Psychology is the study of human behaviour, thoughts, actions, interactions and reactions and a psychology student will demonstrate this through essays and experiments.
The basis of most psychology degrees is in natural and life sciences, however there is the opportunity to investigate social sciences and humanities too, for example in criminology and philosophy. Psychology degrees are either a BSc or a BA.
The first year of an undergraduate degree covers the core elements: exploring mental health, childhood and development, plus the required scientific fundamentals. Specialisation occurs in the following years, covering topics like cognitive processes, neuroscience and the psychology of certain groups, such as trauma victims, the elderly and criminals. The final year requires students to choose their own field of study, carry out original research, collect data and summarise their findings.
Most psychology degrees last three to four years and some make a relevant work placement a requirement to pass the course. Placements could be in a range of establishments, for example in hospitals, prisons and rehabilitation centres. This is an important part of a course, so if a university doesn’t offer placement as an option, it is worth pursuing work experience in the university breaks or part-time.
The study of psychology is achieved through a variety of methods; practical sessions, lectures in the relevant theories and the learning of professional software programmes. Assessment is just as diverse in practice, from timed examinations to essays to lab reports to final project dissertations.
Career options are endless – those who become trained psychologists might pursue psychology related fields, within healthcare, mental health support, as art therapist, social workers, speech and language therapists or counsellors.
However this degree does not limit you to the healthcare sector. Graduates thrive in every sector of society, including education, relationships, crime and punishment, advertising, human relations and management.
Find the best colleges for psychology using Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings data
Our essential guide to what you will learn during a psychology course, what you should study to get your place on a degree, and what jobs you could get once you graduate