Psychology. Undergraduate

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1 Undergraduate Psychology Psychology encompasses a range of disciplines that share an interest in understanding how humans and other animals interpret and respond to their mental and physical world. It therefore draws on the medical, biological, social, engineering, and computer sciences; and philosophy. People who wish to study this fascinating science are characterised by an enduring curiosity about why people think and do the things they do. The applications of psychology permeate everyday life ranging from understanding mental and physical health problems, our cognitive and social development, artificial intelligence, human/ machine interactions, marketing, and our amazing ability to successfully adapt to the ever changing environment that we inhabit to name only a few. Psychology also offers excellent career prospects. Graduates who do not undertake postgraduate training in one of the large number of specialist careers within psychology will find that the skills learnt by studying for a Psychology degree readily transfer to many other career paths. These skills include oral and written communication, computer literacy, numeracy, problem-solving and the ability to carry out independent research. If you wish to become a professional psychologist, then you will need to find a psychology programme that is accredited by the British Psychological Society, such as the Psychology degree offered by Bristol. Why study Psychology at Bristol? We offer two undergraduate BSc Honours programmes (BSc Psychology and BSc Psychology and Philosophy) and the basic curriculum, as specified by the British Psychological Society places a fundamental emphasis on experimental methods and objective measurement. We have a long tradition of organising a unified programme comprising lectures, tutorials with small groups, seminars, laboratory classes, and computer sessions. All your teaching is research led; so you will be learning from lecturers who are undertaking internationally renowned and cutting-edge research in all major areas of psychology. Our particular strengths are in cognitive (developmental, language, memory and social) and biological (human brain and behaviour, vision) psychology and across these thematic groups, we have strengths in computational neuroscience and neuropsychology. Our undergraduate and postgraduate teaching, as independently assessed, is excellent (23/24, QAA 2000) and our research is recognised as being among the best in the country for the number of staff entered (RAE 2008). Both degree programmes are accredited by the British Psychological Society, the first step to becoming a practising psychologist. We will involve you in current research to enrich your experience. Through excellence in research, and concern for relevant and contemporary issues, we ensure that our teaching and research fit seamlessly together.

2 What will I study? Single Honours programmes BSc Psychology, three years Joint Honours programmes BSc Psychology and Philosophy, three years C801 VC58 Your first year lectures provide you with a strong foundation in developmental, cognitive, social and biological psychology. In our developmental unit, for example, you will cover the development of children from birth through to middle childhood focusing primarily on the development of perceptual, cognitive, linguistic and social skills and you will become familiar with the major theoretical perspectives taken. You will also take psychological experiments and research methods units. These provide you with basic experience and training in the investigation, analysis, and reporting of a range of psychological phenomena. All our Honours students take these first year units, and as a Single Honours student you will take an additional 40-credits from the University s open unit catalogue. As a Joint Honours student, you will take these additional 40-credits in Philosophy. The second year builds upon these foundations by covering core topics in greater depth. Your understanding of research methods and the conduct of psychological investigations will be continued to a more advanced level, with your laboratory work being supported by instruction in more advanced techniques of statistical analysis, and in the use of statistical software. Your final year is largely option-based. The taught component includes a wide range of lecture and seminar based units, with topics encountered in the second year being studied in greater depth. Your final year also involves one other major piece of work, your empirical project. Here you will carry out an original piece of independent research on a topic of your choice, supervised by a member of staff. These investigations may be laboratory-based, or involve working in a local school, hospital or business organisation. If you take our Joint Honours degree, then your work in the second and third year will be divided equally between Psychology and Philosophy. At all years of study, your lecture units are supported by small group tutorials and seminars and the university online learning environment (Blackboard). Throughout your degree you will be expected to undertake independent reading to supplement and consolidate lecture topics. Your psychological experiment units in the first and second year are based on continuous assessment, with all other lecture units being assessed by a combination of formal examinations and coursework. Further details of the psychology units you would be taking can be found via our school website What support is available? You will benefit from the school s effective personal tutoring system and you will be allocated a personal tutor for the duration of your studies. Your tutor will act as the first point of contact, within the University, for academic and pastoral support. This support may take the form of giving you personal or academic advice, or helping you access the wide range of appropriate specialist support services offered. Your tutor can provide advice on developing effective study skills, feedback and advice on your academic progress, and interpretation of relevant University guidelines in essence, giving you confidential help, support and guidance.

3 In your first year, your personal tutor s main role is to offer academic and pastoral support. You will regularly attend academically related tutorials with a small group of other tutees (four-six) to discuss lecture topics and your coursework assignments. In your second and final year, your tutor is principally responsible for your pastoral care; academic support being provided by those who are teaching you on particular units. Your fellow students have also arranged for a parenting scheme and will put you in direct contact with fellow students who have already completed that year of study. What s life like as a student? Bristol is a very lively place where you can work and play. Academically you can attend school-organised seminars where faculty and external speakers present their current research. You can also attend meetings organised by psychologically-related disciplines including zoology, philosophy, social medicine and Bristol Neuroscience. The School of Experimental Psychology is an active member of Bristol Neuroscience and also supports the student Psychological Society. The society invites speakers on various topics, including careers talks, and also organises social events. In a wider context, the University, together with the Students Union, aims to provide you with a supportive and stimulating environment in which you can thrive. The student community is diverse and there are many clubs that you can join. Bristol is renowned for its music and arts scene. Other leisure activities are also easily accessed and the beautiful countryside of the West Country, Wales and the Cotswolds is within easy reach. What are my career prospects? The multidisciplinary and scientific nature of psychology means that you will develop an impressive range of transferable skills: quantitative analytical research skills and numeracy; insight into the behaviour of individuals and groups; skills in critical evaluation, oral and written communication including report writing and presentation skills; IT skills, including word processing, spreadsheets, statistical software usage; and web-based data searching, data handling and interpretation. Our Psychology degree is a pathway to professional training in psychology (such as clinical and educational psychology) and postgraduate training (MSc, MPhil or PhD) in the behavioural and biological sciences (such as psychology, neuroscience, social sciences, public health and epidemiology). About 20% of psychology graduates seek further professional qualifications and you may choose to become a professional psychologist after gaining appropriate postgraduate training in areas such as clinical, educational, occupational, counselling or forensic psychology. Alternatively, some will choose to undertake research and follow an academic career that combines research and teaching. Others will find their knowledge of psychology useful for pursuing a high profile, non-science, career in such varied areas as marketing, scientific and legal consultancy, banking and finance, personnel and organisational management, the media, social work, non-university teaching, and much more. Whatever your career choice, psychology s blend of specialist knowledge and generic skills provides you with many of the characteristics most sought by potential employers. Is there any advice you can give me on making my application? The main way of finding out whether the programme of study at Bristol is right for you is to attend an open day. Admissions tutors and academic staff will be there to answer your questions and help you understand what studying psychology at Bristol will entail. You will not require a formal qualification in Psychology, such as an A-level, for entry to our programme. Apart from the information you provide

4 about yourself, the most important way to enhance your application in a good personal statement is evidence that you are making an informed choice to read Psychology at university and that you understand what studying for a Psychology degree will involve. While psychology has many practical applications, it is a theoretical science and therefore preference is given to applicants with one or more science A-levels, reflecting the significant experimental content of all our degrees. All physical and biological sciences (physics, chemistry, biology, geology etc), plus psychology, geography and mathematics count as science subjects at A-level. While we do not prescribe any specific A-level combinations, it is an advantage for you to offer a combination of subjects that balance arts and sciences, with an emphasis on science. We welcome your application if you are a mature student without conventional entry qualifications. If you are planning to take an Access course we recommend those with a science rather than a humanities/social science basis as providing a more appropriate preparation for our degree programmes. The school does not normally conduct interviews and your application will be assessed on the basis of all the information you provide on your UCAS application GCSE profile, A-level prediction, personal statement and reference. The selection process also takes into account the context of your academic achievement in assessing your academic potential. Will I be interviewed? We will not generally interview you if you are applying straight from school. The admissions process is somewhat different if you are a mature applicant because of the wide variety of backgrounds you may come from. In this case there is a two-stage process in which if you are selected then you are called for an interview. What is the standard offer for admission to Psychology at Bristol? Our standard offer is A*AA-AAB, but lower offers are occasionally made if you are a promising candidate and this is judged to be appropriate. If I get the grades, will I be guaranteed a place? Our standard offer should not be regarded as the sole entry criterion. It is the offer that we generally give if your application is successful; many of you will have higher grades (achieved or predicted). However the number of applications we receive each year far exceeds the number of places we are able to offer. Do you take account of AS and/or GCSE results? Yes, we look at the entire UCAS application when making decisions about applications. Previous exam performance is often useful in deciding between two very similar candidates. Why experimental psychology? Psychology at Bristol is regarded and taught as a biological science. The label experimental reflects a scientific approach to answering questions. I want to take a gap year. Will this affect my chances of receiving an offer? No, we welcome deferred entry applications for our Psychology programmes. Is there a study abroad or year out option? No, there is not currently a study abroad or year in industry option. Can you provide information about the accommodation and Halls of Residence? Detailed information is provided by the Accommodation Office. For more information, visit

5 Entry data Typical offer for BSc Psychology Please visit psychology for other qualifications A-levels A*AA-AAB including at least one science (Psychology and Geography included as science subjects) AS-levels None IB Diploma points, to include 6, 6, 6 at Higher level, with at least one science at Higher level Access Treated individually; minimum is to pass Access to HE Diploma with at least 12 credits at Distinction and 21 credits at Merit IELTS 6.5 with minimum 6.0 in each part GCSE Mathematics, English and Science at grade B, but grade A preferred Selection UCAS form, some interviews Part-time study No Deferred applications Welcomed Related programmes Neuroscience, Childhood Studies

6 Contacts School information For more information about the School of Experimental Psychology, please visit: Useful contact information Admissions Undergraduate Admissions Office Tel: +44 (0) Fax: +44 (0) Accommodation Accommodation Office Tel: +44 (0) Access Unit for D/deaf and Disabled Students Tel: +44 (0) Fax: +44 (0) University guide to the city of Bristol International Advice and Support Advice and Support for International Students Tel: +44 (0) If you need all or part of this publication in an accessible format (eg in Braille, in larger print or on CD), please contact Widening Participation and Undergraduate Recruitment Tel: +44 (0) Funding Student Funding Office Tel: +44 (0) Photographic credit: William King, Destination Bristol; other photographs University of Bristol. The information contained in this leaflet is correct at the time of printing (June 2011). Programmes and facilities are liable to alter or be withdrawn at the University s discretion.

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