Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies

Undergraduate studies

Man looking out onto scenic view

Understand yourself and others

Have you ever heard the phrase 'the interpretation of dreams is in fact the royal road to knowledge of the unconscious?' Maybe you've heard about Freud's ‘repetition compulsion’ and the ‘Oedipus complex’, or Jung’s personality types, the ‘introvert’ and ‘extrovert’? Or, did you know we all have a ‘self-regulating psyche’?

At Essex, you learn about these ideas and why they matter, and study psychoanalysis as a theory and method of investigation into the human mind and social world.


Explore our courses
Why choose us?
  • Our graduates go on to have careers that make a difference to people's health and lives.
  • Essex is a centre of world-leading excellence for the social sciences - you are taught by senior clinicians and world class scholars
  • We teach in small groups to ensure you feel supported throughout your studies.

What is psychoanalysis?

Sometimes we say things out loud we don't intend to, forget the name of someone we don’t like, or repeat behaviours we don’t consciously intend. According to the founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, this is the influence of the unconscious mind revealing our hidden, internal conflicts and underlying concerns.

Psychoanalysis helps develop a deeper awareness of ourselves and others by exploring the influence of the unconscious mind. It's a talking therapy which helps us understand our internal conflicts, take control of thoughts and emotions, and improve our well-being. But psychoanalysis is also a conceptual model used to explore conflicts in society, and how these impact people. For example, we examine film and literature, develop responses to mental health or anti-social behaviour, the problems of childhood, politics, history and religion.  

Why? We want to know more about ourselves and others, why we feel and behave as we do. If we can study this then we can also find a way to improve ourselves and the world around us. This is what psychosocial and psychoanalytic studies offers. So, if you're fascinated by relationships and want to make a difference, study psychoanalysis at Essex.

“The staff are the best. They’re supportive and want you to succeed as a student, but most importantly as an individual. They don’t want you to just get the work done, they want you to ask questions and explore the unknown.” 
Bradley Quinlan ba psychoanalytic studies

Your degree

You study the fascinating and sometimes controversial work of Freud, and renowned psychoanalyst Jung, and learn why their ideas about the mind matter. 

You explore psychoanalysis as a theory and method of investigation into the mind and the social world, bringing the psyche and the social together.

We delve deeper than conventional psychology, looking at the person as a whole, the emotions we feel and the way we behave in our unconscious mind, in a group and in society. This means we can look at our inner most desires, fantasies and what drives our behaviour so we can improve ourselves and the world around us.

Founded over 20 years ago on the great Essex tradition of interdisciplinarity, we're home to internationally-recognised experts from a range of disciplines within the wider field of ‘depth psychology’. You'll meet them in your lectures and classes, collaborating with them to excel in your studies. We also teach you in small groups, ensuring you're supported by our academics throughout your course.