Psychology with Year Abroad BSc (Hons)

Psychology plays a significant part in modern day life, from the school classroom to the courtroom, in industry, business organisations and in universities. Our BPS-accredited degree covers all aspects of the broad subject area that is psychology. At Birmingham you can  look forward to being taught by world-leading academics in one of the UK's top Schools of Psychology.

BPS accredited logoOur course will provide you with excellent career opportunities - 95% of our graduates are in employment or further study 6 months after completing their studies with us. You are able to tailor the course to your own interests, and there is the opportunity to complete an independent research project in the final year alongside academics, enhancing your own knowledge and making a significant contribution to university life. Also, by taking a year abroad, you will broaden your range of experience, both academically and personally.

Course fact file

Duration: 4 years

Places Available: 240 (all undergraduate Psychology courses)

Applications in 2012: 1108

Typical Offer: AAA–AAB (More detailed entry requirements and the international qualifications accepted can be found in the course details)

Start date: September


The active brainPsychology 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.

Abbye Andrews - this degree gave me an excellent grounding in research skills and critical thinking, which will be essential for my career.

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. 

Third year

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.

Fourth year

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.


Ku Nurul Izzah Ku Seman - What attracted me most was that when I looked at the modules, there were many different areas of psychology offered.

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
  • Cognitive Neuropsychology
  • 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

Your third year will be spent abroad in a location such as the USA, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong or Singapore.

Year 4

Student in discussion

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
  • Forensic Psychology
  • 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
  • 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

Standard fees apply 

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.

Learn more about fees and funding

Learn more about our scholarships and awards

Entry requirements

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. 

Additional information:

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.

International students:

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

Apply through UCAS at 
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

Students socializing in the Hills Building

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. 

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).

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.


Student Recruitment Team
Telephone enquiries: +
44 (0)121 414 4691 


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. 

Gangadeep Chohan - The course provided a wide range of research and analytical skills that I was able to apply to a range of professional jobs...

Our graduates are well respected and are successful in finding careers both in professional or academic psychology and, more generally, in the professional, commercial and industrial world.

Psychology graduates are qualified to take up a wide range of careers, and many continue in psychology. Our Single Honours graduates are eligible for graduate membership of the British Psychological Society and Graduate Basis for Registration of the BPS, which is the first step towards postgraduate training and careers in clinical, forensic, educational or occupational psychology. Others work for higher degrees or join a team as research assistants. Yet others may become teachers of psychology in schools, sixth form colleges or colleges of further education.

Psychology UG employability data 2010-11School of Psychology - undergraduate destinations 2010/2011

Psychology is a broad discipline and our programme offers a range of transferable analytical, communication, and interpersonal skills. As a Psychology graduate you may enter a career in which your knowledge of psychology is a useful foundation, including but not limited to: broadcasting, journalism, human resource management, marketing, social work, the Probation Service and the Civil Service. Other past graduates have also gone on to jobs in industry and commerce, computing, the police and local government

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.

Professional accreditation

BPS accredited logoThis programme is accredited by the British Psychology Society as conferring eligibility for graduate membership of the Society with the Graduate Basis for Registration, provided that the minimum standard of qualification of second-class Honours is achieved


Student Recruitment Team
Telephone enquiries: +
44 (0)121 414 4691