Psychology with Cognitive Neuroscience (Including Year Abroad)

Staff member? Login here

Academic Year of Entry: 2023/24 - 2024/25
Course overview
(BSc) Bachelor of Science
Psychology with Cognitive Neuroscience (Including Year Abroad)
University of Essex
University of Essex
Colchester Campus
Honours Degree
BSC C806


Professional accreditation

Accredited against the requirements for the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) of the British Psychological Society (BPS).

Admission criteria

GCSE: Mathematics C/4

A-levels: ABB

BTEC: DDD, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.

IB: 32 points or three Higher Level certificates with 655. Either must include Standard Level Mathematics grade 4, or a minimum of 3 in Higher Level Mathematics. We will accept grade 4 in either Standard Level Mathematics: Analysis and Approaches or Standard Level Mathematics: Applications and Interpretation.
Maths in the IB is not required if you have already achieved GCSE Maths at grade C/4 or above or 4 in IB Middle Years Maths.
We are also happy to consider a combination of separate IB Diploma Programme Courses (formerly certificates) at both Higher and Standard Level. Exact offer levels will vary depending on the range of subjects being taken at higher and standard level, and the course applied for.
We can also consider combinations with BTECs or other qualifications in the Career-related programme – the acceptability of BTECs and other qualifications depends on the subject studied, advice on acceptability can be provided. Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.

Access to HE Diploma:15 Level 3 credits at Distinction and 30 level 3 credits at Merit, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.

T-levels: Distinction, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.

What if I don’t achieve the grades I hoped?

If your final grades are not as high as you had hoped, the good news is you may still be able to secure a place with us on a course which includes a foundation year. Visit our undergraduate application information page for more details.

What if I have a non-traditional academic background?
Don’t worry. To gain a deeper knowledge of your course suitability, we will look at your educational and employment history, together with your personal statement and reference.

You may be considered for entry into Year 1 of your chosen course. Alternatively, some UK and EU applicants may be considered for Essex Pathways, an additional year of study (known as a foundation year/year 0) helping students gain the necessary skills and knowledge in order to succeed on their chosen course. You can find a list of Essex Pathways courses and entry requirements here

If you are a mature student, further information is here

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) code

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall. Different requirements apply for second year entry, and specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a visa to study in the UK.

Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels listed above. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

If you are an international student requiring a visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Additional Notes

If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to this degree, you could prepare and gain entry through a pathway course. Find out more about opportunities available to you at the University of Essex International College here.

Course qualifiers

A course qualifier is a bracketed addition to your course title to denote a specialisation or pathway that you have achieved via the completion of specific modules during your course. The specific module requirements for each qualifier title are noted below. Eligibility for any selected qualifier will be determined by the department and confirmed by the final year Board of Examiners. If the required modules are not successfully completed, your course title will remain as described above without any bracketed addition. Selection of a course qualifier is optional and student can register preferences or opt-out via Online Module Enrolment (eNROL).


Rules of assessment

Rules of assessment are the rules, principles and frameworks which the University uses to calculate your course progression and final results.

Additional notes

Note: If you choose a 30 credit outside option which is at a 2nd year level in component 6 of your final year, please note that this means you will only be taking 90 credits at third-year level (level 6). This is the absolute minimum allowable therefore, you must pass all your final year level 6 modules.

External examiners

Staff photo
Dr Paula Miles

Director of Teaching, Senior Lecturer

University of St Andrews

External Examiners provide an independent overview of our courses, offering their expertise and help towards our continual improvement of course content, teaching, learning, and assessment. External Examiners are normally academics from other higher education institutions, but may be from the industry, business or the profession as appropriate for the course. They comment on how well courses align with national standards, and on how well the teaching, learning and assessment methods allow students to develop and demonstrate the relevant knowledge and skills needed to achieve their awards. External Examiners who are responsible for awards are key members of Boards of Examiners. These boards make decisions about student progression within their course and about whether students can receive their final award.

eNROL, the module enrolment system, is now open until Monday 21 October 2024 8:59AM, for students wishing to make changes to their module options.


Core You must take this module.
You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options You can choose which module to study.
You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Compulsory You must take this module.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Compulsory with Options You can choose which module to study.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Optional You can choose which module to study.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.

Year 1 - 2023/24

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  PS101-4-AU-CO  Understanding our place in the world  Core  15  15 
02  PS102-4-AU-CO  Growing in the world  Core  15  15 
03  PS103-4-AU-CO  Experiencing Emotion  Core  15  15 
04  PS104-4-SP-CO  Thinking and the Mind  Core  15  15 
05  PS105-4-SP-CO  The Social World  Core  15  15 
06  PS106-4-SP-CO  The Social Brain  Core  15  15 
07    Option(s) from list  Optional  30  30 
08  PS117-4-FY-CO  Introduction to Personal Development and Employability  Compulsory 

Year 2 - 2024/25

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  PS421-5-AU-CO  Statistics for Psychology  Core  15  15 
02  PS411-5-SP-CO  Brain and Behaviour  Core  15  15 
03  PS423-5-AU-CO  Psychology of Health  Core  15  15 
04  PS406-5-AU-CO  Developmental Psychology  Core  15  15 
05  PS407-5-AU-CO  Social Psychology  Core  15  15 
06  PS416-5-SP-CO  Personality and Individual Differences  Core  15  15 
07  PS425-5-SP-CO  Cognitive Psychology  Core  15  15 
08    Option from list  Optional  15  15 
09  PS417-5-FY-CO  Enhancing employability and career planning  Compulsory 

Year Abroad/Placement - 2025/26

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  AW121-6-FY-CO  Abroad Module 120 Credits  Compulsory  120  120 

Year 3 - 2026/27

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  PS300-6-FY-CO  Psychology Project  Core  30  30 
02  PS495-6-AU-CO  The Neuroscience of Human Nature  Core  15  15 
03    Option(s) from list  Optional  45  45 
04    Option(s) from list or outside option(s)  Optional  30  30 
05  PS492-6-FY-CO  Advanced employability skills and career progression  Compulsory 

Exit awards

A module is given one of the following statuses: 'core' – meaning it must be taken and passed; 'compulsory' – meaning it must be taken; or 'optional' – meaning that students can choose the module from a designated list. The rules of assessment may allow for limited condonement of fails in 'compulsory' or 'optional' modules, but 'core' modules cannot be failed. The status of the module may be different in any exit awards which are available for the course. Exam Boards will consider students' eligibility for an exit award if they fail the main award or do not complete their studies.

Programme aims

  • To provide an education in Psychology in core subjects appropriate to gain Graduate membership of the British Psychological Society (BPS), and the Graduate Basis for Registration as a Chartered Psychologist through BPS accredited courses, whilst guaranteeing expert training necessary to undertake a research project in Cognitive Neuroscience.
  • To enable students to acquire a broad understanding of psychological science, while also providing opportunities to develop expertise within particular areas of specialisation (cognitive psychology, social psychology, perception and neuropsychology).
  • To provide students with a research project in Cognitive Neuroscience.
  • To provide students with a suitable grounding for further study and research.
  • To provide training in transferable skills necessary to meet the current requirements of graduate employers.

  • Learning outcomes and learning, teaching and assessment methods

    On successful completion of the programme a graduate should demonstrate knowledge and skills as follows:

    A: Knowledge and understanding

    A1: Basic psychological theory, research methods and statistics.

    A2: Psychological theory within the core domains as outlined by the BPS. These are Biological Psychology; Sensation and Perception; Cognitive Psychology; Developmental Psychology; Social Psychology; and Research Methods.

    A3: Statistical theory and experimental design appropriate for psychological science.

    A4: Principles and techniques in those areas in which the student has chosen to develop special expertise.

    Learning methods

    The scheme has been designed to be progressive: acquisition of introductory material (A1) is taught in the first year; acquisition of compulsory core courses in psychological theory (A2), and acquisition of knowledge on statistical theory and experimental design (A3), are taught in the first and second years.

    Understanding of specialist topics is encouraged in the third year by means of specialist option courses (A4), in addition to a compulsory final year research project (A4).

    The compulsory second year courses and the final year project provide the core syllabus required for professional accreditation by the British Psychological Society.

    While lectures are the principal method of delivery for the concepts and principles outlined in A1-A4, the department encourages learning through the integration of other teaching activities, including tutorials or discussion groups (A1-A3), computer-based workshops (A1, A3), project research and supervision (A4), student presentations (A4), and directed reading (A1-A4).
    The knowledge understanding and experience of studying abroad (A5) is acquired through successful completion of year abroad which occurs in between the second and final year of the three-year counterpart.

    Assessment methods

    A variety of methods of assessment are used, including multiple-choice exams (A1, A3), coursework essays (A1), end-of-year closed book examinations (A1-A4), laboratory reports (A1-A3), research project poster presentation (A4) and research dissertation (A3, A4).

    The knowledge understanding and experience of studying abroad (A5) is acquired through successful completion of a year abroad which occurs in between the second and final year of the three-year counterpart.

    B: Intellectual and cognitive skills

    B1: Critically evaluate the relative strengths of a range of theories and techniques used in psychology.

    B2: Employ evidence-based reasoning to produce coherent research plans and hypotheses.

    B3: Assemble and integrate evidence from a variety of sources, including primary sources

    B4: Analyse and interpret quantitative information relevant to psychological research in graphs, figures, tables, and determine whether appropriate statistical tests have been used.

    Learning methods

    The basis for intellectual skills is provided in lectures and laboratory classes.

    B1 is developed in both lecture-based and laboratory-based courses.

    B2 is developed in most laboratory assignments, and is central to the final-year project.

    B3 is developed through lectures, guided reading and tutor led discussions groups.

    B4 is developed in statistics and laboratory courses, as well as the final-year research project.

    Assessment methods

    Intellectual and cognitive skills are assessed primarily through unseen closed book examinations, and also through marked laboratory reports, essays, and project work.

    C: Practical skills

    C1: Effectively test research hypotheses using standard statistical techniques (e.g., t-tests).

    C2: Present quantitative data in tabular and graphical form.

    C3: Use a range of psychological tools, such as specialist software, and laboratory equipment.

    C4: Plan, undertake and report an empirical project related to Cognitive Neuroscience.

    Learning methods

    Practical skills (C1-C4) are developed in laboratory classes, assignments and project work.

    C1 is developed through exercises and exposure to a range of statistical software.

    C2 is taught in laboratory-based project work and further developed in the final year research project.

    C3 and C4 are developed in laboratory classes and during the supervision of the final year individual project.

    Assessment methods

    Practical skills are assessed through marked laboratory reports, end-of-year examinations, and the final year empirical project, that includes assessment of both a poster presentation (10%) and a written report of the project (90%).

    D: Key skills

    D1: Communicate ideas effectively. Produce written reports/essays.

    D2: Be computer-literate i) Use appropriate IT facilities to prepare and present laboratory reports and essays. ii) Use statistical software to analyse quantitative data.

    D3: Handle data and be numerate i) Collect, analyse and present numerical data. ii) Use statistical techniques in the process of experimental analysis and design.

    D4: Problem solve and reason scientifically. Analyse complex problems and design effective solutions.

    D5: Improve own learning and performance. i) Organise activity and time in an effective way. ii) Study independently.

    Learning methods

    Students are introduced to statistical software in their first year, and thereafter the development of key skills forms an integral part of their learning activity.

    In particular: D1(i) is developed throughout the course in laboratory classes, lecture-based courses, tutorials and the final year individual project.

    D2(i) and D2(ii) are developed through the use of an extensive computer laboratory with access to the internet.

    These key skills are taught in laboratory courses and statistics courses in both the first and second year and further developed with supervision of the third year project.

    D3(i) and D3(ii) are developed primarily in laboratory courses and in the final year project.
    D4 is developed in exercises and laboratory classes.

    D5(i) and D5(ii) are emphasised throughout the programme and are developed by means of rigid deadlines, feedback on assignments and discussions with class tutors.

    Students are also directed to the University’s ‘‘Key Skills On-line’‘ package that allows students to work at their own pace.

    Assessment methods

    Oral communication skills are taught and assessed in PS411 Brain and Behaviour, and are included as a defence of the PS300 Final Year Project Poster. Other forms of communication include lab report writing (second year laboratory reports), essays and thought pieces (years 1 and 2), examinations (all three years) and poster presentation of final year project. Numeracy skills are assessed in year 1 modules, PS421, PS300. Problem-solving and reasoning scientifically is assessed in PS416, year 1 modules, second year laboratory class reports (PS406, PS425), and final year projects PS300. Qualitative data analyses are assessed in PS423. There is also an element of problem-solving in researching, preparing and answering essay questions.


    The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

    The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.


    If you are thinking of studying at Essex and have questions about the course, please contact Undergraduate Admissions by emailing, or Postgraduate Admissions by emailing

    If you're a current student and have questions about your course or specific modules, please contact your department.

    If you think there might be an error on this page, please contact the Course Records Team by emailing