course. Some of our interviews are one-to-one with an academic, others are group activities, but we’ll send you all the information you need beforehand.

If you’re outside the UK and are planning a trip, feel free to email visit@essex.ac.uk so we can help you plan a visit to the University.

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