Undergraduate Course

BSc Psychology

(Including Foundation Year)

BSc Psychology

Overview

The details
Psychology (Including Foundation Year)
C812
October 2024
Full-time
4 years
Colchester Campus
Essex Pathways

Our BSc Psychology (including foundation Year) will be suitable for you if your academic qualifications do not yet meet our entrance requirements for the three-year version of this course and you want a programme that increases your subject knowledge as well as improves your academic skills to support your academic performance.

This four-year course includes a foundation year (Year Zero), followed by a further three years of study. During your Year Zero, you study three academic subjects relevant to your chosen course as well as a compulsory academic skills module, with additional English language for non-English speakers.

After successful completion of Year Zero in our Essex Pathways Department, you progress to complete your course with our Department of Psychology.

If you want to understand our place in the world, then psychology at Essex is for you. We provide one of the most immersive and exciting experiences of studying the human mind in the UK. We focus on the big questions so that you embark on a journey into the thoughts, feelings, and actions of individuals.

Satisfy your curiosity by learning from innovative researchers at the cutting edge of psychological science. At Essex we take a multi-method approach, working beyond traditional boundaries to combine different expertise and share fascinating techniques and intriguing theories. We answer questions such as:

  • Why are social relationships so important – how do we make and break them, and what can we do to improve our relationships?
  • How do parenting choices in the earliest weeks of a baby's life impact them for years to come?
  • How does our cultural background affect thinking, motivations, personality, interpersonal behaviours and group processes?

In your first year you will study six brand new modules that address major challenges that society faces today. You will learn psychology from the start, and we will give you the skillset you need to be successful. We embed key skills such as research methods and statistics into topics you'll be interested in. You'll be taught topics one-by-one in blocks which allows you to consolidate your knowledge.

You will continue to develop these skills during your second year. In your third year you will specialise in areas that really interest you. This will allow you to excel at studying psychology.

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 SHOUTS scheme allows you to use your skills and creativity to make our department a better place and promote what we do beyond Essex, through social media, activities and events.

Why we're great.
  • We’re 28th in the UK for Psychology in the Guardian University Guide 2024.
  • 90% of our Department of Psychology graduates are in employment or further study (Graduate Outcomes 2023).
  • Our Research Experience Scheme (RES) gives you the opportunity to work one-on-one with a psychologist as their research assistant.

Our expert staff

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

Our staff carry out research into areas of psychology that fall under our three key themes: thinking about the world, interacting with the world, and experiencing the world. These three themes help tie your knowledge together as they directly feed into our modules, where you can study how we remember things, what captures out attention, how relationships work, what our emotions do with us, or the impact of culture on ourselves and others.

Specialist facilities

By studying within our Essex Pathways Department for your foundation year, you will have access to of the facilities that the University of Essex has to offer, as well as those provided by our department to support you:

  • We provide computer labs for internet research; classrooms with access to PowerPoint facilities for student presentations; AV facilities for teaching and access to web-based learning materials.
  • Our new Student Services Hub will support you and provide information for all your needs as a student.
  • Our social space is stocked with magazines and newspaper, and provides an informal setting to meet your lecturers, tutors and friends.

The Department of Psychology is 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
  • Our Babylab is the leading infant lab in the east of England that explores perceptual, emotional, and cognitive processes in infants
  • 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

  • A psychology degree, especially one accredited by the British Psychology Society, will provide you with the foundations needed for specialising in diverse areas, including clinical and educational psychology.
  • Many of our psychology graduates choose careers outside traditional psychology fields. The skills you learn during your degree opens doors to careers in market research, human resources, and people-focussed careers such as a high-intensity therapist or special educational needs.
  • Our psychology graduates have progressed in diverse careers across the public, private and third sectors, including working for the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust, and Prison and Probation Service, mental health charity MIND, and organisations like the BBC.

Visit our psychology careers page to find out more about your career opportunities and discover the variety of career paths our recent graduates have taken.

We also work with our University's careers services to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

"I am a trainee psychological wellbeing practitioner, working with people with mild or moderate anxiety and depression by using evidence-based cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) interventions. I hope to qualify and work towards becoming a CBT therapist or go down the clinical doctorate route. My placement year was one of the most beneficial things I did at Essex. It helped shape my views of mental health services in this country and understand my different options in working in that space. It also helped me understand what life after university would be like. I enjoyed the fact that our lecturers were working on research related to what we were studying. It made the topics more engaging. I particularly enjoyed lectures on relationships, cultural, and positive psychology."

Janelle Chisholm, BSc Psychology, 2020

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

UK and EU applicants:

All applications for degree courses with a foundation year (Year Zero) will be considered individually, whether you

  • think you might not have the grades to enter the first year of a degree course;
  • have non-traditional qualifications or experience (e.g. you haven’t studied A-levels or a BTEC);
  • are returning to university after some time away from education; or
  • are looking for more support during the transition into university study.

Standard offer:

Our standard offer is 72 UCAS tariff points from at least two full A-levels, or equivalent.

Examples of the above tariff may include:

  • A-levels: DDD
  • BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma: MMP
  • T-levels: Pass with E in core

For this course all applicants must also hold GCSE Maths at grade C/4 or above (or equivalent). We may be able to consider a pass in OFQUAL regulated Level 2 Functional Skills Maths where you cannot meet the requirements for Maths at GCSE level. However, you are advised to try to retake GCSE Mathematics if possible as this will better prepare you for university study and future employment.

If you are unsure whether you meet the entry criteria, please get in touch for advice.

Mature applicants and non-traditional academic backgrounds:

We welcome applications from mature students (over 21) and students with non-traditional academic backgrounds (might not have gone on from school to take level 3 qualifications). We will consider your educational and employment history, along with your personal statement and reference, to gain a rounded view of your suitability for the course.

You will still need to meet our GCSE requirements.

International applicants:

Essex Pathways Department is unable to accept applications from international students. Foundation pathways for international students are available at the University of Essex International College and are delivered and awarded by Kaplan, in partnership with the University of Essex. Successful completion will enable you to progress to the relevant degree course at the University of Essex.

International & EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

Sorry, the entry requirements for the country that you have selected are not available here. Please select your country page where you'll find this information.

English language requirements

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 5.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each component, or specified score in another equivalent test that we accept.

Details of English language requirements, including component scores, and the tests we accept for applicants who require a Student visa (excluding Nationals of Majority English Speaking Countries) can be found here

If we accept the English component of an international qualification it will be included in the academic levels listed above for the relevant countries.

English language shelf-life

Most English language qualifications have a validity period of 5 years. The validity period of Pearson Test of English, TOEFL and CBSE or CISCE English is 2 years.

If you require a Student visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

Pre-sessional English courses

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.

Pending English language qualifications

You don’t need to achieve the required level before making your application, but it will be one of the conditions of your offer.

If you cannot find the qualification that you have achieved or are pending, then please email ugquery@essex.ac.uk.

Additional Notes

If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to this degree, you could prepare and gain entry through a pathway course. Find out more about opportunities available to you at the University of Essex International College

Structure

Course structure

We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of core/compulsory modules, and optional modules chosen from lists.

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore all modules listed as subject to change. To view the compulsory modules and full list of optional modules currently on offer, please view the programme specification via the link below.

We understand that deciding where and what to study is a very important decision for you. We’ll make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities as described on our website. However, if we need to make material changes, for example due to significant disruption, or in response to COVID-19, we’ll let our applicants and students know as soon as possible.

Components and modules explained

Components

Components are the blocks of study that make up your course. A component may have a set module which you must study, or a number of modules from which you can choose.

Each component has a status and carries a certain number of credits towards your qualification.

Status What this means
Core
You must take the set module for this component and you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component but you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Compulsory
You must take the set module for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Compulsory with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Optional
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.

The modules that are available for you to choose for each component will depend on several factors, including which modules you have chosen for other components, which modules you have completed in previous years of your course, and which term the module is taught in.

Modules

Modules are the individual units of study for your course. Each module has its own set of learning outcomes and assessment criteria and also carries a certain number of credits.

In most cases you will study one module per component, but in some cases you may need to study more than one module. For example, a 30-credit component may comprise of either one 30-credit module, or two 15-credit modules, depending on the options available.

Modules may be taught at different times of the year and by a different department or school to the one your course is primarily based in. You can find this information from the module code. For example, the module code HR100-4-FY means:

HR 100  4  FY

The department or school the module will be taught by.

In this example, the module would be taught by the Department of History.

The module number. 

The UK academic level of the module.

A standard undergraduate course will comprise of level 4, 5 and 6 modules - increasing as you progress through the course.

A standard postgraduate taught course will comprise of level 7 modules.

A postgraduate research degree is a level 8 qualification.

The term the module will be taught in.

  • AU: Autumn term
  • SP: Spring term
  • SU: Summer term
  • FY: Full year 
  • AP: Autumn and Spring terms
  • PS: Spring and Summer terms
  • AS: Autumn and Summer terms

COMPONENT 01: CORE

Introduction to Psychology
(30 CREDITS)

Psychology is a broad subject, containing many disciplines. This module is designed to give an overview of these different core disciplines, encouraging you to explore how these different areas are informed by theory and research. The module will cover a range of classic and contemporary pieces of psychological research, exploring the methods adopted by psychologists to investigate the human mind and behaviour Through this module, you will be encouraged to think critically about the theories and research studies that are covered and begin to consider how psychological findings apply to everyday life. This module will look at theory and research in areas such as cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, individual differences, biopsychology and social psychology. Along with psychological theories we also introduce basic research skills, creating transferable analytical skills and/or preparation for entry to a psychology (or related) degree.

View Introduction to Psychology on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: CORE

Statistics for Psychology
(30 CREDITS)

The module covers the statistical skills needed to proceed to any degree course within our Department of Psychology. The syllabus covers statistical methods including data collect and analysis, distributions and hypothesis testing. The associated work in classes and lab sessions develops the skills used to solve relevant problems, with classwork and assignments being set and full solutions provided where appropriate as part of the feedback process.

View Statistics for Psychology on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 03: CORE

Introduction to Applied Psychology
(30 CREDITS)

This module is designed to equip students with the skills to put psychological theory into action within professional practice. The module will cover key psychological theories and consider how these can be used within fields such as forensic psychology, health psychology, sports and exercise psychology, educational psychology, clinical psychology and occupational psychology. These areas of psychology aim to improve and offer solutions to problems associated with human behaviour. Throughout the module students are encouraged to utilise psychological research in order to assess the effectiveness of applied interventions, this will create transferable analytical skills. Learning on the module will be facilitated with practical applications to enable students to take what they learn and apply it beyond the module content.

View Introduction to Applied Psychology on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 04: CORE

Research and Academic Development Skills
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 01: CORE

Understanding our place in the world
(15 CREDITS)

This module will explore questions such as: Is intelligence fixed? Is our memory reliable? How do we learn? By introducing a range of approaches from across psychology, you will address such questions from different perspectives and provide the foundations needed to become a successful Essex student. This module will also begin your training on designing and carrying out psychology experiments, and dealing with the information that those experiments provide.

View Understanding our place in the world on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: CORE

Growing in the world
(15 CREDITS)

New-borns are totally dependent on others. They are unable to move or sit up; they cannot reach out and pick up an object; their vision is poor; they cannot even express simple emotions. By the end of the developmental process, some 20 years later, humans have become the most psychologically complex things we know. How does this happen? This module will introduce you to how humans grow and develop in the world. The principal approaches to the study of human development will be discussed, with a particular focus on how infants take their first "psychological steps" in the social world. You will also develop the research and analysis skills that are needed to answer different questions about how humans grow in the world.

View Growing in the world on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 03: CORE

Experiencing Emotion
(15 CREDITS)

In this module you will discover answers to fundamental questions in the science of emotion: What are emotions and why do we have them? Is it possible to elicit specific emotions in people and measure them? How good are we at sensing how someone else is feeling? Why are some people more emotional than others? You'll untangle the complexities involved in studying human emotion by: exploring a variety of research methods and measurements, applying critical thinking to psychological concepts, and mastering the data analysis techniques that allow psychologists to draw conclusions about our experience of emotion.

View Experiencing Emotion on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 04: CORE

Thinking and the Mind
(15 CREDITS)

In this module, you'll study the internal mental processes that go on inside our brain that form the basis of our thoughts. We'll answer questions such as: what do visual illusions tell us about how we perceive the world? Are we really able to multi-task? How do we understand and produce speech, and is this different if you speak more than one language? You will learn the skills that psychologists use to conduct research to answer these questions, as well as core theories and knowledge about key topics in this area.

View Thinking and the Mind on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 05: CORE

The Social World
(15 CREDITS)

Do you behave differently when you are alone than with others? How do people interact with individuals? How do they behave in groups? How do people explain the social world and how do they explain the behaviour of others? What makes people attribute human characteristics to animals and inanimate objects? This module will examine how humans live in and interact with the social world. These questions will be explored, using social psychology theories, survey methods and research skills.

View The Social World on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 06: CORE

The Social Brain
(15 CREDITS)

How does your brain decide between good and bad? What is the neural basis of moral reasoning? What is the biological basis of anger and aggression? Can we explain psychopathy in terms of differences in brain structure and function? What can neuroscience tell us about whether people should be held accountable for their actions? These are the kinds of the questions that we will investigate in this module, which aims to understand the neural basis of (anti) social behaviour. These questions will be addressed by building knowledge and understanding whilst also developing the skills that psychologists use to research these aspects of human behaviour.

View The Social Brain on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 07: OPTIONAL

Option(s) from list
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 08: COMPULSORY

Introduction to Personal Development and Employability
(0 CREDITS)

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.

View Introduction to Personal Development and Employability on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 01: CORE

Statistics for Psychology
(15 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 02: CORE

Developmental Psychology
(15 CREDITS)

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.

View Developmental Psychology on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 03: CORE

Social Psychology
(15 CREDITS)

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.

View Social Psychology on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 04: CORE

Brain and Behaviour
(15 CREDITS)

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.

View Brain and Behaviour on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 05: CORE

Personality and Individual Differences
(15 CREDITS)

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).

View Personality and Individual Differences on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 06: CORE

Psychology of Health
(15 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 07: CORE

Cognitive Psychology
(15 CREDITS)

This module explores the basic cognitive processes involved in thinking about the world, interacting with the world, and experiencing the world. Often as users of these processes they just work and the complexity of the underlying operations are hidden; a kind of "user illusion". You will learn about the emerging scientific picture of how these basic processes operate, thereby gaining a better appreciation of the underlying complexity, and a renewed appreciation of the brilliance of these operations. The module will consider examples of human talents; such as bilingualism, as well as human limitations, such as our working memory capacities. The module will cover core areas of cognition as defined by the British Psychological Society such as perception, mental imagery, attention, memory, language, and consciousness. These will be discussed both with reference to laboratory-based experiments, and also how these processes may be disrupted and may breakdown in various conditions, such as dyslexia, amnesia, and other neuropsychological conditions. Finally, the lectures will address how basic cognitive processes apply to complex real-world behaviours.

View Cognitive Psychology on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 08: OPTIONAL

Option from list
(15 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 09: COMPULSORY

Enhancing employability and career planning
(0 CREDITS)

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.

View Enhancing employability and career planning on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 01: CORE

Psychology Project
(30 CREDITS)

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.

View Psychology Project on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: OPTIONAL

Option(s) from list
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 03: OPTIONAL

Option(s) from list
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 04: OPTIONAL

Option(s) from list or outside option(s)
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 05: COMPULSORY

Advanced employability skills and career progression
(0 CREDITS)

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.

View Advanced employability skills and career progression on our Module Directory

Teaching

A typical timetable for undergraduate students in the Department of Psychology involves a two-hour lecture for each module every week. Some modules offer shorter lectures with additional seminars and/or lab classes, while some modules use a flipped classroom approach to allow for further discussion in class.

Fees and funding

Home/UK fee

£9,250 per year

International fee

£19,500 per year

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

Home/UK fees and funding information

International fees and funding information

What's next

Open Days

Our events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. We run a number of Open Days throughout the year which enable you to discover what our 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 book a campus tour here.

2024 Open Days (Colchester Campus)

  • Wednesday, April 3, 2024

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 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 EU applicants 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.

Please note that this course is not open to international applicants.

You can find further information on how to apply, including information on transferring from another university, applying if you are not currently at a school or college, and applying for readmission on our How to apply and entry requirements page.

Offer Holder Days

If you receive an undergraduate offer to study with us in October 2024 and live in the UK, you will receive an email invitation to book onto one of our Offer Holder Days. Our Colchester Campus Offer Holder Days run from February to May 2024 on various Wednesdays and Saturdays, and our Southend Campus events run in April and May. These events provide the opportunity to meet your department, tour our campus and accommodation, and chat to current students. To support your attendance, we are offering a travel bursary, allowing you to claim up to £150 as reimbursement for travel expenses. For further information about Offer Holder Days, including terms and conditions and eligibility criteria for our travel bursary, please visit our webpage.

If you are an overseas offer-holder, you will be invited to attend one of our virtual events. However, you are more than welcome to join us at one of our in-person Offer Holder Days if you are able to - we will let you know in your invite email how you can do this.

A sunny day with banners flying on Colchester Campus Square 4.

Visit Colchester Campus

Set within 200 acres of award-winning parkland - Wivenhoe Park and located two miles from the historic city centre of Colchester – England's oldest recorded development. Our Colchester Campus is also easily reached from London and Stansted Airport in under one hour.


View from Square 2 outside the Rab Butler Building looking towards Square 3

Virtual tours

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

At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.

Find out more

The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications. The University would inform and engage with you if your course was to be discontinued, and would provide you with options, where appropriate, in line with our Compensation and Refund Policy.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

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