Psychology MA (Hons) 2018 entry

The MA (Hons) in Psychology will introduce you to the full range of areas that are studied by psychologists, including perception, cognition, motivation and behaviour. You will be grounded in the theoretical foundations and modern developments of contemporary psychology, and emphasis is placed on practical classes and on learning research techniques right from the start.

Psychology is studied up to Honours level in both the Faculty of Science (BSc) and the Faculty of Arts (MA). Students who have a background in the Arts or who wish to study Psychology alongside Arts subjects at St Andrews should apply for the MA. For those interested in studying Psychology alongside Science subjects, the BSc in Psychology may be of interest.

A degree in Psychology from St Andrews is recognised by the British Psychological Society as conferring basis for graduate registration, and qualifies you to undertake training in various areas of professional psychology including both clinical and educational psychology.

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UCAS code

C802

Course type

Master of Arts (single Honours degree)

Course duration

Four years full time

  • Start date: 10 September 2018
  • End date: 30 June 2022

If you started this programme in 2017, you can find information about 2017 entry on the 2017 Psychology MA page. Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive

Typical entry requirements

SQA Highers AAAB
GCE A-Levels AAB
IB points 35

For degrees combining more than one subject, the subject with the higher entry requirements determines the grades you need. You will also need to meet any further subject specific entrance requirements as outlined on their pages.

International applicants

If English is not your first language you will need an overall IELTS score of 7.0, with a minimum score of 6.5 in each component (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking), or an equivalent English Language qualification.

Find out more about international entry requirements.

How to apply

Do I need to have studied this subject before?

No previous knowledge of Psychology is required.

Faculty entry requirements

You must also meet the Faculty of Arts minimum qualifications. These vary depending on which qualifications you hold.

Other qualifications

Passes in other examinations at equivalent levels and subjects may be accepted by the Dean of the Faculty. More information on how to apply via other entry routes or accreditation of prior learning and experience can be found on the University’s entry requirements webpage.

Find out more about Faculty of Arts entry requirements.

Timetables

St Andrews students must meet with their advisor at the beginning of Semester 1 in September to complete advising – a compulsory part of the matriculation process. After module choices have been decided, a timetable will be allocated indicating the dates and times of classes.

Course information

The MA (Hons) in Psychology is a four-year course run by the School of Psychology and Neuroscience. The School also offers a BSc in Psychology, which may be more suitable for students who wish to take Psychology alongside Science subjects. The Psychology element within both the BSc and MA degree programmes is exactly the same.

Your first two years of study provide an introduction to a variety of subjects which make up contemporary psychology as well as a thorough grounding in the empirical basis of psychology.

Alongside Psychology, in the first year of your studies you will be required to study an additional two subjects within the Faculty of Arts. In the second year, you will usually carry on at least one of these subjects, sometimes two. Find out more about more about how academic years are organised.

The skills you gain in statistical analysis, research and presentation will prepare you for your final two years, during which you will have the opportunity to specialise in a wide range of advanced subjects. These subjects can be broadly described as (but are not limited to):

  • social psychology
  • developmental psychology
  • evolutionary and comparative psychology
  • behavioural and cognitive neuroscience
  • cognitive psychology
  • perpetual psychology
  • clinical and abnormal psychology.

During your final year, you will also carry out a research project on a topic chosen in consultation with staff from the School.

The University of St Andrews operates on a flexible modular degree system by which degrees are obtained through the accumulation of credits. More information on the structure of the modules system can be found on the flexible degree structure webpage

Find out more about studying Psychology at St Andrews.

Modules

In the first two years of your degree (known as sub-honours) you will take the required modules in Psychology alongside modules in at least one other Arts subject.

Typically, you will take one Psychology module per semester during your first two years, and two to three Psychology modules per semester during your third and fourth years (known as Honours). Find out more about the modular Scottish degree system.

Students will take the following compulsory first-year modules, which between them cover the foundations of psychology.

  • Psychology 1: introduces the theoretical foundations, historical perspectives and modern developments of psychology, and provides a thorough grounding in the empirical basis of psychology.
  • Psychology 2: expands upon the topics discussed during Psychology 1 and continues to introduce the variety of subjects which make up contemporary psychology.

Students will take the following compulsory second-year modules, which between them cover the core areas of psychology and prepare students for advanced modules.

  • Psychology 1 (second year): covers the relations between brain and behaviour, cognition, perception, comparative aspects of behaviour, social and health psychology. It also contains a methodology component covering laboratory and field techniques.
  • Psychology 2 (second year): provides a more advanced treatment of a number of areas in psychology and extends the range of teaching from Psychology 1.

If you decide to take Psychology in your third and fourth years, you choose from a wide variety of advanced options, including modules ranging from clinical psychology to understanding how evolutionary forces have shaped both animal and human behaviour.

Here is a sample of Honours modules which have been offered in previous years:

  • Developmental Psychology
  • Sex Differences and Gender Development
  • Social Psychology
  • Group Behaviour
  • Perception
  • The Psychology of Visual Art
  • Assessment in Clinical Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology and the Emotional Disorders.

In fourth year, students will conduct a research project which will allow them to foster the skills of experimental design, appropriate research management and statistical analysis. Students can choose from a wide range of topics in consultation with their supervisor.


The sub-honours modules listed here are the compulsory modules that students must take in order to graduate in this subject. However, most students at St Andrews take additional modules, either in their primary subject or from other subjects they are interested in. For Honours level, students choose from a range of Honours modules, some of which are listed above. A full list of all modules currently available can be found in the module catalogue.

Teaching

Teaching format

Psychology is taught using a wide variety of methods including traditional lectures, seminars, practicals, tutorials and individual supervision. At sub-honours level, class sizes range from 140 to 350 students in lectures and 40 to 60 students for practical labs, down to only 6 to 8 students for small-group tutorials.

At Honours level, much of the teaching is in small groups, and there is a considerable amount of one-on-one contact with staff. Class sizes typically range from about 70 to 120 students for lectures down to classes of 10 to 50 students along with individual supervision.

When not attending lectures, tutorials and labs, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve:

  • working on individual and group projects
  • undertaking research in the library
  • preparing coursework assignments and presentations
  • preparing for examinations.

You will be taught by leading researchers in the field with an emphasis on research-led teaching. Postgraduate research students who have undertaken teacher training may also contribute to the teaching of laboratory classes and seminars under the supervision of the module leader.

You can find contact information for all Psychology staff on the School of Psychology and Neuroscience website.

In addition to your studies in the School of Psychology and Neuroscience, optional academic support is available through practical study skills courses and workshops hosted within the University. 

The University’s student services team can help students with additional needs resulting from disabilities, long term medical conditions or learning disabilities. More information can be found on the students with disabilities webpage.

Assessment

Sub-honours modules are assessed by 25% coursework and 75% multiple choice questions or written examinations. At Honours level, modules are either entirely assessed by coursework, by examination, or by a mixture of the two.

Examinations are held at the end of each semester during a dedicated exam diet with revision time provided beforehand.

The School provides feedback on every assessment, with a view to improving your performance in future. The School aims to provide feedback within three weeks. 

Undergraduates at the University of St Andrews must achieve at least 7.0 on the St Andrews 20-point grade scale to pass a module. To gain access to Honours-level modules, students must achieve the relevant requisites as specified in the policy on entry to Honours and in the relevant programme requirements. Please note that some Schools offer qualified entry to Honours, and this will be clearly specified in the programme requirements. To find out the classification equivalent of points, please visit the common reporting scale webpage.

Visit St Andrews

If you are interested in studying at St Andrews, join us at a visiting day to explore the town, find out about our courses and meet current students.

Undergraduates

Spring visiting days

Our spring visiting days will be announced shortly.

Fees

Tuition fees for 2018 entry

Scotland and EU Tuition fees for Scottish and EU applicants have yet to be set for 2018 entry.
Rest of the UK

£9,250  

Overseas £21,290

For overseas students, tuition fees will be fixed at this level for the duration of your programme.

More information on tuition fees can be found on the undergraduate fees and funding page.

Accommodation fees

Accommodation fees for 2018 are yet to be set. Find out about accommodation fees for University accommodation in 2017-2018.

Funding and scholarships

The University of St Andrews offers a number of scholarships and support packages to undergraduate students each year. 

Find out more about undergraduate scholarships.

Joint Honours degrees

You can take Psychology as part of a joint Honours degree alongside one of the following subjects.

"With" degrees

You can take Psychology as part of a "with" Honours degree in which the majority of the course deals with the first named subject. St Andrews offers the following "with" degree for the MA in Psychology:

Your future

Careers

There are a number of professions directly linked to a Psychology degree such as clinical, educational, industrial and forensic psychology. It is also associated with jobs in the welfare area and in personnel.

More generally, a good Honours degree in Psychology can give direct entry into management training and civil service posts. Recent graduates have secured positions in the health service, speech therapy and banking.

Popular careers areas for Psychology students include:

  • academia
  • advertising
  • Civil Service
  • general management
  • HR
  • marketing and sales
  • social work
  • teaching.

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students as well as a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills.

Study abroad

The University is delighted to offer undergraduates a number of exciting opportunities to apply to spend a semester or year abroad as part of a St Andrews degree programme. St Andrews is partnered with large and small institutions, ancient and young, across the globe. What unites all of our programmes is the quality of the academic provision, ensuring that participation in a St Andrews Study abroad programme opens the door to a new and valuable academic experience at another world-class institution. Study Abroad for credit is permitted on existing University-approved programmes only.

Student life

From the outset, the University of St Andrews offers an array of events and opportunities which result in a truly unique student experience. Students participate in a range of traditions, notably, the red academic gown and the academic family, where older students adopt first year students as ‘children’ and help guide them in a system of mentoring. These traditions and the choice of over 150 sports clubs and student societies to choose from ensures a community feel amongst students from first year onwards.

Students of Psychology may be interested in joining the Psychology and Neuroscience Society which organises academic activities such as lectures and trips to Edinburgh Zoo, as well as weekly lunches, a ball and other kinds of socials.

The School of Psychology is located in the beautiful Old Library building, dating back to the Victorian era, which sits inside St Mary’s Quad on the south side of town. Most of your classes and labs will take place here.

The town of St Andrews itself has lots to offer. As the campus is located around town, walking around you encounter ancient and modern buildings and areas of greenery and seaside which provide a rich, beautiful backdrop to learning. If you want a change of scenery, St Andrews' position near surrounding towns and cities such as Anstruther, Dundee and Edinburgh make it ideal for getting to know more about Scotland.

Find out more about student life at the University of St Andrews.

Contact

School of Psychology and Neuroscience

University of St Andrews
St Mary's Quad 
South Street 
St Andrews 
KY16 9JP

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2157 
Email: psych@st-andrews.ac.uk

School of Psychology and Neuroscience website