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BSc (Hons) Psychology

Discover the science of mind, brain, and behaviour.

Year of entry: 2022/23
Show year of entry: 2021

UCAS code


Institution code



3 years full-time (plus optional placement year)

Typical offer

AAA (full entry requirements)

Start date

September 2022 (term dates)

UK (home) fees

£9,250 per year

International and EU fees

£24,000 per year

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in the UK for Psychology

Guardian University Guide 2021

in the UK for Psychology

The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021

for overall satisfaction

out of the Russell Group universities included in the National Student Survey 2021

Psychology is the scientific study of mind, brain and behaviour. It is strongly interconnected to other disciplines such as biology, physics, medicine, neuroscience, politics, sociology and economics.

Psychologists use observation and experimental evidence to understand the relationship between our sensations and actions but also the intervening processes that underlie our behaviour. Social psychology studies interactions, group behaviour and culture. Cognitive neuroscience examines the mechanisms of the individual brain, right down to its cells and the connections between them.

Here at the University of York, we teach psychology as a rigorous experimental biological science.

We are committed to the application of this knowledge to the benefit of all sectors of society. Most organisations are interested in explaining, understanding, predicting or changing human behaviour.

We are a research-intensive department which means you will be taught by researchers of international repute who are doing world-leading research as well as delivering lectures and supervising undergraduate projects.

Some of our students go on to work in fields such as health (clinical psychology), education (educational psychology) and criminal justice (forensic psychology) but most use the unique combination of scientific and statistical skills, critical thinking and analysis of human behaviour in other sectors such as marketing, human resources, management and the civil service. A high proportion of our graduates go on to further study.


This course is accredited by the British Psychological Society, assuring the quality and relevance of our teaching. 

I had never imagined that a university could look so green, and even village-like, while also housing some of the greatest minds known to Psychology.
Rossi, 3rd Year student, BSc (Hons) Psychology

Read Rossi's blog to learn more about studying psychology at the University of York

World top 100 for Psychology

We're among the top departments in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021

Everything under one roof

You'll study in a purpose-built psychology building which makes for an integrated department and rich student experience

Course content

Our BSc in Psychology teaches you:

  • a scientific and analytical approach to problem solving
  • an understanding of human behaviour
  • the ability to critically evaluate complex ideas and explain them to other people

In your first two years you'll build upon your learning of the main areas of psychology.

In your third year, you'll choose a selection of advanced modules from an extensive list in order to specialise and steer your degree in the direction that's of most interest to you. You'll undertake both an original research project and a substantial literature survey - each under the supervision of a faculty member of your choice. 

Our courses are designed to be flexible, so you can transfer between BSc and MSci at any time up until the middle of Year 2. 

Study abroad

There are opportunities for you to spend time abroad during your course:

Year 1

In the first two years you will study the main areas of psychology.

Core modules

You will take core modules which may include:

Academic integrity module

In addition to the above you will also need to complete our online Academic Integrity module.

Year 2

In Year 2 you will build on the knowledge you have already gained in Year 1.

Core modules

You will take core modules which may include:

Year 3

In Year 3 you choose a selection of advanced modules from a wide range of options. We currently offer a list of nearly 30, and these change from year to year, reflecting the very latest developments in psychology, neuroscience and society.

Core modules

You will take core modules which may include:

Literature Survey 

You'll undertake a literature survey to investigate an area 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 single most important component of your degree will be your final year research project. Working under the supervision of a member of staff, you'll conduct and write up an original piece of research. You'll 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 our best undergraduate projects are published in mainstream scientific journals.

Option modules

You will take a selection of option modules, examples of which may include:

Our modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.
Our course structures are changing in September 2023. Find out more about how this course may be affected.

Learning by design

Every course at York has been designed to provide clear and ambitious learning outcomes. These learning outcomes give you an understanding of what you will be able to do at the end of the course. We develop each course by designing modules that grow your abilities towards the learning outcomes and help you to explain what you can offer to employers. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • understand the scientific underpinnings of psychology as a discipline, its historical origins, development and limitations, with a particular emphasis on the role of brain functions in human behaviour and experience.
  • critically analyse and evaluate theory within and beyond the field of psychology using empirical evidence to support their reasoning and arguments.
  • demonstrate a systematic knowledge of a range of research paradigms, research methods and measurement techniques, including statistical analysis, and be aware of their limitations.
  • design, conduct, analyse and interpret systematic, scientifically rigorous and ethically sound studies both individually and in groups, using appropriate quantitative and qualitative methods and statistics, and supported by state-of-the-art digital software.
  • communicate complex information effectively using appropriate written, oral, graphical and electronic means, taking into account diversity among individuals to whom the information is communicated.
  • explain the potential impact of psychological research and theory on a broad range of real world settings and situations (eg classrooms, industry, commerce, healthcare, as well as local and global communities).
  • problem-solve and reason scientifically. Specifically, graduates will be able to identify and pose research questions, consider alternative approaches to their solutions, and evaluate outcomes.
  • be sensitive to contextual and interpersonal factors. Graduates will be familiar with the complexity of the factors that shape behaviour and social interaction which, in turn, will make them more aware of the bases of problems and interpersonal conflicts.




Fees and funding

The fees and funding figures below are for 2022/23 entry. If you take a year abroad or year in industry you'll pay a reduced rate of fees for that year

Annual tuition fees

UK (home) International and EU
£9,250 £24,000

UK (home) or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK (home) or international student. Check your fee status

Fees for subsequent years

  • UK (home): further increases within the government fee cap will apply in subsequent academic years. We will notify you of any increase as soon as we can.
  • International: fees for international and EU students are subject to annual increases. Increases are currently capped at two per cent each year.

More information

For more information about tuition fees, any reduced fees for study abroad and work placement years, scholarships, tuition fee loans, maintenance loans and living costs see undergraduate fees and funding.

Additional costs


We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2022/23 throughout the year.

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll study and learn with academics who are active researchers, experts in their field and have a passion for their subjects. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Teaching format

During your first two years, you'll be taught mainly through lectures, seminars, practicals and group work under the direction of members of academic staff. As the course progresses there are ever greater opportunities for independence and, in your third year, the emphasis is on choice, specialization and independent study, all supported by supervisors, who will guide you and prepare you for the challenges of the wider world beyond university.


Our state-of-the-art lecture theatre is equipped with multiple screens for presentations, audio amplification and lecture recording facilities. Interactive lectures, using wifi 'clickers' that let you instantaneously respond to questions and have your say, are a standard feature of our teaching. Lecture slides are typically available before each lecture.


The modules you study in your first and second years include seminars where you will focus on an appropriate task in a small group, led by a member of the Department. Once you are in your third and final year, seminars are the predominant method of teaching. Seminars are a great setting to get more actively involved in learning. You'll be expected to contribute by joining in discussion, asking and answering questions and making presentations.


Our Research Methods in Psychology module will give you a great deal of experience of carrying out psychological experiments and we have a dedicated computer laboratory. At the core of this process is the collection and analysis of quantitative data about human behaviour - a vital set of skills for many employers. All aspects of research are covered, from designing and carrying out experiments to analysing, critically evaluating and interpreting results. This experience will equip you with valuable skills that you will apply in your literature survey and empirical project in your third year.

Projects and literature surveys

In your third year you will be asked to undertake a project and literature survey. Projects involve carrying out experiments and are personally supervised by a member of academic staff. Findings form a project report, which is a key component of your degree assessment. Our students rate this part of the course particularly highly - indeed, projects are sometimes published in peer-reviewed journals. You can also expect to be closely supervised by a member of staff for your literature survey. Here you will choose a psychological topic and critically evaluate it using the most recent empirical evidence. Again, this portion of the course is highly rated by our students and forms a particularly valuable aspect of our degree programme, demonstrating to future employers your capacity to complete a significant piece of analysis and writing.

Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)

You will have access to all our teaching materials via our VLE, in which everything from lecture slides and recordings of lectures themselves through to practical demonstrations and external supporting materials are stored. The VLE also features forums where you and your fellow students can ask questions and discuss ideas.

Timetabled activities

In your first year, you can expect:

Lectures8-10 hours per week
Tutorials1-2 hours per week
Practicals4-5 hours per term

These figures are based on an average student in an average week. Your contact hours will vary throughout the year due to your module choices, non-compulsory classes, exam periods and changes to scheduled activities.

Outside your timetabled hours, you'll study independently. This may include preparation for classes, follow-up work, wider reading, practice completion of assessment tasks, or revision.

In the UK, full-time students are expected to spend 1,200 hours a year learning. That's about 40 hours of classes and independent study each week during term time. Everyone learns at a different rate, so the number of hours you spend on independent study will be different to other students on your course.


Our Department is purpose-built with superb teaching facilities mainly under one roof. We are also proud of our York Neuroimaging Centre (YNiC). Equipped with two MRI scanners and an MEG scanner it allows us to look inside the brain and investigate its activity as we see, hear, feel, think and act.  

As well as YNiC, we have other first-class research facilities available to you for your final year research projects including our multimodal Action Perception Laboratory, 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 Sleep Lab and several Virtual Reality labs. 

Teaching location

The Department of Psychology is located on Campus West. 

Most lectures, tutorials, seminars, practical work, staff offices and laboratories are in our purpose-built psychology building.

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

Year 1 marks do not contribute to your final degree class. However, you must pass the modules in Year 1 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 per cent to your final degree class, 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 per cent to your final degree class. Advanced modules are assessed through written examinations in the spring and summer terms. You will also undertake a 4,000 word Literature Survey, reviewing the available theories and relevant evidence in a research area of your choice as well as 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.

Lecturer speaking
Two students in a lecture
I feel I'm right at the cutting edge of some psychology research, especially with our third year projects. Mine is on sleep and memory suppression in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression. Basically, I want to see if you can use sleep to suppress traumatic memories. It's going to be so exciting.
Lolly, 3rd Year student, BSc (Hons) Psychology

Careers and skills

Our students are highly successful in securing competitive professional psychologist jobs. Many positions require at least one year's experience working in the field, before starting professional training. Much of this work (eg mental health support worker, teaching assistant), is counted in national statistics as 'non-graduate', and national statistics on graduate employment are collected just six 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.


Our Departmental Employability Coordinator runs a specialised programme of events and training sessions to ensure you are well prepared for 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 alongside your academic work. We 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's 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.


Career opportunities

  • Clinical psychologist
  • Educational psychologist
  • Forensic psychologist
  • Human resources
  • Advertising
  • Systems analysis
  • Market research
  • Teaching
  • Social work
  • Media
  • Finance
  • Management consultancy
  • Statistics
  • Research

Fast track to clinical training

The University of York has a unique agreement with the University of Hull, which gives York students an additional route into clinical psychology. Every year, a group of our Psychology graduates are admitted to Hull’s clinical doctorate programme straight out of their first degree. If you are interested in clinical psychology, this fast-track opportunity is really worth bearing in mind. At the moment this option is only available to UK students or EU students living in the UK with settled status.

Transferable skills

  • Team work
  • Effective communication
  • Critical thinking
  • Numeracy
  • IT skills
  • Problem solving
  • Creativity
  • Collection and analysis of data
  • Analysis and integration of evidence, including numerical data

Entry requirements

Typical offer
A levels

AAA including at least one science

We include Biology, Chemistry, Further Maths, Maths, Physics, and Psychology as science subjects. For other possible science subjects please contact the admissions tutor.

Access to Higher Education Diploma 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 modules. Please contact us for further information.
BTEC National Extended Diploma DDD. A science subject is essential. Please contact the department for more information.
Cambridge Pre-U D3, D3, D3 including at least one science subject.
Degree Transfer from the BSc course to the MSci course requires an average mark of at least 55 over Year 2 of the BSc course
European Baccalaureate 85% overall average. At least one science subject must be taken in final year.
International Baccalaureate 36 points including one Higher Level science subject, which may include Psychology.
International foundation programme Foundation Certificate from our International Pathway College or an appropriate alternative.
Other international qualifications Equivalent qualifications from your country

Additional requirements

You should also have GCSE Maths at grade 5 (B).

Alternative offers

Meeting the following additional criteria may qualify you for an alternative offer.

Criteria Adjustment
Widening participation If you successfully complete one of the following programmes, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to three A level grades (or equivalent) below our typical offer: Next Step York, Realising Opportunities, YESS. More about widening participation.
Contextual offers If you have experience of local authority care or live in an area with low progression to university, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to two A level grades (or equivalent) below our typical offer. More about contextual offers.
EPQ If you achieve an A or higher at EPQ, you will be eligible for a reduced offer, one grade below our typical offer.

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:

Minimum requirement
IELTS 6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in each component
C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency 176, with a minimum of 169 in each component
Duolingo 110 overall, with a minimum of 100 in each component
GCSE/IGCSE/O level English Language (as a first or second language) Grade C
LanguageCert International ESOL SELT B2 Communicator High Pass with a minimum score of 33/50 in each component
PTE Academic 61, with a minimum of 55 in each component
TOEFL 87 overall, with a minimum of 21 in each component
Trinity ISE III Merit in all components

For more information see our undergraduate English language requirements.

If you've not met our English language requirements

You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.

The length of course you need to take depends on your current English language test scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.

After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.


To apply to York, you will need to complete an online application via UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service).

Next steps

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Department of Psychology

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