Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies

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Academic Year of Entry: 2023/24
Course overview
(BA) Bachelor of Arts
Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies
University of Essex
University of Essex
Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies
Colchester Campus
Honours Degree
BA C890


Professional accreditation


Admission criteria

A-levels: BBC

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

IB: 29 points or three Higher Level certificates with 554.
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: 6 level 3 credits at Distinction and 39 level 3 credits Merit

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


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


External examiners

Staff photo
Dr Angie Voela


University of East London

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 23 October 2023 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  PA123-4-AU-CO  Understanding Individuals Groups and Organisations : An Introduction to Psychodynamic Concepts  Compulsory  15  15 
02  PA125-4-SP-CO  Child, Adolescent and Adult Development: Loss, Conflict and Growth  Compulsory  15  15 
03  PA208-4-AU-CO  Freud: Mind, Culture and Society  Core  15  15 
04  PA209-4-SP-CO  The Unconscious: Analytical Psychology, Culture and Society - Jung  Core  15  15 
05  PA108-4-SP-CO  Popular Film, Literature and Television: A Psychosocial Approach  Compulsory  15  15 
06  PA130-4-AU-CO  Assignment and Research Writing for Psychoanalytic Studies  Compulsory  15  15 
07  PA134-4-FY-CO  The Psychosocial Imagination  Core  30  30 

Year 2 - 2024/25

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  PA401-5-AU-CO  Psychoanalytic Theory: Freud and Object Relations  Core  15  15 
02  PA402-5-SP-CO  Advanced Jungian and Post-Jungian Approaches  Core  15  15 
03  PA403-5-SP-CO  Psychoanalysis and the Child  Compulsory  15  15 
04  PA225-5-SP-CO  Violence  Compulsory  15  15 
05  PA405-5-AU-CO  Lacanian psychoanalysis  Compulsory  15  15 
06  PA231-5-SP-CO  Wild Things: Literature, Childhood, Psychoanalysis  Compulsory  15  15 
07  PA135-5-AU-CO  PA135-5-SP  Compulsory  15  15 
08    Option from list or outside option  Optional  15  15 

Year 3 - 2025/26

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  PA900-6-FY-CO  Dissertation  Core  30  30 
02  PA407-6-FY-CO  Current Debates in Psychosocial Studies  Compulsory  30  30 
03  PA408-6-SP-CO  Therapeutic Practice  Compulsory  15  15 
04  PA409-6-FY-CO  Reflective Practice  Compulsory  15  15 
05  PA229-6-SP-CO  Organisational Dynamics - Theory  Compulsory  15  15 
06    Option from list or outside option  Optional  15  15 

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

This course provides students with a secure knowledge of different psychosocial and psychoanalytic schools of thought, as well as the means to apply them critically and creatively to a wide variety of cultural phenomena.

Students examine the pioneering works of Freud, Jung, Lacan, Klein, and Object Relations theorists bringing them into dialogue with key works and concepts from across the Humanities and Social Sciences. Early emphasis is given to securing a solid basis in psychodynamic thinking, child, adolescent and adult development, and the dynamics of therapeutic interventions in organisations. We go on to consider topics such as war, trauma, race, gender, sexuality, and social institutions (the family, the asylum, the University) from a psychosocial perspective. In addition to developing subject specific skills that focus on awareness and analysis of unconscious dynamics, students are exposed to a range of critical methods and reading skills. Our critical practice engages works from history, politics and sociology as well as literary texts and films.

Students are empowered to extend their critical and analytic skills and deepen their self-awareness in ways that strengthen an understanding of the relationship between theoretical ideas and lived experience. The course provides a robust foundation for a diversity of career paths in sectors pertaining to the humanities and social sciences (e.g. positions within charity sectors & NGOs, health and social care, marketing, media work, public relations). Many of our students go onto further academic study, or further training in a career in psychotherapy or counselling.

More particularly, this programme aims:

  • To provide a solid psychoanalytic vocabulary and understanding of unconscious dimensions of human experience, relationships, communication and culture
  • To provide students with a good understanding of the history of the disciplines, and the different schools of psychoanalysis and psychosocial thinking
  • To enhance students’ capacity to observe and interpret the social and political world through psychosocial and psychoanalytic perspectives
  • To provide psychosocial perspectives on child, adolescent and adult development and difficulties
  • To understand the role of emotions in learning, behaviour, and social development
  • To understand the concept and significance of trauma and its effects
  • To understand the psychodynamics of groups and institutions
  • To provide a space and process by which students can explore and reflect upon the intersection between their academic, personal and professional selves

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: Solid knowledge of the basic psychoanalytic concepts and of its different applications in fields from psychotherapy to the humanities

A2: Knowledge and understanding of the history of psychoanalysis and of its different schools

A3: Psychodynamic understanding of the emotional factors that affect learning, relationships and behaviour.

A4: Understanding of the psychodynamic frame of therapeutic relationships

A5: Knowledge of the psychodynamics of human development and disturbance

A6: Knowledge of the psychodynamic understanding of trauma and its influence on individuals and organisations

Learning methods

The programme makes use of theoretical seminars (A1, A2, A3, A4, A5), lectures, discussion seminars, group presentations, and reflective practice (A2, A3, A6) and field trips.

Assessment methods

Essays, presentation, reflective report, observation summary.

B: Intellectual and cognitive skills

B1: To define and use specific psychoanalytic concepts describing relationships and communication, including transference, counter-transference, projection, introjection, etc

B2: To describe and differentiate the different psychoanalytic authors, schools and their ideas.

B3: To describe the emotional factors that affect psychological development, relationships and behaviour

B4: To describe psychoanalytically therapeutic processes and practice

B5: To discern unconscious dynamics in wider society, politics and culture (e.g. in relation to gender, race, disability, etc.).

Learning methods

The programme makes use of theoretical seminars (B1, B4), lectures, (B2, B5, B6) and the experience of reflective groups.

Assessment methods

Formal assessment is by essay, presentation, reflective commentary and observation commentary.

C: Practical skills

C1: Capacity for applying psychodynamic understanding to a range of experiences

C2: Capacity for academic writing in the humanities

C3: Capacity for developing a research project/research skills

C4: Capacity to recognize and describe situations and interactions in institutions in psychodynamic terms.

C5: Capacity to recognize and describe human interactions in relation to unconscious dynamics

C6: Capacity to reflect on one's own experience and take ownership of one's own learning

C7: Capacity for public presentation

Learning methods

The programme makes use of theoretical seminars (C1, C2, C3), clinically orientated seminars (C4, C5, C6), and reflective practice (C4, C5, C6, C7).

Assessment methods

Formal assessment is by essay, presentation, reflective commentary and observation commentary

D: Key skills

D1: To communicate effectively with colleagues and begin to practice communication skills that could be applied clinically

D2: To use e-mail, Moodle and electronic submission of assessed work.

D3: To develop a capacity to make a formulation based on psychodynamic understanding and to take a view on appropriate therapeutic interventions; to decide on specific topics for essays.

D4: To work in collaborative groups including reflective experiential groups with an emphasis on learning about one's own contribution to a good working group

D5: To work independently, including through e-based learning and to learn through practice and self-reflection, to engage in independent research towards a dissertation.

Learning methods

The programme makes use of theoretical seminars (D1, D3), lectures, the experience of reflective groups (D1. D4).

Students also make presentations linked to an individual research project (D1, D5).

Finally, students utilise information technology by using email, electronic submission of assessed work, and use of Moodle as a learning repository (D2).

Assessment of the placement year is through a number of elements including assessment of the students' performance in securing the placement, undertaking the placement and reflecting on the placement.

Assessment methods

Formal assessment is by essay, reflective observations and presentations.


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.

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