Psychology is often defined as the study of behaviour, brain and mind, but this simple explanation doesn't truly capture the tremendous variety of things that you will actually do as a psychologist.
The behaviour that you will study ranges from apparently simple acts like feeding, to much more complex skills like language and social interaction. In studying the brain, you may be concerned with identifying which areas deal with particular functions or with how individual nerve cells work and communicate with each other. If you are investigating the mind, you may deal with specific topics like seeing and remembering or how these processes combine to make us conscious, intelligent beings.
Because of the wide-ranging nature of psychology as a subject, we believe that you should examine all of its various approaches and interests before choosing an area in which to specialise.
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.
Your third year will be spent abroad in a location such as the USA, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong or Singapore while remaining a fully registered University of Birmingham student, entitled to all support services as if you were on campus. While normally your host university will be one which teaches in English, students who can prove competence in another language can study in that language (e.g. bi-lingual or non-English mother tongue).
You will be able to study any modules you like while away but they should be broadly relevant to psychology. This means that modules need not be offered solely by Psychology departments. They should also not be a duplicate of material already studied or to be studied here. Modules will have to be of a suitable level (i.e. undergraduate level), but of course we will work with you to choose overseas host and modules.
While you are away we will keep in contact with you – in particular, you will have to complete module and project selections for your final year at the same time as your new peer group.
In the final 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.
Download our latest Undergraduate brochure (PDF 900KB).
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.
Read the transcript
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.
In designing our degree programmes, we have aimed to provide our undergraduates both with a broad knowledge of contemporary psychology and with the opportunity to specialise in the topics that interest them most. Rather than emphasising a particular approach, the first two years give equal weight to all the major areas of contemporary psychology and to the various techniques they encompass. Our students are then well-equipped to develop their knowledge in greater depth through the project work and optional courses provided in the third year.
There will also be an opportunity for some BSc students to transfer to the four year masters programmes (MSci) at the beginning of Year 3 (subject to availability of places in the MSci programmes). High academic achievements in the first two years will be one of the important selection criteria for the transfer.
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
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)
Your third year will be spent abroad in a location such as the USA, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong or Singapore.
Your final 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 during your graduation year.
You will also choose four modules from the following:
Child and Adolescent Clinical Psychology
Development and Disorders of Language in Children
Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
Higher Cognitive Functions
Introduction to Minds, Brains and Models
The Lying Brain
Parental Cognition, Psychopathology and Behaviour
The Psychology of Severe Intellectual Disability
Adaptive Behaviour: Responding to Modern Threats to Health and Survival
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 final year module descriptions (PDF 325KB)
Fees and funding
Number of A levels required: 3
Typical offer: AAA–AAB
Required subjects and grades: Our typical A level offer is AAB for applicants taking at least one of the following subjects: Biology/Human Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics/Statistics, Physics or Psychology. The typical offer for students who are not taking any of these subjects is AAA. Grade C in each of GCSE English and Maths
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: BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Science with Distinctions in all units plus a relevant A Level at grade A.
Access to HE courses: Access to Science (not Social Science) with two core science subjects at Level 3. Distinctions are required in all 45 Level 3 credits. 12 credits must be taken in each of Level 2 English and Maths if these are not offered at GCSE grade C. Access students should contact us prior to making an application.
Other qualifications are considered – learn more about entry requirements
Deferring admission and gap years - Deferring admission is usually not a problem but please inform the School or central Admissions. The university has a neutral attitude to gap years. You can still apply in advance for deferred entry and would be advised to do so.
Entry year - We will only consider first year entry onto the BSc in Psychology with Year Abroad, and not second or third year entry.
We require qualifications equivalent to AAA-AAB at A-Level. We receive applications from all over the world from students with a very wide range of qualifications. We use standardised conversion tables to work out an appropriate offer / requirement in each case.
International Baccalaureate Diploma: 35-36 points, including a Science subject at HL (Biology, Chemistry, Maths, Physics or Psychology). Theory of Knowledge and Extended Essay points are not considered. 5 points in each of SL English and Maths 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
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