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Best universities for psychology degrees in the UK 2023

Explore the best universities the UK for psychology degrees using data from the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2023

  • Best universities in
October 31 2022
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Top 10 universities in the UK for psychology degrees

Scroll down for the full list of best universities for psychology in the UK

UK psychology rank 2023 WUR psychology rank 2023 University City/town
1 2 University of Cambridge Cambridge
2 4 UCL London
3 8 King’s College London London
4 =29 University of Edinburgh Edinburgh
5 40 London School of Economics and Political Science London
6 =46 Cardiff University Cardiff
7 =64 University of Bristol Bristol
8 =69 University of Kent Canterbury
9 =72 University of Birmingham Birmingham
10 =77 University of Exeter Exeter

In the UK, psychology is one of the most popular subjects for students to take at degree level. Often, psychology courses at UK universities are accredited and follow guidelines set out by the British Psychological Society, which is key for students who wish to pursue a career as a practising psychologist with chartered status.

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Courses in psychology are wide-ranging and tend to focus on either scientific research or applied psychology. UK higher education institutions are often equipped with research facilities to conduct studies in either specialisation. Students can conduct research into perception, developmental psychology, cognition or behavioural neuroscience on the scientific side, or neuro-rehabilitation, education and health on the applied side.

There are no strict criteria for studying psychology in the UK, but it is important to have an analytical mind and an interest in human behaviour. Certain grades will be expected depending on the university, as well as a clear interest in the subject.

As for post-graduation prospects, psychology graduates are well equipped to join many industries given the course’s transferable skills.

These are the best universities in the UK for psychology degrees.

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5. London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

The LSE’s department of psychological and behavioural science offers both undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

It also teaches several taught and research master’s, and doctoral programmes, all from its central London location.

The undergraduate course focuses on developing core knowledge in the subject as well as developing research and statistical analysis skills.

There are a range of postgraduate courses available in areas including social psychology, psychology of economic life and behavioural science. The LSE also has a dedicated library – the Himmelweit Library for Social Psychology.

The psychology department at the LSE hosts a variety of academic and social events, talks, trips, competitions and parties. It also teams up with LSE services, including careers advisers.

4. University of Edinburgh

The department of psychology at the University of Edinburgh was established in 1906 before being incorporated into the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences in 2003.

It offers both undergraduate and postgraduate training, including several taught and research master’s, and doctoral programmes.

The single honours psychology degree and most of the joint undergraduate psychology degrees at the University of Edinburgh are accredited by the British Psychological Society, enabling students to go on to further professional training.

At undergraduate level, teaching is mostly conducted in lectures and small group meetings called tutorials during the first two years. Tutorials, which typically comprise about 10 students, provide an opportunity to discuss topics in greater detail.  In years three and four, the emphasis shifts to more specialised, seminar-based courses and independent study.

The department’s teaching facilities include a private psychology library, computer suites and well-equipped teaching rooms.

It has about 40 members of academic staff spanning all major areas of academic psychology: cognition, development, individual differences, neuroscience and social psychology.

3. King’s College London

Psychology courses at King’s College London are taken through the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, which is Europe’s largest centre for research and education in these combined fields.

It’s also home to the to the UK’s oldest clinical psychology training programme.

There are a range of undergraduate and postgraduate psychology courses that cover neuroscience, health psychology and clinical psychology. The course curricula are regularly updated with the latest research from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience.

King’s College London has partnerships with the South London and Maudsley Hospital, and clinician-scientists will often offer placements and voluntary work to psychology students to help develop their real-world experience.

There is also the opportunity to undertake a year abroad or a year in professional development. Partner professional organisations for this initiative include HM Prison Wandsworth, the Priory Clinic and Community Clinical teams. Partner universities are located in New York, Melbourne, New Zealand, Canada and South Korea.

King’s is also home to the Institute of Psychiatry Library, the largest psychiatric library in western Europe, with a range of specialised resources covering psychiatry, psychology, neuroscience, neurology, genetics and psychotherapy.

What can you do with a psychology degree?

2. UCL

UCL was founded in 1826 with the aim of bringing higher education to those who were typically excluded from it.

The first year of the psychology undergraduate course offers students both compulsory and optional modules.

Compulsory modules include experimental design in psychology, behaviour, individual differences, and social psychology. There are no optional modules in the second year, but students will learn across modules in health and clinical psychology, and language and cognition.

In the final year, students will carry out semi-independent research while taking other compulsory modules.

UCL offers a couple of taught psychology master’s programmes, including psychological sciences and psychology of education. There are also research master’s degrees available in psychiatry and human development and psychiatry.

1. University of Cambridge 

The psychological and behavioural sciences tripos at the University of Cambridge covers teaching in cognitive, social, developmental and biological psychology within the broader context of the behavioural sciences.

Undergraduates are able to conduct laboratory work from their second year onwards to supplement their coursework and seminar learning.

As students progress through the course there are are opportunities to specialise further. 

Potential study areas include statistics, neuroanatomy, neurotransmitters, neuroimaging, developmental psychology, psychopathology, cognitive psychology, language,  gender, family relationships and influences, personality and group social behaviour.

Top universities in the UK for psychology degrees 2023

Click each institution to view its World University Ranking 2023 profile

UK psychology rank 2023 WUR psychology rank 2023 University City/Town
1 2 University of Cambridge Cambridge
2 4 UCL London
3 8 King’s College London London
4 =29 University of Edinburgh Edinburgh
5 40 London School of Economics and Political Science London
6 =46 Cardiff University Cardiff
7 =64 University of Bristol Bristol
8 =69 University of Kent Canterbury
9 =72 University of Birmingham Birmingham
10 =77 University of Exeter Exeter
11 82 University of Manchester Manchester
12 83 University of St Andrews St Andrews
13 92 University of York York
14 93 University of Bath Bath
15 94 University of Glasgow Glasgow
16 =95 University of Warwick Coventry
=17 101–125 Birkbeck, University of London London
=17 101–125 University of Liverpool Liverpool
=17 101–125 University of Sheffield Sheffield
=17 101–125 University of Southampton Southampton
=17 101–125 University of the West of England Bristol
=22 126–150 Goldsmiths, University of London London
=22 126–150 Lancaster University Lancaster
=22 126–150 University of Nottingham Nottingham
=22 126–150 Nottingham Trent University Nottingham
=22 126–150 Royal Holloway, University of London Egham
=22 126–150 University of Sussex Brighton
=28 151–175 Durham University Durham
=28 151–175 University of Leeds Leeds
=28 151–175 University of Leicester Leicester
=28 151–175 Newcastle University Newcastle
=28 151–175 University of Surrey Guildford
=33 176–200 Aston University Birmingham
=33 176–200 University of Essex Essex
=33 176–200 University of Reading Reading
=36 201–250 Brunel University London London
=36 201–250 City, University of London London
=36 201–250 Edinburgh Napier University Edinburgh
=36 201–250 University of Greenwich London
=36 201–250 Kingston University London
=36 201–250 Loughborough University Loughborough
=36 201–250 University of Portsmouth Portsmouth
=36 201–250 Queen’s University Belfast Belfast
=36 201–250 Ulster University Belfast
=45 251–300 Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) Cambridge
=45 251–300 Bangor University Bangor
=45 251–300 Coventry University Coventry
=45 251–300 University of Derby Derby
=45 251–300 University of Dundee Dundee
=45 251–300 University of East Anglia Norwich
=45 251–300 Middlesex University London
=45 251–300 Swansea University Swansea
=53 301–400 University of Aberdeen Aberdeen
=53 301–400 University of Brighton Brighton
=53 301–400 De Montfort University Leicester
=53 301–400 University of Huddersfield Huddersfield
=53 301–400 Leeds Beckett University Leeds
=53 301–400 University of Lincoln Lincoln
=53 301–400 London South Bank University London
=53 301–400 University of Plymouth Plymouth
=53 301–400 University of Roehampton London
=53 301–400 Sheffield Hallam University Sheffield
=53 301–400 University of Stirling Stirling
=53 301–400 University of Strathclyde Glasgow
=65 401–500 Bournemouth University Bournemouth
=65 401–500 Canterbury Christ Church University Canterbury
=65 401–500 University of Central Lancashire Preston
=65 401–500 University of East London London
=65 401–500 University of Hertfordshire Hatfield
=65 401–500 University of Hull Hull
=65 401–500 Keele University Keele
=65 401–500 Liverpool John Moores University Liverpool
=65 401–500 Northumbria University Newcastle
=65 401–500 The Open University Nationwide
=65 401–500 Oxford Brookes University Oxford
=65 401–500 University of Salford Salford
=65 401–500 University of Wolverhampton Wolverhampton
=78 501+ Edge Hill University Ormskirk
=78 501+ Manchester Metropolitan University Manchester

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