Undergraduate Course

BA Psychology

BA Psychology

Overview

The details
Psychology
C802
October 2022
Full-time
3 years
Colchester Campus
Psychology

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.

Professional accreditation

Accredited against the requirements for the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) of the British Psychological Society (BPS).

Why we're great.
  • You have unparalleled access to research equipment such as EEG, TMS and eye tracking.
  • We have a vibrant Psychology Society offering student-led social events and activities.
  • Our Research Experience Scheme (RES) gives you the opportunity to work one-on-one with a psychologist as their research assistant.

Study abroad

Your education extends beyond the university campus. We support you in expanding your education through offering the opportunity to spend a year or a term studying abroad at one of our partner universities. The four-year version of our degree allows you to spend the third year abroad or employed on a placement abroad, 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.

If you spend a full year abroad you'll only pay 15% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year. You won't pay any tuition fees to your host university

Placement year

You can also undertake a placement year in which you gain relevant work experience within an external business, giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market and providing you with key contacts within the industry. You will be responsible for finding your placement, but with support and guidance provided by both your department and our Employability and Careers Centre.

If you complete a placement year you'll only pay 20% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year.

Our expert staff

Our psychology lecturers include award-winning teachers and prize-winning researchers who are international experts in their own research areas. We are 17th in UK for research power in psychology (Times Higher Education research power measure, Research Excellence Framework 2021).

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

“After completing my psychology degree, I went onto work at HMP Brixton as a Health Trainer. I now work in the third sector for Mind as an Education Mental Health Practitioner. My job involves working with children, parents and teachers as part of a new initiative to bring Mental Health Support Teams into schools. I work with children who have mild to moderate mental health conditions, supporting them through one-to-one and targeted group support interventions. From my Essex degree, I gained lots of transferable skills that I am currently using in my job such as communication, networking, organisation and critical thinking. My plans for the future are to become a Clinical Psychologist in either an educational or forensic setting.”

Abigail Bish, BSc Psychology, 2018

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

GCSE: Mathematics C/4

A-levels: BBB

BTEC: DDM, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.

IB: 30 points or three Higher Level certificates with 555, including Standard Level Mathematics grade 4 or Higher Level Mathematics grade 3.
We are also happy to consider a combination of separate IB Diploma Programmes at both Higher and Standard Level. 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. Please note that Maths in the IB is not required if you have already achieved GCSE Maths at grade C/4 or above or 4 in IB Middle Years Maths.

From 2021, we will accept grade 4 in either Standard Level Mathematics: Analysis and Approaches or Standard Level Mathematics: Applications and Interpretation.

Access to HE Diploma: 45 Level 3 credits at Merit or above

T-levels: Distinction, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.

What if I don’t achieve the grades I hoped?
If you select Essex as your firm choice, you will be able to take advantage of a flexible offer. This offer will specify alternative entry requirements to those published on our website.

If your final grades are not as high as you had hoped, the good news is you may still be able to secure a place with us on a course which includes a foundation year. Visit our undergraduate application information page for more details.

What if I have a non-traditional academic background?
Don’t worry. To gain a deeper knowledge of your course suitability, we will look at your educational and employment history, together with your personal statement and reference.

You may be considered for entry into Year 1 of your chosen course. Alternatively, some UK and EU applicants may be considered for Essex Pathways, an additional year of study (known as a foundation year/year 0) helping students gain the necessary skills and knowledge in order to succeed on their chosen course. You can find a list of Essex Pathways courses and entry requirements here

If you are a mature student, further information is here

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 6.0 overall. Different requirements apply for second year entry, and specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.

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 listed above. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

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.

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.

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 here.

Structure

Course structure

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The following modules are based on the current course structure and may change in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.

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

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 Psychologists, 2nd Year
(30 CREDITS)

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.

View Statistics for Psychologists, 2nd Year on our Module Directory

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

Seeing and Hearing
(15 CREDITS)

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.

View Seeing and Hearing on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 07: CORE

Memory Attention and Language
(15 CREDITS)

Building on your knowledge from our Seeing and Hearing module, this module covers three major areas of cognitive psychology memory, attention, and language. You will develop your understanding of the psychological theories and data related to these major areas of cognitive psychology.

View Memory Attention and Language on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 08: 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

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

Fees and funding

Home/UK fee

£9,250

International fee

£20,050

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

Home/UK fees and funding information

International fees and funding information

What's next

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.

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.

Applicant Days

If you are an undergraduate student from the UK who has received an offer to study with us in October 2022, you will receive an invitation to attend an Applicant Day. Our Colchester Campus Applicant Days run from December to May on various Wednesdays and provide the opportunity to meet your department, tour our campus and accommodation, and chat to current students. For further information, please head to our Applicant Days webpage.

If you are an EU or International student, or can’t make any of our Applicant Days, we’ll be running a series of virtual events called Experience Essex Online throughout the year. To find out more, check out our Visit Us webpage.

Colchester Campus

Visit Colchester Campus

Home to 15,000 students from more than 130 countries, our Colchester Campus is the largest of our three sites, making us one of the most internationally diverse campuses on the planet - we like to think of ourselves as the world in one place.

The Campus is set within 200 acres of beautiful parkland, located two miles from the historic town centre of Colchester – England's oldest recorded town. Our Colchester Campus is also easily reached from London and Stansted Airport in under one hour.

 

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.

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.

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.

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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