BSc (Hons) Psychology

UCAS code Typical offer Length
C800 AAA (See full entry requirements) 3 years full-time
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The Department of Psychology is one of the United Kingdom’s leading teaching and research establishments. We offer outstanding opportunities for study, and our BSc Psychology programme is of the highest quality.

We are a research-intensive department where students are taught by researchers of international repute in well-equipped and attractive facilities. 

Course overview

Why study Psychology at York?

Alexandra Westley
I thought I had a perfect idea of which areas of psychology I would like, and have found myself branching off in all directions due to interesting things learned in lectures.

Alexandra, Psychology Year 3

  • Our Psychology BSc degree course is fully accredited by the British Psychological Society, and so our students are eligible for the graduate basis for registration needed for a wide range of high level careers in psychology after graduation.
  • Students can expect to be taught by world renowned researchers in their fields: in the most recent nationwide assessment of research quality (REF 2014) Psychology & Neuroscience at the University of York was ranked fourth for overall performance and second for the quality of our research papers.
  • Our teaching is of the very highest quality: About 80 per cent of our students graduate with a first or upper second class degree. 
  • The Department is purpose-built with the very best teaching facilities, including a computer-based laboratory housing over 100 students at any one time, and a state-of-the-art lecture theatre. This also means all of our teaching takes place in our own building, which is both convenient for students and helps foster a particularly friendly and supportive atmosphere.
  • We have first-class research facilities, all of which are available to our undergraduates for their final year research projects. These include the The Department’s Neuroimaging Centre (YNiC), our multimodal Action Perception Lab, the Spatial Hearing Lab and sound-attenuating booths, as well as facilities for testing children and measuring eye movements and other aspects of perceptual and cognitive function. New additions to our research facilities include an EEG lab, TMS Lab  and the Sleep Lab


Course content

What you'll study

The way the department is all in one building gives it a more friendly feel and you can't get lost. It's a great atmosphere.

Jo, Psychology Year 3

Teaching in the first two years consists of five courses, or strands. Together these strands give a broad coverage of the main areas of Psychology as taught at York. Details of the strands are as follows:

  • Social, Personality and Abnormal Psychology. This strand covers core themes of the social human being including personal relationships, aggression and co-operation, individual differences, and sex differences in personality development. The clinical aspect of this strand examines the causes of mental illness, including schizophrenia, anxiety and depression.
  • Brain and Behaviour. This strand will examine the structure and function of the brain as it affects behaviour. It will focus on how animal research, the effects of brain injury and the latest neuroimaging techniques can be used to explain the brain processes that underpin behaviour and cognition.
  • Perception and Cognition. This strand discusses the processes through which our senses gain and interpret information about our world. The strand describes in detail how information from our major senses passes to the brain for further processing. Cognitive psychology concerns the underlying nature of human intellectual abilities such as attention, thinking and memory.
  • Development and Language. This strand focuses on how infants and children learn to perceive and interpret objects in the outside world, how they acquire language and how they learn to reason logically. It also explores abnormalities of development and how development can be affected by deprivation.
  • Research Methods in Psychology. This strand provides students with the practical skills in experimental design, methodology and data analysis needed for the programme. Practical classes linked to the other strands furnish the student with hands-on experience in all aspects of psychology as an experimental science.

Third Year

In the third year students choose advanced modules from a selection offered each year. The topics offered can change from year to year but recent modules include:

  • Auditory Perception and Hearing Healthcare: The Management of Profound Hearing Loss
  • Damage to the Visual Brain
  • Introduction to Forensic Psychology
  • Body Image Perception – an Empirical Approach
  • The Psychobiology of Drug Addiction
  • Neuroimaging of Vision
  • Microanalysis of Communication
  • The Cognitive Psychology of Sleep

Literature Review

In addition, in the final year students undertake a literature review which requires researching a clearly defined area of study of your choice. Recent examples include:

  • The effect of child abuse on self-esteem
  • Sensation seeking and risky sport
  • The critical period hypothesis in second language acquisition
  • Do environmental factors lead to late-onset Alzheimer’s disease?
  • The effect of birth order on personality development
  • The relationship between eating disorders and superficial self-harm.

Research Project

The final year research project is the single most important component of the degree and requires students to conduct and write up an original piece of research, working closely under the supervision of a member of staff. Students have access to all the sophisticated research facilities of the Department. Recent projects have investigated a wide range of topics, for example: 

  • ‘Boredom eating’ as a possible cause of obesity
  • The neural basis of face perception
  • fMRI assessment of simulated visual loss seen in glaucoma
  • The relationship between social class and expressive language in primary school children
  • The effects of albinism on social behaviour in a captive population of wallabies
  • English and Mandarin speakers’ perception of time.

Each year several of the best undergraduate projects are published in mainstream scientific journals.

Academic integrity module

In addition to the above you will also need to complete our online Academic Integrity module. This covers some of the essential skills and knowledge which will help you to study independently and produce work of a high academic standard which is vital for success at York.

This module will:

  • define academic integrity and academic misconduct;
  • explain why and when you should reference source material and other people's work;
  • provide interactive exercises to help you to assess whether you've understood the concepts;
  • provide answers to FAQs and links to useful resources.


How you'll be taught

I liked the spread of modules through out the course. I loved the third year modules, just wish I could have done them all. 

Felicity, Psychology Year3

Teaching during the first two years is mainly by lectures, seminars, practicals and group work, with personal supervision by members of the academic staff. We place a particular emphasis in the third year on independent learning, the better to prepare our students for the challenges of the wider world on graduation. Third year teaching focuses then on student-centred seminars, an independent research project (which may even be published) and an in-depth critique of a chosen research topic. Each of these activities is carried out under the close supervision of a member of the academic staff. All teaching is carried out within the Department, which has been designed and built to provide the highest quality facilities for teaching and research.


Lectures are held in a state-of-the-art lecture theatre within the Department. Our recently refurbished lecture theatre is equipped with multiple screens for lecture presentations, audio amplification and lecture recording facilities. Interactive lectures using 'clickers' are a standard feature of our teaching and hardcopy of the lecture slides is typically available before each lecture.


Courses in the first and second years also provide seminars on highlighted course materials, in which students will focus on an appropriate task in small groups, led by a member of the Department. Seminars form the predominant method of teaching in the third and final year. All students are expected to contribute and this forms an important teaching and learning experience.


Our Research Methods strand of teaching provides a great deal of experience with the carrying out of Psychological experiments, and we have a brand new computer laboratory dedicated to this role, the largest in the University. All aspects of experimentation are covered, from design issues through to the carrying out and subsequent analysis of findings. This experience equips students with the necessary skills for key aspects of the third year, including Projects (see below).

Projects and Literature Surveys

Students carry out a Project and Literature Survey in the third year. Projects involve carrying out experiments and are personally supervised by a member of the academic staff. Findings form the Project report, a key component of the degree assessment. Students rate this part of the course particularly highly - indeed, Projects are sometimes published in peer-reviewed Journals. Students can also expect to be closely supervised by a member of staff for their Literature Survey, in which a Psychological topic is chosen by the student and critically evaluated using the most recent empirical evidence. Again, this portion of the course is very highly rated by students and forms a particularly valuable aspect of our degree programme.

Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)

All of our teaching materials are available to students via our VLE, in which everything from lecture slides and recordings of the lectures themselves through to practical demonstrations and external supporting materials and examples. The VLE also feature forums which are monitored by staff where questions may be asked and ideas discussed.

Overall workload

As a guide, students on this course typically spend their time as follows:

Year 1Year 2Year 3
Lectures and seminars264 hours288 hours108 hours

The figures above are based on data from 2016/17.

The rest of your time on the course will be spent on independent study. This may include preparation for lectures and seminars, follow-up work, wider reading, practice completion of assessment tasks, or revision. Everyone learns at a different rate, so the number of hours will vary from person to person. In UK higher education the expectation is that full-time students will spend 1200 hours a year learning.


How you'll be assessed

Joy Psychology Year 3I chose psychology at York because the course looked so varied – and it is! The course covers a huge variety of topics, and I have really enjoyed discovering areas of psychology that both challenge and inspire me. 

Joy, Psychology Year 3

Year 1 marks do not contribute to the final degree class. However, students must pass the exams in Year 1 in order to progress to Year 2, and supervisors may refer to marks gained in Year 1 when writing references. Exams are usually multiple choice format. Assessed coursework in the form of essays, practicals and related tasks provides valuable feedback towards optimal performance in Year 2 and beyond.

Year 2 contributes 40% of the final degree mark, through exams (mainly multiple choice) held in the spring and summer terms, and assessed coursework in the form of essays and practical reports.

Year 3 contributes 60% of the final degree mark. Advanced modules are assessed through written examinations in the spring and summer terms. Students also undertake a 4,000 word Literature Survey, reviewing the available theories and relevant evidence in a research area of their choice, and carry out and write up an original Research Project. 

Percentage of the course typically assessed by coursework and exams

Year 1Year 2Year 3
Written exams64%49%67%

The figures above are based on data from 2016/17.


Careers and employability

Alex, York BSc Graduate and Trainee Clinical PsychologistMy year as a mental health worker was a crucial part of my career progression. I regularly reflect and draw upon both my undergraduate degree and my year as a mental health worker in my day-to-day work. 

Alex, York BSc Graduate and Trainee Clinical Psychologist

Graduates from our department are highly successful in securing very competitive professional Psychologist jobs (e.g. clinical, educational, forensic). Many positions require at least one year of experience working in the field, before starting professional training. Much of this work (e.g. mental health support worker, teaching assistant), is counted in national statistics as 'non-graduate', and national statistics on graduate employment are collected just 6 months after graduation. Thus some of our best graduates will go on to become highly successful professional psychologists, while their career path may not be captured in the ‘graduate employment’ statistics.

As a psychology graduate you will have a wide range of career options open to you. Professional Psychologist roles are directly related to the subject and cover a wide range of areas, such as clinical, educational, occupational and forensic psychology. The majority of psychology graduates, however, will use their understanding of people and the unique blend of arts and science skills obtained from their degree to enter a wide variety of careers such as human resources, advertising, systems analysis,market research, teaching, social work, media, finance and management consultancy.


We have designed our degree course to ensure you leave equipped with lots of very important transferable skills including team work, effective communication, critical thinking, numeracy, IT skills, problem solving and creativity.

The Departmental Employability coordinator, runs a specialised programme of events and training sessions throughout the degree course to ensure you are well prepared for the world of work and to support you in developing  the skills and experience you need to get the job you want after graduation. We support you to find placements, volunteering roles and paid work along side your academic work and encourage you to reflect on your academic and extra curricular activities through regular discussion of your Personal Employability Plan with your personal supervisor. We invite external speakers to give you a personal insight into a range of careers, support you to research your career options and provide interactive sessions to help you to prepare high quality CVs, job applications and to perform well in interviews. The department employability coordinator works closely with the University Careers Service, which also offers our students an additional range of career and recruitment events, skills sessions and one-to-one advice.

British Psychological Society

The British Psychological Society (BPS) is a great source of information for the different professional psychology roles and the routes into these careers with an accredited Psychology BSc degree. The course here at York is accredited by the BPS and provides you with the essential Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership that you will require to pursue a career in any branch of professional psychology (e.g. Clinical, Forensic, Occupational, Educational).


How to apply

I chose the University of York because of its outstanding reputation for Psychology, the college system (accommodation, social activities and welfare), the city of York itself and because it was said to be easy to find a part time job. 

Kate, Psychology Year 3

All applications to degrees programmes at York must be made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Services). Information on how to apply can be found at

Through your school/college

All UK schools and colleges (and a number of international schools/colleges) are registered with UCAS. You will complete your application online and submit it to a member of staff at a school/college.


If you are not at a school/college registered with UCAS, then you will need to apply online independently. As an independent applicant, you will be responsible for submitting your completed application to UCAS.

When to apply

UCAS opens for new applications in September of each year. We guarantee equal consideration for all applicants who apply by the UCAS deadline of 15 January. We will consider applications received after this date if places are available, but we cannot guarantee that they will be given the same level of consideration as those that arrive on time.

What happens to your application?

Your UCAS application will initially be received and dealt with by our central admissions team. If, like most applicants, you are applying from school or college at the beginning of your final year, then any offer we make will be conditional on your forth-coming (e.g A2) results. We will not call you for interview and we will not require you to take any aptitude test. If we make you an offer it will be based on the information on your UCAS form. Interviews are reserved for candidates returning to formal study after a significant break, and those with special circumstances or unusual qualifications. If you have queries about the progress of your application we would encourage you to check on UCAS track in the first instance, but if you still have questions then please contact and we will respond to your enquiry as soon as we can.


Entry requirements

A levels

AAA (General Studies is not accepted).

Please note: One science A level is required, two are preferred. We include Psychology, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Maths and Further Maths as science A levels. For other possible science subjects please contact the admissions tutor.


GCSE Maths grade 5 (B).

International Baccalaureate

Total score of 36 points including one Higher Level science subject, which may include Psychology.

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

AAAAA at Higher level and AA at Advanced Higher level. At least one Advanced Higher should be in a science subject.

Irish Leaving Certificate

H2, H2, H2, H2, H2, H3 including at least one science subject.


BTEC National Extended Diploma (QCF): DDD.

We accept a range of BTEC qualifications equivalent to 3 A Levels.

A science subject is essential. Please contact the department for more information.

European Baccalaureate

85% overall average. At lease one science subject must be taken in the final year. 

Other qualifications

Cambridge Pre-U: D3, D3, D3. Principal Subjects: Global Perspectives and Research (GPR) including at least one science subject.

Access to HE: Obtain Access to HE Diploma (Science) with 39 credits at Distinction and 6 credits at Merit or higher. Other Access to HE Diplomas are considered but must include science/psychology module. Please contact us for further information. 

Other qualifications are accepted by the University: please contact Undergraduate Admissions for more information.

English Language Requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English are normally asked to provide evidence of English language ability. Exceptions may be made where an applicant's other qualifications provide sufficient evidence of ability to use English in an academic setting at degree level.

One of the following:

  • IELTS: 6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in each component
  • Pearson PTE Academic: 61, with a minimum of 55 in each component
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): grade C
  • Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE): grade A
  • GCSE/O Level in English (as a first language): grade C

Mature students

The Department welcomes applications from suitably qualified mature students and those wishing to return to full-time education after a period working. Our course is likely to be of most interest to applicants from a science background. Those applicants who we believe may be suitable for our course will typically be invited to an Open Day and asked to take tests assessing basic mathematical knowledge and reasoning ability. Performance on these tests is taken into account when deciding whether to offer a candidate a place.

In assessing applications from mature students we will also consider a range of information including the extent of previous experience relevant to the course, and evidence that you will be able to study successfully at degree level (which may include successful completion of an Access Course). There are no rigid entry requirements but the following gives a useful guide to what we expect:

  • All applicants should have a GCSE pass in Maths at grade B (or equivalent)
  • For applicants who sat A-levels in the last 5 years we would normally expect 3 A-level passes at ABB or equivalent

Contact our mature admissions tutor for further information.