The Course

UCAS:                       codeC800

Location:                Edinburgh

Duration                   Up to 4 years

Location:                     Full-time


This Psychology degree will introduce you to the main disciplines of social, developmental, cognitive and biological psychology – plus individual differences and research methods. The course examines how this information can apply in the real world, in terms of general employment and careers in psychology. You’ll also have the opportunity to take optional courses from other subjects like biological sciences, management, or languages.

Teaching is mainly through lectures. But, this Psychology degree also includes lots of tutorials, which means that you can really get to know our staff. Assessment is a mixture of coursework and exams.


Our degree in Psychology is accredited against the requirements for the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) of the  Psychological Society (BPS)..


Year 1

Semester 1

  • Introduction to Psychology 1
  • Research Methods & Analysis 1
  • Academic Skills in Psychology
  • Option

Semester 2

  • Introduction to Psychology 2
  • Research Methods & Analysis 2
  • Option
  • Option

Course Information 

Introduction to Psychology 1 and 2 will bring you to the frontline of the current knowledge on the human mind, by introducing to core concepts and theories of Psychology. Developed skills: scientific terminology, critical thinking for applied research.

Research methods and analysis 1 and 2 introduces students to Psychology as a science; why, and how, we use scientific methods including statistical analyses. Developed skills: transferable data processing, ethical and methodological approaches, descriptive statistics.

Academic skills for Psychology develops skills, which will help maximise your performance and knowledge-acquisition. Developed skills: general research and information searching, digesting and appraising written information, presenting and time-management.

Year 2

Courses cover social psychology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, intelligence, and research methods. Students also select optional courses (one per semester).

Semester 1

  • Cognitive Psychology 1
  • Research Methods & Analysis 3
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Option

Semester 2

  • Philosophy and History of Psychology
  • Research Methods & Analysis 4
  • Social Psychology
  • Option

Course Information

Cognitive Psychology explores individual and joint contribution of cognitive systems, ranging from those that enabled us to form representations through those that promote adaptive behaviours. The knowledge acquired will facilitate learning in courses of Stages 3 and 4.

Developmental Psychology focuses on our formative years, from infancy through early childhood, highlighting some of the key achievements in our mental ability. The course will be of relevance to anyone interested in education, social work, and Health Psychology.

Social Psychology Technological advances; increasing globalisation and human migration have resulted in greater contact with people. Challenges discussed in course range from prejudiced beliefs, to obediently conforming to a specific ideology.

In Philosophy and History of Psychology you will learn about the origins of psychology, how it became a science, the different schools and ethical issues in theory, research and practice. It will help understand the role of psychology in the wider context of human science.

In Research methods and analysis 3 and 4 you will learn about quantitative methods and designs, planning, analysing and communicating research. The course will be for those seeking a career in academia and teaching, as well as government, charity or private sector research.

Year 3

Semester 1

  • Cognition across the Lifespan
  • Research Methods & Analysis 5
  • Intelligence at Work
  • Approved Psychology Option

Semester 2

  • Psychobiology
  • Research Methods & Analysis 6
  • Social Cognition and Personality
  • Approved Psychology Option

Course Information

Cognition across the Lifespan explore changes across the early years, adolescence, and throughout older age. Students will design lifespan appropriate interventions. Graduate destinations: childhood education, lifelong learning, social and health care services.

Intelligence at Work looks at the origins, and later development, of ‘intelligence’ as a concept within Psychology, and the practical ways in which it shapes our place in the world. Career destinations: Education, Human Resource Management and Occupational Psychology.

Psychobiology will take you on a journey in brain and behaviour, exploring the nervous system, relying on neuroscience techniques (MRI, PET, EEG).  Graduate destinations: Cognitive Neuroscience, Mental Health, Clinical Psychology and Neurodevelopmental Psychology.

Social Cognition and Personality will provide a framework to the study of personality with a focus on trait approaches and methods of measuring personality.

In Research methods and analyses 5 and 6, you will be introduced to advanced statistical technique and to critical evaluation of the research we need to understand in order to better design our own. Subject mastery: Critically appraise research and use to plan your own.

Year 4

Semester 1

  • Research Project 1
  • Psychology of Education
  • Approved Psychology Option
  • Approved Psychology Option

Semester 2

  • Research Project 2
  • Advanced Social Psychology
  • Approved British Psychology Option
  • Approved British Psychology Option

Research Project 

Students work closely with a staff member in devising and conducting their research project in applied psychology. They also select six other psychology courses. Coursework applies the information from these to employment-related settings and ‘real-world’ problems.

Course Information

Psychology of Education: It’s clear that ‘education’ comprises teaching and learning, but how does one lead to the other, and what advise can we offer teachers if it doesn’t? The course is critical venue to present applications within educational contexts.  Graduate destinations: Educational contexts (e.g., classroom assistants, teachers and Educational Psychologists).

Advanced Social Psychology:  Take a moment and think of your behaviour when you are alone. Does your behaviour change when your friends are around?  In this course, we look at different theories explaining behaviour in social interactions between individuals and groups. Graduate destinations: Education, Marketing, HR Management, Occupational Psychology.

Entry requirements

Year 1

  • Highers AAABB
  • A-Levels BBB
  • Scottish Baccalaureate Pass
  • Int. Baccalaureate 27 points
  • HNC Please contact the Admissions Administrator to discuss further.
  • Additional information Mathematics and English are required at least at GCSE grade C / Standard Grade 3 / National 5 or equivalent.

Year 2

  • Advanced Highers BB plus AAABB at Higher
  • A-Levels ABB
  • Scottish Baccalaureate Distinction
  • Int. Baccalaureate 32 points
  • HNC Please contact the Admissions Administrator to discuss further.
  • Additional information Mathematics and English are required at least at GCSE grade B / Standard Grade 2 / National 5 or equivalent.

Additional information

  • BTEC Relevant BTEC qualifications are accepted; please contact Admissions Tutor for further details.
Tuition fees for 2019 entry (by residency status)
Status* Scotland / EU** England / Northern Ireland / Wales*** International
Fee Paid by SAAS £9,250 £14,640

* Your residency ‘status’ is usually defined as the country where you have been ordinarily resident for the three years before the start of your course. Find out more about tuition fees.

** European Union countries (not including England, Northern Ireland or Wales).

*** ‘Rest of the UK’ (RUK) students entering at Level 1 receive a fee waiver of one year’s tuition fee. Normally this will be the final year, or a year during which students study abroad (either at a partnership institution, or at one of Heriot-Watt’s overseas campuses).