Studying Psychology in the UK
The UK is a great place to live and study in. From buzzing hub cities like Glasgow, Leeds and London to fabulous rural locations like the Highlands of Scotland and Wales, there is a huge variety of places in which to study and explore the breadth and beauty of the British Isles. Despite its diversity the UK is a relatively small country, so wherever you study you will have the opportunity to travel and explore some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. In addition, the UK has a rich cultural heritage and landscape. It is made up of four countries: Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and England, all with their very own identities and characters. The UK is highly multicultural and diverse in terms of ethnicity and religion, and its universities reflect this also; it is well recognised that the more diversity there is within a university, the better the learning experience is.
There are nearly 150 institutions offering degree programmes in Psychology in the UK, from small campus universities in rural locations, to large “red-brick” city universities, to very-long established traditional seats of learning.
Importantly, there are very high standards for the teaching of Psychology degrees in the UK, which are set out by the Qualifications Assurance Authority (QAA), and governed by the British Psychological Society (BPS). All BPS-accredited degrees must meet exacting standards, which include good staffing and good resources (e.g., library and technical facilities). So, do ensure that the university you are interested in has its programmes approved and accredited by the BPS. Not only will this ensure you are studying a good Psychology degree, but it means you will graduate with entitlement for Graduate Basis for Chartership of the BPS, which is essential should you choose to pursue a career as a psychologist in the UK.
A UK Psychology degree will equip you with a huge choice of career destinations, whether it be as a professional psychologist, or taking your skills and knowledge into another work sphere. The qualification will equip you with good skills of numeracy, literacy, critical thinking, analytical skills, presentation skills (both written and oral), team working and an ability to work independently. A Psychology degree is highly regarded by prospective employers as it offers a very rounded portfolio of knowledge and skills.
The fact that almost all UK Psychology degrees are accredited by the BPS means that you will see many common elements in the curricula across different universities. However, different universities will have specialisms in different areas, so you should look closely at the programmes on offer to judge what would suit you best. Many universities also offer online tours and some even offer pre-university online courses that can set you going in the right direction.
The UK is a fantastic place to study Psychology, and the choice of universities is vast. So think about (i) where do I want to live and study in? (ii) do I prefer a campus university or one that is central in a city? (iii) does the degree programme on offer fit with my interests? And, ultimately, (iv) will I be happy there and have the very best learning experience? Whatever you choose, you can be guaranteed that a UK Psychology degree will be a great route into the career of your choice, and you will have a great experience living and studying here.
Prof Catriona Morrison
Secretary, The Association of Heads of Psychology Departments