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Psychology

BSc
  • UCAS code C800
  • Option 3 years full time
  • Year of entry 2021

The course

Psychology is the study of how people think, react and interact. It is concerned with all aspects of behaviour and the thoughts, feelings and motivations that underlie such behaviour. It is an important subject because it relates to the whole range of human experience, from visual perception to complex social interactions.

Study psychology at Royal Holloway University of London and you’ll develop a thorough understanding of theories and approaches to the understanding of human behaviour across different core areas of Psychology, without limiting study to any specific area.

Join our three-year course and you will be able to customise your learning in your final year, selecting from a number of optional modules including Consciousness & Cognition, Human Neuropsychology and Criminal and Forensic Psychology.

You’ll study in a department ranked 6th in the UK for research (The Research Excellence Framework 2014), learning with academics who are experts in their fields, and contributing your own findings to this leading research culture with a final year research project.

Royal Holloway's Department of Psychology is among the best-equipped psychology departments in the country where post- and undergraduates may benefit from the department's advanced technology. This includes an on-site magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner for studying brain structure and activity, instruments for recording electrical changes in the brain (EEG) and other cutting-edge facilities to augment your learning. 

Follow your passion for psychology, clinical psychology and mental health and you’ll graduate with excellent employability prospects in a variety of different fields. Notable alumni include the leading bioscience innovator Professor Jackie Hunter CBE, founder of the Terrence Higgins Trust Dr Rupert Whitaker, and Dr Christian Jarrett – author of The Rough Guide to Psychology.

Our flexible degree programmes enable you to apply to take a Placement Year, which can be spent studying abroad, working or carrying out voluntary work. You can even do all three if you want to (minimum of three months each)! To recognise the importance of this additional skills development and university experience, your Placement Year will be formally recognised on your degree certificate and will contribute to your overall result. Please note conditions may apply if your degree already includes an integrated year out, please contact the Careers & Employability Service for more information. Find out more

  • Study the most up-to-date and exciting findings in psychology.
  • Learn with internationally recognised experts in their fields.
  • Develop psychological research skills and practice how to think critically about research.
  • Benefit from the department’s advanced research facilities.
  • Customise your degree in your final year, selecting from a number of optional modules.

Core Modules

Year 1
  • This module provides an introduction to core aspects of psychological research. This includes how to find and read psychological papers, and thinking critically about research. General aspects of research covered include ethics in psychological research, designs and variables in research, reliability and validity, designing psychological research studies (correlational and experimental), and qualitative methods. Students are introduced to different types of data and distributions, and to describing data. In addition, the use of statistical tests in psychological research and how to choose the right test are introduced. Statistics covered may include inferential statistics, chi-squared test, independent and repeated t test, one-way independent ANOVA, correlation, linear regression, and non-parametric statistics. This course encompasses a Psychology Toolkit component; teaching sessions combined with self-study for the preparation of a portfolio.

  • This course aims to introduce students to the basics of personality and social psychology. The course will start with an introduction to key dynamic personality theories of Freud, followed by Jung. Students will then learn about theories and research on agreession, pro-social behaviour and conformity. In addition, key fundamental topics in social psychology, attitudes and values, will be introduced, as well as cross-cultural psychology and leadership.

  • This course provides an introduction to developmental psychology, which seeks to understand and explain changes in an individual’s physical, cognitive, and social capacities across the lifespan. The overarching themes are to describe changes in an individual’s observed behaviour over time, and to uncover the processes that underlie these changes. The course begins by introducing the historical and conceptual issues underlying developmental psychology and the research methods used for studying individuals at different ages. It then proceeds to address physical development in the prenatal period, followed by cognitive and social development during infancy. The course then examines change during childhood by introducing major theories of cognitive development and addressing the social contexts of development (parents, peers, and social relationships; morality, altruism, and aggression). The course concludes by addressing the physical, cognitive, and social changes of adulthood and ageing.

  • The aim of this module is to give students the core skills and knowledge needed to be successful as an academic psychologist. The module is divided into three components. First, students will develop a strong understanding of the academic skills needed within undergraduate studies for psychology, including finding and reading research journal articles, thinking critically, and writing about psychology. Second, they will be introduced to the typical career paths for psychology graduates, and they will be introduced to resources to allow them to develop their employability through their degree. Third, they will learn about the conceptual and historical issues underpinning current psychological research.

  • This module will provide an introduction to the key theories and research findings regarding Perception and Cognition. This may include topics within perception such as sensory perception as gateway to the world; attentional modulation of perception; illusions as key to reality, brightness, perception of colour, time, motion and depth; auditory perception, touch, taste and smell; the control of eye and head movements as a link between perception and action; and memory processes (both experimental and applied).

     

  • The module provides an introduction to the key neuroscience cencepts and research techniques relevant to Psychology.  Topics include the basics of neural function, neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, sensorimotor processing, and research methods used.

  • This module provides an introduction to the concept of abnormal psychology. The course starts with developing an understanding and knowledge about how we define abnormality in psychology and how this has developed and changed throughout history. Different approaches to understanding abnormal psychology are covered, starting with the biomedical model of abnormality. Following this, social and cultural approaches to abnormality are covered, followed by the philosophy of abnormality. Psychodynamic, behavioural and cognitive approaches to abnormality are also covered in detail. There is a focus on psychological disorders as we currently classify them in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The hierarchy of evidence in clinical psychology research is also covered.

Year 2
  • In this module you will learn about how to use SPSS to analyse, interpret and graph data, one way ANOVA (independent and repeated), factorial ANOVA (independent, repeated and mixed), ANCOVA, complex correlations, linear regression (multiple, categorical predictors, stepwise and hierarchical), logistic regression and factor analysis. You will also study research methods topics including advanced experimental design (factorial and quasi-experimental designs), questionnaire design and validation, and qualitative analyses.

  • This module will provide you with an overview of the key theoretical and empirical issues in cognitive psychology, including selective attention, multisensory perception and problem solving. You will look at reasoning, judgement and blindsight, and examine the impact of unilateral neglect and attention for action.

  • In this module, you will develop an understanding of the key topics in social psychology, with a particular focus on topics that highlight over-arching debates within this area of study. You will look at how social psychology can be applied to real-world issues, examining the social psychology of relationships, the self-concept, prejudice and group conflict, attribution theory, group decision-making, situational perspectives on evil, and non-verbal behaviour and social cognition.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of cognitive development, including intelligence across the lifespan, language development, and number representation, and the development of social understanding, including social cognition, emotional development, prejudice, and adolescence. You will look in depth at the research techniques used in developmental psychology, as well as enhancing your ability to conduct critical analyses.

  • In this module you will examine theory and research in key areas of personality and individual differences. You will explore the difference between these two areas of study, and become equipped with methods of evaluating theories of personality. You will review key topics in personality and individual differences, with consideration for the relations between them in order to develop your integrative understanding of personality.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of why modern psychology requires an understanding of neuroscience. You will look at neuronal structure, function and information transmission, and the organisation of the nervous system and how this reflects the principles of information processing. You will examine the methods used to study structure and information processing in the brain, becoming familiar with the brain's functional architectures and the neural basis of learning. You will also consider brain evolution, and the biology and psychopharmacology of reward, reinforcement and psychological disorders.

  • This module provides an overview to some of the ways in which applied and developmental perspectives in Psychology can be used to improve society. Students will obtain an appreciation regarding some of the conceptual issues regarding applied psychology, as well as an introduction to various ways that these perspectives can apply to societal issues/advancements.

     

  • This module provides an overview to some of the ways in which clinical and neuroscientific perspectives in Psychology can be used to improve society. Students will obtain an appreciation regarding some of the conceptual issues regarding clinical and neuroscience ethics, as well as an introduction to various ways that these perspectives can apply to societal issues/advancements.

     

Year 3
  • In this module, you will carry out a piece of research as part of a small group, closely supervised by a member of academic staff. You will develop teamwork, presentation and analytical skills, and produce a substantial, independently written, report of your study.

Optional Modules

There are a number of optional course modules available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course modules that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new modules may be offered or existing modules may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.

Year 1
  • All modules are core
Year 2
  • In this module students will attend four workshops that will allow them to explore four different areas of employability that psychology graduates typically enter: Mental health (clinical psychology, health psychology, forensic psychology, etc.), Education (teaching, educational psychologist, etc.), Research (PhD, research associate, market research, etc.), and Careers beyond psychology (finance, HR, graduate schemes).

     

Year 3
  • Language, Communication and Thought
  • Methods in Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Advanced Developmental Psychology
  • The Ageing Brain
  • Advanced and Applied Social Psychology
  • Adult Psychological Problems
  • Clinical and Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Occupational and Organisational Psychology
  • Human Performance: Work, Sport and Medicine
  • Health Psychology
  • Developmental Disorders
  • Criminal and Forensic Psychology
  • Educational Psychology
  • The Social Brain
  • Real World Quantitative Techniques
  • Psychology of Love, Death and Meaning
  • Psychology of Brain Injury

We use a variety of different methods of assessment. These might include an essay about a controversial issue, an analysis of a video, a report of an experiment or a recently published research article. Some modules involve oral presentations.

Assessment is both summative (e.g. through exams and dissertations) and formative (e.g. essays which provide ongoing assessment and feedback), and the department has a tailor-made system of online feedback to provide detailed comments on essays and other coursework.

Many modules also have a written examination in May or June. Progression to the next year is dependent on passing the core modules. In combination, the quality and range of assessments will help you to develop a wide portfolio of skills and achieve high grades.

93% overall student satisfaction

Source: NSS, 2019

7th in the UK for satisfaction with teaching

Source: Guardian University Guide, 2020

90% of Psychology graduates are employed or go on to further study within six months of graduating

Source: DLHE, 2018

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