Whether you wish to study human behaviour or become a therapist, Psychology is a fascinating subject to choose for your degree. A Psychology degree also provides you with a wide range of specialisations, from Education to Criminal Psychology. In the UK, there are several universities offering top-notch psychology education and conducting cutting-edge research. One note: Remember that a degree in psychology is a science degree, so expect some statistics to be part of the course!
Rankings can be an important tool in choosing a university, but you need to consider that there are no rankings that can take into account every single characteristic you value in a university, or the goals you have for your education. Different rankings use different methodologies to gather and evaluate their data. While some universities score highly in all rankings, others only do in some. That is why it’s good to consult a variety of rankings while you are deciding your next step in your education.
Let’s consult a local ranking first, the one conducted by the British newspaper the Guardian. This popular ranking includes student satisfaction, measured by the national student survey, in its methodology.
|1||University of Cambridge||100|
|2||University of Bath||93.8|
|3||University of Oxford||93.7|
|4||University of St Andrews||93|
|5||University College London||90.9|
|6||King’s College London||89.5|
|8||University of York||86.4|
|9||University of Edinburgh||86.2|
|10||University of Warwick||86.1|
Let’s now look at the global rankings. It is difficult to find a comprehensive ranking that accounts for everything a student is looking for. There are many factors that play a role in a university’s position in a ranking, for example the impact of published research, the employment rates of graduates, student-to-teacher ratio, student satisfaction, and others. It’s always good to keep in mind other rankings to gain a good picture, and it could be interesting to compare how different institutions fare in different rankings.
Other generally trusted Psychology rankings include, for example, the Shanghai Rankings, QS World University Rankings, the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, and U.S. News.
Several universities show up high in more than one of these international rankings. And we are not talking just about Oxbridge: University College London (UCL) and King’s College (KCL) score high, as do Edinburgh, Cardiff and Warwick:
|1||University College London||University of Cambridge||University of Oxford|
|2||University of Oxford||University College London||University of Cambridge|
|3||King's College London||King's College London||University College London|
|4||University of Cambridge||University of Edinburgh||King's College London|
|5||Cardiff University||London School of Economics and Political Science||London School of Economics and Political Science|
|6||University of Edinburgh||University of Kent||University of Edinburgh|
|7||University of Warwick||Cardiff University||University of Manchester|
|8||Exeter University||University of St Andrews||Cardiff University|
|9||University of Sussex||University of Warwick||University of Warwick|
|10||University of York||University of Glasgow||University of Bristol|
If you are particularly interested in how strong a university is in its research output, the UK offers another resource that is helpful when choosing your future university. The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is an assessment undertaken by higher education funding bodies on the research output of the individual departments at British universities. It examines three areas:
Looking at the most recent REF results, some names crop up in the top 10 best-rated universities that don’t appear in other rankings.
Among those with a high share of top-rated research, you’ll find Birkbeck College (University of London), Imperial College, and Royal Holloway and Bedford New College.
So, you decided you would like to study human behaviour. Not all degrees are named Psychology, and Psychology also has a lot of specialisations to choose from, for example:
You can sometimes choose a specialisation already at the Bachelor’s level. Or you can first get a more generalised Psychology Bachelor and then specialise with your Master’s degree.
However, if you have your eyes set on a specific profession such as psychologist or psychotherapist, it is important to understand the requirements you will have to fulfil in order to obtain professional accreditation. These requirements vary from country to country! If you plan to go back home after getting your Psychology degree in the UK, or move to yet another country, you will need to ensure that your qualification is recognised.
In the United Kingdom, to become a psychotherapist recognised by the UK Council for Psychotherapy you will have to
You will need to choose a course accredited either by the UK Council for Psychotherapy, the British Psychoanalytic Council or the Association of Child Psychotherapists. In order to become a chartered psychologist, you will need to complete a course accredited by the British Psychological Society.
Undergraduate degrees will typically last three years full time, while postgraduate degrees (Master’s courses) will take one year. For international students, the fees will be quite high at top institutions.
For a BSc Psychology, fees for most universities will be around £18,000 to £26,000 per year, but fees can rise up to around £35,000 for world-leading universities such as King’s College, Oxford and Cambridge.
Meanwhile, Postgraduate degrees will typically cost between around £20,000 - £35,000.
English language requirements vary by university and course, but since graduates of Psychology degrees tend to need to speak to patients, the required level of English is also often higher. You will most likely need an IELTS score between 6.5 and 7.5 to enrol in a Psychology degree in the UK.245 Psychology Programmes in the United Kingdom