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BSc (Honours) Psychology

Psychology pervades just about every aspect of our personal and professional lives. The frequent query, 'What do you have in mind?' quite literally captures much of what psychology - the science of human behaviour - is all about. Studying our BSc (Honours) Psychology degree course (accredited by the British Psychological Society) 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, all of which will put you very much in the frame when it comes to employment opportunities. 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.

Study Mode

Online Education, Distance Learning & External study modes available

Key facts

Code: Q07 Made up of: 360 credits

There are no formal entry requirements to study this qualification.

Fees: Our fees depend on where you are ordinarily resident. We have a range of funding options to help you with payment. When you apply to study we will tell you the fee and funding options that are available to you. Before you apply you can read What you can expect to pay.

Career relevance and employability

Psychology graduates gain an impressive breadth of knowledge and skills that make them highly employable across a wide range of careers. These include:

  • advertising
  • marketing
  • career counselling
  • education
  • the health professions
  • human resources
  • management
  • police and social services

Graduates achieving a 2:2 or better are eligible for the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) conferred by the British Psychological Society - download our Recognition leaflet 3.1 for further information.

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.

There's more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the OU's Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also read or download our publication OU study and your career and look at our subject pages to find out about career opportunities.

Educational aims

The degree aims to provide students with:

  • an understanding of key concepts, theories, methods and debates in psychology
  • an appreciation of different perspectives within psychology and the ability to evaluate them critically
  • practical experience of designing, carrying out, analysing and reporting psychological research using a range of research methods
  • an understanding of the application of psychology to social, educational, practical and professional issues
  • a range of generic skills as detailed in the Benchmark document for Psychology
  • a degree which fulfils the requirements for the Graduate Basis for Registration of the British Psychological Society* and which provides the basis for further postgraduate study in psychology. [*provided students commencing their OU degree study from 1 September 2006 onwards achieve at least the equivalent of a 2:2 classification]
  • support and guidance to improve their own learning and performance and develop as independent learners.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

When you have completed this degree you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the following:

  • the key approaches to psychology, and the contribution of different theorists to psychological ideas and thinking
  • knowledge of the core domains within psychology as detailed in the Benchmark document for Psychology: biological, cognitive, developmental, personality and individual differences, social
  • an understanding of what constitutes a scientific approach to psychology, and of the differences between common sense and psychological explanations of human behaviour
  • an understanding of a range of research methods in psychology and their appropriate use
  • an understanding of ethical issues in the design and conduct of psychology enquiry
  • how psychological theories and research are applied in different practical and professional contexts.

Cognitive skills

When you have completed this degree you will be able to:

  • define and use key terms and concepts in psychology
  • construct arguments with appropriate use of psychological concepts, theories and evidence
  • interpret, use and evaluate different kinds of evidence
  • compare and evaluate conceptual arguments, particularly psychological explanations derived from different theoretical and conceptual frameworks
  • understand and evaluate a range of research strategies and methods used by psychologists
  • work with and explore hypotheses, using appropriate psychological theories and evidence
  • design and carry out research projects grounded within the academic literature, prepare relevant materials and deploy established research methods, using analytical tools and presenting and interpreting the results appropriately.

Practical and/or professional skills

When you have completed this degree you will be able to demonstrate the following key skills:


These skills are matched against QCA levels 3 and 4.

  • select and read material in an appropriate way and efficiently and effectively take notes
  • select, summarise and synthesise information from different psychological sources, including primary text and other multimedia forms
  • present written material in a coherently organised form, with arguments and information in a logical sequence, communicated effectively and referenced appropriately.

Application of number

  • perform basic numerical operations
  • interpret tables, graphs, diagrams, bar charts
  • work with quantitative data and apply appropriate statistical procedures
  • present and summarise data in extended reports.

Information technology

  • access, process and prepare information using computers
  • use information technology to access library resources.

Learning how to learn

  • analyse tasks, make plans for tackling them and manage time
  • identify and use sources of support and learn from feedback
  • monitor and reflect on personal progress, identifying own strengths and weaknesses.

Key skills

When you have completed this degree you will be able to:

  • design and conduct psychological investigations using a range of methods and types of data analysis and report these in appropriate formats
  • conduct research that complies with established ethical principles and guidelines.

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