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.
Our flexible degree programmes enable you to apply to take a Placement Year, which can be spent studying abroad, working or carrying out voluntary work. You can even do all three if you want to (minimum of three months each)! To recognise the importance of this additional skills development and university experience, your Placement Year will be formally recognised on your degree certificate and will contribute to your overall result. Please note conditions may apply if your degree already includes an integrated year out, please contact the Careers & Employability Service for more information. Find out more
- 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
This module provides an introduction to core aspects of psychological research. This includes how to find and read psychological papers, and thinking critically about research. General aspects of research covered include ethics in psychological research, designs and variables in research, reliability and validity, designing psychological research studies (correlational and experimental), and qualitative methods. Students are introduced to different types of data and distributions, and to describing data. In addition, the use of statistical tests in psychological research and how to choose the right test are introduced. Statistics covered may include inferential statistics, chi-squared test, independent and repeated t test, one-way independent ANOVA, correlation, linear regression, and non-parametric statistics. This course encompasses a Psychology Toolkit component; teaching sessions combined with self-study for the preparation of a portfolio.
This course aims to introduce students to the basics of personality and social psychology. The course will start with an introduction to key dynamic personality theories of Freud, followed by Jung. Students will then learn about theories and research on agreession, pro-social behaviour and conformity. In addition, key fundamental topics in social psychology, attitudes and values, will be introduced, as well as cross-cultural psychology and leadership.
This course provides an introduction to developmental psychology, which seeks to understand and explain changes in an individual’s physical, cognitive, and social capacities across the lifespan. The overarching themes are to describe changes in an individual’s observed behaviour over time, and to uncover the processes that underlie these changes. The course begins by introducing the historical and conceptual issues underlying developmental psychology and the research methods used for studying individuals at different ages. It then proceeds to address physical development in the prenatal period, followed by cognitive and social development during infancy. The course then examines change during childhood by introducing major theories of cognitive development and addressing the social contexts of development (parents, peers, and social relationships; morality, altruism, and aggression). The course concludes by addressing the physical, cognitive, and social changes of adulthood and ageing.
The aim of this module is to give students the core skills and knowledge needed to be successful as an academic psychologist. The module is divided into three components. First, students will develop a strong understanding of the academic skills needed within undergraduate studies for psychology, including finding and reading research journal articles, thinking critically, and writing about psychology. Second, they will be introduced to the typical career paths for psychology graduates, and they will be introduced to resources to allow them to develop their employability through their degree. Third, they will learn about the conceptual and historical issues underpinning current psychological research.
This module will provide an introduction to the key theories and research findings regarding Perception and Cognition. This may include topics within perception such as sensory perception as gateway to the world; attentional modulation of perception; illusions as key to reality, brightness, perception of colour, time, motion and depth; auditory perception, touch, taste and smell; the control of eye and head movements as a link between perception and action; and memory processes (both experimental and applied).
The module provides an introduction to the key neuroscience cencepts and research techniques relevant to Psychology. Topics include the basics of neural function, neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, sensorimotor processing, and research methods used.
This module provides an introduction to the concept of abnormal psychology. The course starts with developing an understanding and knowledge about how we define abnormality in psychology and how this has developed and changed throughout history. Different approaches to understanding abnormal psychology are covered, starting with the biomedical model of abnormality. Following this, social and cultural approaches to abnormality are covered, followed by the philosophy of abnormality. Psychodynamic, behavioural and cognitive approaches to abnormality are also covered in detail. There is a focus on psychological disorders as we currently classify them in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The hierarchy of evidence in clinical psychology research is also covered.
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.
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.
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.
This module provides an overview to some of the ways in which applied and developmental perspectives in Psychology can be used to improve society. Students will obtain an appreciation regarding some of the conceptual issues regarding applied psychology, as well as an introduction to various ways that these perspectives can apply to societal issues/advancements.
This module provides an overview to some of the ways in which clinical and neuroscientific perspectives in Psychology can be used to improve society. Students will obtain an appreciation regarding some of the conceptual issues regarding clinical and neuroscience ethics, as well as an introduction to various ways that these perspectives can apply to societal issues/advancements.
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.
There are a number of optional course modules available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course modules that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new modules may be offered or existing modules may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.Year 1
In this module students will attend four workshops that will allow them to explore four different areas of employability that psychology graduates typically enter: Mental health (clinical psychology, health psychology, forensic psychology, etc.), Education (teaching, educational psychologist, etc.), Research (PhD, research associate, market research, etc.), and Careers beyond psychology (finance, HR, graduate schemes).
- 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
In this module, students receive the opportunity to produce a substantial piece of original written work that explores a topic of their own interest. Students identify a research question that has not been comprehensively covered elsewhere in the degree programme and construct a literature review that addresses the research question. The dissertation takes the form of an in-depth, advanced level extended essay. The overarching aim is to equip students with the skills needed for independent research based on written materials.
- Psychology of Love, Death and Meaning
- Psychology of Brain Injury
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.
A Levels: AAA-AAB
- Psychology, Biology, Human Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics or Statistics.
- At least five GCSEs at grade A*-C or 9-4 including English and Mathematics.
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. For students who are from backgrounds or personal circumstances that mean they are generally less likely to go to university you may be eligible for an alternative lower offer. Follow the link to learn more about our contextual offers.
English language requirements
All teaching at Royal Holloway is in English. You will therefore need to have good enough written and spoken English to cope with your studies right from the start.
The scores we require
- IELTS: 6.5 overall. No subscore lower than 5.5.
- Pearson Test of English: 61 overall. No subscore lower than 54.
- Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English (ISE): ISE III.
- Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) grade C.
For more information about country-specific entry requirements for your country please visit here.
For international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements, the International Study Centre offers the following pathway programmes:
● International Foundation Year - for progression to the first year of an undergraduate degree.
● International Year One - for progression to the second year of an undergraduate degree. You can join the International Year One in January 2021 and progress to degree study in September 2021.
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 series 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 course 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 (UK) students tuition fee per year*: £9,250
EU and International students tuition fee per year**: £21,400
Other essential costs***: There are no single associated costs greater than £50 per item on this course.
How do I pay for it? Find out more about funding options, including loans, scholarships and bursaries. UK students who have already taken out a tuition fee loan for undergraduate study should check their eligibility for additional funding directly with the relevant awards body.
*The tuition fee for UK undergraduates is controlled by Government regulations. For students starting a degree in the academic year 2020/21, the fee will be £9,250 for that year. The fee for UK undergraduates starting in 2021/22 has not yet been confirmed.
**The Government has confirmed that EU nationals starting a degree in 2020/21 will pay the same fee as UK students for the duration of their course. For EU nationals starting a degree in 2021/22, the UK Government has recently confirmed that you will not be eligible to pay the same fees as UK students, nor be eligible for funding from the Student Loans Company. This means you will be classified as an international student. At Royal Holloway, we wish to support those students affected by this change in status through this transition. For eligible EU students starting their course with us in September 2021, we will award a fee reduction scholarship which brings your fee into line with the fee paid by UK students. This will apply for the duration of your course.
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. Fees shown above are for 2020/21 and are displayed for indicative purposes only.
***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.