Students Staff

Undergraduate courses

Our courses

  • FdA / BA Therapeutic Communication and Therapeutic Organisations

    How can you best help a troubled child in your agency? How can you work more effectively with your colleagues? How can you use your understanding to support others in their role with adolescents? How can you make your organisations for adults more therapeutic? Our Foundation Degree offers a theoretical understanding and practical grounding in emotionally aware and therapeutic work with children, adolescents, and adults, whatever your role.

    Using a psychodynamic framework, you develop a thorough understanding of the dynamics within and around both troubled children and the adults who are trying to help them learn. We also equip you with an awareness of the wider dimension of organisational dynamics, to ensure that you become an effective and perceptive member of your staff team.

    You study:

    • psychodynamic theory
    • child and adult development
    • issues of trauma and violence
    • the dynamics of therapeutic interventions in organisations.

    You also have the opportunity to develop your insight as a reflective practitioner. We combine theoretical seminars and practical workshops on campus with a degree of work-place learning, to ensure that your understanding of the material covered is comprehensive.

    The Foundation degree is a two-year, full-time course which you can top up to a full BA with an additional year of study.

    Our courses benefit both our students and their employers, Dr Chris Nicholson describes the benefits of the TCTO course for people working with young people (.pdf). You can also hear from our TCTO students.

    For an informal discussion about these courses please contact the Programme Lead, Dr Chris Nicholson by email at

  • BA Childhood Studies - new for 2018

    Are you fascinated by children’s behaviour? What drives their development, what informs their behaviour and shapes their identity? Do you want to help children with emotional, social, behavioural and education difficulties? Why do some children falter through life’s ups and downs, whilst others seem to thrive in adversity and are more resilient? Do you want to make a difference to children’s lives? If so, this course is for you.

    Children today face a wide range of new and challenging experiences, including unprecedented access to media, wider cultural diversity, online bullying and larger school numbers. Their early experiences of childhood affect them for the rest of their lives. You can make a positive contribution to these formative years.

    Childhood studies is a vibrant and exciting field which has expanded in recent years to include knowledge from psychology, sociology and psychoanalysis. This course lays the foundations for a career working with infants and children, whether in education, health care or children’s services. You gain a solid understanding of child development, the ecology of childhood (the place of children in different societies) and many other exciting topics including:

    • Children in Literature
    • Understanding Autism
    • ADHD
    • Developmental Trauma
    • Criminological Approaches to Children and Young People
    • Psychodynamics of Teaching and Learning.

    If you have any questions about this course, contact Dr Chris Nicholson at

  • BA Psychoanalytic Studies

    Psychoanalysis is an interdisciplinary field of studies and clinical practices, gathering over 100 years of theorization and clinical experience in framing its ideas and concepts about the mind, emotions, social relations, motivation, psychopathology and psychotherapy.

    Building upon the work initiated by Freud, Jung, Melanie Klein and others, psychoanalysis has had a major impact on such distinct fields as psychiatry, philosophy, anthropology, sociology, and the humanities, as well as having an impact on popular culture (in films, TV-series, novels, theatre, and more) which, in turn, affects the way in which we see and understand ourselves and our relationship to the world around us.

    In this course, you'll look at the different schools of psychoanalysis as well as explore its applications to different settings and objects of study - from individual clinical work, to groups, culture and society. At its core, psychoanalysis believes that understanding human experience is not just about looking at external factors, from the places we live and work to the people we talk to, but also at internal ones - our inner motivations, fantasies, and defence mechanisms, to name a few.

  • BA Therapeutic Care

    Are you fascinated by relationships and personality development, or intrigued by people’s behaviour, what can cause them to act as they do and what can lead to emotional or psychological difficulties?

    Do you want to learn about and to develop ways of helping those who are in need? Laying the foundations for a career in a caring profession, whether education, health or social care our course will give you a solid basis in psychodynamic thinking, child and adult development, and the dynamics of therapeutic interventions in organisations.

    We will equip you with what you need to take up a post in a range of education, health and social care settings.

  • BA Sociology with Psychosocial Studies

    What holds societies together? Do people pull together because they have to or because they want to? How do we understand the relations between individuals and their emotions, and wider cultural and political identities? Why do people think like they do? What factors – conscious and unconscious – motivate them to behave as they do?

    Our course combines sociological and psychoanalytical approaches to the study of society, and the different kinds of social tensions, interactions, networks and emotions that make up everyday life. We bring together expertise from our top-ranking Department of Sociology and our Department.

How to apply

To apply to study BA Childhood Studies, BA Psychoanalytic Studies, BA Sociology with Psychosocial Studies and BA Therapeutic Care please make your application through UCAS.

To apply to study the Foundation degree Therapeutic Communication and Therapeutic Organisations, you need to make your application directly to our Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies (not through UCAS). For further information or to apply please contact our Student Administrator.

"The long term benefits are that I can now see a different career path, this course has certainly opened up different avenues for me."
Student on FdA Therapeutic Communication and Therapeutic Organisations

Student feedback

Each year undergraduate students are invited to complete student satisfaction surveys to tell us about their experience while studying with us.

  • National Student Survey (NSS)

    The National Student Survey (NSS) results show that the University of Essex is in the top 15 in the country for overall student satisfaction for the fifth year running. In Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies (PPS) we achieved 94% for ‘Overall satisfaction’. This included satisfaction scores of 95% for ‘The teaching on my course’, 91% for ‘Learning opportunities’, and 89% for ‘Learning community’ – all significantly above the University averages. Professor Roderick Main, our Director of Education, comments: “We are delighted that the NSS results reflect our efforts to provide each of our students with an excellent educational experience in terms of the teaching they receive, the learning opportunities available to them, and the learning community of which they are each a valued part. We recognise, however, that in other areas our results were below what we would expect for ourselves – especially on ‘Assessment and feedback’ (69% satisfaction) – and we have taken immediate steps to improve this with a series of actions to enhance the quality, consistency, and timeliness of feedback on students’ work. We also aim to enhance the ‘Student voice’ (77% satisfaction): we have been working with the Students’ Union to improve student engagement with Student Staff Liaison Committee (SSLC) meetings; and we have inaugurated a termly ‘Change Week’ through which we aim to gain and, where possible, immediately act on mid-term feedback from students about anything they would like to change about their University experience. We would like to thank our students for participating in the NSS survey and all members of the department, students as well as administrative and academic staff, for helping to maintain PPS’s impressively high standards.” (NSS 2017)

  • Student Satisfaction Survey (SSS)

    The TCTO teaching team are delighted to see that students in Southend have given 100% to their overall satisfaction with the quality of their degree, while Colchester students have given a still very high 94%.

    Overall the scores across a range of areas were very high, especially in areas such as teaching and personal development.

    There are also some specific areas for development:

    Assessment and feedback

    • Feedback sheets have been revised to ensure greater congruence between feedback and the specific assignment
    • Feedback from students has been separated from the reflective groups to ensure those distinct tasks do not become confused
    • Essay writing workshops have been implemented to ensure first-year students are better prepared for assignments and understand the assessment and feedback procedures

    Organisation and Management

    • Third-year induction day has been development to fully prepare for the practical assignments, and this is now followed up by preparatory seminars for each module
    • Third-year teaching has been restructured. Fewer tutors teach and have responsibility for these modules which are now better more cohesively planned and organised
    • Outside option students are taught theory separately
    • Reflective groups are better integrated into the programme to enhance experiential learning on available, to improve employability skills and to provide a space to process the impact of the course learning upon students academically, professionally and personally

UROP placements

UROP icon

Our Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme gives you the chance to help an academic with a research project. You'll learn new skills to enhance your CV and get paid a bursary.

UG Open Days

Book a place at our undergraduate Open Day. Our department and admissions staff can answer any questions you have, and you can speak to current students about life at Essex while taking a campus tour.

Careers and skills

Careers and skills

We offer a variety of careers support to help with professional development during your time at Essex and with finding employment or further study after you graduate.

How to apply

How to apply

Find out more about how to apply for a course at the Department for Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies. We can provide help and advice, and guide you through the application process.