Psychology - September 2014 entry

BSc (Hons) - single
BA (Hons) / BSc (Hons) - combined

A-level: grades BBB or equivalent
Accredited by the British Psychological Society

This course is run by the Department of Psychology, Social Work and Public Health

Psychology is the scientific study of behaviour. Most of us take a keen interest in normal and abnormal behaviour – this course gives you the opportunity to explore your interests in depth and underpin them with a solid academic foundation.

Oxford Brookes’ psychology facilities are purpose-built, and include laboratories and a dedicated computer suite.

Why choose this course

  • Accredited by the British Psychological Society.
  • Flexible learning - study Psychology on its own or combine it with another subject, from a wide range of options.
  • 75% of research activity in Psychology was judged to be international or excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour (Research Assessment Exercise 2008).
  • Purpose-built department with state-of-the-art facilities and laboratories.
  • High research profile, and all teaching staff are active researchers.
  • Truly international environment – students and staff from over 40 countries around the world.
  • Regular external speakers.
  • Dedicated support staff with multitude of interests.
  • High quality teaching.
  • The opportunity to live and study in Oxford.

This course in detail

Seven basic modules are available in Year 1. These introduce you to current theories, methods and findings in experimental psychology, the study of social and personal influences on individual and small-group behaviour, children's social and emotional development, biological psychology, the history of psychology, key skills for psychologists, and basic psychological investigative procedures and data interpretation.

Modules taken in Year 2 give further grounding in data collection and analysis, and in empirical techniques. Optional modules allow you to study many different aspects of psychology such as social, developmental, abnormal and biological psychology, personality and individual differences or cross-cultural perspectives.

In Year 3 you will have the opportunity to undertake your own research project. You may also take honours modules that will provide a systematic overview of the historical and conceptual development of contemporary psychology, or that reflect the cutting-edge research knowledge of our varied staff members.

Study modules

As courses are reviewed regularly the module list you choose from may vary from that shown here. You can read a detailed list of the modules here.

Year 1

  • Foundations of Experimental Psychology
  • Foundations of Social Psychology
  • Introduction to Research Methods and Statistics for Psychology
  • Foundations of Developmental Psychology
  • Introduction to Biological Psychology
  • Big Ideas in Psychology (tbc)
  • Influential Papers in Psychology

Years 2 and 3

  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Abnormal Psychology (Honours)
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Personality and Individual Differences
  • Biological Foundations of Behaviour
  • Advanced Statistics and Experimental Methods for Psychology
  • Qualitative Methods for Psychology
  • Survey research methods (tbc)
  • Topics in Cognition (Honours)
  • Topics in Developmental Psychology (Honours)
  • Topics in Social Psychology (Honours)
  • Cross-Cultural Perspectives in Psychology (Honours)
  • Explanatory Concepts (Honours)
  • Empirical Project (Honours) (double module)
  • Multidisciplinary Project
  • Independent Study

Our 'Topics in...' modules include a number of staff-led research topics within each module which students can choose for further study.

Single honours Psychology students may also choose to study up to four of the following acceptable modules:

  • Anthropology of Ritual
  • Crime and Society  
  • Gender and Society
  • Race, Ethnicity and Exclusion
  • Work, Employment and Society
  • Approaches to Challenging Behaviour in Health & Social Care
  • Bodywork and Touch
  • Developing Employee Relations
  • Poverty and Welfare
  • Children in Sickness and Health, 1750-1950
  • Psycholinguistics
  • The Social World of Childhood
  • Philosophy of Science
  • Philosophy of Language
  • Philosophy of Mind
  • The Philosophy of Religion
  • Group Dynamics
  • Sports Psychology

Study abroad

Oxford Brookes students are actively encouraged to study for part of their degree at other universities in the EU. Previous students have studied in France, Finland, Norway, Iceland, Spain and Holland. Psychology students have also taken advantage of opportunities to study in the USA, Canada and Australia.

Studying abroad provides an amazing opportunity to add value to your studies by:
  • increasing your employability within an international market
  • boosting your language skills
  • building your confidence in adapting to new situations
  • improving your knowledge of different cultures.
While on exchange you will gain credits which count towards your degree.

We have more than 100 partner universities around the world. Funding is available through the Erasmus scheme, and also via some international programmes such as the Santander Student Awards. 

There is also a European work placement programme which gives you the chance to work abroad as part of your studies.

For more information, visit our pages on studying abroad and exchanges.

Departmental research highlights

The research ethos of our department means that the latest academic thinking informs and inspires our teaching and your learning. Our teaching staff are all recognised experts in their field. Some research studies which have recently received external grants include:

  • interviewing former terrorists about their involvement in past violence and the current peace in Northern Ireland
  • the development of norms for a test to measure the speed of handwriting
  • profiling writing in children with specific language difficulties
  • an assessment of the impact of cochlear implants on deaf children’s literacy
  • a study of health visitor evaluations of mother-child interaction
  • an investigation into past-tense formation in adults
  • a study of visual representations in object substitution masking
  • car users' attitudes to electric cars
  • visual memory errors in Parkinson’s disease patients with visual hallucinations
  • the development of categorisation skills in infants
  • children's use of social consensus as a cue to reliability when learning new information
  • judgements of vehicle approach in a road-crossing situation, among primary school children.

Free language courses for students - the Open Module

Free language courses are available to full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students on many of our courses, and can be taken as a credit on some courses.

Please note that the free language courses are not available if you are:

  • studying at a Brookes partner college
  • studying on any of our teacher education courses or postgraduate education courses.

Teaching, learning and assessment

Teaching and learning

Our undergraduate modules employ a range of teaching and learning formats for delivery and assessment including lectures, seminars, discussion sessions, some group tutorial sessions, and independent work with tutorial supervision. Progressive practical classes in statistical analyses and empirical methods, using a variety of approaches and tools, including e-learning, culminate for most students in the honours project module where an independent, empirical enquiry is undertaken and written up.

You will be taught by staff who are actively engaged in research projects spanning the spectrum from social to biological aspects of behaviour, which means that your learning will be informed by the very latest academic thinking. The department has a stimulating and friendly atmosphere, and there is a lively student psychology society which organises regular events including speakers, films and social events.

We make a concerted effort to ensure that you acquire useful abilities that will help you in your career. These include interviewing and other interpersonal skills, working in groups, measurement and evaluation of behaviour, use of statistics, computers and word-processing systems in psychology, and use of psychological knowledge to solve problems and design experiments. These skills are taught entirely within the course and do not require special prior experience.

Approach to assessment

The teaching, learning and assessment strategy for the Psychology programme takes a holistic view of the undergraduate course. In devising this strategy we seek to achieve the following aims and objectives:
  • Demonstrate ‘constructive alignment’ between teaching methods and assessment and the stated learning outcomes at the programme and module level.
  • Achieve coherence in the programme by ensuring that assessment tasks build on previous learning and complement but do not unnecessarily duplicate each other.
  • Use a range of assessment methods evenly spread across modules to assess the entire programme learning outcomes.
  • Use formative and summative assessment methods to introduce variety and manage student workloads.
  • Achieve consistency of workloads between modules.
  • Provide students with transparent and detailed marking criteria, and ensure that assessment is seen as an integral part of their learning experience.
  • Conform to university commitments to link teaching and research, internationalise the curriculum, and encourage independent and reflective learning.
  • Conform to the benchmark statement for Psychology, GQUAC framework of the BPS, the National Qualifications Framework, and quality assurance standards.

Learning outcomes

The aims for students completing either the single honours or combined honours course are:
  • to produce a scientific understanding of mind, brain, behaviour and experience, and of the complex interactions between these
  • to present multiple perspectives in a way that fosters critical evaluation
  • to develop an understanding of real-life applications of theory to the full range of experience and behaviour
  • to develop an understanding of the role of empirical evidence in the creation and constraint of theory and also of how theory guides the collection and interpretation of empirical data
  • to develop knowledge leading to an ability to appreciate and evaluate critically theory, research findings, and applications
  • to foster the acquisition and knowledge of a range of research skills and methods for investigating experience and behaviour.
In addition students completing a psychology research project have the additional aim:
  • to gain the ability to conduct research independently.

How to apply / Entry requirements

Typical offers

A-level: grades BBB or equivalent

IB Diploma: 33 points

Other typical offers include:

  • AB at A-level and BB at AS-level
  • vocational A-levels at equivalent grades.

For combined honours, normally the offer will lie between the offers quoted for each subject.

Other academic qualifications that fulfil the entry requirements include:

  • a recognised foundation or access course
  • European Baccalaureate.

Further EU qualifications are also accepted; for more details please contact the senior tutor for this course.

Specific entry requirements

GCSE: Mathematics or Statistics at grade B or equivalent

  • Applicants with a GCSE Mathematics grade C will also be considered if they have or are predicted to achieve a grade A or B in A-level Psychology.
  • If you are over 21 years old and you do not have these qualifications, you should contact the senior tutor to discuss your application.

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, we will need proof of your English language ability - IELTS (6.5 or above). 

Please also see the University's standard English language requirements

International and EU applications

Preparation courses for EU students

We offer a range of courses to help students meet the academic and English language entry requirements for their courses and also familiarise them with university life.

Find out more about the international foundation pathways we offer and our pre-sessional English language courses.

Country specific entry requirements

If you are studying outside the UK, for more details about your specific country entry requirements, translated information and local representatives who can help you to apply, please have a look at our country specific information pages.

English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Border Agency's minimum language requirements as well as the University's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

How to apply

Full-time students should apply for this course through UCAS.

Part-time students should apply directly to the university.

Conditions of acceptance

When you accept our offer, you agree to the conditions of acceptance. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

Credit transfer

Oxford Brookes operates the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). All undergraduate single modules are equivalent to 7.5 ECTS credits and double modules to 15 ECTS credits. More about ECTS credits.

Student experience

Why Oxford is a great place to study this course

As a student in Oxford you'll be at the heart of the UK's most successful economic region and in a centre for leading industries which will provide you with a host of work placement and other learning opportunities.

One of the world's great academic cities, Oxford is a key centre of debate, with conferences, seminars and forums taking place across education, science, the arts and many other subjects. It is a vibrant city with plenty of attractions for its large student population, from theatres and cinemas to museums, art galleries and music venues. A bustling and stunning cosmopolitan city, Oxford has excellent shopping, restaurants, cafes, pubs and clubs.

Situated in the heart of rural England and home to around 150,000 people, Oxford offers students a clean and safe environment less than an hour from London and international airports.

Support for students studying Psychology

As a Psychology undergraduate, the support you receive at Oxford Brookes is unparalleled. As well as our teaching staff, the psychology team includes knowledgeable laboratory technicians and demonstrators. They are there to help students resolve academic problems (such as helping with the statistical analyses of experiments). One of our demonstrators recently won the UK Technician Demonstrator Award from the Higher Education Academy Psychology Network for his innovative support to students.

When you arrive at Oxford Brookes you will be assigned an academic adviser who will provide you with academic support and supervision throughout your degree. They will also keep you up to date with events such as visiting speakers and career events.

In addition, our dedicated student support co-ordinators are on hand from the day you start to the day you leave. They are here to help with anything from academic advice, such as helping you choose your modules, through to any personal issues you may experience. Our unique, free Upgrade study service is available to anyone who needs advice on study skills, from planning and writing essays to highlighting areas for improvement.

Specialist facilities

Based on the Headington Campus just a mile from Oxford's historic centre, the Department of Psychology is purpose-built and includes:

  • state-of-the-art laboratory facilities, with eye tracker and high density EEG and ERP facilities to measure brain activity
  • a computer suite
  • teaching rooms and a video-recording studio with observation room
  • a dedicated psychological test library.

Psychology students have access to a wealth of online resources, journals and articles, available through our departmental portal. We have our own PC departmental network, including services developed in house and linked directly to the university computing services.

With over half a million books, DVDs and CDs, a vast range of databases, journals and reference materials, Oxford Brookes Library provides all the resources you need for your study of psychology. We have a dedicated psychology librarian who is on hand to answer your enquiries, teach you information skills and guide you around the electronic resources on offer. The library offers regular training sessions on accessing and making the best use of key resources in your specific subject area.

Once you reach the stage of writing your dissertation, you will also have access to the world famous Bodleian Library.

General support services

Supporting your learning

From academic advisers and support co-ordinators to specialist subject librarians and other learning support staff, we want to ensure that you get the best out of your studies.

Personal support services

We want your time at Brookes to be as enjoyable and successful as possible. That's why we provide all the facilities you need to be relaxed, happy and healthy throughout your studies.

After graduation

Professional accreditation

If you have vocational ambitions in psychology you can follow courses of study in both single and combined honours courses which are accredited by the British Psychological Society as conferring eligibility for the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC), provided you achieve the minimum standard of a lower second-class honours. This is the first step towards becoming a chartered psychologist.

Career prospects

Many of our students take up careers in educational, occupational or clinical psychology, or in academic research. We encourage flexibility, and emphasise the general relevance and practical value of the discipline. This equips you for a variety of careers in such areas as personnel work, market research, health care and teaching. Careers talks take place in the department and help is given to find opportunities for workplace experience in several domains.

The British Psychological Society has details of the many and varied careers that a degree in psychology can open up for you. There you will also find details on the route to becoming a chartered psychologist.

As a psychology student at Oxford Brookes you will gain expertise in your field, and also develop a set of skills to help you stand out from the crowd, including the ability to:

  • be an independent worker and researcher
  • use critical analysis and creative thinking
  • keep in step with the latest developments
  • use problem solving and numeracy skills
  • become confident in presentation and public speaking
  • contribute to teamwork
  • develop networking opportunities
  • refine your writing abilities.

Further study

Many of our graduates choose to continue their studies at either Masters or PhD level. Many students choose to stay in the department to continue their studies as we offer the opportunity to continue your studies at both masters and doctoral levels.