5 UK universities breaking boundaries in Psychology

The popularity of psychology in UK higher education has rapidly gained pace. In 2007, 80,000 potential students applied for a psychology-based degree, according to figures from the BBC. By 2014, that number had swelled to 106,000. Psychology students currently make up 3.5 percent of the UK’s full-time undergraduates; 3,000 of these people derived from overseas, with the number of international psychology students growing by over 25 percent between 2004 and 2009. So what exactly is it that makes psychology a popular subject choice among prospective students heading for the UK?

Psychology is both applied and academic, studying the behaviour of individuals and groups, as well as the complex intricacies of the human mind. The main attraction with this type of course is often the more practical side of the curriculum. Across the UK, universities consistently call for students to participate in psychological studies, created and analysed by Psychology students, and instilling all associates with an understanding of how to conduct psychological research. Many UK universities are internationally-renowned for quality of research, meaning students not only gain hands-on experience and further their education, but also contribute to research activities of global importance.

Psychological research at the University of Central Lancashire is often rated ‘world-leading’ and ‘internationally excellent.’ Students are immersed in research culture through internship opportunities, as well as the chance to atend various research conferences. Similarly, the School of Psychology at the University of Lincoln boasts an international reputation for fundamental and applied psychological research.

Image courtesy of the University of Lincoln

On top of global prestige in terms of research output, UK psychology degrees, like the undergraduate degree at UCLan, are often accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS), providing students with a Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC). The GBC is an entry requirement for many Society-accredited postgraduate training courses, and is required for entry to all accredited stage two and Doctoral programmes as part of the route to becoming a Chartered Psychologist. As such, the accreditation offered by top UK universities can be crucial for students intent on a pursuing a rewarding career in Psychology.

Psychology studies also offer a great deal of choice; a chance for students to follow their own interests and build a course suited to their individual needs and aspirations. At the University of Lincoln there are three comprehensive undergraduate courses, each one encompassing more than twenty modules from which students can create their perfect psychology course.

The variety offered by psychology courses in the UK can lead to a wealth of exciting career prospects. This is further supported by internship schemes; students at the University of Lancashire, for example, get the chance to take part in the ten-week, paid Undergraduate Research Internship Scheme, during which they work alongside staff to gain valuable research expertise and greatly boost their chances of finding employment.

With a range of transferable expertise, paired with knowledge and experience of using complex data, plus invaluable experience of conducting hands-on research, it’s no wonder UK psychology degrees are so popular. Read on to find out more about some of the best psychology courses in UK higher education…


Image courtesy of the University of Central Lancashire

Located in the multi-million pound, purpose-built Darwin Building, the School of Psychology at the University of Central Lancashire has a proud reputation of delivering world-class courses, complete with the real-world skills required by employers embedded in all modules.

With staff actively engaged in and continually conducting cutting-edge research, the School ensures courses remain contemporary and stay relevant to students’ future careers. The school offers 11 undergraduate courses ranging from social psychology to neuropsychology, with all posing an alternative foundation route – apart from the neuroscience course which is executed through a slightly different programme – on top of a broad portfolio of postgraduate study options.

At every stage of study, UCLan’s psychology students enjoy access to an extensive range of state-of-the-art lab spaces, including a health psychology suite, a cognitive psychology complex, a sports psychology laboratory, a child observation suite, and a 3D-lecture theatre.


The School of Psychology at the University of Lincoln boasts a proud reputation for outstanding student experience delivered across its range of British Psychological Society (BPS) accredited undergraduate and post-graduate courses, including programmes in general Psychology as well as Forensic and Clinical psychology. The school was recently ranked 6th overall in The Guardian‘s psychology subject League table, 1st for student satisfaction in the UK in the Complete University Guide 2017 and were overall winners of the 2016 BPS award for innovation in undergraduate programmes.

Image courtesy of the University of Lincoln

The School also has a rising reputation for excellence in research with brand new laboratory facilities including a Sleep Lab, Baby Lab, 3D body scanning facility and eye tracking labs opening in 2017. An increasingly international community of staff, undergraduate and post-graduate students also benefit from life in a “hidden gem” of a city located in the heart of the UK, with plenty of historical and cultural attractions close at hand.


Ranked in the top third of all UK psychology departments by the Complete University Guide 2016, psychology at Swansea University seeks to: provide students with an international outlook and cultural awareness, help them gain confidence and become self-reliant, and improve independence and initiative for the best possible start to a career in psychology.

Image courtesy of Swansea University

The high standard of entry requirement (AAB-ABB) for undergraduate psychology match the high standards of study offered at Swansea University overall. Internationally-recognised staff, the opportunity for students to undertake their own research using state-of-the-art facilities, and an extensive range of final year modules are just some of the options that allow Swansea students to tailor their degree to suit individual needs, interests and future goals. All students also have the option to transfer to the Psychology with a Year Abroad Undergraduate Programme, through which students gain a new, international perspective on the professional psychology field.


Specialising in human experimental psychology, the University of Dundee offers a comprehensive MA and BSc degree in psychology, both of which are accredited by the BPS, as well as a number of taught- and research-based post-graduate degrees.

By following the traditional Scottish degree structure of broad-based first and second years, followed by much more specialised third and fourth year programmes, psychology undergraduates at Dundee get the chance to take other subject modules and structure their degree to suit personal needs. Dundee’s psychology options allow students to learn in a variety of ways and gain transferable skills that will be beneficial for a career in psychology or in any other area. For example students are taught to understand aspects of human behaviour which could help them in daily life, and develop analytical, critical thinking, data handling and presentation skills, all of which are valued by employers across many fields.

Image courtesy of the University of Central Lancashire


World-renowned in terms of teaching and research, coming a notable second in The Guardian League table 2017, and with a 95 percent rate of student satisfaction rate in this year’s National Student Survey, the  Department of Psychology at the University of Bath currently boasts 26 experienced members of faculty, almost 300 undergraduates, and a thriving postgraduate community. With a selection of undergraduate courses including a range of optional worldwide and UK placements, five taught postgraduate degrees and research options, the University of Bath is able to support students throughout all stages of study.

With a particular focus on cognitive, health, social and clinical psychology the undergraduate degree provides a solid grounding across the psychology discipline and is recognised by the BPS. There is also the option to take the MSci (Hons) route; an integrated undergraduate master’s degree course providing students the opportunity to advance their knowledge in the diverse field of psychology.

 *Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International

Feature image via Shutterstock

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