Why this course?
Our main focus in psychology is the study of human behaviour.
You'll look at conditions of behaviour – how we learn, remember, co-ordinate our actions and interact with others – and the reasons for differences between individuals, such as personality or intelligence.
Due to the popularity of the course and performance criteria for entry into Honours (Year 4) the numbers admitted to Years 2 and 3 of the course are limited.
Social policy is a theoretical and applied subject which draws on many different disciplines - such as history, sociology, anthropology, economics, law, psychology and politics - to improve our understanding of how different societies organise their resources to meet individual and social needs and how they measure progress in these areas.
This new social policy degree programme gives you the opportunity to learn more about the social and economic challenges facing Scottish society and enables you to place these in a broader international and comparative perspective.
It also addresses some of the major questions of our time, such as how should social policy adapt to a changing global, digital, connected and information-rich world? How can we adapt social policies to the needs of a more diverse society? And how should resources be distributed, not only between generations, but also within them?
Our BA degrees in Humanities & Social Sciences are initially broad-based. In Year 1, you'll study three subjects, including your chosen subject(s).
What you’ll study
The first year covers the basic principles of learning:
- biological bases of behaviour
- social influences on behaviour
- changes in behaviour through the lifespan
- research methods
Years 2 & 3
The range of classes provides a greater understanding of human development and interaction, cognitive processes, individual differences and biological influences on behaviour.
We offer a variety of classes that allow you to study an area of psychology in greater depth. You'll study conceptual and historical issues in psychology and write a dissertation based on your research project.
There's an opportunity for you to take an optional international research placement through Erasmus.
The School of Psychological Sciences and Health has Erasmus exchange agreements with several European universities. We currently have active exchanges with:
- Humboldt University zu Berlin, Germany
- Universidad de A Coruna, Spain
- University of Twente, Netherlands
- University Tubingen, Germany
- Radbout University, Nijmegen, Netherlands
For general queries about exchanges to and from the School of Psychological Sciences and Health, please contact Dr Kellyanne Findlay.
You can undertake an optional summer research project working with a member of staff. In addition, there are opportunities to apply for funding to complete summer internships between year 3 and 4.
Our high-quality facilities include six purpose-built experimental research laboratories:
- driving simulator lab
- memory lab
- perception and action lab
- psychophysiology lab
- psycholinguistics lab
- oculomotor lab
Psychology graduates can progress into postgraduate training to become professional psychologists. We currently run a number of post-graduate courses which provide additional research training:
We currently award two prizes to exceptional psychology students.
The Gustav Jahoda Prize founded in 1997 in honour of Emeritus Professor Gustav Jahoda, the first Head of the Department of Psychology, is awarded annually on the recommendation of the Board of Examiners to a psychology Honours student for outstanding academic performance in their final year.
The British Psychological Society Undergraduate Award is also awarded annually for outstanding academic performance in the final year.
What you'll study
Our Semester 1 module provides a wide-ranging introduction to some of the key challenges facing Scottish society in areas such as health, housing, education and social security. The Semester 2 module asks how different issues come to be recognised and defined as ‘social problems’. At what point do individual or personal issues come to be defined as social issues, and why?
You'll have the opportunity to deepen your knowledge and understanding of the development of Scottish social policy. You will also discover more about some of the key concepts in Social Policy, including such issues as human needs, social welfare, inequality, poverty, citizenship, and social exclusion. You'll also get the chance to discuss the processes through which policies are made and engage in debates about their effectiveness.
You'll be expected to undertake a more detailed examination of the development of Scottish social policy in a UK context, alongside in-depth studies of the particular social policy areas or themes that interest you. You will also take a class in research methodology which will help you to prepare for your final year dissertation.
You'll take a core module in Comparative Social Policy, alongside the more detailed study of a particular area or theme. Your classes will be based around the specialist research interests of the academic staff and you will be engaging in debates at the cutting edge of current Social Policy thinking. The 10,000-word Honours dissertation will be your chance to undertake some original research of your own in a key area of Social Policy.
All honours students will have the opportunity to complete a 10,000-word dissertation on a topic of their choice. The dissertation gives you the opportunity to undertake independent research into an issue which is particularly important to you.
It might be based on a detailed analysis of original sources, such as policy documents or statistical records, or you might choose to generate your own data, using interviews or focus groups. The opportunity to undertake original research into an topic of particular interest means that the dissertation is often the most satisfying part of any student’s degree.
You'll take this class in semester 1 and are not expected to have any prior knowledge of psychology. It explores learning theory, developmental psychology, personality, biological psychology, and the scientific basis for psychology.
This class is taught in semester 2 and covers sensation and perception, cognitive psychology, social psychology, abnormal psychology, and research methods.
Social Policy & Society in Contemporary Scotland
Private Issues & Public Problems
This class is designed to introduce you to some of the major issues confronting Scottish society and to provide an accessible introduction to some of the key concerns of Social Policy. It will examine a range of issues, including questions of poverty and inequality, social divisions, health, housing, education, and criminal justice.
This class examines the different ways in which ‘private issues’ become recognised as ‘public problems’. Using a number of different case studies, such as domestic violence, homelessness or poverty, it will look at the different ways in which social problems have been identified and at the different standpoints from which they can be viewed.
Cognition & Neuropsychology
Social & Health Psychology
This class reveals how our understanding of higher mental functions has been enhanced through:
- theoretical and experimental studies of normal human cognition
- neuropsychological studies of how cognitive functions may be damaged as a result of brain lesions
Topics covered include disorders of the perceptual system, memory and attention, and the role of the frontal lobes in planning, motivation, emotion, and personality.
Introduction to Research Design & Analysis
This class introduces social psychological theories and research that provide insights into why people believe what they believe, and why they behave the way they do.
Topics covered include attribution theory, aggression, prosocial behaviour, group influence, norms, conformity, obedience, and attitudes.
It ends with an introduction to health psychology, demonstrating how social psychological principles covered earlier in the class are applied to pressing, real-world health issues such as dietary behaviour, smoking/alcohol-use, and suicide.
You'll be introduced to the main features of measurement, research design, and statistical analysis in psychology.
Following a general introduction, the course presents fundamental concepts, issues, and debates in the field of research methods.
You'll also become familiarised with the conceptual basis for inferential statistical testing, and introduced to different inferential statistics. Finally, a brief introduction to qualitative research methods takes place.
Scottish Social Policy since 1845
Key Concepts in Social Welfare
This class explores some of the different ways in which social policy has evolved in Scotland in response to a variety of social problems since the introduction of the Scottish Poor Law Act in 1845. It covers all the main areas of social policy, including health, housing, education and poverty, and also explores the changing boundaries between individuals, families, communities, voluntary organisations, commercial welfare and state over the course of this period.
The Making of Social Policy
This class explores some of the most important concepts in the academic study of Social Policy, including such concepts as equality, justice, need, happiness, poverty and wellbeing. It also examines a number of different ideological perspectives on these issues, such as liberalism, conservatism, socialism, social democracy, Marxism, feminism and the New Right.
This class examines the ways in which social policies are ‘made’ at both a national and international level. It examines the roles played by different actors, institutions and ideas. It also looks at the ways in which evidence is used to inform policy-making, and at the ways in which we are all involved, as citizens, in the policy process. These themes are explored with the aid of a series of case-studies, including health and education policies, and the development and implementation of equalities legislation.
Research Methods in Psychology
This class builds on year 2 and equips you with a broader, more advanced set of methodological and analytic skills. These skills are essential for carrying out the year 4 dissertation and for being able to read and understand articles published in academic journals.
You're encouraged to think scientifically about conceptual and practical issues related to the study of individual differences, with specific reference to intelligence and personality. You'll gain the chance to put this knowledge into practice by designing your own measurement instrument.
You'll be introduced to some of the core topics in cognitive psychology
- Perception and action, particularly how we perceive time and recognise faces
- Memory and learning, including models of episodic and working memory
- Language, including word production, sentence comprehension, and discourse processing
- Thinking, specifically problem solving, deductive reasoning and judgement and decision making.
This class reviews the ways that children develop from infancy right through to the end of adolescence. Key theories are presented and used to explore the extent to which children’s development is continuous or stage-like and whether specific skills develop more quickly than others. Issues relating to infancy, ‘theory of mind’ (understanding others’ thoughts and beliefs), executive function (planning and monitoring abilities), language, and communication form the core themes in the class.
The purpose of this class is to provide the opportunity for you to learn the basic principles of brain function, and to encourage you to address the implications of this understanding for their own view of how behaviour is generated. It includes coverage of electrophysiology and psychopharmacology, neuroanatomy, research methods in neuroscience. There are focused sections relating to the visual system and the motor system.
This class allows you to consider current ideas and positions within social psychology. Four themes drive the class
- Attitudes and attitude change, covering the Theory of Planned Behaviour and the Health Belief Model
- Identity, with a focus on social, personal and group identities
- Prejudice, connecting both attitudes and identities, and covering a broad range of areas such as social representations, stereotyping, prejudice and conflict
- Epistemology, where consideration is given to the theory of knowledge, how social psychological knowledge is produced, and to what effect
Research Skills in Social Policy
Scottish Social Welfare in a UK Context
This class will help you to develop your knowledge and understanding of some of the key methods used by researchers in the field of social policy. It will introduce you to a number of different qualitative and quantitative methods, and to some of the basic principles of research design. It will provide an essential foundation for your final-year dissertation.
This class examines the ways in which recent political developments have placed questions of social policy at the heart of debates over the future of the United Kingdom. To what extent do the different parts of the UK face different social problems? To what extent do different parts of the UK possess a different approach to the resolution of these issues? How has the governance of social policy in different parts of the UK been affected by its current constitutional arrangements?
Dissertation in Psychology
Advanced Organisational Behaviour
The dissertation is an opportunity for you to undertake an original piece of research, closely supervised by a single member of staff. Planning for the dissertation begins in year 3, and dissertations can be of such high standards that they are subsequently published in peer-reviewed academic journals.
Advanced Psychological Theory & Practice I & II
This class is offered by the Strathclyde Business School, and draws on current themes in Human Resource Management understood from the perspective of micro-organisational behaviour theory and research. Although the theoretical underpinning of the material covered is primarily about work and organisational issues at the level of individual behaviour in organisations, a contextual understanding of these issues is also encouraged.
If you take only one of these classes, you'll choose two of the following topics.
If you take both these classes, you're permitted to choose four:
- Qualitative Methods
- Social Development
- Psychoanalytic Personality Psychology
- Cognitive Impairment in Psychological Disorders
- Practical Aspects of Memory
- Artificial Intelligence
Advanced Psychological Theory & Practice I & II topicsQualitative Methods
This class will offer you the opportunity to develop a deeper theoretical and practical understanding of advanced qualitative research methodologies. It aims to support and develop your understanding of the epistemological and theoretical assumptions behind various qualitative methodologies, specifically:
- discourse analysis
- conversation analysis
- grounded theory
- interpretative phenomenological analysis
- narrative analysis.
Psychoanalytic Personality Psychology
Social development is a specialised, though broad, area of developmental psychology. It covers the development of all aspects of social behaviour, social influence and social reasoning. This class is intended for students who already have some grounding in developmental psychology and who wish to study advanced topics in depth.
Particular attention is paid to the interacting contributions of biological, cognitive and environmental factors. The lecture-based component of the course covers a range of core topics. These include:
- Infant social behaviour and understanding
- ethnicity and ethnic attitudes
- social cognitive development
- social development in adolescence
Cognitive Impairment in Psychological Disorders
This class will consider the historical and conceptual development of Psychoanalytic Personality Psychology, tracing its development from Freud’s work, through the work of the early Object Relations theorists, to modern approaches to Object Relations and Attachment theory.
It aims to critically assess the contribution that Psychoanalytic and Attachment theorists and practitioners can make to understanding personality. It promotes theoretical insight and reflective learning by engaging you with nomothetic studies of various aspects of psychoanalytic principles in practice such that links to discussions of theory are established.
In addition to lectures, you'll analyse personalities of two notable characters in history, critically assessing what unique insights into their nature's psychoanalytic theory can add to those of approaches rooted in cognitive-behavioural theories. You'll then be further encouraged to identify the links between background literature and the complexity of whole personalities.
Practical Aspects of Memory
This class will explore the theoretical underpinnings of the short and long term memory systems (working, episodic, semantic) and related cognitive functions (eg executive functions), the methodological issues relating to their assessment, and how aspects of cognitive function have been implicated in specific clinical disorders.
Lectures which explore theoretical models of these memory aspects will be followed up with more specific and applied lectures and class discussions about the role of working memory and other executive functions in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Williams syndrome, episodic memory in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and cognitive control, rumination and memory in depression.
The focus of this class is to highlight the issue of generalisability of psychological theory with specific reference to memory. This approach encourages you to assess theories, developed in the laboratory, for their generalisability to real life applications, and, thereby, develops their critical analysis skills.
The two fields which are considered are forensic and clinical psychology. In the forensic domain the areas covered relate to the accuracy and completeness of eyewitness memory, and the assessment of line-up procedures and interview techniques used by the police, with practical recommendations made as to which situations and contexts certain procedures will be useful. In terms of clinical psychology, we will largely be focusing on the validity of repressed memories, with implications for ethically treating clients, and the important role of context in determining the veracity of a claim of recovered memories.
Advanced Psychological Theory & Practice III & IV
This class will introduce you to some of the core topics in Artificial Intelligence, of both the traditional, symbol-manipulation and the more recent connectionist varieties. AI simulations in the areas of visual perception, language, memory and learning will be discussed to allow the exploration of key theoretical debates.
You'll develop an understanding of the relevance of artificial intelligence for psychology, and vice versa, and contrast the ‘analytic’ approach of experimental psychology with the ‘synthetic’ approach of AI.
If you take only one of these classes, you'll choose two of the following topics.
If you take both these classes, you're permitted to choose four:
- Perception & Action
- Physiological Psychology
- Psychology of Language
- Performance Psychology
- Health Psychology
- Neuropsychology of Ageing & Dementia
Advanced Psychological Theory & Practice III & IV topicsPerception & Action
Perception and action is one of the major fields in contemporary cognitive psychology and neuropsychology. This class provides an opportunity for you to explore the field at an advanced level and achieve in-depth understanding of three key areas:
- Theoretical approaches to the problem of perception, paying particular attention to the contrasting perspectives and contemporary debate between ‘information processing’ versus ‘ecological’ theories of perception.
- The ways in which perceptual information is used in the planning and control of action both in laboratory studies and in ‘real world’ activities such as tennis, cricket, athletics, high-diving and driving.
- The role of cognitive maps and other representations of space in controlling perceptual activity. How cognitive representations of space are used to navigate around the external environment in children versus adults, and in blind versus sighted people. We also explore some of the spatial representations found in other species and explore how these can give rise to extraordinary spatial abilities.
This class will consider the historical and conceptual development of forensic psychology.
It'll build on your earlier work, specifically on your knowledge of the psychology of individual differences and, more generally, on their skills in applying research methods in psychology. The class aims to critically assess the contribution that forensic psychology researchers and practitioners can make to the criminal justice system.
It'll promote theoretical insight and reflective learning by engaging you with both nomothetic and idiographic studies of various aspects of the work of forensic psychologists such that links to discussions of theory are established. In addition to lectures, you'll analyse real examples of the forensic psychologist’s work, specifically by reporting on the psychological dynamics of a police interview, and by applying psychological theory to the analysis of a criminal personality.
Psychology of Language
The main purpose of this class is to provide a selective overview of the physiological and neural substrates of motivational states. The two motivational states that are covered in this stream are hunger and sexual motivation. To help you understand these two motivational states, a number of other topics have to be covered to provide the required background knowledge:
- the development of the nervous system including the roles of genes and the environment in development
- threats and incentives
- sexual differentiation
These topics will be new to you. You must learn new vocabulary and learn about basic physiological processes and neuro-anatomy. You'll also have to integrate this information to think about the psychological implications and consequences of these neural processes.
The class will explore some of the key issues in psycholinguistic research such as pragmatic aspects of language use, language development, second language processing. You'll understand some of the key concepts in these areas (eg common ground theory, egocentricity in language processing, language transfer), and will be able to critically evaluate the key scientific findings relating to them. You'll also appreciate the main experimental paradigms/techniques that are used in the field.
Psychological factors are recognised as having an essential role in the attainment of success in all aspect of performance, especially in sport. In this class, issues relating to the psychology of elite performance, individual and group processes and the acquisition of complex motor skills will be examined. The aim of the topic stream is to provide you with an in-depth understanding of:
- Psychology of elite performance
- The relationships between anxiety and performance will be evaluated, and the ways elite performers cope with the pressure will be assessed
- Individual and group processes in sport: An evaluation of leadership styles and group and team dynamics will be undertaken
- Motor skill acquisition and performance: current theoretical issues in the development of skilled motor behaviours will be analysed
Neuropsychology of Ageing and Dementia
You'll be provided with a comprehensive grounding in the theories, methods and evidence base of health psychology. In addition, this class will provide opportunities for you to apply your knowledge to real world health problems. This combination of knowledge and practical application will enable you to make informed judgements about postgraduate study and training within the discipline. It'll also support any effort to gain employment within health related jobs, such as health promotion.
This class will offer you the opportunity to acquire an in-depth understanding of the theories and empirical data that are relevant within the field of neuropsychology of ageing and dementia.
It'll cover the differences between normal and pathological decline in old age and will provide information on the neuropsychological profiles and pathologies which characterise different forms of dementia.
You'll learn to identify the features which can aid early diagnosis and differential diagnosis of the dementias (eg for Alzheimer's disease, Frontotemporal dementia, Vascular dementia and Parkinson’s disease dementia, Lewy body dementia). You'll become familiar with how different aspects of cognition are distributed within the brain and will be aware of the consequences of impairment. Different methodologies that are used for the study of the dementias will be explored (eg neuropsychological assessment, functional and structural neuroimaging) and you'll learn to critically evaluate the benefits and pitfalls of each method.
Study abroadErasmus International Work Placement
This class is an option which is available to a restricted number of students who'll apply to take part. It involves a placement with a European University partner working in a research team during the summer between years 3 and 4. Additional assessment is the completed during semester 1 of year 4.
The Welfare State in Comparative Perspective
This class examines the development of welfare states as a global phenomenon. It asks what we mean by the concept of a ‘welfare state’ and looks at the ways in which welfare states have developed in different countries. It also explores some of the major differences between different types of welfare state, using the concept of ‘welfare régimes’.
Many students find that the dissertation is the most fulfilling part of their degree. It will provide you with the opportunity to undertake your own in-depth investigation into a topic of your choice, and to develop skills as an independent researcher.
We assess students using:
- class tests
- practical reports
- individual presentations
- group presentations
- degree examinations.
Online and face-to-face group project work is also included in the course. You'll take part in practical assignments from first-year onwards.
You'll be assessed using a variety of methods, including not only traditional essays and exams, but also oral presentations, group work and other forms of assessment.
Learning & teaching
Our methods include:
- small-group tutorials
- practical labs
- online tutorials
- online wikis
- group work
- problem-based learning
- one-to-one supervision
These methods are used across all years of the degree and aim to provide you with opportunities to learn and work in different ways.
Required subjects are indicated following minimum accepted grades.
1st sitting: AAAA
2nd sitting: AAAAB
- Higher English B, plus one from the list below
- Maths/Lifeskills Maths National 5 C or equivalent
- Classical Studies
- Modern Studies
- Religious Moral & Philosophical Studies
We recognise a wide range of Highers, however, your profile must reflect a good grounding in essay-based subjects.
Year 1 entry:
Minimum entry requirement: BBB (GCSE English Language B or English Literature B, GCSE Maths C)
Typical entry requirement: ABB (GCSE English Language B or English Literature B, GCSE Maths C)
Year 2 entry:
Minimum entry requirement: ABB (two core subjects at AB)
Typical entry requirement: AAA (two core subjects required)
36 (Maths SL5)
Year 1 entry:
HNC Social Sciences: A in Graded Unit; Maths National 5 C or equivalent
Irish Leaving Certificate
Subjects and grades as for Highers.
It is important to take care over your personal statement. We look for information about your academic and career interests, and your range of skills, abilities, and relevant experience. Your personal statement should show evidence you have a strong awareness and interest in the subject you are applying to.
Deferred entry normally not accepted.
Applicants with Highers
Due to the high level of competition for the number of available places, it is unlikely that Conditional Offers will be made to anyone attaining less than ABB at the first sitting of Highers.
Second-year entry for A Level/Advanced Higher candidates is possible with AA/AB in the two subjects you're planning to study.
Admission to Honours
All students will be admitted as potential Honours students. Students may exit with a Bachelor of Arts degree at the end of Year 3 of the programme if they have accumulated at least 360 credits and satisfied the appropriate specialisation requirements. For admission to the final year of the Honours course, a student must have achieved an approved standard of performance. Due to the high level of demand on the course, there are additional performance based criteria used to determine progress from Level 1 to Level 2 Psychology and from Level 2 to Single Honours in Psychology.
We want to increase opportunities for people from every background. Strathclyde selects our students based on merit, potential and the ability to benefit from the education we offer. We look for more than just your grades. We consider the circumstances of your education and will make lower offers to certain applicants as a result.
Find out if you can benefit from this type of offer.
Fees & funding
How much will my course cost?
All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.
Rest of UK
Bachelor degrees at Strathclyde will cost £9,250 a year, but the total amount payable will be capped at £27,750 for students on a four-year Bachelors programme. Students studying on integrated Masters degree programmes – for example MSci, MEng and MPharm – will pay £9,250 for the Masters year.
Course materials & costs
All recommended texts and computer software packages are available from the University Library and Pegasus.
Students should purchase a standard calculator. It's required for the duration of the course.
Please note: All fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.
How can I fund my studies?
Students from Scotland and the EU
If you're a Scottish or EU student, you may be able to apply to the Student Award Agency Scotland (SAAS) to have your tuition fees paid by the Scottish government. Scottish students may also be eligible for a bursary and loan to help cover living costs while at University.
For more information on funding your studies have a look at our University Funding page.
Students from England, Wales & Northern Ireland
We have a generous package of bursaries on offer for students from England, Northern Ireland and Wales