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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: 2019

UCAS code


Institution code



4 years full-time (plus optional placement year)

Typical offer

AAA (full entry requirements)

Start date

September 2019 (term dates)

UK/EU fees

£9,250 per year (2018/19)

International fees

£21,330 per year (2019/20)

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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 three pathways at the forefront of contemporary behavioural science. These pathways are Neuroscience and Neuroimaging; Developmental Disorders; and Experimental, Cognitive and Social Psychology.

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. 

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 three 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. 

Year 1

You will undertake 120 credits made up of five compulsory modules.

Academic integrity module

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

Year 2

You will undertake 120 credits made up of five compulsory modules.

Year 3

In Year 3 you will start to select modules which align with your interests. You will take the following core, compulsory modules:

You will complete a literature review (10 credits) which will require you to research a clearly defined area of your choice. Recent examples include:

  • The effect of child abuse on self-esteem
  • Sensation seeking and risky sport
  • The effect of birth order on personality development
  • The relationship between eating disorders and superficial self-harm

You will also have the opportunity to choose one of the following pathways, according to your interests, with two associated modules worth 40 credits in total:

Neuroscience and Neuroimaging

Developmental Disorders

Experimental, Cognitive and Social Psychology

You will also choose two advanced option modules from a broad selection offered each year. These will be worth 40 credits in total. The topics of the option modules cover a wide range and change from year to year but recent modules include:

Year 4

In Year 4 you will be able to further explore your interestes by selecting two option modules from a selection of modules similar to that offered in Year 3. These will be worth 40 credits in total.

These modules change from year to year, but recent ones have included:

You will also conduct a research project worth 80 credits. The 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.

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 three pathways: Neuroscience and Neuroimaging, Developmental Disorders, or Experimental, Cognitive and Social Psychology.
  • 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% satisfaction with organisation and management

National Student Survey 2018

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

The fees and funding figures below are based on data from 2018 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/EU International
£9,250 £21,330

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 Envirobment (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 offer a number of scholarships to help cover tuition fees and living costs.

Home/EU students

International students

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.

“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 work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. 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 1200 hours a year learning.

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. 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 (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 tutuor.

GCSEs GCSE Maths grade 5 (B).
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 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.
Cambridge Pre-U D3, D3, D3. Principal Subjects: Global Perspectives and Research (GPR) including at least one science subject.
  • Transfer from the BSc course to the MPsych 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 Total score of 36 points including one Higher Level science subject, which may include Psychology.
Irish leaving Certificate H2, H2, H2, H2, H2, H3 including at least one science subject.
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.
Other qualifications

English language

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

 Please see our English Language Requirements page for full details.


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

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