Psychology is the study of how people think, react and interact. It is concerned with all aspects of behaviour and the thoughts, feelings and motivations that underlie such behaviour. It is an important subject because it relates to the whole range of human experience, from visual perception to complex social interactions.
Study psychology at Royal Holloway University of London and you’ll develop a thorough understanding of theories and approaches to the understanding of human behaviour across different core areas of Psychology, without limiting study to any specific area.
Join our three-year programme and you will be able to customise your learning in your final year, selecting from a number of optional modules including Consciousness & Cognition, Human Neuropsychology and Criminal and Forensic Psychology.
You’ll study in a department ranked 6th in the UK for research (The Research Excellence Framework 2014), learning with academics who are experts in their fields, and contributing your own findings to this leading research culture with a final year research project.
Royal Holloway's Department of Psychology is among the best-equipped psychology departments in the country where post- and undergraduates may benefit from the department's advanced technology. This includes an on-site magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner for studying brain structure and activity, instruments for recording electrical changes in the brain (EEG) and other cutting-edge facilities to augment your learning.
Follow your passion for psychology, clinical psychology and mental health and you’ll graduate with excellent employability prospects in a variety of different fields. Notable alumni include the leading bioscience innovator Professor Jackie Hunter CBE, founder of the Terrence Higgins Trust Dr Rupert Whitaker, and Dr Christian Jarrett – author of The Rough Guide to Psychology.
- You will study and contribute to topics at the cutting edge of psychological investigation
- You will enjoy access to one of the best-equipped psychology departments in the country
- You will gain a range of transferable skills to take into your future career, including highly developed literacy and numeracy skills.
- For those interested in continuing onto postgraduate study, as this programme is accredited by the British Psychological Society, graduates have the opportunity to gain Graduate and/or Chartered Membership of the Society, and eligibility to apply to our MSc programmes in Applied Social Psychology and Clinical Psychology.
Introduction to Psychological Research
This module will introduce you to the core aspects of psychological research including how to find, read and interpret psychological papers and how to think critically about research. You will cover general aspects of research, including ethical considerations, designs and variables, reliability and validity, and the design of both quantitative and qualitative studies. You will be introduced to different types of data and distributions, learning how to describe and analyse data using inferential statistics such as the chi-squared test, independent and repeated t-tests, one-way independent ANOVA, correlational analyses, linear regression, and non-parametric tests.
Learning and Memory
This module will introduce you to the key components and processes of learning and memory. You will consider evidence suggesting that memory can be partitioned into different sub-systems, particularly short- and long-term memory. You will also look at the detailed processes that govern retrieval and forgetting, the nature of autobiographical memory, mnemonic techniques, and memory disorders. You will learn how memory is studied experimentally and how cognitive theories of memory may be developed or challenged based on empirical data.
Self and Society
In this module, you will be introduced to the basics of personality and social psychology. You will look at the key dynamic personality theories of Freud and Jung, and develop an understanding of the theories and research on aggression, pro-social behaviour and conformity. You will also examine fundamental topics in social psychology, attitudes and values, as well as cross-cultural psychology and leadership.
In this module, you will be introduced to developmental psychology, which seeks to understand and explain changes in an individual’s physical, cognitive, and social capacities across the lifespan. You will learn about the historical and conceptual issues underlying developmental psychology, and the research methods used for studying individuals at different ages. You will study the major theories of cognitive development in relation to physical development in the prenatal period, cognitive and social development during infancy and changes during childhood, and finally the physical, cognitive, and social changes that occur in adulthood and older age.
Biological Foundations of Psychology
This module will introduce you to the key biological concepts and research techniques relevant to psychology. Topics include the basics of neural function, neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, and the research methods used.
Sensation and Perception
This module will introduce you to conceptual issues such as sensory perception as a gateway to the world, information processing, the sensory channels that are available to humans, and how we make sense of the world through sensory integration. You will develop an understanding of the attentional modulation of perception, looking at selected topics from visual perception such as deciphering the neural code, illusions as keys to reality, and the perception of brightness, colour, time, motion and depth. You will also examine auditory perception, touch, taste and smell, and the control of eye and head movements as a link between perception and action.
Introduction to Abnormal Psychology
In this module, you will be introduced to the concept of psychological abnormality. You will develop an understanding of how abnormality is defined in psychology and how its definition has developed and changed through history. You will look at different approaches to understanding abnormal psychology, including the biomedical model, social and cultural approaches to abnormality, and psychodynamic, behavioural and cognitive approaches.
Psychological Research Methods and Analysis
In this module you will learn about how to use SPSS to analyse, interpret and graph data, one way ANOVA (independent and repeated), factorial ANOVA (independent, repeated and mixed), ANCOVA, complex correlations, linear regression (multiple, categorical predictors, stepwise and hierarchical), logistic regression and factor analysis. You will also study research methods topics including advanced experimental design (factorial and quasi experimental designs), questionnaire design and validation, and qualitative analyses.
This module will provide you with an overview of the key theoretical and empirical issues in cognitive psychology, including selective attention, multisensory perception and problem solving. You will look at reasoning, judgement and blindsight, and examine the impact of unilateral neglect and attention for action.
In this module, you will develop an understanding of the key topics in social psychology, with a particular focus on topics that highlight over-arching debates within this area of study. You will look at how social psychology can be applied to real-world issues, examining the social psychology of relationships, the self-concept, prejudice and group conflict, attribution theory, group decision-making, situational perspectives on evil, and non-verbal behaviour and social cognition.
In this module you will develop an understanding of cognitive development, including intelligence across the lifespan, language development, and number representation, and the development of social understanding, including social cognition, emotional development, prejudice, and adolescence. You will look in depth at the research techniques used in developmental psychology, as well as enchancing your ability to conduct critical analyses.
Personality and Individual Differences
In this module you will examine theory and research in key areas of personality and individual differences. You will explore the difference between these two areas of study, and become equipped with methods of evaluating theories of personality. You will review key topics in personality and individual differences, with consideration for the relations between them in order to develop your intergrative understanding of personality.
Brain and Behaviour
In this module you will develop an understanding of why modern psychology requires an understanding of neuroscience. You will look at neuronal structure, function and information transmission, and the organisation of the nervous system and how this reflects the principles of information processing. You will examine the methods used to study structure and information processing in the brain, becoming familiar with the brain's functional architectures and the neural basis of learning. You will also consider brain evolution, and the biology and psychopharmacology of reward, reinforcement and psychological disorders.
Conceptual Issues in Psychology
This module will provide you with an introdution to the philosophical, conceptual, and historical underpinnings of the ways in which psychology is studied today. You will cover broad conceptual issues such as 'what is science?' and how psychology fits in, what makes a good scientific theory, and the philosophies of how sciences develop. You will look at the rise of behaviourism and cognitive psychology, the historical development of cognitive neuroscience and debates regarding the relation between mind and brain, and how psychology became an applied as well as a basic science of mind and behaviour.
In this module, you will carry out a piece of research as part of a small group, closely supervised by a member of academic staff. You will develop teamwork, presentation and analytical skills, and produce a substantial, independently written, report of your study.
In addition to these mandatory course units there are a number of optional course units available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course units that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new units may be offered or existing units may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.
Only core modules are taken
Only core modules are taken
Language, Communication and Thought
Methods in Cognitive Neuroscience
Advanced Developmental Psychology
Consciousness and Cognition
The Ageing Brain
Advanced and Applied Social Psychology
Adult Psychological Problems
Clinical and Cognitive Neuroscience
Occupational and Organisational Psychology
Human Performance - Work, Sport and Medicine
Criminal and Forensic Psychology
We use a variety of different methods of assessment. These might include an essay about a controversial issue, an analysis of a video, a report of an experiment or a recently published research article. Some modules involve oral presentations.
Assessment is both summative (e.g. through exams and dissertations) and formative (e.g. essays which provide ongoing assessment and feedback), and the department has a tailor-made system of online feedback to provide detailed comments on essays and other coursework.
Many modules also have a written examination in May or June. Progression to the next year is dependent on passing the core modules. In combination, the quality and range of assessments will help you to develop a wide portfolio of skills and achieve high grades.
Proportions of study time will vary depending on modules taken, but typically:
You will spend 19% of your study time in scheduled learning and teaching activities, and 81% in guided independent study.
You will spend 17% of your study time in scheduled learning and teaching activities, and 83% in guided independent study.
You will spend 13% of your study time in scheduled learning and teaching activities, and 87% in guided independent study.
Proportions of assessment types will vary depending on modules taken, but typically:
Written exams account for 54% of the total assessment for this year of study, and 46% will be assessed through coursework.
Written exams account for 70% of the total assessment for this year of study, and 30% will be assessed through coursework.
Written exams account for 46% of the total assessment for this year of study, and 54% will be assessed through coursework.