Psychology and Anthropology
3 years full-time
Please note: Courses may be affected by Covid-19 and are therefore subject to change due to the ongoing impact of Covid-19. Applicants will be informed of any changes which we are required to make to course entries as a result of Covid-19.
Durham’s Psychology and Anthropology Departments pride themselves on excellence in both teaching and research. The breadth of complementary research strengths across the two Departments means that you are guaranteed to be taught by staff who are actively engaged in the interaction of psychological and anthropological approaches, and are leading figures in their field of research.
The joint honours degree is designed to enable you to understand what it means to be human in our rapidly changing world, including why we, and other animals, behave as we do and our interactions with each other and other animals.
In Psychology you will study people (and animals) in terms of their internal mental processes, the biological mechanisms that underlie their behaviour, and the social and developmental context in which they act.
In Anthropology, you will use perspectives from human biology, cultural evolution, animal behaviour, and human evolution to illuminate inquiry into the mind and behaviour of past and present human and primate populations. You will learn how anthropology and psychology provide complementary and contrasting perspectives on what it is to be human, as well as a variety of quantitative and qualitative ways of addressing major questions. The interface of anthropology and psychology explicitly integrates intercultural, international and global issues. For example, in anthropology’s traditional focus on cultural diversity and the burgeoning recognition of psychology’s need to address cross-cultural issues and move away from studies biased by Western Educated Industrialised and Rich (WEIRD) samples.
The degree provides the opportunity to develop extensive subject-specific, interdisciplinary, and transferable skills. The course follows the British Psychological Society(BPS) guidelines with an extensive range of options in the final year, drawing both from work in fundamental scientific research and in applied areas of psychology and anthropology. You may choose to take modules that deepen your understanding of a smaller number of anthropologically and psychologically relevant topics or choose to take a more broad and varied selection. Several coherent pathways – for example in animal behaviour, infant and child development, and health – are possible, using complementary modules from the two departments.
Excellent research facilities are available, including a virtual reality suite, developmental testing facilities, and EEG labs (in psychology), as well as extensive collections of fossil hominin casts and material culture artefacts from around the globe, a sleep lab, hormone lab, and field station for primatology in South Africa (in Anthropology). You are encouraged to get involved in research being carried out by your lecturers, thus gaining a deeper and more hands-on understanding of the issues you are learning about in your degree, and adding to your contextual experience.
Core modules give a broad introduction to methods, vital knowledge, and the most relevant theories in anthropology and psychology.
- Anthropology (40 credits): Doing Anthropological Research
- Human Evolution and Diversity
- Psychology (40 credits): Introduction to Psychological Research
Optional modules allow the choice to follow and develop more specific interests. Examples include:
- Anthropology (20 credits): Being Human or Health Illness & Society or Peoples & Cultures (or a language option if desired)
- Psychology (20 credits): Introduction to Psychology 1 or Introduction to Psychology 2
Modules continue to build on project design and quantitative skills, broaden theory and topical knowledge (ensuring British Psychological Society accreditation), and explore the interface between psychology and anthropology in preparation for the level 3 dissertation:
- Conceptual Issues in Anthropology & Psychology (10 credits)
- Research Project Design (10 credits)
- Statistics and Project Design (10 credits) AND
- Evolution Variation & Adaptation OR
- Sex Reproduction & Love OR
- Global Health & Disease
- Psychology (50 credits): Cognitive Psychology, Social Psychology, Biological Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Abnormal Psychology
Core modules include a dissertation that allows a deep, independently driven, exploration of a specific interdisciplinary research area, and the final psychology module required for British Psychological Society accreditation:
- Dissertation: Interdisciplinary Psychology & Anthropology (40 credits)
- Individual Differences (10 credits)
Optional 10 credit modules allow the choice to follow and develop more specific interests (e.g. animal behaviour, child development, health), or maintain broad interests. Modules on offer vary but usually include:
Anthropology (30 credits):
- Forensic Anthropology
Homo Narrans (the Evolutionary Anthropology of Fiction)
Comparative Cognition and Culture
Cultural Evolution of Music
- Primates in Peril
- Evolution of Cooperation
- El Sidron Neanderthals
- Tool Use in Primates
- Human Reproductive Ecology
- Infant and Maternal Health
- Global Health
- Human Ecology
- Western Diseases
- Reproduction and Ethics
- Medical Humanities
- Critical Medical Anthropology.
Psychology (30 credits):
- Animal Cognition
- Foetal Development
- Child Health in a Social Context
- Cognitive Development
- Human Evolutionary Psychology
- Vision and Visual Neuroscience
- The Multisensory Body
- Mind, Brain and Consciousness
- Forensic Psychology
- Sport and Exercise Psychology
- The Psychology of Illness
- Psychology and Health Promotion
- Social Perception
- Psychology in the Workplace.
PlacementYou may be able to take a work placement. Find out more.
As a student on the BSc (Hons) Psychology & Anthropology degree, your learning will be supported by formal teaching sessions, such as lectures and smaller-group teaching in seminars, workshops and practical classes. 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 seminars 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 classes enable you to gain first-hand experience of key research skills in Psychology and Anthropology, and to learn and apply associated statistical and IT packages.
Our curriculum places a strong emphasis on inquiry-based learning, with a particular focus on learning how to carrying out your own research. As you move through your degree, you will shift from being a consumer of knowledge in the classroom to a generator of knowledge, ready for professional or postgraduate life. To help develop this independence, you will spend part of your time engaged in self-directed study, which will include reading, project work and preparation for classes. You will also make use of the diverse research facilities on offer across both Departments. In your third year, you will undertake a dissertation on a topic of your choice that integrates psychology and anthropology, giving you the opportunity to engage in a major piece of independent work under the joint supervision of an appropriate psychology and anthropology staff member. The specialist topic modules are provided by lecturers eminent in their field, meaning you will have the unique opportunity to engage with and discuss the most recent theoretical, empirical and applied/societal issues.
Assessment on the BSc (Hons) Psychology & Anthropology degree varies by module, but may include written examinations, coursework in the form of essays, practical reports or research projects, and presentations, posters or articles aimed at the general public.
You will be given a Year Group Tutor when you start your degree, and will normally keep the same tutor for the duration of your studies. Year Group Tutors are there to support your academic work by providing advice about such things as study skills, module choices, dissertation topics, and applications for further study or employment. There is also a termly First Generation Scholars coffee morning to provide additional support on the transition to University. As well as discussing your academic work with your nominated tutor, you are encouraged to make use of the Feedback and Consultation hours provided by academic staff during term-time. These Feedback and Consultation hours give you the opportunity to discuss your work with module tutors, for example, to seek clarification on complex ideas, get suggestions for additional readings, and receive further feedback on assessments.
As a student in the Anthropology and Psychology Departments, you will be welcomed into the wider Departmental communities and can attend an extensive programme of research-focused Departmental and research group seminars where academic staff, postgraduate students and visiting scholars present their cutting-edge research, which may provide inspiration for your dissertation topic and even future study or employment. In addition, there are student-led Psychology and Anthropology Societies that hold talks, meetings and social events.
Grade 5 (or Grade B) or above in Mathematics at GCSE (or equivalent) is required.
A level offer: AAA (or equivalent).
BTEC offer: Level 3 National Extended Diploma/OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma – DDD.
IB Diploma offer: score of 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
- You may be eligible for a contextual offer – see www.durham.ac.uk/contextualoffers
- 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.
Science A levels
Applicants taking Science A levels that include a practical component will be required to take and pass this as a condition of entry. This applies only to applicants sitting A levels with an English examination board.
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||£28,500 per year|
|Island students||£9,250 per year|
|International students||£28,500 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 2018:
- 89% are in paid employment or further study 15 months after graduation across all our programmes
Of those in employment:
- 82% are in a professional or managerial job
- Average salary of £25,000.
(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 herewww.graduateoutcomes.ac.uk)
Of those students who graduated in 2018:
- 84% are in paid employment or further study 15 months after graduation across all our programmes
Of those in employment:
- 69% are in a professional or managerial job
- 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)
Have you ever really thought about what it means to be human? If you have and you want to learn more, then anthropology could be for you.
Anthropology is the study of all aspects of humanity, from our evolutionary origins to our extraordinary social and cultural diversity. At Durham, we pride ourselves on the breadth of our research, learning and teaching, encompassing all aspects of anthropology, and influencing the wider world through research that has global significance.
For more information see our department pages.
- Top 40 in the QS World University Subject Rankings 2021
- 8th in The Complete University Guide 2021.
Research Excellence Framework
- Ranked joint 1st in the UK for Internationally Excellent and World-leading research impact (REF 2014).
The Department of Anthropology hosts a range of state-of-the-art research facilities that are used and run by academic members of staff and their postgraduate students. Given our commitment to research-led teaching, undergraduates and taught postgraduates frequently conduct research projects using these facilities.
More information about our facilities and equipment.
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 ofbehaviour by investigating the processes underpinning the thoughts, feelings and motivations behind our actions.
To find out more see our department pages.
- We are proud to hold an Athena SWAN silver award,underlining our commitment to equality and diversity.
- World Top 150 in the QS World University Subject Rankings 2021.
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.
The best way to find out what Durham is really like is to come and see for yourself!