This information applies to BSc Psychology course.
This information will assist applicants in assessing whether they have the skills, attributes and qualifications which the School of Psychology has identified as being important if students are to succeed on its undergraduate programmes of study. It also summarises the process which the School uses for selecting students and making offers, so that applicants understand how the School considers their applications.
Scope of the criteria
These pages provide information on admissions requirements, selection policies and procedures for undergraduate single honours Psychology and Psychology with Professional Placement programmes.
Further details of the courses can be found in the Undergraduate Prospectus, which can be requested from firstname.lastname@example.org
Profile of applications
The School of Psychology has an annual intake of approximately 200 students for the BSc (Hons) Psychology (3 years) and the BSc (Hons) Psychology with Professional Placement (4 years). There are usually over 1100 applications so competition for places is therefore very high.
At the beginning of each admissions cycle, the Admissions Sub-Committee reviews the previous cycle and recommends to the Board of Undergraduate Studies any changes in policy or the selection criteria. This policy and the selection criteria will not normally be changed during an admissions cycle.
Method of application
All applications must be made through UCAS, details of which can be found at www.ucas.com. Applications can be made either in the English or the Welsh language. Applicants can choose up to six programmes. Cardiff University is not made aware of applicants' other chosen universities, but is aware of an individual's application for other courses at Cardiff University. Applications for other courses in Cardiff University do not affect the way that an application for a Psychology programme is considered.
During each applications cycle, the School determines whether it will enter programmes into UCAS Extra, which provides applicants with an opportunity to make late applications to Universities. This means that the closing date for applications varies across years. Applicants are encouraged, however, to apply for courses involving Psychology during the MAIN UCAS cycle (see www.ucas.com). After the end of this cycle, the School may consider applications against stricter criteria than those documented here, or may decide to consider no further applications.
The selection process
Each UCAS form is assessed by at least one member of the School of Psychology Admissions Team and all forms are checked by the Admissions Secretary.
In order to establish an applicant’s potential to cope with the academic requirements of the relevant programme, the initial assessment consists of screening applications according to whether they meet specified minimum academic requirements shown in the Appendix. For applicants who do not meet the criteria necessary for an unconditional offer, the application will be assessed in order to determine whether there is sufficient evidence that the applicant is likely to satisfy entrance requirements in qualifications yet to be taken. If the qualifications or combinations of qualifications offered are not specified clearly in the Appendix, further information can be obtained by contacting the School of Psychology Admissions Team. In the absence of documented exceptional extenuating circumstances, applicants who do not meet minimum requirements, or applicants for whom there is insufficient evidence that they are likely to satisfy entrance requirements in qualifications yet to be taken, will be rejected. They will be notified of this decision by UCAS.
All applicants who meet the academic requirements described above will be made an offer if the application is received in the UCAS MAIN cycle. For students holding a conditional offer who do not quite achieve the grades required by that offer, the School may also take non-academic information into account. Under such circumstances, the Admissions Team will inspect referee reports and personal statements in the UCAS form for information demonstrating the commitment of the individual to the course of study for which they have applied. The team recognises that opportunities for certain types of work experience and participation in some non-academic activities will vary according to individual circumstances, including an applicant's cultural and/or socio-economic background. Selectors are, therefore, not prescriptive about the ways in which the non-academic selection criteria may be demonstrated.
The School does not typically interview applicants. Interviews are arranged only under circumstances where it is not possible to make an informed decision on the basis of the information that is provided on the UCAS form, and where the absence of information on the form is not due to the omission of relevant detail by the applicant. In such circumstances, the School may offer an interview in order to ensure that each individual is assessed equitably. The purpose of the interview is to assess academic aptitude for the course. This will entail a requirement for the applicant to bring examples of written work with them. The interview will involve an assessment of aptitude and ability by determining the applicant’s ability to:
- Demonstrate an interest in and commitment to the study of psychology as a scientific discipline.
- Demonstrate a capacity for analytical thinking and ability to discuss abstract concepts.
- Demonstrate an understanding of how academic study can contribute to society.
Confirmation of a place
The examination results of applicants taking standard qualifications who are holding conditional offers are transmitted electronically by UCAS to Cardiff University. The central Admissions Office will review grades obtained. Applicants with other qualifications (such as graduates and overseas students) will be contacted directly for confirmation of their results. Applicants who have met the terms of their offer will be notified on results day by UCAS, and later in writing by the School of Psychology. All applicants for Psychology programmes who have failed to meet the terms of their offer are referred to the Psychology Admissions Team for review. If it is the case that there remain places available following automatic acceptances, the Team will consider offering places to ‘close misses’. In doing this, the Team will take into account all information available relating to the application, including documented extenuating circumstances if appropriate, before making a decision as to whether the student should be offered a place. The Team will not typically take into account information about exceptional circumstances that was provided after the relevant examinations or assessments were undertaken. UCAS and the Admissions Office will notify the applicant of the decision. The decision of the Admissions Team is final.
School selection criteria
The School endeavours to maintain criteria which ensure that individuals with diverse educational histories and qualifications are treated equitably. Where it is not possible to ascertain the suitability of an applicant on the basis of the UCAS application, and this is not due to the absence of information that the applicant might reasonably be expected to include, the School will typically offer an interview.
It is important to note that selection criteria are there to guide the decision making process. For the School of Psychology, the selection process involves adjudicating between a large number of highly competitive applications. This involves complex professional judgments that are based upon a holistic approach to assessing suitability by inspection of all sections of UCAS application forms. What this means is that satisfying criteria in terms of formal qualifications may not suffice as the basis for an offer.
The School of Psychology does not have any standardised admissions test requirements.
The School of Psychology does not typically interview applicants, but may under certain circumstances - please see "Interviews" section above.
Minimum entry requirements
Details of the minimum academic requirements for entry into the programmes described above are tabulated below. A-level, Welsh Baccalaureate and International Baccalaureate requirements can be found in Course Finder.
The following applies to both BSc Psychology (C800) and BSc Psychology with Professional Placement (C810).
GCSE minimum requirements
- English Language/Welsh 1st Language: B
- Mathematics: B
GCE A Level qualifications (all courses)
GCE Students should offer three A-levels at A2 level. A combination of AVCE (including double award) and A2 is acceptable. The School does not consider applicants offering fewer than three A-Levels with a combination of AS Levels.
The typical offer is AAA/A*AB or AAB.
If a candidate has studied one of the following subjects – Mathematics, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Human Biology– the typical offer would be AAB.
If the student has not taken any of these subjects, a typical offer would be AAA/A*AB.
General Studies is not acceptable at AS or A Level.
In addition to a grade A in the core, AA or AB in 2 GCE A level subjects If a candidate has studied one of the following subjects — Biology, Chemistry, Human Biology, Mathematics, Physics — the typical offer would be A in the core and AB at A2 If a candidate has not taken any of these subjects, the typical offer would be A in the core and AA at A2.
General Studies is not acceptable at AS or A level.
Graduate applicants should have achieved a minimum of grade ‘B’ in GCSE (or equivalent) Mathematics plus grade ‘B’ in GCSE English Language or Welsh First Language. At A level, they are expected to have achieved a minimum of ‘BBB’ grades. Graduate applicants must have, or expect to achieve, at least an upper second class Honours degree.
‘AAAAB’ grades in Scottish Highers, AA at advanced highers.
‘AAABBB’ grades at Higher level in final year qualifications.
International Baccalaureate Diploma
Applicants require an overall total of 36 points for entry, at least 18 of which must be at Higher level.
BTEC Extended Diploma: DDD in a relevant subject.
Diploma and subsidiary diploma are also considered in combination with standard A-levels.
BTEC National Diploma: 3 Distinction grades overall, no individual modules below Merit, at least 6 Distinction grades in Year 2 modules.
BTEC National Certificate: 2 Distinction grades overall, no individual modules below Merit, plus a GCE A-level at Grade A.
BTEC National Award: Distinction grade overall, no individual modules below Merit, plus two GCE A-levels at grades AA.
Access to Higher Education courses
The typical requirement is 60 credits overall, 45 at Level 3 and 15 at Level 2. Distinction grades should be achieved in at least 50% of Level 3 subjects. All Mathematics modules taken at Level 2 must be obtained with Distinction. All Maths modules taken at Level 3 must be obtained with a Merit. Where Level 2 Mathematics modules are only offered on a Pass/Fail basis the applicant must produce evidence of a standard that is equivalent to a Distinction (e.g. a GCSE Grade B or a reference from the course tutor about the applicant's mathematics ability). The School may also invite applicants offering an Access course to interview and to provide examples of written work as part of the basis for assessment. Access qualifications are considered as a basis for entry only when accompanied by the presence of significant personal and/or occupational experience (typically a minimum of 3 years), preferably relevant to Psychology.
UK applicants who have been out of full-time education for 3 years or more
For applicants offering a combination of qualifications and work experience, the following general criteria apply. The admissions team recognises the difficulties involved in assessing a combination of relevant personal and occupational experiences alongside some formal qualifications, and will scrutinise all borderline cases closely.
English/Welsh 1st Language and Mathematics/Statistics (Grade B GCSE or equivalent).
Evidence of successful completion of recent academic study (i.e. in the same year as the application is made).
A minimum of 3 years during which professional and/or personal experience (preferably relevant to the selected degree programme) has been acquired.
Either 1 or 2:
- A-level / A2 / AVCE at grades BBB or above (or BBC if the student has taken one of the following subjects: Biology, Human Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Maths). An Advanced GNVQ (Full Award – pre Curriculum 2000) at Distinction level may be submitted in lieu of 2 A-levels, and an Advanced GNVQ (Single Award) at Distinction level may be submitted in lieu of 1 A-level.
- Foundation Programme or Access to Higher Education course (see preceding detail on Foundation and Access qualifications).
Applications from students with diverse social, cultural and educational backgrounds are encouraged. Minimum entry criteria for a range of qualifications are given above. The list above is not exhaustive, and information on criteria for qualifications or combinations of qualifications not provided there can be obtained by contacting the School of Psychology.
Applications from overseas students are welcome. Our typical entry requirements for international students are AAB at A-level, or 36 points overall in the International Baccalaureate, 18 of which must be at Higher level.
The School of Psychology offers scholarships to international students of full fee-paying status. Our scholarships are based on academic achievement and reward students who achieve excellence in their examinations. Those students who successfully obtain a scholarship receive a substantial reduction on fees for the following year. Please refer to the International Scholarships section of the School of Psychology's website for more information and terms and conditions.
Overseas applicants should ensure that they have adequate financial resources to support them throughout the undergraduate course. The University will require a financial guarantee that all fees can be met.
Overseas applicants - English language requirement
Overseas applicants who have not been educated in the UK and for whom English is not their first language are required to offer an internationally recognised English Language qualification (this may be waived in certain cases where the primary language of tuition has been English). The qualification must include reading, writing, speaking and listening skills.
|IELTS||6.5 in each area (reading, writing, listening, speaking)|
|IGCSE English Language||Grade B|
|ESOL Certificate of Advanced English (CAE)||Grade A|
|ESOL Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE)||Grade C|
|International Baccalaureate Diploma (English Language at SL)||Grade 6|
Please see the School's own International Webpages for information about country-specific requirements.
Additional requirements for admission
There are no specific additional requirements for admission.
The School of Psychology takes the view that one important indicator of ability is achieving appropriate qualifications while having a high workload. For this reason, applicants re-sitting will be considered only when there are exceptional circumstances (e.g. serious medical or personal issues) that can explain the initial under-achievement. These circumstances should be noted on the UCAS form where appropriate or provided to the School of Psychology Admissions Team.
Cardiff University is committed to promoting equality and diversity in all of its practices and activities, including those relating to student recruitment, selection and admission. The University aims to establish an inclusive culture which welcomes and ensures equality of opportunity for applicants of all ages, ethnicities, disabilities, family structures, genders, nationalities, sexual orientations, races, religious or other beliefs, and socio-economic backgrounds. This commitment forms part of the Equality and Diversity Policy.
The School of Psychology demonstrates this commitment by:
- Making admissions decisions solely on the basis of the criteria listed within this procedure
- Ensuring all staff involved in selection decisions have received equality and diversity training
- Providing a contact for prospective disabled students to discuss potential access needs
Disabilities and specific needs
Applications from candidates with specific needs or disabilities are welcomed. All such applicants are encouraged to contact one of the School of Psychology’s Disability and Specific Needs Tutors (Todd Bailey: BaileyTM1@cardiff.ac.uk and Judy McPherson: Mcpherson@cardiff.ac.uk ) at an early stage in the application process so that disability related needs can be discussed and adjustments to the process made wherever these are reasonable. Documents, including the School’s prospectus, can be supplied in large print, on audio-tape or on disk, and can be printed on different coloured paper. The Disability and Specific Needs Tutor, working with the University’s Disability Advisers, is able to give information about course delivery and access to the physical environment relevant to potential applicants with specific needs. Informal visits can be arranged during which applicants are able to view accommodation and meet academic and student support staff.
Applicants to whom offers are made may be invited to an Open Day run by the School of Psychology. All such applicants are invited to notify the School of any disability-related or special needs that they, or an accompanying visitor, may have so that reasonable adjustments may be put in place. In addition, where a student has disclosed a disability on his or her UCAS form and has been made an offer, the University’s Disability and Dyslexia Service will contact the student to identify support needs and any adjustments which might reasonably be made to minimise any disadvantage arising from the student’s disability. All students have an opportunity to visit the University to meet with a disability adviser and specific needs tutor to discuss the requirements of the course and what arrangements might reasonably be made to minimise any academic disadvantage arising from the student’s disability.
These measures ensure that the School of Psychology and the University is able to provide an admissions process that is accessible to all students, and, thereafter, an accessible curriculum for applicants with disabilities or specific needs to whom offers are made.
Further information about the University’s provision for disabled students is available from its Disability and Dyslexia Service.
Transfers with credit from another Higher Education institution
The School of Psychology considers transfer requests from students at other universities in the United Kingdom and overseas only for those who have completed or are completing studies at level 1 and wish to continue at level 2 at Cardiff. Transfers are considered only if the number of students likely to commence level 2 in the same session is below the student number target set by Cardiff University for Psychology programmes. The criteria for transfer would be the same as those for an applicant for level 1, with the additional requirement of a certain level of attainment on the level 1 course at the other University. This level of attainment is determined on a case by case basis, in recognition of the fact that forms of assessment differ across Universities and programmes.
In addition, there must be a good degree of correspondence between the academic structures of the relevant programmes at the respective Universities. Applications for transfer must be made formally through UCAS, indicating the point (year) of entry. However, students seeking transfers are strongly advised to contact the Admissions Team prior to applying via UCAS, giving full details of their academic studies and their reasons for wishing to transfer.
Transfer with credit from another programme at Cardiff University
Transfers into psychology programmes from other courses within Cardiff University are not considered.
The School of Psychology will consider applicants for BSc Single Honours Psychology and BSc Single Honours Psychology with Professional Placement seeking deferred entry using the same criteria as those seeking entry in that year. Application is made through UCAS in the usual way, although the UCAS form should be amended clearly to show the intention to defer.
Several University-wide Open Days for undergraduates are held each year which provide an opportunity to visit all departments in addition to residences, the Students’ Union and sports facilities. Please see our Open Day webpage for further details.
All applicants who receive an offer of a place on a Psychology programme are invited to attend an Open Day run by the School of Psychology. There are four of these Open Days each year. These Open Days will typically include a talk from a member of the Admissions Team on living and studying in Cardiff, tours of some of the facilities available, information on student welfare and finance, and an opportunity to spend time speaking with members of academic staff.