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BSc (Honours) Psychology

Psychology is all around us and touches upon every aspect of our lives. Studying this degree gives you a window into the workings of the mind – why we do the things we do and how we interact with others. On this fascinating journey you’ll gain knowledge and understanding of the different areas of psychology; develop valuable analytical and communication skills; and enhance your ability to work both independently and collaboratively. You’ll also explore how psychologists use evidence derived from research to contribute to debates on matters such as ageing, crime, education, employment, forensic science, mental health, relationships and much more.

Key features of the course

  • Build your knowledge and understanding of the core topics in psychology 
  • Choose your own area of interest to focus on such as child psychology, counselling, forensic psychology, mental health, or sports psychology   
  • Can be the first step towards professional accreditation as a psychologist
  • Gain valuable analytical and communication skills that will enhance your employability

We also offer a Diploma of Higher Education in Psychology (W45) that is the same in structure as the first two-thirds of this degree; similarly our Certificate of Higher Education in Psychology (T22) corresponds to the first third.

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Course Summary

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Degree

Degree

  • Also known as an undergraduate or bachelors degree.
  • Internationally respected, universally understood.
  • An essential requirement for many high-level jobs.
  • Gain a thorough understanding of your subject – and the tools to investigate, think critically, form reasoned arguments, solve problems and communicate effectively in new contexts.
  • Progress to higher level study, such as a postgraduate diploma or masters degree.
Course code
Q07
Credits

Credits

  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
360
How long it takes
Part time – 6 years
Full time – 3 years
Time limit – 16 years
Study method
Distance learning

Course details

This degree has three stages, each comprising 120 credits.

  • At Stage 1 you can choose between an introduction to the social sciences or childhood studies. You’ll follow this with your first core psychology module.
  • At Stage 2, you’ll have a choice of optional modules covering a range of applied psychology topics relevant to specific real-world issues and problems. You'll complete this stage with a second core psychology module which covers key psychological knowledge and both research and practical skills.
  • At Stage 3 you can specialise in sports psychology, developmental psychology, social psychology, or forensic and counselling psychology. Your final core psychology module will include an independent research project.

Optional Access module – visit Am I ready? to find out about starting this course with a preparatory Access module.

Stage 1 (120 credits)

In Stage 1 you’ll be introduced to some of the big topics in psychology and the academic skills for successful study. You’ll start with one of two options – a core social science module covering criminology, sociology and other related areas; or a broad introduction to interdisciplinary childhood studies. Both will set the scene for your first core psychology module which explores the different ways that psychologists investigate how we think and behave, and considers how academic research can be applied in real-life settings.
ModulesCredits
You’ll start your degree with one from:
Introducing the social sciences (DD102)60
Introduction to childhood studies and child psychology (E102)60
You’ll complete Stage 1 with:
Investigating psychology 1 (DE100)60

Stage 2 (120 credits)

At Stage 2 you’ll begin to explore the areas of psychology that most interest you – choosing from options such as child psychology, counselling, and sports psychology. You’ll complete this stage with a compulsory module that draws on the four core areas of biological, cognitive, developmental and social psychology to investigate how we understand others and the world around us. You'll also learn about a wide variety of research methods used to explore these issues and undertake your own supervised research projects.  

Stage 3 (120 credits)

At Stage 3 you’ll choose from exploring the relationship between counselling and forensic psychology; the psychology of sport and exercise; social psychological issues such as gender, multiculturalism, immigration, global conflicts and work; and research methods with children and young people. In the final module you'll further explore the questions psychologists ask and the methods they choose to answer them, and you’ll complete your degree with an independent research project.


We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 21 March 2018.


Accessibility

We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. The BSc (Honours) Psychology uses a variety of study materials and has the following elements:

  • studying a mixture of printed and online material – online learning resources may include websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities such as online quizzes
  • using mathematical and scientific expressions, notations and associated techniques
  • working in a group with other students
  • using and producing diagrams or screenshots
  • undertaking practical work
  • finding external/third party material online
  • using specialist software (for example SPSS software for statistical analysis).

For more detailed information, see the Accessibility Statements on individual module descriptions. If you feel you may need additional support with any of the elements above, visit our disability page to find more about what we offer. Please contact us as soon as possible to discuss your individual requirements, so we can put arrangements in place before you start.


Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment

This qualification develops your learning in four main areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Cognitive skills
  • Practical and professional skills
  • Key skills

The level and depth of your learning gradually increases as you work through the qualification. You’ll be supported throughout by the OU’s unique style of teaching and assessment – which includes a personal tutor to guide and comment on your work; top quality course texts; e-learning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.

Read the detailed learning outcomes here

Credit transfer

If you have already studied at university level, you may be able to count it towards your Open University qualification – which could save you time and money by reducing the number of modules you need to study. At the OU we call this credit transfer.

It’s not just university study that can be considered, you can also transfer study from a wide range of professional or vocational qualifications such as HNCs and HNDs.

You should apply for credit transfer before you register, at least 4 weeks before the registration closing date. We will need to know what you studied, where and when and you will need to provide evidence of your previous study.

For more details of when you will need to apply by and to download an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.


Classification of your degree

On successfully completing this undergraduate course, you'll be awarded the BSc (Honours) Psychology degree. You'll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.

The class of degree (first, upper second, lower second or third class honours) depends on your grades at Stages 2 and 3.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website. 


Compare this course

Entry requirements

There are no formal entry requirements for this qualification.

At The Open University we believe education should be open to all, so we provide a high-quality university education to anyone who wishes to realise their ambitions and fulfil their potential.

Even though there are no entry requirements, there are some skills that you'll need to succeed. If you're not quite ready for OU study we can guide you to resources that prepare you, many of which are free.

Answer a few quick questions to check whether you're ready for study success

How much time do I need?

  • Most of our students study part time, completing 60 credits a year.
  • This will usually mean studying for 16–18 hours a week.
Find out if you have enough time to study with our time planner

Counting previous study

You could save time and money by reducing the number of modules you need to study towards this qualification if you have:

  • already studied at university level (even if you didn't finish your studies)
  • other professional or vocational qualifications such as HNCs and HNDs.

Find out more about credit transfer

Preparing for study with an Access module

If your study skills are a bit rusty or you want to try out Open University study before committing yourself, don’t worry! The OU offers Access modules designed to introduce the subject area, build your confidence and prepare you for further study, and you may be eligible to study an Access module for free! You'll get:

  • a personal tutor providing regular feedback with one to one telephone tutorials
  • support from a dedicated team throughout your study
  • detailed written feedback.
For this qualification we recommend:

People, work and society Access module

What you will study

This is a multidisciplinary module that allows you to develop your subject knowledge and your general study skills. It provides an excellent introduction to a wide range of subject areas, including childhood and youth studies, social science, psychology, health, management and law.

View full details of People, work and society Access module

Science, technology and maths Access module

What you will study

This multidisciplinary module is an ideal starting point if you have little or no previous knowledge of the sciences, technology and mathematics, and would like to develop both your subject knowledge and your study skills. The subjects included are science, engineering and design, environment, mathematics, and computing and IT.

View full details of Science, technology and maths Access module

Your next step

Call us on +44 (0)1908 659253 or book a call back. Our friendly team of advisers will discuss your study options with you, and help you decide on the best starting point for you.

In this section:
How much will it cost?
Ways to pay for your qualification and other support

How much will it cost in England?

We believe cost shouldn’t be a barrier to achieving your potential. That’s why we work hard to keep the cost of study as low as possible and have a wide range of flexible ways to pay to help spread, or even reduce, the cost.

  • Fees are paid on a module-by-module basis – you won't have to pay for the whole of your qualification up front.
  • A qualification comprises a series of modules, each with an individual fee. Added together, they give you the total cost.
  • If, like most OU students, you study part time at a rate of 60 credits a year, you'll take six years to complete an honours degree.
  • Our current fee for 60 credits is £2,928*.
  • Our current fee for 120 credits – which is equivalent to a year's full-time study – is £5,856*.
  • At current prices, the total cost of your qualification would be £17,568*.
  • .

*The fee information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2019. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees.

Additional costs

Study costs

There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as a laptop, travel to tutorials, set books and internet access.

If you're on a low income you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after you start studying.


Skills for career development

As well as the specific knowledge gained from studying an OU degree, you'll develop many transferable and work-related skills that are highly valued by employers. These include skills in:

  • communication 
  • numeracy 
  • effective team-working 
  • independent and critical thinking 
  • IT and data handling 
  • analysing and evaluating diverse sources of information, including qualitative and quantitative data 
  • designing and carrying out research projects, and presenting their findings 
  • problem-solving and reasoning 
  • application of learning to real world problems and situations
  • independent learning. 

Career relevance

Our psychology degree is designed to deliver the requirements for the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) of the British Psychological Society (BPS), and has been accredited by the BPS for over 20 years.  Careers as a professional psychologist in the applied areas of psychology will require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree – for which this degree course provides ideal preparation.

The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) regulated titles include:

  • clinical psychologist
  • counselling psychologist
  • educational psychologist
  • forensic psychologist
  • health psychologist
  • occupational psychologist
  • sports and exercise psychologist. 

Accreditation

Graduates achieving a 2.2 or better for this qualification are eligible for the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) conferred by the British Psychological Society (BPS).

BSP Logo

Other careers

There are many other types of career for which the knowledge and skills that you will develop as a psychology graduate may be useful such as: 

  • advertising
  • marketing
  • education
  • the health professions
  • human resources
  • management.

Many graduate-level jobs are open to graduates of any discipline, particularly in business, finance, management consultancy and the public sector. Some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree.

In addition to improving your career prospects, studying with the OU is an enriching experience that broadens your horizons, develops your knowledge, builds your confidence and enhances your life skills. 

Exploring your options

Once you register with us (and for up to three years after you finish your studies), you’ll have full access to our careers service for a wide range of information and advice – including online forums, website, interview simulation, vacancy service as well as the option to email or speak to a careers adviser. Some areas of the careers service website are available for you to see now, including help with looking for and applying for jobs. You can also read more general information about how OU study enhances your career.

In the meantime if you want to do some research around this qualification and where it might take you, we’ve put together a list of relevant job titles as a starting point (note that some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree):

This degree does not provide direct entry to the career fields listed, but it may ease access and increase your employability in relation to them, and it enhances prospects for progression once you are qualified to enter them. 

  • forensic psychologist
  • clinical psychologist
  • counselling psychologist
  • educational psychologist
  • health psychologist
  • occupational psychologist
  • occupational psychologist
  • sports and exercise psychologist
  • teacher
  • lecturer
  • researcher
  • social worker
  • youth services worker
  • prison officer
  • police officer
  • probation worker
  • counsellor
  • human resources manager.

Want to see more jobs? Use the career explorer for job ideas from the National Careers Service, PlanIT Plus in Scotland and Prospects across all nations. You can also visit GradIreland for the Republic of Ireland.


Register for this course

Start dates
Credit transfer: apply by 16/08/2018
Credit transfer: apply by 06/12/2018

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