Psychology and Psychological Practice MSci

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Psychology plays a fundamental part across the spectrum of modern day life. This MSci programme is specifically designed for those considering a career in clinical, forensic, educational psychology, and related fields. You will take the same modules as BSc Psychology students in the first three years, followed by an additional specialist fourth year. BPS accredited logoOne of the key components of the fourth year is a work placement in one of these three areas of applied psychology. Throughout the course you can look forward to being taught by world-leading experts in the field, in one of the UK's top Schools of Psychology.

Course fact file

UCAS code: C801

Duration: 4 years

Places Available: 240 (all undergraduate Psychology courses)

Applications in 2012: 1108

Typical Offer: A*AA. Grade C in each of GCSE English and Maths. An interview may be required (More detailed entry requirements and the international qualifications accepted can be found in the course details)

Start date: September

Details

Psychologists work in basic and applied research in fields that include education and child development, clinical work, the courtroom (acting as expert witnesses), industry (helping to design efficient machines or optimising business organisations), and in universities researching every branch of human behaviour from visual perception to sexuality.

Because we have a limited number of work placements available in each of the three areas (clinical, forensic and educational), we request that when you apply you indicate the area in which you would like to do your placement. More specifically, you must indicate the first and second choices for work placement in the first line of your personal statement. This will allow us to balance your wishes and the availability of placements.

If you are not admitted to this degree you will automatically be considered for admission into BSc Psychology. We plan to allow up to five students to transfer from BSc Psychology into MSci Psychology and Psychological Practice after their second year. High academic performance in the first two years will be an important criterion for the transfer. Combining students directly entering the course via UCAS and those who transfer from BSc, we expect a cohort of ten students in MSci Psychology and Psychological Practice in the third and fourth years.

Please note that you may be required to come to the School of Psychology for an interview as a part of the application process for this course.

First and second years

In your first two years you will study the core theories and methods of psychology, covering child development, learning, abnormal behaviour, cognitive psychology, perception, personality, social psychology, and brain and behaviour. You will also learn how to design experiments and collect and analyse data.

Year abroad option
As a current student you will have the opportunity to take a year abroad in between your second and third years, in a location such as the USA, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong or Singapore. If you take this option you will receive a BSc with Year Abroad. During your year abroad, fees will be 15% of the regular annual fee. You will not pay any additional fees to your host university overseas.

Third year

In the third year, under the guidance of your supervisor, you will undertake a substantial piece of independent research work. You also choose options from a list of advanced modules on contemporary psychology including topics such as forensic and clinical psychology, social cognition, psychology and culture, and cognitive neuroscience.

Fourth year

In the fourth year, you will gain hands-on experience in applied psychology through work placement with practising clinical, forensic or educational psychologists (the type of placement is subject to availability). Taught components are Masters' level modules. You will gain knowledge of theoretical and methodological underpinnings of applied psychology through advanced seminar and lecture modules.

See Psychology and Psychological Practice MSci frequently asked questions (PDF 105KB).

Why study this course

Situated at the heart of the Edgbaston campus, we are one of the strongest Psychology departments in the country, with over 45 academic teaching staff and around 490 undergraduates. We are a broad school with expertise in clinical, forensic, social, developmental, and cognitive psychology, and behavioural and social neuroscience. We have recently opened a new £2 million brain imaging centre. We are ranked among the top three Psychology departments in the country for research and have been rated as ‘excellent’ in government reviews of our teaching.

Our programmes are all accredited by the British Psychological Society as conferring eligibility for Graduate Membership of the Society with the Graduate Basis for Registration, provided the minimum standard of second class honours is achieved. This is the first step towards becoming a Chartered Psychologist. For more information please contact the British Psychological Society.

For many careers in psychology, relevant experience and a good undergraduate degree are important, even for entry-level jobs. Our MSci programmes are designed to provide relevant, specialist experience through placements and projects and, because they are Undergraduate Masters degrees, your Local Education Authority should be willing to support your study for the full four years.

Here at the University of Birmingham we were the first to offer MSci programmes dedicated to psychology. We are uniquely placed to offer these opportunities because of our experience (we are the only UK university with postgraduate courses training chartered clinical, forensic and educational psychologists) and because we offer top quality research experience.

Modules

You will take the same modules as in BSc Psychology in the first three years. During Year 4, you will spend six months working for 3 days a week in an external work placement organised by the School, and thus gain hands-on experience of clinical, forensic or educational psychology in the real world. You will also attend lectures and seminars on the theoretical and methodological underpinnings of applied psychology.

Year 1: (all compulsory modules)

  • Perception and Attention
  • Memory and Language
  • Introduction to Psychobiology: from Ion Channels to Abnormal Behaviour
  • Psychobiology of Memory, Emotion and Motivation
  • Introduction to Learning
  • Introduction to Mental Health and Psychological Problems
  • Research Methods A: Basic Skills 
  • Research Methods B: Introduction to Psychological Investigations and Statistics 
  • Plus two modules outside the main discipline (MOMDs)

See Year 1 module descriptions (PDF 238KB)

Year 2: (all compulsory modules)

  • Research Methods C: Qualitative and Relational Analysis
  • Visual Perception and Illusions
  • Forensic Psychology
  • The Development of Attachment Behaviour
  • Cognition in Infants and Children
  • Research Methods D: Inferential Analysis and Experimental Methods
  • Introduction to Psycholinguistics
  • Neural Basis of Movement
  • Introduction to Social Psychology
  • Personality and Individual Differences

See Year 2 module descriptions (PDF 214KB)

Year 3

This year of study is designed to be flexible and allow for the development of individual interests and abilities.

Project work is compulsory and accounts for one third of the year's work. Under the guidance of a supervisor, you will undertake a substantial piece of independent research work. This project usually begins at the end of the second year and involves designing a study of your own choice, collecting, analysing, and interpreting the data, presenting an oral description of the work, and submitting a literature review and written report. This type of work gives you detailed experience in your chosen area.

You will also choose four modules from the following:

  • Why We Remember and Why We Forget
  • Development and Disorders of Language in Children
  • Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Mental Health
  • Higher Cognitive Functions
  • Introduction to Minds, Brains and Models
  • The Lying Brain
  • Pain
  • Parental Cognition, Psychopathology and Behaviour
  • The Psychology of Severe Intellectual Disability
  • Sleep
  • Brain Damage and Rehabilitation
  • Speaking and Reading
  • Theoretical Issues in Non-Verbal Behaviour
  • Understanding Emotions: a Neurocognitive Perspective
  • Visual Cognitive Neuroscience and Art
  • Why We Eat What We Eat: A Psychological Perspective on Appetite

See Year 3 module descriptions (PDF 325KB)

Year 4

  • MSci Applied Psychology Placement (60 credits)
  • MSci Professional Practice Report (30 credits) (written report of placement)
  • Psychological Research in Clinical Setting I* (10 credits)
  • Topics in Applied Psychology (10 credits) (a seminar module)
  • Principles of Applied Psychology (10 credits) (a lecture module)

Fees and funding

Standard fees apply 
Learn more about fees and funding

Scholarships
Learn more about our scholarships and awards

Entry requirements

Number of A levels required: 3

Typical offer: A*AA. Grade C in each of GCSE English and Maths. An interview may be required

General Studies: We do not accept General Studies, Critical Thinking, Citizenship Studies, Applied Science, Communication and Culture, Critical Studies, Global Perspectives, Science in Society and World Development.

BTEC: Not accepted

Access to HE courses: Not accepted

Additional information:

Other qualifications are considered – learn more about entry requirements

International students:

International Baccalaureate Diploma: 36 points, including Maths at HL. Theory of Knowledge and Extended Essay points are not considered. 5 points in SL English if not offered at GCSE or equivalent.

Standard English language requirements apply
Learn more about international entry requirements

Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in the Birmingham Foundation Academy, a specially structured programme for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on the foundation academy web pages.

How to apply

Apply through UCAS at www.ucas.com 
Learn more about applying

Key Information Set (KIS)

Key Information Sets (KIS) are comparable sets of information about full- or part-time undergraduate courses and are designed to meet the information needs of prospective students.

All KIS information has been published on the Unistats website and can also be accessed via the small advert, or ‘widget’, below. On the Unistats website you are able to compare all the KIS data for each course with data for other courses.

The development of Key Information Sets (KIS) formed part of HEFCE’s work to enhance the information that is available about higher education. They give you access to reliable and comparable information in order to help you make informed decisions about what and where to study.

The KIS contains information which prospective students have identified as useful, such as student satisfaction, graduate outcomes, learning and teaching activities, assessment methods, tuition fees and student finance, accommodation and professional accreditation.

Learning and teaching

Our Psychology degree is structured so that you follow a common programme in all of the areas that make up the core of contemporary psychology. In addition, in the third year you are offered a scheme of options, which allows you to concentrate on the themes which interest you most. The programme is structured on a modular basis, and two modules outside of the main discipline, in a subject other than psychology, may be taken in the first year. We also offer modules in ‘Applied Psychology’.

Your learning will take place in a range of different settings, and this course is taught through a timetable of lectures, seminars, tutorials and practical classes. This only accounts for a portion of the week so you will have the opportunity to structure your own work outside of these formal attendance requirements.

In the fourth year of the MSci Psychology and Psychological Practice, you study a range of modules all of which are at Masters level. This includes a research placement module where you will gain hands-on experience of psychology in the real world. Work experience will consist of six months working for three days in an external organisation, organised by the School.

To begin with you may find university level education challenging, but we will support you to enable you to make this transition. You will have access to a comprehensive support system in the School, including personal tutors and welfare tutors, who can help with both academic and welfare issues throughout your course. You will have a formal transition review during your first year to check on your progress and identify areas where you may need some additional support, and the School’s academic small group tutorial system will provide you with skills based support throughout the course.

Assessment methods

Studying at degree level is likely to be very different from your previous experience of education at school or college. You will be expected to think, discuss and engage critically with the subject and find things out for yourself. We will enable you to make this transition to a new style of learning, and the way that you are assessed during your studies will help you develop the essential skills you need to make a success of your time at Birmingham.

Assessment varies dependent on the modules you study but you can expect to complete essays, lab reports, abstracts, grant proposals, oral presentations, short answer questions and multiple choice examinations, in addition to your third year research project (dissertation). In the fourth year of this MSci you will be assessed similarly, with the work placement and associated written report also assessed.

At the beginning of each module, you’ll be given information on how and when you’ll be assessed for that particular programme of study. You will receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, so that you can learn from and build on what you have done.

Contact

MSci Programme Director: Dr Gary Urquhart Law
Email: g.u.law@bham.ac.uk

Student Recruitment Team
Telephone enquiries:
+44 (0)121 414 4691
Email: psychology-admissions@contacts.bham.ac.uk

Employability

Preparation for your career should be one of the first things you think about as you start university. Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal. 

Through teaching and choice of placement, the course provides you with practical experience of working in organisations such as the Probation Service, educational services or the NHS. However, if you are considering a career in clinical, educational or forensic psychology, relevant postgraduate work experience and further training are needed.

It is important to note that the MSci programme does not give you direct access to postgraduate professional training in clinical, forensic, or educational psychology. Courses are highly competitive and applicants are likely to have two or more years of full-time work experience.

In the case of clinical psychology, this postgraduate work experience will often be derived from working in Assistant Psychologist posts and, as with entry to the ClinPsyD postgraduate training programme, access to Assistant Psychologist posts is also extremely competitive. The MSci programme is likely to give you an advantage if you apply for Assistant Psychologist posts or for Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners (PWP) training in a very competitive market, especially straight from university.

In educational and forensic psychology, the range of permissible postgraduate work experience is more varied. Assistant Psychologist posts are also available, although these are relatively few. Again, the MSci programme is likely to give you an advantage if you apply for one of these posts following graduation. Moreover, the year’s experience on the MSci will also be weighed positively when you apply for your postgraduate training. It will provide clear testimony to your knowledge and understanding of the contexts within which educational and forensic psychologists work, and of your own capacity to apply your psychologically-based knowledge and skills, with supervision, to contribute to service delivery.

Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to Psychology, offering a specialised team in the School who can give you expert advice. Our team source exclusive work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with mentoring, global internships and placements available to you. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CV’s and job applications will help give you the edge. In addition, our employer-endorsed award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects. We also hold psychology careers seminars and a psychology careers fair in the final year to help students find employment.

Psychology Undergraduate Destinations ChartSchool of Psychology - undergraduate destinations 2011/2012

Find out more about career opportunities in Psychology

Professional accreditation

This programme is accredited as conferring eligibility for the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership of the British Psychological Society, provided the minimum standard of a lower second-class Honours degree is achieved. This is the first step towards becoming a Chartered Psychologist. 

Contact

MSci Programme Director: Dr Gary Urquhart Law
Email: g.u.law@bham.ac.uk

Student Recruitment Team
Telephone enquiries:
+44 (0)121 414 4691
Email: psychology-admissions@contacts.bham.ac.uk