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.
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.
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.
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.
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 your 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.
The LSE’s department of psychological and behavioural science offers both undergraduate and postgraduate courses, including 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 School of Psychology at Cardiff University is one of the UK’s largest centres of psychology. It offers a range of undergraduate, postgraduate and research opportunities.
At the undergraduate level, students will study across a broad range of topics within the field, including developmental psychology, social psychology and language and memory.
Students can incorporate a professional placement into their course, which can be organised through the university’s network of placement partners. Examples include local and national hospitals, care units, forensic psychiatric services and prisons and national and international universities.
Postgraduate students can choose between taught or research courses in a range of areas such as children’s psychological disorders, cognitive and behavioural therapies and clinical psychology.
The department organises a range of events, including seminars, external speakers, engagement events, that students can get involved with.