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 instead.
A degree in Psychology from St Andrews is recognised by the British Psychological Society as conferring basis for graduate registration provided appropriate grades are met, and qualifies you to undertake training in various areas of professional psychology including both clinical and educational psychology.
If you started this programme in 2019, you can find information about 2019 entry on the 2019 Psychology MA page. Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.
These grades are the overall standards required to consider you for entry. Find out more about Standard, Minimum and Gateway entry requirements using academic entry explained and see which entry requirements you need to look at using the entry requirements indicator.
Standard entry grades: AAAB
Minimum entry grades: AABB
Gateway entry grades: BBBB
Standard entry grades: AAB
Minimum entry grades: ABB
Standard entry grades: 36 (HL 6,6,5)
Minimum entry grades: 36 (HL 6,5,5)
We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry on to our programmes, please see our entry requirements for more information.
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.
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.
You must also meet the Faculty of Arts minimum qualifications. These vary depending on which qualifications you hold.
SQA National 5 (B) or equivalent in English and one SQA National 5 (B) from the following:
Computing Science or equivalent
Lifeskills Mathematics (A grade)
GCSE (B or 5) in English, English Language or English Literature, and one GCSE (B or 5) from the following:
Computing Science or equivalent
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 web page.
The University publishes its expected timetables before the advising process, and aims to provide each student with a personalised timetable once module choices have been made and confirmed during matriculation.
Research within the School of Psychology and Neuroscience was ranked second in Scotland by the 2014 Research Excellence Framework with 84% of the research rated world leading and internationally excellent.
The University of St Andrews as a whole was voted top in the UK for student academic experience in The National Student Survey 2019 as 95% of St Andrews final year students gave the University top marks for the quality of the learning and teaching experience.
The University has secured a TEF Gold Award for the quality of teaching and the undergraduate experience.
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 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):
evolutionary and comparative psychology
behavioural and cognitive neuroscience
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.
Students will take the following compulsory first-year modules, which between them cover the foundations of psychology.
Fundamentals of Psychology 1: introduces the theoretical foundations, historical perspectives and modern developments of psychology, and provides a thorough grounding in the empirical basis of psychology.
Fundamentals of 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, for example, 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:
Assessment in Clinical Psychology
Cognitive Psychology and the Emotional Disorders
Psychology of Art: Aesthetics and Individual Differences in Visual Function
Sex Differences and Gender Development
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 compulsory modules listed here must be taken 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 available for the current academic year can be found in the module catalogue.
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 9 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 practical classes of 10 to 50 students along with individual supervision in review and project modules.
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
reading course material
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. Occasionally 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.
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 web page.
Sub-honours modules are assessed by 40% coursework and 60% 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 aims to provide feedback on every assessment within three weeks to help you improve on future assessments.
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 Honoursand 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 web page.
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.
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:
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:
marketing and sales
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.
Psychology students may participate in the University-wide St Andrews Abroad programme. You may also have the opportunity to participate in the School Abroad exchange programme. For information about study abroad options, please see the study abroad website.
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 University buildings are located throughout the 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.
“I had never studied psychology before, but the School was excellent at introducing me to and keeping me a part of this new subject. Dynamic lecturers make topics interesting and engaging. Psychology is a sociable and comfortable community which I am glad to be a part of.”
Jack (Glasgow, Scotland)
School of Psychology and Neuroscience University of St Andrews St Mary's Quad South Street St Andrews KY16 9JP
As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online (PDF, 72 KB).