Psychological and Behavioural Sciences

Study mode:On campus Study type:Full-time Languages: English
Foreign:$ 37.3 k / Year(s) Deadline: Oct 15, 2024
6 place StudyQA ranking:9667 Duration:3 years

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Psychological and Behavioural Sciences is an exciting, broad and flexible degree that covers all aspects of psychology.

Our course

Psychology is very diverse – overlapping with and contributing to many other disciplines such as anthropology, archaeology, computer science, linguistics, neuroscience, philosophy and sociology.

Psychological and Behavioural Sciences (PBS) at Cambridge gives you the opportunity to study cognitive, social, developmental and biological psychology within the broader context of the behavioural sciences.

The course covers, for example, cognitive psychology, psychopathology, language, brain mechanisms, gender, family relationships and influences, personality, and group social behaviour. A wide range of options enable you to study the topics that interest you most in greater depth.

Teaching and facilities

In the Department of Psychology, you’re taught by lecturers and researchers of international excellence. Subject societies and seminar programmes offer regular talks from guest speakers too.

In addition to this academic expertise, you have access to the Department library and specialist collections held in associated departments’ libraries – amounting to around 50,000 books and more than 150 periodicals – as well as other resources and computing facilities.

Professional accreditation and careers

The University’s teaching of psychology is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS). This means that students who successfully graduate (with at least second class Honours) achieve the ‘graduate recognition’ needed to pursue a career in psychology.

Many students continue with further study and research, and graduates are eligible for admission to professional courses in clinical, educational, forensic or applied psychology. Numerous past students of psychology at Cambridge have gone on to prominent positions in psychology and related fields throughout the world.

Our course also equips you with skills and knowledge applicable in a range of professional sectors. Other recent graduates have entered careers in the media, management, the Civil Service, finance, law and business.

Teaching is provided through lectures, classes or seminars, and supervisions. Some papers include a practical element, which takes place in laboratories.

You can typically expect two lectures a week for each paper. You also have one or two supervisions a week to discuss your work and develop your reasoning and ideas.

Year 1 (Part IA)

In Part IA, you take a total of four papers, two of which are compulsory:

  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Psychological Enquiry and Methods (this includes practical demonstrations and exercises)

The remaining two papers are chosen from a selection of up to nine options. The optional papers available each year may vary but subjects usually include:

  • biological and social anthropology
  • education
  • evolution and behaviour
  • politics
  • philosophy
  • computer science
  • sociology

At the end of the year, you sit a three-hour written examination in each paper.

Year 2 (Part IB)

Part IB provides a foundation for the research-led teaching of the final year while also allowing you to begin to specialise in those areas that most interest you.

You take four papers in total. All students take:

  • the Social and Developmental Psychology paper
  • the Cognitive Neuroscience and Experimental Psychology paper, which teaches research methods and includes laboratory work
  • two optional papers

The optional papers are selected from a range of around 19 available. The subjects may change from year to year but typically include papers in:

  • biological and social anthropology
  • history and philosophy of science
  • education
  • neurobiology
  • philosophy

You sit a written exam in each paper at the end of the year.

Year 3 (Part II)

In your final year, you undertake a research dissertation of 7,000 words on a psychology topic of your choice. You also choose a further three papers from a selection available, each of which is assessed by a written examination.

The subject of these papers may change from year to year but typically include the following topics:

  • social and developmental psychology
  • cognitive and experimental psychology
  • behavioural and cognitive neuroscience
  • legal psychology
  • criminology
  • linguistics
  • selected subjects from those offered at Part IB
  • All applicants to the University of Cambridge must submit an application to UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) by the relevant deadline.
  • The Attestat o (polnom) Srednem Obshchem Obrazovanii (Certificate of Secondary Education) is not considered to be suitable preparation for a competitive application to the University of Cambridge. We strongly recommend that you undertake further study if you wish to apply for an undergraduate degree. Examples of the qualifications that would be considered suitable for admission to Cambridge are A Levels, the International Baccalaureate (IB), five or more Advanced Placement (AP) courses, or possibly the first year of an undergraduate degree at a university outside the UK. We recommend that you contact the College that you wish to apply to directly for further advice and guidance.
  • IELTS – normally a minimum overall grade of 7.5, usually with 7.0 or above in each element.
  • Cambridge English: Advanced – grade A or B.
  • Cambridge English: Proficiency – grade A, B or C.

Admission assessment

All applicants are required to take the pre-interview written assessment for PBS at an authorised centre local to them (for a lot of applicants, this will be their school/college).

Assessment format

  • Section 1: Thinking Skills Assessment (CT/PS). Plus either Part B Mathematics and Biology or Part C Reading Comprehension (80 minutes)
  • Section 2: Essay/text response (40 minutes)

You must be registered in advance (separately to your UCAS application) to take the assessment – the registration deadline is Sunday 15 October 2017. 

  • Cambridge Commonwealth, European and International Trust

Your living expenses may be higher than for a Home student (eg if you stay in Cambridge/the UK during vacations). The minimum resources needed in Cambridge for the year (excluding tuition and College fees) are estimated to be approximately £10,080 in 2017-18 and £10,310 in 2018-19, depending on lifestyle (you should allow for increases in future years).

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