Psychology is an important subject because it relates to the whole range of human experience, from visual perception to complex social interations. It is the study of how people think, react and interact. Study psychology, development & developmental disorders at Royal Holloway and you’ll focus on issues related to the study of typical and atypical child development, including the development of perceptual, cognitive and social skills in infancy and early childhood, and developmental disorders such as autism, Down's syndrome, dyslexia, dyspraxia and attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD).
We are one of the top psychology departments in the UK with excellent ratings for both research and teaching. Our research and teaching enhance one another, bringing students in touch with the frontiers of psychological knowledge. You’ll contribute to our renowned research culture with a final year research project.
This three year course explores a broad range of key areas within psychology, specialising in the final year in the study of human developmental processes and how they may be disrupted. Post- and undergraduates may benefit from the department's advanced technology. This includes an on-site MRI scanner, systems for tracking precise body movements in very young children and adults, CCTV and video systems for discreet observation of behaviour and a dedicated baby lab for studying the development of infants.
You’ll join a close and supportive learning community, which has earned consistently high satisfaction scores from our students in the annual National Student Survey (NSS). As part of small tutorial groups, you'll study within a progressive environment for which, the Department of Psychology has been awarded the Athena SWAN Silver Award for efforts to promote equality and women in science.
- Specialise in your final year in the study of human developmental processes and how they may be disrupted.
- Contribute to cutting-edge research with a final year research project.
- Learn with internationally recognised experts in their fields.
- Dedicated baby lab for studying the development of infants.
Core ModulesYear 1
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 enhancing 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 integrative 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 introduction 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 relationship between mind and brain, and how psychology became an applied as well as a basic science of mind and behaviour.
Final Year Project
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.
Optional ModulesYear 1
- All modules are core
- All modules are core
- Advanced Developmental Psychology
- Adult Psychological Problems
- The Ageing Brain
- Clinical and Cognitive Neuroscience
- Language, Communication and Thought
- Developmental Disorders
- Educational Psychology
- Health Psychology
- Real World Quantitative Techniques
Teaching & assessment
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.
Preferred subject: Psychology, Biology, Human Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics or Statistics. At least five GCSE passes at grade A*-C or 9 - 4 including English and Mathematics.
A Levels: AAA-AAB
Where an applicant is taking the EPQ alongside A - levels, the EPQ will be taken into consideration and result in lower A-level grades being required. Socio - economic factors which may have impacted an applicant's education will be taken into consideration and alternative offers may be made to these applicants. Read more about what we look for here.
Other UK Qualifications
International & EU requirements
English language requirements
We accept the following internationally-recognised English language qualifications:
- Pearson Test of English
- Cambridge ESOL
Your future career
Our graduates are highly employable and develop a range of desirable transferable skills including advanced literacy and numeracy, critical reading, report writing, interviewing, survey research, observation, measurement and experimentation. Within six months of graduation, 90% of psychology graduates (Unistats 2015) have gone onto full time employment or further studies.
Our alumni have found employment in banking, publishing, journalism, media, management, local government, mental health support, youth work or other support work, as business analysts or working in human resources/personnel. In addition, a large number of graduates progress to further study at masters or doctoral level.
The Department of Psychology is dedicated to helping students prepare for their graduate careers. Throughout their studies, students benefit from a programme of careers seminars, events, advice and information. Plus, we have established connections with many local organisations, including the Macular Society, Southern Addictions Advisory Service and Bishop Creighton House, providing you with the chance to enjoy rewarding placement opportunities. Careers information and advice will be on hand throughout your studies, while annual ‘Meet Our Grads’ events mean you can share the knowledge and experience of our extensive alumni network.
As well as careers directly linked to criminology and psychology, the transferable skills gained will form an excellent basis for potential careers in criminal justice agencies. As such, graduates have found employment with criminal justice agencies such as the Crown Prosecution Service, the police, probation service, youth custody and the prison service. Others have pursued careers in banking, publishing, media, management, youth work or other support work. 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 in Forensic Psychology.
Fees & funding
Home and EU students tuition fee per year*: £9250
International students tuition fee per year**: £18900
Other essential costs***: There are no single associated costs greater than £50 per item on this course.
*The tuition fee for UK and EU undergraduates is controlled by Government regulations, and for students starting a degree in the academic year 2018/19 will be £9,250 for that year, and is shown for reference purposes only. The tuition fee for UK and EU undergraduates has not yet been confirmed for students starting a degree in the academic year 2019/20.
**Fees for international students starting a degree at Royal Holloway in the academic year 2019/20 have not yet been set, and those for 2018/19 are shown for reference purposes only. Fees for international students may increase year-on-year in line with the rate of inflation. The policy at Royal Holloway is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5% for continuing students. For further information see fees and funding and our terms and conditions.
***These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing etc., have not been included.