School of Psychology

We share our expertise and enthusiasm for psychology with over 800 students. We offer undergraduate and postgraduate courses, and a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, all accredited by the British Psychological Society. As one of the largest and best resourced psychology departments in the UK, we can cover all areas of psychology.

Plymouth is in the top 20 of all UK universities in psychology, neuroscience and psychiatry with 83 per cent of our research output rated world-leading or internationally excellent by REF2014, placing us above Bristol, UCL, Manchester, Southampton, Bournemouth, Portsmouth, and many others. Our research impact was equal to that of Exeter, and we were the top rated modern university overall.

The School holds a Bronze Athena SWAN award in recognition of our commitment to improving gender equality.

The University of Plymouth holds a Silver Award in the TEF (Teaching Excellence Framework), and was commended for its course design and assessment practices; its institution-wide focus on student employability, work-based learning and entrepreneurship; and the sustained and substantial institutional investment programme to enhance learning resources, both physical and digital.

We take our students' experience at Plymouth very seriously.  See what it is like studying here through the School of Psychology web pages, compare us with other Universities in the region, and find out about some of our recent graduates or about our international exchange year and optional work-placement year.

You'll also like to know that all students enrolling on our BSc and MPsych courses receive the core  textbooks free – worth around £1500.

We've redesigned the way we teach psychology

We have listened to our students' feedback and created a new curriculum, where the focus is on active learning instead of attending lectures.

We are building a brand new learning resource for our students, the Psychology Experiential Learning Lab or PsychEL, where you will get first hand experience of psychology. In PsychEL, and in tutorials, you'll work with other students, collaborating to apply your knowledge to solve problems.

You can read more about our new first year modules here.

Find out more by watching the short video, or get more detail from our web pages.

Two fixed-term lecturing posts available - apply by 3 July

The School’s REF profile places it in the top third of psychology departments in the UK, with 83% of its research activity rated as internationally excellent or better

Two one-year posts available in any area of psychology

Find out how to apply


Psychology at Plymouth – find out what it's like to study with us

Plymouth stood out from the rest. It’s got a really good vibe – theres so much going on!

Join Abi for a tour of the School of Psychology.

Find out about the psychology course

Teaching and learning

Your experience will be enriched by a variety of teaching methods and you'll have your own personal tutor who will provide academic and personal support during your time at Plymouth

Teaching and learning in the School of Psychology

Study abroad or visit us from abroad

"I can proudly say that it has been one of the best and wisest choices I could have ever made!" – Simge Engelkiran spent a year in the USA

Psychology has links with universities around the world – we host their students and our students can study abroad.

Find out about our international opportunities

Wide range of careers

Our graduates go on to pursue a wide range of careers after studying their first degree. Whether you continue studying for a further degree or look for employment straight away our emphasis on employability will put you ahead of other graduates.

Successful graduates

If you would like to find out what other psychology graduates are currently doing, please visit the psychology and social sciences interest area.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

The three schools of Health Professions, Nursing and Midwifery and Psychology combine world-leading research and practical expertise across a wide range of scientific and practical disciplines.

Our staff and students form a diverse learning community and we are proud to support them in being themselves by celebrating how diversity enriches all of our lives.

In line with University policy, we do not tolerate bullying or harassment and we are continually working on how best to support everyone in being the best they can be.

Find out more about Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Plymouth

School of Psychology in the media

Could robots be counsellors? Early research shows positive user experience

Jackie Andrade and Joana Galvão Gomes da Silva have shown for the first time that a social robot can deliver a ‘helpful’ and ‘enjoyable’ motivational interview (MI), a counselling technique designed to support behaviour change.

TOUGH LOVE? The meaner your friends are, the more they care about you, study shows (The Sun)

Research by Belén López-Pérez in the School of Psychology suggests that people who gave 'tough love' to their friends were actually more like to empathise with them and want them to succeed.

Psychology academic navigates Moral Maze on Radio 4

Dr Susan Blackmore, Visiting Professor in the School of Psychology, has appeared on Radio 4’s Moral Maze programme discussing whether religious orthodoxy is able to exist in a world of increasingly liberal values.

EU eyes high-tech cleanup for plastic pollution in rivers - Deutsche Welle

Dr Sabine Pahl, Associate Professor (Reader) in Psychology, urges scientists from different fields to work together to address the cause of the plastic pollution.

Plymouth develop resource to assist health services deliver more personalised care - Care Appointments

A study by Dr Helen Lloyd sees the development of a practical tool to support organisations and practitioners achieve the organisational change which needs to happen if they are to provide personalised and coordinated care for people with multiple long term conditions.

‘Social media culture can encourage risky and inappropriate posting behaviour’ (Telegraph)

A new study by Claire White in the School of Psychology has received national coverage after investigating why young adults might post content on social media that contains sexual or offensive material. 

Research on link between creativity and risk-taking (Guardian)

'The Guardian' invites readers to take a seven-question test, and, according to Vaibav Tyagi, Yaniv Hanoch, Stephen Hall and Sue Denham from the School of Psychology, if you score 6 or 7 out of 7, you count as more risk taking, and therefore more creative, than the average person.

Latest publications

Here is a list of some recent papers published by the School of Psychology: you can find a full list from this year and previous years on our research pages

  • Wills A, Edmunds C, Le Pelley M, Milton F, Newell B, Dwyer D & Shanks D 2019 'Dissociable learning processes, associative theory, and testimonial reviews: A comment on Smith and Church (2018' Psychonomic Bulletin and Review PEARL
  • Lange N, Berry C & Hollins T 2019 'Linking Repetition Priming, Recognition, and Source Memory: A Single-System Signal-Detection Account' Journal of Memory and Language 109, , DOI PEARL
  • Seabrooke T, Mitchell C, Wills A, Waters J & Hollins T 2019 'Selective effects of errorful generation on recognition memory: The role of motivation and surprise' Memory PEARL
  • Garofalo C, Lopez-Perez B, Gummerum M, Hanoch Y & Tamir M 2019 'Emotion Goals: What do Sexual Offenders Want to Feel?' International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology PEARL
  • Shearer J, Lynch TR, Chamba R, Clarke S, Hempel RJ, Kingdon DG, O'Mahen H, Remington B, Rushbrook SC 2019 'Refractory depression – cost-effectiveness of radically open dialectical behaviour therapy: findings of economic evaluation of RefraMED trial' BJPsych Open 5, (05) , DOI PEARL
  • Close J, Fosh B, Wheat H, Horrell J, Lee W, Byng R, Bainbridge M, Blackwell R, Witts L 2019 'Longitudinal evaluation of a countywide alternative to the Quality and Outcomes Framework in UK General Practice aimed at improving Person Centred Coordinated Care' BMJ Open 9, (7) e029721-e029721 , DOI PEARL
  • Lynch TR, Hempel RJ, Whalley B, Byford S, Chamba R, Clarke P, Clarke S, Kingdon DG, O'Mahen H 2019 'Refractory depression – mechanisms and efficacy of radically open dialectical behaviour therapy (RefraMED): findings of a randomised trial on benefits and harms' The British journal of psychiatry : the journal of mental science 1-9 , DOI PEARL
  • Francis KB, Gummerum M, Ganis G, Howard IS & Terbeck S 2019 'Alcohol, empathy, and morality: acute effects of alcohol consumption on affective empathy and moral decision-making' Psychopharmacology , DOI PEARL
  • McDougall S, Edworthy J, Sinimeri D, Goodliffe J, Bradley D & Foster J 2019 'Searching for meaning in sound: Learning and interpreting alarm signals in visual environments' Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied , DOI PEARL
  • Martin L, Pahl S, White MP & May J 2019 'Natural environments and craving: The mediating role of negative affect' Health & Place 58, 102160-102160 , DOI
  • Queirazza F, Fouragnan E, Steele JD, Cavanagh J & Philiastides MG 2019 'Neural correlates of weighted reward prediction error during reinforcement learning classify response to cognitive behavioral therapy in depression' Science Advances 5, (7) eaav4962-eaav4962 , DOI PEARL
  • Buckley M, Holden L, Spicer S, Smith AD & Haselgrove M 2019 'Crossing boundaries: Global reorientation following transfer from the inside to the outside of an arena' Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition PEARL
  • Bartlett ME, Edmunds CER, Belpaeme T, Thill S & Lemaignan S 2019 'What Can You See? Identifying Cues on Internal States From the Movements of Natural Social Interactions' Frontiers in Robotics and AI 6, , DOI
  • Hyland M, Bacon AM, Lanario J & Davies A 2019 'Symptom frequency and development of a generic functional disorder symptom scale suitable for use in studies with IBS, FMS or CFS patients' Chronic Diseases and Translational Medicine , DOI PEARL
  • Brennan M, Perkins DE, Merdian HL, Tyrrell E, Babchishin KM, McCartan KF & Kelly R 2019 Best Practice in the Management of Online Sex Offending. , DOI PEARL
  • Bennett C & Bacon AM 2019 'At long last, a Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory Explanation of Procrastination' Journal of Individual Differences , DOI PEARL
  • Gooding H, Stedmon J & Crix D 2019 '‘All these things don’t take the pain away but they do help you to accept it’: making the case for compassion-focused therapy in the management of persistent pain' British Journal of Pain 204946371985709-204946371985709 , DOI
  • Gummerum M, Lopez-Perez B, Van Dijk E & Van Dillen LF 2019 'When Punishment is Emotion-Driven: Children’s, Adolescents’, and Adults’ Costly Punishment of Unfair Allocations' Social Development , DOI PEARL
  • Clarke A, Mitchell A, Williams L, Kirk A, Auburn T, Price L, Shorrock J & Chester L 2019 'KEY EXPERIENCES OF PRIMARY SOCIAL GROUPS IN UNSPECIFIED KIDNEY DONATION' Journal of Renal Care , DOI
  • Gunn H, Andrade J, Paul L, Miller L, Creanor E, Stevens K, Green C, Ewings P, barton A 2019 'A self-management programme to reduce falls and improve safe mobility in people with secondary progressive MS: the BRiMS feasibility RCT' Health Technology Assessment 23, (27) , DOI PEARL