Psychology MA (Honours) 2023 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. Emphasis is placed on practical classes and learning research techniques right from the start. 

A degree in Psychology from St Andrews is recognised by the British Psychological Society as conferring basis for graduate registration provided requisite modules are passed with appropriate grades. BPS recognition qualifies you to undertake training in various areas of professional psychology including clinical and educational psychology. 

UCAS code
C802
Start date
September 2023
End date
September 2027
Duration
Four years full time
School
School of Psychology and Neuroscience
“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

Entry requirements

The University offers different entry requirements, depending on your background. 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.

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 entry requirements as outlined on their pages.

  • Standard entry grades:
    AAAB
    Minimum entry grades:
    AABB
    Gateway entry grades:
    Applicants who have narrowly missed the minimum entry grades, but meet the University's contextual criteria, may be interested in one of the University’s Gateway programmes.
  • Standard entry grades:
    AAB
    Minimum entry grades:
    ABB
  • Standard entry grades:
    36 (HL 6,6,5)
    Minimum entry grades:
    36 (HL 6,5,5)

General entry requirements

All applicants must have attained the following qualifications, or equivalent, in addition to the specific entry requirements for individual programmes.

  • SQA National 5 (B) in English and one SQA National 5 (B) from the following:

    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Computing science
    • Geography
    • Lifeskills Mathematics (A grade)
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Psychology.
  • GCSE (5) in English language or English literature, and one GCSE (5) from the following:

    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Computing Science
    • Geography
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Psychology.

Other qualifications

We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry on to our programmes. Please see our entry requirements for more information.

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.

Do I need to have studied this subject before?

No previous knowledge of psychology is required.

Alternative study options

Psychology is available as both a Bachelor of Science (BSc) and a Master of Arts (MA) degree. The content of the subjects is the same irrespective of Faculty. Students who have a background in the arts or who wish to study Psychology alongside Art subjects should apply for the MA. For those interested in studying Psychology alongside Science subjects, the BSc in Psychology may be of interest instead. 

The entry requirements are the same for all single Honours Psychology degrees, and the chance of receiving an offer is the same for each of these degrees. 

Study abroad

Psychology students can apply to participate in the University-wide St Andrews Abroad programme. Psychology students are only able to study abroad for the full academic year (semester placements are not available). For information about study abroad options, please see the study abroad website.  

International applicants

If English is not your first language, you will need to provide an English language test score to evidence your English language ability. Find out more about approved English language tests and scores for this course.

Course details

The MA (Hons) in Psychology is a four-year course run by the School of Psychology and Neuroscience. 

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. 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): 

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

During your final year, you will also have the opportunity to 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 web page.

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 subject. 

Typically, you will take one psychology module per semester during your first two years, and three to four psychology modules per semester during your third and fourth years (known as Honours). 

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 Fundamentals of 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. 

  • Advanced Principles of Psychology 1: covers the relations between, for example, brain and behaviour, cognition, perception, comparative aspects of behaviour, social and clinical psychology. It also contains a methodology component covering laboratory and field techniques. 

  • Advanced Principles of Psychology 2: provides a more advanced treatment of a number of areas in psychology and extends the range of teaching from previous modules. 

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 
  • Clinical Neuropsychology 
  • Cognitive and Behavioural Neuroscience 
  • Cognitive Psychology and the Emotional Disorders 
  • Collective Behaviour 
  • Developmental Psychology 
  • Evolution and Development of Social and Technical Intelligence 
  • Evolutionary and Comparative Psychology 
  • Perception 
  • Psychology of Music 
  • Psychology of Visual Art 
  • Social Psychology 
  • The Psychology of Dementia 

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 appropriate to the programme for the current academic year can be found in the programme requirements.

Teaching

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 200 to 350 students in lectures and 40 to 80 students for practical labs, down to only 8 to 10 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 150 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. 

Sub-honours modules are assessed by a combination of coursework and 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 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 see the common reporting scale.

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. 

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

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

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.

Fees

Scotland
Tuition fees have yet to be set.

England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland
£9,250

Channel Islands, Isle of Man
£9,250

EU and overseas
£28,190

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

Accommodation fees

Find out about accommodation fees for University accommodation.

Funding and scholarships

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

Joint Honours degrees

You can also take Psychology as part of a joint Honours degree in which you will take core modules of your chosen subjects.

Course name UCAS code
Bachelor of Science (Honours) Biology and Psychology (BPS Recognition Route)CC18
Bachelor of Science (Honours) Computer Science and Psychology (BPS Recognition Route)CG84
Bachelor of Science (Honours) Economics and PsychologyLC18
Bachelor of Science (Honours) Mathematics and Psychology (BPS Recognition Route)GC18
Bachelor of Science (Honours) Psychology and Statistics (BPS Recognition Route)CG23
Bachelor of Science (Honours) Psychology and Sustainable Development (BPS Recognition Route)CS82
Master of Arts (Honours) Arabic and PsychologyTV87
Master of Arts (Honours) Arabic and Psychology (BPS recognition Route) (With Integrated Year Abroad)TV80
Master of Arts (Honours) Art History and PsychologyCV83
Master of Arts (Honours) Comparative Literature and PsychologyQV26
Master of Arts (Honours) Economics and PsychologyCL81
Master of Arts (Honours) English and Psychology (BPS Recognition Route)CQ83
Master of Arts (Honours) Film Studies and Psychology (BPS Recognition Route)CP83
Master of Arts (Honours) French and PsychologyCR81
Master of Arts (Honours) French and Psychology (With Integrated Year Abroad)CR8C
Master of Arts (Honours) Geography and PsychologyCL87
Master of Arts (Honours) German and Psychology (BPS Recognition Route)CR82
Master of Arts (Honours) German and Psychology (BPS Recognition Route) (With Integrated Year Abroad)CR8F
Master of Arts (Honours) International Relations and PsychologyCL82
Master of Arts (Honours) Italian and Psychology (BPS Recognition Route)RC38
Master of Arts (Honours) Italian and Psychology (With Integrated Year Abroad)CR83
Master of Arts (Honours) Management and PsychologyCN82
Master of Arts (Honours) Mathematics and Psychology (BPS Recognition Route)CG81
Master of Arts (Honours) Medieval History and PsychologyCV81
Master of Arts (Honours) Modern History and PsychologyCV8C
Master of Arts (Honours) Philosophy and Psychology(BPS Recognition Route)CV85
Master of Arts (Honours) Psychology and Russian (BPS Recognition Route)RC18
Master of Arts (Honours) Psychology and Russian (BPS Recognition Route) (With Integrated Year Abroad)RC19
Master of Arts (Honours) Psychology and Social Anthropology (BPS Recognition Route)CL86
Master of Arts (Honours) Psychology and Statistics (BPS Recognition Route)CG24
Master of Arts (Honours) Psychology and Sustainable Development (BPS Recognition Route)CS81
Master of Arts (Honours) Psychology and Theological StudiesCV86

Joint degrees taken with Arabic, French, German, and Italian are also available 'With Integrated Year Abroad'.

Additional joint degree options are available for students who take the BSc in Psychology.

"With" degrees

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

  • Bachelor of Science (Honours) Psychology with Biology - UCAS code C8C1
  • Master of Arts (Honours) Psychology with Geography - UCAS code C8L7

Additional "with" degree options are available for students who take the BSc in Psychology.

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 
  • human resources 
  • marketing and sales 
  • social work. 

Psychology graduates also possess key transferrable skills, including: 

  • scientific approach to problem-solving and information acquisition with current information technologies 
  • critical skills in assessment and review of information 
  • written and oral presentation skills 
  • group discussion and participation 
  • ethical values in science and society. 

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.

What to do next

Online information events

Join us for one of our information events where you can find out about different levels of study and specific courses we run. There are also sessions available for parents and college counsellors.

Undergraduate visiting days

We encourage all students who are thinking of applying to the University to attend one of our online or in-person visiting days.

Contact us

Phone
+44 (0)1334 46 2157
Email
psych@st-andrews.ac.uk
Address
School of Psychology and Neuroscience
St Mary's Quad
South Street
St Andrews
KY16 9JP

School of Psychology and Neuroscience website

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