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.

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
    • PSYC411 Learning

      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.

    • PSYC412 Psychological Science

      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.

    • PSYC414 Relationships

      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.

    • PSYC415 Topics in Psychology

      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.

    • SOC1510 Social Identities and Inequalities

      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.

    • SOC1511 Introduction to Social Theory

      This module introduces students to key features of classical and contemporary social theory. These are placed within the context of the impact of the Enlightenment, and its impact on science and social science. One important objective is to encourage students to consider the contribution theoretical approaches can make to thinking about contemporary issues.

  • Year 2
  • We have updated our course for 2018/19 entrants, and you can find details of the new course here. 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
    • CPIE202 Career and Placement Planning

    • PSYC513 Cognition and Biological Psychology

      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.

    • PSYC514 Individual Differences, Social and Developmental Psychology

      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.

    • PSYC519 Research Skills in Practice 1

      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.

    • PSYC520 Research Skills in Practice 2

      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.

    • SOC2516 Culture, Structure and Experience

      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.

    • SOC2524 Developments in Social Theory

      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
    • PSYC310 Personal and Professional Development

      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
  • We have updated our course for 2018/19 entrants, and you can find details of the new course here. 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
    • PSYC401 Social and Developmental Psychology

      This module has two elements. In the social psychology element, students will examine advanced topics in social cognition, social influence and persuasion, group behaviour, intergroup behaviour and sociological social psychology. In the developmental psychology element, students will focus on language development, theories of children's mind and the development of socialisation.

    • PSYC402 Psychobiology and Cognition

      This module provides advanced coverage in the core areas of psychobiology and cognition. In psychobiology, the module deals with evolutionary and comparative approaches to understanding human perception, emotion and self-awareness, goal-directed behaviour and social engagement. In cognition, the module deals with three key topics in higher cognition: language, memory, and thinking and reasoning

    • PSYC405 Psychology Dissertation

      This module aims to consolidate and put into practice the research training carried out in earlier stages by exploring a particular research problem. Students 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 the study, analysing the data, through to writing up a report of the project

    • PSYC410 Personal and Professional Development

      This zero-credit module is home to timetabled tutorials and careers talks. Tutorials include group and reflective work which tutors provide feedback for.

    Optional modules
    • SOC3538 Philosophy of Social Science

      A critical introduction to the philosophical foundations of social scientific research, with an emphasis on the development of analytic skills through which students explore the philosophical and methodological possibilities and limits of knowing the social world. Critical reflexivity toward future research practice is sought.

    • SOC3543 Health, Healing and Healthcare

      This module will consider a range of issues concerning health, healing and healthcare in contemporary society. The module seeks to develop students¿ critical understanding of the impact of `medicalisation¿ on everyday life, as well as the importance of social divisions, such as age, gender, ethnicity and socio-economic status. There will be a focus on a range of sociological perspectives on health and the body with an opportunity for students to focus upon areas of particular interest to them.

    • SOC3544 Food and Foodways

      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.

    • SOC3545 Social Theory and Political Action

      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.

    • SOC3547 Media, State and Society

      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.

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 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. 

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

English language requirements

For a full list of all acceptable qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

Fees, costs and funding

EU applicants should refer to our dedicated Brexit webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave the European Union.

New Student 2019 2020
Home/EU £9,250 £9,250
International £13,400 £13,800
Part time (Home/EU) To be confirmed £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.

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: Medicine, Dentistry and Human Sciences and more details of any additional costs associated with the faculty's courses are listed on the following page: Faculty of Health: Medicine, Dentistry and Human Sciences 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.

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. 

Psychology staff that are qualified to teach
80 per cent of staff in the School of Psychology have teaching qualifications, and many are Higher Education Academy Fellows. All new staff are required to qualify for a fellowship of the HEA. Nationally only 38 per cent of university academics are qualified to teach – you deserve better than that.

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.

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Research in the School of Psychology

Our excellence has been recognised through the Research Excellence Framework, in which 83 per cent of school activity was judged to be of world-leading or internationally excellent standard, placing us within the top 20 psychology, neuroscience and psychiatry schools across the country. 

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 – Dr 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 Dr Caroline Floccia is passionate about cognitive psychology.

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

People