Psychology in Combined Honours - information for current students

Key benefits

  • A solid grounding in the principles of modern psychology.

  • Training in research methods and techniques using modern IT tools.

  • Choice of project work and advanced final year options including occupational, applied social, clinical and educational psychology.

  • Strong record of graduate employability

  • Strong industry and public sector links

  • A wide variety of relavant professional placement/sandwich year opportunities. Over 70% of Aston Psychology students take a placement year.

To provide a thorough grounding in the principles and research methods of Psychology. The distinctive flavour of studying psychology at Aston is the emphasis which is placed on applied as well as theoretical studies of psychology. All psychology studied at Aston is human psychology.

After a common and broadly based first and second year you will choose topics for specialisation in your final year.

Jump to:

  • Subject guide & modules
  • Learning, teaching & assessment
  • Placement year
  • Career prospects
  • Personal development
  • Facilities & equipment
  • Qualified Teacher Status
  • Further information

Subject guide & modules

Note that this program does not confer graduate basis for registration (GBR) to the British Psychological Society. Completing the Graduate Diploma does grant GBR. You can however do a year long conversion course at Aston to gain the BPS accreditation.

 First Year

  • Perspectives in Psychology – foundation to the major approaches in psychology including psychoanalytic, biological, behaviourist, cognitive, humanist and psychometric perspectives.
  • Developmental Psychology – introduction to the main theories of cognitive and perceptual development, attachment and the development of a sense of self in young children.
  • Cognitive Psychology – introduction to the information-processing approach to the study of learning, memory, attention and perception.
  • Research Methods and Statistics – foundation to the different types of research methods psychologists’ use and the issues associated with them.

 Second Year

  • Social Psychology I – foundation studies in the concepts and methods used in social psychological research.
  • Brain and Behaviour I – examines the concept of psychopathology and overviews the different models, explanation and treatments of abnormal behaviour.
  • Brain and Behaviour II – studies the biological basis of behaviour and explores how different cognitive and emotional functions are implemented in the normal brain.
  • Cognitive Psychology IIa – explores the building blocks of thought and different types of reasoning.

 Final Year

  • Literature Review Project – a substantial critical literature review project on a topic of your choice.
  • Options Chosen (subject to availability) from:
  • Nutrition and Behaviour – which examines the relationships between nutrition and behaviour in the context of their implications for psychological wellbeing.
  • Therapeutic Intervention – examines current issues in counselling psychotherapy.
  • Drugs and Behaviour – looks at psychopharmacology theory and practice and considers the biological aspects of drug actions.
  • Psychology of Ageing – examines cognitive aspects of the ageing process.
  • Auditory Perception – explores how the brain can make sense of the world of sound.
  • Health Psychology – considers the role of psychology in health and illness.
  • Psychology and Work – provides perspectives on work and occupational psychology.
  • Clinical Neurosciences - explores psychiatric disorders of childhood and adolescence.

Learning, teaching & assessment

We use a range of assessment methods and most modules are assessed with a combination of coursework and an end of year examination. Coursework includes essays, research reports of individual and group research projects, statistics assignments and class tests with short answer or multiple-choice questions. Students also make short oral presentations.

As a student you are taught through lectures, seminars, tutorials and practical classes but there is a much stronger emphasis on reading and on your own private, independent study than at pre-degree level. To help you manage your learning, we set out your work for the year in an online student guide. This includes full details of all modules including week-by-week lecture breakdowns, reading lists and all coursework assignments for the year with the relevant deadlines.

Placement year

The sandwich placement year is an opportunity for you to set your studies in context by taking a psychology or related professional placement - usually in the UK or abroad.  This may be paid employment, although research, clinical and forensic placements are usually unpaid.

Recent examples of placements include NHS Health Trusts, Aston Villa Football Club, British Energy, the Civil Service, Corus, Ford, University research (UK, US, Australia and Singapore) the Home Office, Marks and Spencer and the Prison Service. All students will receive specialist support and supervision for their specific placement. There is an overall placement tutor for the year and all students are allocated an individual placement tutor.

Please note that students who enter placements in the NHS may be required to pay for CRB checks and occupational health checks

Career prospects

Our emphasis on applied and human psychology provides an excellent springboard for careers across professional psychology including clinical, occupational, health, forensic and educational psychology. The Psychology degree also prepares students for many careers in government and business - for example advertising, management consultancy, human resources management or teaching.

Personal development

Psychology students have the opportunity to take an additional university qualification – the University Certificate in Personal and Professional Development, in parallel with their degree and at no extra cost. This optional qualification can enhance students’ CV writing and interview skills, help to identify strengths, weaknesses, career preferences, and prepare students’ placement portfolio.

During this degree, our students acquire the following skills:

  • Analytical
  • Communication
  • Handling data and information  
  • Effective team working
  • Problem solving and reasoning

Facilities & equipment

Further information

Tel: 0121 204 4283; Email: ids@aston.ac.uk

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