BSc (Hons) Psychology

The course

UCAS code
4 years
Delivery type

Heriot-Watt's BSc Psychology course in Edinburgh is accredited by the British Psychological Society – an accreditation required for anyone who wishes to pursue a career as a professional psychologist.


Got questions about this programme?

Contact our enquiries team.


Our complex world needs experts who can understand human experiences and human development. Psychology uses scientific methods to gain insights into a person's motivations, perceptions and behaviour and can make a significant contribution to society across many different areas of life, from education and health to the economy and crime.

Our BSc Psychology degree is a four-year undergraduate course that equips students with a broad-based understanding of this dynamic field. The course is structured to provide foundational knowledge in core areas of psychology, as well as opportunities to develop skills in research methods and analysis.

In addition, the programme offers specialised modules in areas such as cognitive psychology, neuropsychology, social psychology, health psychology and more. Year one of the course focuses on an introduction to psychology, research methods and academic skills. Year two and three then cover more specific topics, such as human development and intelligence, and cognitive psychology. In year four, students undertake an independent research project alongside their chosen BPS approved optional courses.

Our BSc Psychology degree focuses on problems in the real world, considering how psychology can help us to address them. As a career-focused university, our BSc psychology course materials are designed to provide students with practical skills that they can apply in professional roles. As well, this course is accredited by the British Psychological Society, providing the necessary accreditation for those looking to become a professional psychologist.

Heriot-Watt is highly regarded for its psychology degrees and you will be taught by a passionate community of research active academics, gaining advanced skills in research, data gathering and analysis, problem-solving, teamwork and leadership.

Our psychology expertise

Your learning will be informed by the expertise of our research-active academics whose work covers three key areas:

  • Work, society and environment
  • Lifespan health and wellbeing
  • Cognition, brain and behaviour

Your learning environment

The BSc Psychology course is mainly taught via lectures, but includes lots of tutorials, which means you can really get to know our staff, and they get to know you. Assessment involves a mixture of coursework and exams, with support and feedback from staff throughout the course. 

Our psychology students also benefit from four specialist research labs, which facilitate the work of academics and students alike. You have the chance to get involved in research being conducted by academic staff and PhD students through our Voluntary Research Assistant project.

Additionally, the Heriot-Watt Psychology Society holds regular social events, as well as teaming up with our academics to provide informal psychology discussion nights. 

Customise your learning

The BSc Psychology degree has been structured to allow you to focus on the areas of psychology that interest you most. For example, you can make choices from a range of optional courses to follow specialist pathways for health, education, social work or business.

Our Psychology degree can be combined with Economics or combined with Marketing, allowing you to graduate with a deep understanding of two disciplines and the many impactful links between them.

Plus, you can easily transfer study locations. Study for one semester or more at our Dubai campus or Malaysia campuses and continue to study the same content whilst enjoying the benefits of new cultural experiences. At least two years must be studied at the Edinburgh campus in order to gain BPS Accreditation.

Global College foundation pathway for Psychology

If you do not meet the entry requirements for this degree, you might consider foundation study with Heriot-Watt Global College, where you can follow an accelerated pathway which will get you onto the second year of this degree.


The British Psychological Society - Accredited

Our BSc Psychology degree is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) and qualifies Honours students for graduate registration with the Society. This is required for those wishing to take professional courses and qualify as professional psychologists (e.g. clinical, forensic, occupational or educational psychologists) in the UK. 

You must study at least two years of your Psychology course at the Edinburgh campus in order to qualify. You can submit an individual application for graduate membership of the Society if you do not meet the two years criteria.

Find out more about Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) of the British Psychological Society.

Claire Rogers

I loved the degree itself and the opportunities Heriot-Watt have for Psychology. I was drawn to specific courses within the degree as I really wanted to study Neuropsychology and Mental Health. I also fell in love with the campus. I loved how green and beautiful the grounds were. Now I am going to pursue a MSc in Clinical Health Psychology as my career aspiration is to be a Clinical Psychologist.

Claire Rogers, BSc Psychology (2022)

Course content

Year 1

Semester 1

  • Introduction to Psychology 1
  • Research Methods and Analysis 1
  • Academic Skills in Psychology
  • Option

Semester 2

  • Introduction to Psychology 2
  • Research Methods and Analysis 2
  • Becoming a Professional
  • Option

Optional courses: 

  • Introductory Biology 1 
  • Introductory Biology 2 
  • Chemistry for the Life Sciences 
  • Discovery Business 
  • Management in a Global Context 
  • Introductory Economics 
  • The Economy 
  • Introduction to Finance 
  • British Sign Language Beginners Elective 1 
  • British Sign Language Beginners Elective 2
  • French Post-Beginners Elective 1
  • French Post-Beginners Elective 2
  • German Beginners Elective 1
  • German Beginners Elective 2
  • Spanish Beginners Elective 1
  • Spanish Beginners Elective 2

Course Information 

Introduction to Psychology 1 and 2 will bring you to the frontline of the current knowledge on the human mind, by introducing to core concepts and theories of Psychology. Developed skills: scientific terminology, critical thinking for applied research.

Research methods and analysis 1 and 2 introduces students to Psychology as a science; why, and how, we use scientific methods including statistical analyses. Developed skills: transferable data processing, ethical and methodological approaches, descriptive statistics.

Academic skills for Psychology develops skills, which will help maximise your performance and knowledge-acquisition. Developed skills: general research and information searching, digesting and appraising written information, presenting and time-management.

Year 2

Courses cover social psychology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, intelligence, and research methods. Students also select optional courses (one per semester).

Semester 1

  • Philosophy and History of Psychology
  • Research Methods and Analysis 3
  • Developmental Psychology 
  • Option

Semester 2

  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Research Methods and Analysis 4
  • Social Psychology
  • Option

Optional Courses: 

  • Commercial Law 
  • Fundamentals of Marketing 
  • Human Resource Management 
  • Organisational Behaviour 
  • German Post-Beginners Elective 1 
  • German Post-Beginners Elective 2
  • Spanish Post-Beginners Elective 1 
  • Spanish Post-Beginners Elective 2

Course Information

Cognitive Psychology explores individual and joint contribution of cognitive systems, ranging from those that enabled us to form representations through those that promote adaptive behaviours. The knowledge acquired will facilitate learning in courses of Stages 3 and 4.

Developmental Psychology focuses on our formative years, from infancy through early childhood, highlighting some of the key achievements in our mental ability. The course will be of relevance to anyone interested in education, social work, and Health Psychology.

Social Psychology Technological advances; increasing globalisation and human migration have resulted in greater contact with people. Challenges discussed in course range from prejudiced beliefs, to obediently conforming to a specific ideology.

In Philosophy and History of Psychology you will learn about the origins of psychology, how it became a science, the different schools and ethical issues in theory, research and practice. It will help understand the role of psychology in the wider context of human science.

In Research methods and analysis 3 and 4 you will learn about quantitative methods and designs, planning, analysing and communicating research. The course will be for those seeking a career in academia and teaching, as well as government, charity or private sector research.

Year 3

Semester 1

  • Cognition across the Lifespan
  • Research Methods and Analysis 5
  • Cross-cultural Psychology
  • Forensic Psychology

Semester 2

  • Biological Psychology 
  • Health Psychology
  • Research Methods and Analysis 6
  • Social Cognition and Personality

Optional course: Industrial Training 

Course Information

Cognition across the Lifespan explore changes across the early years, adolescence, and throughout older age. Students will design lifespan appropriate interventions. Graduate destinations: childhood education, lifelong learning, social and health care services.

Psychobiology will take you on a journey in brain and behaviour, exploring the nervous system, relying on neuroscience techniques (MRI, PET, EEG).  Graduate destinations: Cognitive Neuroscience, Mental Health, Clinical Psychology and Neurodevelopmental Psychology.

Social Cognition and Personality will provide a framework to the study of personality with a focus on trait approaches and methods of measuring personality.

In Research methods and analyses 5 and 6, you will be introduced to advanced statistical technique and to critical evaluation of the research we need to understand in order to better design our own. Subject mastery: Critically appraise research and use to plan your own.

Year 4

Semester 1

  • Research Project 1
  • Approved Psychology Option
  • Approved Psychology Option
  • Approved Psychology Option

Semester 2

  • Research Project 2
  • Approve Psychology Option
  • Approved Psychology Option
  • Approved Psychology Option

Research Project 

Students work closely with a staff member in devising and conducting their research project in applied psychology. They also select six other psychology courses. Coursework applies the information from these to employment-related settings and 'real-world' problems.

BPS Approved optional courses:

  • Neurodiversity
  • Counselling Psychology 
  • Cognitive Rehabilitation 
  • Psychology and Mental Health 
  • Workplace PSychology 
  • Psychology of Education 
  • Applied Sport and Exercise Psychology 
  • Advanced Social Psychology
  • Neuropsychology
Course overviews 

*Psychology of Education: It's clear that ‘education' comprises teaching and learning, but how does one lead to the other, and what advise can we offer teachers if it doesn't? The course is critical venue to present applications within educational contexts.  Graduate destinations: Educational contexts (e.g., classroom assistants, teachers and Educational Psychologists).

**Advanced Social Psychology:  Take a moment and think of your behaviour when you are alone. Does your behaviour change when your friends are around?  In this course, we look at different theories explaining behaviour in social interactions between individuals and groups. Graduate destinations: Education, Marketing, HR Management, Occupational Psychology.

Discover Uni course data

Discover Uni provides data on each university's degree courses across a range of measures including student satisfaction, graduate jobs and salaries.


Work and study

This is what our BSc (Hons) Psychology students are doing 15 months after graduating:

  • 54% are working
  • 16% are studying
  • 21% are working and studying.


  • The average salary of students 15 months after graduating: £22000
  • The average UK salary of students 15 months after graduating from a similar course: £22500

Potential career paths

  • Clinical psychology
  • Counselling
  • Educational psychology
  • Forensic psychology
  • Health and occupational psychologists
  • Business and public service associate professionals
  • Welfare and housing associate professionals
  • And more

Entry requirements

Year 1

Standard entry requirements

Highers AABB (over two sittings)
A-Levels BBC - ABB
Int. Baccalaureate 29 points
BTEC DDM (Health and Social Sciences preferred)
HNC B in graded unit Social Sciences (Psychology, Research Methods/Statistics required modules)

Minimum entry requirements *

Highers BBBC
A-Levels BBC - ABB

* Minimum: under our Fair Access Policy, we will relax our standard entry requirements for some Scottish students depending on their circumstances. Our minimum requirements will apply if you:

• live in an area within the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation lowest 20% (SIMD20)
• or are care experienced.

We can also make exceptions for some Scottish students with grades above minimum but below standard. Read more about our Minimum and standard entry requirements.

Year 2

  • Advanced Highers BB (plus AABB at Higher preferably including Higher Psychology A)
  • A-Levels ABB - Psychology at A is preferred
  • Int. Baccalaureate 34 points
  • HNC A in Social Sciences graded unit (Social Sciences, Psychology, Research Methods/Statistics required)
  • HND AB / BA in Social Sciences graded units (Social Sciences, Psychology, Research Methods/Statistics required)
  • Global College Successful completion of our Psychology with Accelerator Programme

Additional information

• For all years, applications are welcomed from holders of non-school qualifications, mature candidates and overseas students.
• If you do not see your qualifications here please contact us at
• Please check that you meet our University-wide National 5/GCSE (or equivalent) English and Maths requirements.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you have to show that your English is good enough to succeed on your course. Please see our English language requirements.


Tuition fees for 2024 entry
Status* Scotland England / Wales / N Ireland / Rep of Ireland International**
Fee Paid by SAAS £9,250 £18,704

* Your residency 'status' is usually defined as the country where you have been ordinarily resident for the three years before the start of your course. Find out more about tuition fees.

** 'International' includes applicants from European Union countries who do not hold Pre-Settled or Settled status in UK. (This does not include students from the Republic of Ireland - see above). Read more about the application process for EU nationals.

Additional costs

You may incur additional costs in the course of your studies at Heriot-Watt over and above tuition fees in an academic year. Depending on your programme of study, these may include: protective equipment, field trips, professional memberships, studio fees, required course texts or other study resources.

Scholarships and bursaries

Featured scholarships

Bursaries for students from England, Northern Ireland or Wales

In addition to government loans and grants towards the costs of fees and living costs, we are offering generous financial support to attract and support eligible undergraduate students from England, Northern Ireland or Wales:

  • Heriot-Watt University Bursary (up to £3,100 per year)
View details about the Heriot-Watt University Bursary

View our full range of undergraduate scholarships.