Psychological and Behavioural Science
3 years full-time
The BSc (Hons) Psychological and Behavioural Science combines a broad-based, BPS accredited education in psychology with a specialisation in cutting-edge behavioural science. Behavioural Science is a relatively new discipline that focuses on the application of psychological principles to challenges faced by organisations in the public, private, and third sector.
While Psychology puts an emphasis on internal mental processes that underlie behaviour, Behavioural Science emphasises behavioural outcomes, and the design and evaluation of interventions to encourage behaviour change.
As a student enrolled on the BSc (Hons) in Psychological and Behavioural Science you will be taught state-of-the-art research methods, along with classic and cutting-edge theory and research in psychology, following the BPS guidelines. You will also learn how to apply this knowledge to provide novel and transformative insights for business, management, and public policy.
Over the course of the degree, you will be taught by academics who publish at the forefront of their fields and who are also actively engaged in providing behavioural science consultancy, helping organisations to apply behavioural science principles and influencing public policy. As such, the degree combines cutting edge research with practical illustrations from the instructors’ own experience, supplemented by talks and seminars led by invited speakers from different sectors.
The degree incorporates a range of modules that will allow you to graduate with a deep and comprehensive understanding of the field of psychology, but you will also develop additional insights into the application of psychological science in the behavioural arena. The degree provides opportunities for the development of transferable skills, supplementing the opportunities afforded by Durham University colleges and the wider student experience. You will take modules to the value of 120 credits each year.
In the first year, you will take three core modules in Psychology:
- Introduction to Psychology 1: Cognitive and Biological Psychology (20 credits)
- Introduction to Psychology 2: Developmental and Social Psychology (20 credits)
- Introduction to Psychological Research (40 credits).
In addition, you will take the following compulsory tutorial-based module:
- Classic Papers: A Tutorial Introduction to Psychological Science (20 credits).
The above compulsory Psychology modules count for 100 of your 120 credits (three single modules, plus the double module), so in addition, you may choose:
- A module to the value of 20 credits (including modules from other departments and the University’s Centre for Foreign Language Study).
For modules taken from another University department, you must meet their entry requirements and must be able to timetable your additional subjects to fit in with your compulsory modules.
In the second year, you will build upon your first year and complete 120 credits of compulsory modules:
- Modules in the core areas of Psychology: Abnormal Psychology, Biological, Cognitive, Developmental, Individual Differences, and Social Psychology totalling 60 credits
- A tutorial-based module on Contemporary & Conceptual Issues in Behavioural Science (20 credits)
- Research Methods in Psychology (20 credits)
- Statistics for Psychology (20 credits).
In your final year, you will take modules to the value of 40 credits covering selected topics in Behavioural Science. You will also take modules to the value of 40 credits covering different areas in Psychology. Alternatively, you may choose modules up to the value of 20 credits from a list of Psychology modules plus modules up to the value of 20 credits from another board of studies (including appropriate credit-bearing language modules offered by the University’s Centre for Foreign Language Study).
In addition to your chosen modules to the value of 80 credits, you will carry out and write up your own Research Project (Behavioural Science Dissertation), supervised by a member of staff. The range of possible topics is very wide and research can take place in settings such as schools or private sector organisations, as well as in research laboratories in the Department of Psychology. The Dissertation is a core double module (40 credits).
Examples of optional modules:
The following provides a list of potential options. The list is for illustrative purposes only; the precise choice of modules may vary year-on-year:
- Business and Economic Psychology
- Behaviour Change
- Professional Skills Development
- Evaluating Evidence.
The list of final-year Psychology optional modules can also vary from year to year, but has included in the past:
- Learning and Animal Cognition (20 credits)
- Social Perception (20 credits)
- Clinical Neuropsychology (20 credits)
- Psychology in the Workplace (20 credits)
- Psychopathy (10 credits)
- Forensic Psychology (10 credits)
- Psychological Practice (10 credits)
- Psychology and Health Promotion (10 credits)
- The Psychology of Illness (10 credits)
- Sport and Exercise Psychology (10 credits)
- Reward and Addiction (10 credits)
- Mind, Brain and Consciousness (10 credits)
- Vision and Visual Neuroscience (10 credits)
- Neuropsychology of Amnesia (10 credits)
- Cognitive Neuropsychology (10 credits)
- Child Health in a Social Context (10 credits)
- Fetal Development (10 credits)
- The Multisensory Body (10 credits)
- Human Evolutionary Psychology (10 credits)
- Atypical Development (10 credits)
- Cognitive Development (10 credits).
Please note: Current modules are indicative. Information for future academic years may change, for example, due to developments in the relevant academic field, or in light of student feedback.
PlacementYou may be able to take a work placement. Find out more.
The degree is delivered predominantly by leading research academics using a variety of methods including lectures, small group tutorials, workshops, and practical classes, as well as additional individual feedback and support opportunities from staff and student peers. Psychology and Behavioural Science modules up to the value of 120 credits are taken in each of the three years of study, with each module having clearly defined aims and learning outcomes encompassing subject-specific knowledge, subject-specific skills, and generic transferable key skills.
In general, lectures highlight the main areas of concern within a module topic, covering historical and current empirical findings and methodological issues together with their concomitant theoretical interpretations. Small group tutorials guide your learning of lecture-based material and that gleaned through independent study by promoting discussions and critical appraisal, developing your ability to organise and present information both orally and in a variety of written formats. Workshops and practical sessions enable you to gain first-hand experience of key research skills in Psychology and Behavioural Science, and to learn and apply associated statistical and IT packages.
The number of weekly timetabled contact hours does not vary radically across the three years of the degree. However, there is a qualitative difference in the nature of the activities provided and in staff expectations: you are supported in becoming progressively more independent as thinkers and learners in preparation for further work or study on completion of your degree.
In the first and second years, you will typically attend six hours of research-driven psychology lectures every week; additionally, timetabled tutorials, practical classes, workshops, feedback and support sessions are held regularly throughout the year. These constitute an additional two to three hours contact time per week. Outside timetabled hours, you are expected to undertake independent study to prepare for classes, complete assignments, and broaden your subject knowledge. The emphasis in Year 1 is to provide you with fundamental knowledge and skills as a foundation for those who have had no previous experience of psychology and providing the bases underpinning second and third-year modules. In Year 2, your knowledge and skills are further developed and fostered; moreover, all the subject areas essential for accreditation by the British Psychological Society (BPS) and providing eligibility for Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) are covered.
In the third year, you will select from a variety of specialist topic modules. As these are primarily provided by lecturers eminent in their field, you will have the unique opportunity to engage with and discuss the most recent theoretical and empirical issues. Year 3 modules are delivered through weekly two-hour lectures, seminars and workshops typically totalling eight hours per week. Additionally, building on research skills developed in their first and second years, and under the supervision of a member of staff, each third-year student completes an independent empirical study. Depending on the nature of the investigation, you might expect to meet with your supervisor on average once a fortnight throughout the year.
Throughout your three undergraduate years, you will have access to all your lecturers informally on a ‘drop-in basis’, by email appointment, or through advertised weekly office hours. All staff are willing to engage in discussions, provide support, feedback and guidance where relevant. There are also Module Leaders who are members of staff designated to deal with issues relating to modules as a whole and Year Tutors who are available to help when necessary with any problems that may generally affect your studies in Psychology.
The Department has a thriving research community: Seminars are held at least once a week during term-time to which undergraduate students are warmly invited. Additionally, research groupings within the Department and the student-run Psychology Society hold talks and meetings.
Further non-timetabled opportunities for support and debate are provided by the Research Assistant Scheme, and by online discussion boards facilitated by the Psychology Department.
Grade 5 (or grade B) or above in Mathematics at GCSE (or equivalent) is required.
A level offer – AAA.
BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma/OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma – DDD.
IB Diploma score – 37 with 666 in higher level subjects.
No specific subjects are required, and a combination of arts and science subjects is acceptable.
In addition to satisfying the University’s general entry requirements, please note:
- We welcome applications from those with other qualifications equivalent to our standard entry requirements and from mature students with non-standard qualifications or who may have had a break in their study. Please contact our Admissions Selectors.
- If you do not satisfy our general entry requirements, the Foundation Programme offers multidisciplinary degrees to prepare you for a range of specified degree courses.
- If you are an international student who does not meet the requirements for direct entry to this degree, you may be eligible to take an International Foundation Year pathway programme at the Durham University International Study Centre.
- We are pleased to consider applications for deferred entry.
International students who do not meet direct entry requirements for this degree might have the option to complete an International Foundation Year.
Fees and funding
Full Time Fees
|Home students||£9,250 per year|
|EU students||£30,250 per year|
|Island students||£9,250 per year|
|International students||£30,250 per year|
The tuition fees shown for home students are for one complete academic year of full time study and are set according to the academic year of entry. Fees for subsequent years of your course may rise in line with an inflationary uplift as determined by the government.
The tuition fees shown for overseas and EU students are for one complete academic year of full time study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).
Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.
Scholarships and Bursaries
We are committed to supporting the best students irrespective of financial circumstances and are delighted to offer a range of funding opportunities.Find out more about Scholarships and Bursaries
Of those students who graduated in 2019:
- 90% are in paid employment or further study 15 months after graduation across all our programmes
Of those in employment:
- 52% are in high skilled employment
- With an average salary of £21,000.
(Source: HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey. The survey asks leavers from higher education what they are doing 15 months after graduation. Further information about the Graduate Outcomes survey can be found here www.graduateoutcomes.ac.uk)
Psychology aims to understand and improve how people perceive, think, act, react and interact. In a Psychology degree at Durham, you will examine all aspects of behaviour by investigating the processes underpinning the thoughts, feelings and motivations behind our actions.
You will receive a genuinely research-led education. As well as learning the core principles of psychology, you will be actively encouraged to engage in research throughout practicals and seminars, for instance. You will also have access to our world-leading experimental facilities, including motion capture, eye tracking, and biophysical recording laboratories.
To find out more see our department pages.
- Top 10 in The Complete University Guide 2023
- World Top 100 in the QS World University Subject Rankings 2022.
Staff and students benefit from access to a wide range of cutting edge facilities and laboratories which allow us to understand the mind and behaviour through both high precision experimental methods, and ecologically valid controlled environments.
More information on our facilities and equipment.
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