School of Psychology

BSc (Hons) Psychology with Sociology

Interested to learn how we think and behave and how the social influences and structures of our everyday lives affect us? With this combined honours course, you’ll cover all aspects of human behaviour and our underlying thoughts, feelings and motivations. You’ll learn about the rapidly changing nature of contemporary society and graduate with a true understanding of the interaction between the individual mind and the social world in which we live.

You will immerse yourself in an innovative and imaginative curriculum that’s continually shaped by the latest developments in psychological research. You’ll expand your horizons and experience with opportunities for international exchange and a year studying abroad. You’ll develop your skills as a scientist working alongside leading researchers with the Research Apprentice Scheme. You will gain invaluable experience and cultivate professional contacts by taking an optional placement year.

Careers with this subject

Our psychology students have tremendous opportunities to gain the knowledge and skills necessary for employment in a variety of work settings, from professional psychology, management and teaching, to social services, health services, probation and marketing. Our hands-on approach to experiential learning embedded in the course will provide you with topical skills and experience that you can apply to the wide range of career options open to psychology graduates.

Understanding where your degree subject could take you is an important first step in career planning. Due to the transferrable nature of the skills you gain from your studies, you may discover that there is a much wider range of opportunities open to you within this profession that you may first appreciate. Find out more about where your degree could take you.

Key features
  • Take your first step to becoming a professional in your field – as a successful graduate, you’ll be eligible for Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership with the British Psychological Society, putting you on the ladder to becoming a professional psychologist.
  • Expand your horizons and experience with opportunities for international exchange and a year studying abroad (in Year 2).
  • Develop your skills as a scientist working alongside leading researchers with the Research Apprentice Scheme.
  • Maximise your learning with a personal tutor assigned throughout your studies to provide the support and guidance you need to get the most out of your course.
  • Shape your own study path with an exciting range of topics available through lectures, optional courses and project supervision.
  • Gain invaluable experience and cultivate professional contacts by taking an optional placement year.
  • Benefit from studying on a course that the Research Assessment Exercise rates as excellent for research and the Quality Assurance Agency praises for its quality of education.
  • Immerse yourself in an innovative and imaginative curriculum that’s continually shaped by the latest developments in psychological research.
  • Make the most of our specialist facilities – we’ve got 22 labs to choose from, including a virtual reality laboratory with 3D modelling software, sound-proof cubicles with a range of stimulus equipment and computer laboratories.  You'll be able to get your hands on everything you need for your own research.
  • To complement your formal learning we offer regular PALS sessions that provide the opportunity for you to learn with and from your peers. Share knowledge, discuss ideas, and ask questions in a relaxed and friendly environment.

Course details
  • Year 1

  • In your first year, you’ll study the basic theories of psychology, covering learning, social, developmental, clinical, cognitive and physiological psychology. You will also develop your skills in methods of psychological research, information technology, communication and critical thinking. On the sociology side, you’ll study key concepts and theories surrounding real world issues such as poverty, social exclusion, work, community, religion, media, crime, education and more.

    Core modules

    • Learning (PSYC411)

      This module explores how we gather information, with an emphasis on the scientific method. The module will introduce students to different perspectives on learning, including how to learn effectively, the biological and cognitive basis of learning, and social learning.

    • Psychological Science (PSYC412)

      This module will provide an introduction into a broad range of fundamental topics in psychology. Across eight independent topics, from across the entire breadth of psychology, students will learn key theories. Students will also learn how those theories have been applied to real-world situations and will be asked to explore these theories in practice in Labplus activities.

    • Relationships (PSYC414)

      This immersive module focuses on the Psychology of Social Relationships across the lifespan. This topic is introduced and analysed from different disciplines in Psychology, including Developmental, Social, Biological, Clinical and Individual Differences perspectives. Lectures introduce methodologies, key findings and concepts for understanding Social Relationships. Lectures will be supported by workshops and tutorials.

    • Topics in Psychology (PSYC415)

      This module will provide an in-depth exploration of four topics from core areas of psychology. Each of the topics will run for four weeks with interspersed group-based linked Labplus activities. These will allow students to get involved in a continued project, within the scope of a particular topic, which might involve data collection and subsequent statistical analysis of that data.

    • Social Identities and Inequalities (SOC1510)

      This module explores how and why social inequalities influence lived experience and social identities. It focuses on a range of substantive issues, such as poverty, housing, education, health, morality, sexuality, gender, religion, work, unemployment, race, dis/ability and explores how these influence culture, identities and lived experience throughout the life-course.

    • Introduction to Social Theory (SOC1514)

      This module introduces students to key features of classical social theory. These features are placed within the context of the Enlightenment, Modernity, the emergence of modern science and social science, and their use for contemporary social analyses.

  • Year 2

  • You will study three modules in parallel in each semester, covering the whole breadth of the British Psychological Society curriculum. All modules include practical exercises in PsychEL, which you will record in your LabBook. The coursework includes authentic reports such as case studies, executive summaries, group presentations, data visualisations, interview skills and reflective reports. These will give you the confidence to step right into work when you graduate. Sociology topics include the processes of social change and sources of social identity in the modern world. You’ll also learn about consumer culture, ethnicity, globalisation and politics and the state. Current students will take the following modules in 2018/19:

    Core modules

    • Career and Placement Planning (CPIE202)

    • Cognition and Biological Psychology (PSYC513)

      This module covers four core areas of psychology each with 2 sub-topics: Perception & Attention; Learning & Memory; Cognition & Language; Neuroscience & Comparative Psychology. The biology of cognition will be covered within each of the four core areas, integrating them. Each core area will be covered in 12 hours of lectures. The first hour will cover CHIP issues and the last hour integration within/between topics.

    • Individual Differences, Social and Developmental Psychology (PSYC514)

      This module covers three core areas of psychology - individual differences, social cognition, and human development. Each core area will be covered in 16 hours of lectures. The first hour will cover CHIP issues and the last hour will focus on integration within/between topics.

    • Research Skills in Practice 1 (PSYC519)

      In this module students develop an understanding of the processes involved in undertaking and communicating research of increasing complexity. Students work in supervised groups to develop research questions on the association of factors and test them using empirical methods. Results are communicated via both oral presentation and written report. Methods workshops are also provided.

    • Research Skills in Practice 2 (PSYC520)

      In this module students develop an understanding of the processes involved in undertaking and communicating research of increasing complexity. Students work in supervised groups to develop research questions on group differences and test them using empirical methods. Results are communicated via both oral presentation and written report means. Methods workshops are also provided.

    • Culture, Structure and Experience (SOC2516)

      This module explores the relationship between culture, social structure and social identities. It focuses on how this relationship has been conceptualised & discussed through a range of theoretical approaches from modern & postmodern theory, cultural studies and the sociology of identity and difference. These theories are then applied to current empirical examples.

    • Developments in Social Theory (SOC2524)

      The module introduces students to the breadth of contemporary disputes in social theory framed within the context of classical social theory covered in Stage 1. These debates are linked to the historical events and empirical social research that were both informed by and influenced contemporary theoretical change. Foundational disciplinary questions are broached and formative critical thinking workshops assist in developing theoretical argument, analysis and evaluation.

  • Year 3

  • If you choose, you can take an optional work placement after your second year, expanding your knowledge of psychology in a real world context across the UK. Apply to spend a year honing your skills on a psychological professional/work placement. Gain invaluable experience, make professional contacts and receive a Certificate of Professional/Industrial Placement. Please note some placements may require Occupation Health and/or Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks.

    Core modules

    • Placement: Psychology (CPIE501)

      During this 36 week placement, students will begin to apply their psychological knowledge in the workplace and develop the range of skills required to work within the specific placement setting. This zero-credit module is also home to timetabled careers talks and information for Stage 3 students who are away on placement.

  • Final year

  • You will have complete freedom of choice about the topics you specialise in for your final year. You'll study eight current topics from a list of over twenty options, taught by world experts in their fields. A typical year’s list includes options in forensic, developmental, health, clinical, occupational, cognitive, social, and neuropsychology. You'll also choose to work on your own research project, supervised by one of our staff. All of our staff are active researchers, and all of our staff teach, unlike other universities. As a large school, you can be confident that we can cover almost every area. Extra study options include the sociology of consumer culture, the mass media, drugs in society, tourism, health, the body, risk, sexuality, race and ethnicity, science, technology and religion. Current students will take the following modules in 2018/19 and 2019/20:

    Core modules

    • Careers Planning (PSYC600)

      This zero-credit module is home to careers talks.

    • Current Topics in Psychology 1 (PSYC601)

      This course allows students to develop an in depth and critical appreciation of two areas of psychological research (two topics drawn from the current research programmes of the School's staff).

    • Current Topics in Psychology 3 (PSYC603)

      This course allows students to develop an in depth and critical appreciation of two areas of psychological research (two topics drawn from the current research programmes of the School's staff).

    • Research Project (PSYC605)

      Students, supported by academic supervisors and specialist workshops, are required to conduct a complete piece of research, from establishing a research area, formulating a research question, conducting a literature search, designing and conducting a study that meets appropriate ethical standards, analysing the data and communicating the research verbally and in writing.

    Optional modules

    • Ethics & Ethnography (ANTH608)

      This module provides students with the space to critically reflect on anthropological debates around ethics and morality. Aside from focusing on the development and use of ethical standards in professional anthropological practice, this module also teaches students how to engage with the moral systems of the people they study. Students bring together these two aspects of the anthropological study of ethics by producing a substantial piece of ethnographic work.

    • Green Criminology (CCJ610)

      This module will address theoretical perspectives, methodological issues, and empirical research related to the field of green criminology, including applied concerns, such as policy and social/political praxis, through a range of concepts, topics, and themes that are central to green criminology.

    • Food and Foodways (SOC3544)

      This module aims to provide a critical understanding of sociological issues relating to food and foodways, (the beliefs and behaviours surrounding the production, distribution and consumption of food both on an individual and collective level). The module encourages critical reflection and practical experience of research in the area of food and foodways through a mini project.

    • Social Theory and Political Action (SOC3545)

      This module considers the relationship between theoretical activity and practical political activity (the question of praxis) in terms of contemporary political issues and disciplinary debates. Students are asked to reflect critically upon the political and ethical dimensions of social science and the impact social researchers have upon the wider society.

    • Media, State and Society (SOC3547)

      The media occupy key arenas whereby various social groups compete with one another to set public, political, commercial and cultural agendas. This module examines the relationship between media, state and society. It covers a number of substantive topic areas such as environmental issues, terrorism, war reporting, hate speech and violence.

Every undergraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the course aims, the course structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest course structure and may be subject to change:

BSc Hons Psychology Programme Specification 0202

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

In light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the changeable nature of the situation and any updates to government guidance, we may need to make further, last minute adjustments to how we deliver our teaching and learning on some or all of our programmes, at any time during the academic year. We want to reassure you that even if we do have to adjust the way in which we teach our programmes, we will be working to maintain the quality of the student learning experience and learning outcomes at all times.
Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

112 - 120

A level: 112-120 points from a minimum of three A levels from any subjects (excluding General Studies). Must include Biology if applying for Psychology with Human Biology.

International Baccalaureate: 26-30 points overall.

All relevant international qualifications will be considered - please contact admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended Diploma: DMM-DDM in any subject. 

BTEC National Diploma modules
If you hold a BTEC qualification it is vital that you provide our Admissions team with details of the exact modules you have studied as part of the BTEC. Without this information we may be unable to process your application quickly and you could experience significant delays in the progress of your application to study with us. Please explicitly state the full list of modules within your qualification at the time of application.
                                                                                                           
Access courses: pass Access (i.e. science, humanities, combined, social sciences) with at least 33 credits units at merit. 

GCSE
5 GCSE subjects at a pass are preferred and this does not necessarily need to be Mathematics and English subjects.

Candidates concerned about meeting this offer are encouraged to contact the Institution direct.

English language requirements

We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.
Fees, costs and funding

The UK is no longer part of the European Union. EU applicants should refer to our Brexit information to understand the implications.

New Student 2021-2022 2022-2023
Home £9,250 £9,250
International £14,200 £14,600
Part time (Home) £770 £770
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances. For more information about fees and funding please visit www.plymouth.ac.uk/money.

Funding opportunities

A range of studentships, fee waivers and other funding for psychology students is also available for both UK/EU and international students.

School of Psychology: undergraduate scholarships for international students 

International students who have met the conditions of their University of Plymouth offer of study will be eligible to receive the School of Psychology Gold Scholarship to help towards the cost of tuition fees.  You may also be eligible to apply for the University's Undergraduate International Academic Excellence scholarship. 

Find out whether you are eligible and how you can apply

Additional costs

This course is delivered by the Faculty of Health and more details of any additional costs associated with the faculty's courses are listed on the following page: Faculty of Health additional costs.


How to apply
All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). 

UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 

To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email international-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

Progression routes

International progression routes

The University of Plymouth International College (UPIC) offers foundation, first-year and pre-masters programmes that lead to University of Plymouth degrees. Courses are specially designed for EU and international students who are missing the grades for direct entry to the University, and include full duration visa sponsorship. You can start in January, May or September, benefitting from small class sizes, top-quality tuition and 24/7 student support.


Find out more at plymouth.ac.uk/upic or contact our team at info@upic.plymouth.ac.uk

Why choose Plymouth?

We've redesigned the way we teach psychology. We have listened to feedback from our students and created a curriculum where the focus is on active learning instead of attending lectures. As well as this hands-on approach there are many aspects to the course that we are immensely proud of. 

Specialist Facilities
We have 22 specialist laboratories which can be booked by students and staff. Labs range from single participant rooms through to labs with a range of networked or standalone computers and social interaction or group participation rooms.

Placement Year
All of our psychology students can opt to take a voluntary placement year, so you do not have to apply for a particular course. You will gain invaluable experience and cultivate professional contacts. The process starts in your second year, with information sessions to help you decide if a placement year is right for you.

Psychology Research Apprenticeship Scheme

Every year around 60-70 first and second-year students volunteer to work with a member of staff as a 'Research Apprentice'. With this informally run scheme, you'll get first-hand experience of carrying out research – everything from literature searching through experimental design and data collection to analysis and even publishing papers.

Peer Assisted Learning Scheme (PALS)
Learning alongside other students on your course can give you a greater opportunity to discuss ideas, broaden your knowledge, gain confidence and make friends. You will benefit from regular, coordinated Peer-Led Study Sessions planned and delivered by student PALS leaders from the academic year above. Your group will be small enough to work together, discussing ideas, completing tasks and checking understanding in a relaxed and friendly environment.

Discover psychology at Plymouth and explore our open days

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Research in the School of Psychology

Plymouth is a centre of excellence in psychological research. In the last Research Excellence Framework assessment over 80% of our research outputs were rated as either international (3*) or world-leading (4*) quality. This puts us in the top 20 nationally on this measure, and above institutions such as Bristol, UCL, Manchester, Southampton, Bournemouth, and Portsmouth.

We have a thriving PhD community, with around 80 doctoral students, purpose-built research facilities.

Learn more about the research in the School of Psychology

Staff insight – Professor Caroline Floccia

...I was in my twenties, and I went to a party and I met somebody who told me for the first time about the existence of a field called cognitive psychology… a field in which people study how the brain and mind work… it was a revelation…

Find out why Professor Caroline Floccia is passionate about cognitive psychology.

Read more about Professor Caroline Floccia’s teaching and research interests

Our labs

Academic Staff