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Explore Psychology - Your questions answered

At our recent Explore Psychology virtual event, we heard from our Head of Psychology, Julie Prescott, on what to expect from studying an undergraduate psychology degree and the career opportunities that follow. Here, we share some of the top take-aways from this insightful event.

By Elena Carruthers. Published 12 April 2023.

What is Psychology?

Psychology is the study of the mind and human behaviour and is a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths) subject. It is a scientific discipline that sets out to understand the root causes of behaviour across a range of areas: forensic, educational, clinical, cognitive, with the aim of developing treatment practises from this acquired data.

Those who choose to study psychology tend to be inquisitive, empathetic, hard-working, and quick thinkers. It is a subject that requires a broad skillset from creativity and communication to analytical skills and evidence-based knowledge.

What is it like to study a Psychology BSc?

Studying psychology at undergraduate level begins with learning the fundamentals of the subject including research methods, neurology, mental health, and more. As the degree progresses, students may focus more on their areas of interest as they begin to think about their future careers and where their passions lie.

Our undergraduate course does not assess students via assessments but takes an employment-ready approach through coursework and group projects with a focus on practical skills. Describing the assessment process and the communication skills embedded within it, Julie said: “We want you to work in groups, know how to present – through oral presentations, poster presentations, and more – to have that ability to think about how you can communicate information to different audiences with different needs.”

What can I do with a degree in Psychology?

Psychology has become an increasingly popular degree over the years. This is in part due to the interesting and varied nature of the subject, and its wide range of transferable skills. Psychology graduates can go into numerous areas within the field itself but also flourish in several other careers. This is because psychology graduates possess a strong understanding of human nature so tend to work well with others, have excellent communication skills, and a flair for analytical and critical thinking.

Within psychology, there are two primary routes that graduates most commonly choose to take, forensic and clinical. An undergraduate degree in psychology is an excellent starting point for both, building the core skills required for further study and work experience as well as providing BPS accreditation. At our Explore Psychology event, Julie outlined the pathways to becoming both a Clinical and a Forensic Psychologist with both requiring a doctorate degree and work experience, which is typically paid.

During your degree, you can expect to get tailored advice from experienced tutors and our Employability Team about the different career paths and how you can best prepare to succeed in your area of choice.

How does a Psychology degree handle the ethical controversies of older studies?

Julie highlighted some of the key terms and concepts students can expect to learn about in this degree such as conformity and social influence, as well as some of the original experiments researching these areas. Students can expect to learn about these experiments in the wider context of the ethical issues that surrounded them and will gain a solid understanding of how research practises have evolved over the years.

Importantly, studying psychology at university teaches you the real-world implications of this research so that you can apply this knowledge to your future research and career. Julie noted: “There are issues with these older studies, but it’s important to think about these issues and understand how far we’ve come as a discipline.” 

What can I do to make my personal statement and future CV stand out?

The session closed off by offering prospective students some advice on how to best prepare for successfully enrolling in an undergraduate psychology degree.

  • Aim high: It’s important to aim high with your studies so that you can meet the requirements for the course. Getting into good study practises will also set you up well for university life and taking these skills to the next level.
  • Participate in extra-curricular activities: Extra-curricular activities are not only beneficial socially but will help you to stand out against your peers. Balancing academics and extra-curricular responsibilities demonstrate strong time-management skills and an ambitious mindset.
  • Take on positions of responsibility: This could mean being the leader of a club, a mentor, or anything that involves leadership and helping others. This is particularly beneficial for aspiring psychology students as it shows strong people skills and the ability to take initiative.
  • Read quality media articles: Another way to showcase your passion for psychology is by reading into the subject. Be sure to focus on academic, peer-reviewed articles rather than pop psychology content (such as what you might find on pop culture websites, Netflix documentaries, or social media), despite how fun and interesting this may be.
  • Work experience: Gaining work experience as early as possible gives you real-world experience of working with others and developing the communication skills required for the professional world, both in psychology and elsewhere.

To learn more about our Psychology courses, click here.