The course

UCAS code
C800
Duration
4 years
Location
Edinburgh
Delivery type
Full-time

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

Contact

Overview

Psychology uses scientific methods to examine key themes in the relationship between mind and behaviour. Through psychological study, we can explore the influence biology has on behaviour; the way humans develop from early infancy to adulthood; and the way people perceive the world, think, solve problems and make decisions.

At Heriot-Watt, we begin with a problem and consider how psychology can help us address it with practical solutions for the real world. We have four specialist research labs which facilitate the work of academics and students alike.

Heriot-Watt’s BSc Psychology degree is informed by the work and knowledge of research-active academics whose expertise in psychology covers three key areas:

  • Work, Society and Environment
  • Lifespan Health and Wellbeing
  • Cognition, Brain and Behaviour

During this degree you will study Cognitive Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Individual Differences, Psychobiology, and Social Psychology. You will develop advanced skills in research, data gathering, data analysis, and report writing. You will also build your creativity, leadership, teamwork, communication, presentation, and problem-solving abilities. In Year 4 you will undertake your own research project.

Go Global with Psychology at Heriot-Watt University

BSc Psychology is taught across Heriot-Watt University’s three main global campuses in Edinburgh, Dubai, and Malaysia. This means our students can easily transfer for one semester or more across our campuses and continue to study the same content whilst enjoying extremely beneficial life experiences.

The Psychology Society

The Psychology Society is a student-run group for everyone interested in psychology. It holds regular social events like laser tag, wellbeing walks, and pub quizzes. It also teams up with the academic department to run informal psychology discussion nights in the student union.  Our staff regularly bring their research to members of the public with performances at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival where they present their research in unique and engaging ways.

Voluntary Research Assistant project

At Heriot-Watt University, undergraduate psychology students have the chance to get involved in research being conducted by academic staff and PhD students through our Voluntary Research Assistant project.

Psychology career prospects

Psychology degrees develop a unique combination of interpersonal and transferable skills that are very attractive to employers. Our graduates have an excellent track record in gaining employment across business, teaching, counselling, nursing, marketing, and social work. Many of our students go on to work in clinical psychology, counselling, educational psychology, forensic psychology, and as health and occupational psychologists.

The BSc Psychology degree has been restructured in recent years to give students the chance to focus their studies on the areas of psychology that interest them most. For example, you can make choices from a range of optional courses to follow specialist pathways for Health, Education, Social Work or Business.

Teaching style

Teaching is mainly through lectures. But, this Psychology degree also includes lots of tutorials, which means that you can really get to know our staff. Assessment is a mixture of coursework and exams.

Accreditation

The British Psychological Society - Accredited

BSc Psychology at Heriot-Watt University 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).

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

Go Global

This United Kingdom-based course has the following 'Go Global' options:

Detailed course information

Course content

Detailed course guide

Year 1

Semester 1

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

Semester 2

  • Introduction to Psychology 2
  • Research Methods & Analysis 2
  • Option
  • Option

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

  • Cognitive Psychology 1
  • Research Methods & Analysis 3
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Option

Semester 2

  • Philosophy and History of Psychology
  • Research Methods & Analysis 4
  • Social Psychology
  • Option

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 & Analysis 5
  • Intelligence at Work
  • Approved Psychology Option

Semester 2

  • Psychobiology
  • Research Methods & Analysis 6
  • Social Cognition and Personality
  • Approved Psychology Option

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.

Intelligence at Work looks at the origins, and later development, of ‘intelligence’ as a concept within Psychology, and the practical ways in which it shapes our place in the world. Career destinations: Education, Human Resource Management and Occupational Psychology.

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
  • Psychology of Education
  • Approved Psychology Option
  • Approved Psychology Option

Semester 2

  • Research Project 2
  • Advanced Social Psychology
  • Approved British Psychology Option
  • Approved British 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.

Course Information

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.

Employability

Work and study

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

  • 75% are working
  • 15% are studying
  • 5% are working and studying.

Managerial/professional position

  • 40% of those working are in a professional/managerial position six months after graduating.

Jobs

These are the most common jobs students go into six months after graduating:

  • Caring personal services
  • Business and public service associate professionals
  • Teaching and educational professionals

Entry requirements

Year 1

Standard entry requirements 
  • Highers AAAB (over two sittings)
  • A-Levels BBB
  • 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

* 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 AAAB 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)

Additional information

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.

Fees

Tuition fees for 2020 entry (by residency status)
Status* Scotland / EU** England / Northern Ireland / Wales*** International
Fee Paid by SAAS £9,250 £15,080

* 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.

** European Union countries (not including England, Northern Ireland or Wales).

*** 'Rest of the UK' (RUK) students entering at Level 1 receive a fee waiver of one year's tuition fee. Normally this will be the final year, or a year during which students study abroad (either at a partnership institution, or at one of Heriot-Watt's overseas campuses).

4 years for the price of 3

If you live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, study with us and save £9,250 over your 4-year degree.

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 starting undergraduate degree courses in 2020

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 students from England, Northern Ireland or Wales:

Merit Awards for international students starting undergraduate degree courses in 2020

If you are an international fee-paying, self-funded offer holder you may be eligible for:

View our full range of undergraduate scholarships.