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MSci (Hons) Psychology

Engage with the theories, perspectives, and methods that are used to study the mind, the brain, and behaviour.

Year of entry: 2020
Show year of entry: 2019

UCAS code


Institution code



4 years full-time (plus optional placement year)

Typical offer

AAA (full entry requirements)

Start date

September 2020 (term dates)

UK/EU fees

£9,250 per year (2020/21)

International fees

£22,080 per year (2020/21)

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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.

We teach psychology as a rigorous experimental biological science. Our exciting and innovative 4-year MSci course allows you to engage fully with the theories, perspectives, and methods that are used to study the mind, the brain, and behaviour, whilst developing your practical, high-level skills in empirical investigation and scientific data analysis.

It will equip you with advanced training in research methods, statistics and specialisation in one of four pathways at the forefront of contemporary behavioural science.

These pathways are: 

  1. Clinical
  2. Developmental Disorders
  3. Forensic
  4. Neuroscience and Neuroimaging

The benefits of the MSci include the opportunity to:

  • Learn more about the most up-to-date thinking in key areas of Psychology
  • Gain extensive practical experience and knowledge by working closely with members of faculty
  • Develop your transferable and interpersonal skills to maximise your employment potential
  • Obtain a valuable masters-level qualification
  • Enhance your chances when applying for a PhD programme


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

World top 100 for Psychology

Times Higher Education World University League Table (2019)

UK top 10 for Psychology

7th in the Guardian University Guide (2020)
8th in the Times Higher Education World University League Table (2019)

Excellent research

Ranked 4th for overall performance and 2nd for the quality of research papers (outputs) in the Times Higher Education's ranking of REF 2014.

Course content

MSci and BSc students take identical modules and are taught together during Years 1 and 2. At the beginning of Year 3, the two courses take different directions.

In Years 3 and 4 you will select one of the five pathways, each providing advanced modules and extended projects linked to your chosen specialism.

We place a strong emphasis on practical experience, giving you the chance to undertake two research projects rather than one (one in Year 3 and a larger one in Year 4). This means that you will graduate with the strong analytical and independent research skills needed for employment. This advanced training, combined with opportunities to develop professional communication and project skills, will allow you to go on to sought-after graduate-level employment in various sectors of the job market. 

Study abroad

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

Year 1

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

Core modules

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

Year 3

In Year 3 you'll choose two modules from a specialist pathway and two from a broad selection of advanced options.

You'll also work with a small group to prepare and carry out your own research in an area of your choice.

Core modules

Option modules

Choose one of the following pathways:

Choose two advanced option modules. Topics change from year to year but recent modules include:

Year 4

In Year 4 you will be able to further explore your interests with a research topic on a topic of your choice, as well as a range of option modules. 

Core modules

Your research project is an opportunity for you to conduct and write up an original piece of research, working closely with a member of staff. The topic of the project is generally associated with the topic of your chosen pathway and you will 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.

Option modules

Choose 40 credits of option modules. Topics change from year to year but recent modules include:

Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.

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; through research-led training, acquire specialist knowledge in one of five pathways: Clinical; Developmental Disorders; Experimental, Cognitive and Social Psychology; Forensic; Neuroscience and Neuroimaging.
  • Critically analyse and evaluate theory, and their potential contradictions, within and beyond the field of psychology using empirical evidence to support their reasoning and arguments.
  • Demonstrate a systematic knowledge of a range of advanced and cross-disciplinary 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 a combination of advanced appropriate quantitative and qualitative methods and statistics, and supported by state-of-the-art digital software; in the context of the empirical research project, gain extensive research experience in a specialist domain of psychology.
  • Communicate complex information effectively using appropriate and discipline-specific 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 (e.g., classrooms, industry, commerce, healthcare, as well as local and global communities).
  • Solve complex problems using evidence-based and scientific reasoning. Specifically, graduates will be able to identify and pose new research questions, devise new methods to address them, consider alternative approaches to their solutions, and evaluate outcomes.
  • Be a self-critical learner, showing sensitivity 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.


York has given me every opportunity to shine, grow and explore myself and Psychology - this degree gives me another year at the department, as well as more of a chance to focus onto what really interests me.
Becca, Year 3

93% overall satisfaction

National Student Survey 2019

Everything under one roof

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

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees

UK/EU International
£9,250 £22,080

Additional costs

We don't anticipate there being any additional costs associated with this course as all text books are available in the library or via the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). Depending on how you work you may wish to print out notes, costs for this will vary depending on your methods of working. 

UK/EU or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK, EU or international student.

Fees for subsequent years

  • UK/EU: 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 students are subject to annual increases. Increases are currently capped at 2% per annum.

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.


We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2020/21 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 Excellence Framework Gold Award

“Students from all backgrounds achieve consistently outstanding outcomes”

The TEF Panel, Office for Students, June 2018

Our Gold Teaching Excellence Framework award demonstrates our commitment to the delivery of consistently outstanding teaching and learning for our students.

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

Teaching during the first two years is mainly by lectures, seminars, practicals and group work, with personal supervision by members of the academic staff. In Years 3 and 4, we place a particular emphasis on independent learning to equip you with skills that will be useful in a wide range of employment contexts and to provide a strong background for subsequent PhD or professional training. 


Lectures are held in a state-of-the-art lecture theatre within the Department. It 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.


Seminars are an important part of the course. During these you'll focus on a task in small groups, led by a member of staff. 


You'll also have the chance to carry out psychological experiments, and we have a new computer laboratory dedicated to this. All aspects of experimentation are covered, from design issues through to the carrying out and analysis of findings.

Overall workload

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

Year 1Year 2Year 3Year 4
Lectures and seminars264 hours288 hours108 hours120 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 1,200 hours a year learning.

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 the final degree class awarded. However, you 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 is examined through exams (mainly multiple choice) held in the spring and summer terms, and assessed coursework in the form of essays and practical reports. Progression from Year 2 to Year 3 of the MSci requires an average mark of 55% in Year 2.

Year 3 includes a literature survey, two advanced modules, pathway specific modules, and modules in Advanced Research Methods and Year 3 Research Project.

Year 4 includes 2 further advanced modules, and an extended and in-depth research project. 

Year 2 contributes 25% of the final degree mark, Year 3 contributes 37.5% and Year 4 contributes 37.5%.

Percentage of the course typically assessed by coursework and exams

Year 1Year 2Year 3Year 4
Written exams64%49%57%20%
Practical exams0%0%4%0%

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

Careers and skills

Our graduates are highly successful in securing very competitive professional jobs (eg clinical or educational psychologist roles). Many positions require at least one year of experience working in the field, before starting professional training. 

As an MSci graduate you will have a wide range of career options open to you. This masters level qualification will be an excellent springboard to clinical or educational psychology doctorate training positions or funded PhD positions for those wishing to pursue a research career in Psychology. The MSci may also put you at an advantage when applying for a specialist MSc if you are considering enrolling on Stage 1 training as a forensic psychologist. If you wish to pursue a career outside of Psychology, this degree will also equip you with key transferable skills, an understanding of people and the unique blend of arts and science skills that will make you highly competitive for entry into a wide variety of careers such as human resources, advertising, systems analysis, market research, teaching, social work, media, finance and management consultancy.


We have a dedicated employability coordinator, who runs a specialised programme of events and training sessions to ensure you are well prepared for the world of work. They will support you to develop the skills and experience you need to get the job you want after graduation and help you find placements, volunteering roles and paid work alongside your academic work. We'll encourage you to reflect on your academic and extra curricular activities through regular discussion of your Personal Employability Plan with your supervisor. We invite speakers to give you insights into a range of careers available to you and support you to research your career options.

Career opportunities

  • PhD study
  • Educational Psychologist
  • Clinical Psychologist

Transferable skills

  • Time-management
  • Critically analyse and evaluate theory
  • Research methods
  • Effective communication
  • Solve complex problems
  • Become a self-critical learner
  • Use evidence bases and scientific reasoning

Entry requirements

Qualification Typical offer
A levels

AAA including at least one science

We include Psychology, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Maths and Further Maths as science subjects. For other possible science subjects please contact the admissions tutor. We don't accept General Studies.

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 module. 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 the final year.
International Baccalaureate 36 points including one Higher Level science subject, which may include Psychology.

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

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:

Qualification Minimum requirement
IELTS 6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in each component
PTE Academic 61, with a minimum of 55 in each component
GCSE/IGCSE/O level English Language (as a first or second language) Grade C
C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency 176, with a minimum of 162 in each component
TOEFL 87 overall, with a minimum of 21 in Listening, 21 in Reading, 21 in Speaking, 21 in Writing
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 IELTS 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).

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