Study psychology at university

What is psychology?

Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and behaviour. Psychologists explore how memory, emotion and communication are controlled by the mind. This gives them a deeper understanding into how humans behave and why.

This science has links with several other disciplines, including biology, philosophy and education. Trained psychologists specialise in specific areas, such as sports psychology or child psychology.

Psychology is a diverse subject with many different areas of study. These include:

  • Clinical psychology – the study of mental, emotional and behavioural disorders.
  • Educational psychology – a focus on teaching, learning and classroom dynamics.
  • Cognitive psychology – explores mental processes, like creativity and memory.
  • Forensic psychology – assessing and understanding criminal behaviour.
  • Social psychology – explores how people interact with each other.
  • Health psychology – behavioural processes in health, illness, and healthcare.
  • Sports Psychology – helps athletes to manage motivation, goals and fears.

Why study psychology?

Psychology courses are a popular choice for undergraduates, as they provide diverse skills and a broad understanding of psychology. This is excellent preparation for a variety of careers, or for post-graduate study in a specific field of psychology. The benefits of studying psychology include:

A psychology degree gives you practical experience in conducting research and making discoveries. You’ll learn how to collect, analyse and present data in a professional way. These skills are highly valued by a range of employers and academic staff.

Psychology graduates have a wide choice of career options. You could follow a career in psychology, business or marketing, or you could transfer your skills to a different area such as law or education.

Psychology gives you a deeper understanding of yourself and other people. This insight can help you become more fulfilled in your future career, and more successful in working with other people.

Why study psychology at Durham University?

At Durham, you’ll be part of one of the UK’s top five psychology departments (Complete University Guide league table 2019), which is recognised for its world-leading research (Research Excellence Framework 2014).

During your degree, you’ll have access to excellent research facilities, including a virtual reality suite and EEG labs. Students can gain specialist hands-on experience through Durham's Research Assistant Scheme.

A psychology degree at Durham prepares you for a career through skills development and personal support. Placement modules and employability retreats will further your employability skills and career prospects.

5th in the UK for psychology

in the Complete University Guide subject tables 2019

a world top 100 university for psychology

in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2019

83% of research is ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’

in the Research Excellence Framework 2014

Study Psychology

Key skills from studying psychology

Psychology courses equip you with valuable skills that can be applied to a wide range of careers. These skills include:

  • Interpersonal awareness
  • Critical thinking and evaluation
  • In-depth data analysis
  • Interpreting evidence
  • Environmental consciousness
  • Surveys, sampling, observation
  • Qualitative research
  • Statistical analysis
  • Systematic problem-solving

What psychology degree can I study at Durham University?

Durham’s BSc (Hons) Psychology degree follows the British Psychological Society (BPS) guidelines. During Year 1 and Year 2, you will study key areas of psychology. In your third year, you can choose from a range of topics, such as social psychology, developmental psychology and health. You will design your own research project, which you could investigate in outside settings such as hospitals or schools.

Degree preparation at the International Study Centre

An International Foundation Year in Science and Engineering is excellent preparation for your psychology degree at Durham.

This one year course gives you the skills, knowledge and confidence you need to succeed in your undergraduate psychology degree. You will study core modules in English, Maths and Chemistry, as well as subject-specific modules.

The Foundations in Psychology module provides a general introduction to psychological processes and theories. You will also study key scientific approaches to data collection and interpretation. The Numerical Skills module introduces mathematical and statistical principles for psychology, and the Extend Research Project allows you to explore your personal interests in psychology.

Psychology career opportunities

Durham graduates are well-prepared for life after university. When you complete your degree, you will be ready to enter a career in psychology or a choice of other professions.

Psychology careers related to your degree include:

  • Clinical psychologist
  • Marketing analyst
  • Researcher
  • HR analyst
  • Behavioural scientist
  • Human Resources manager
  • Law (via conversion course)
  • Speech & Language Therapy (via conversion course)
  • Teaching (PGCE Primary or Secondary)
  • PhD or Masters degree in Psychology