Psychology with a Professional Placement (BSc)

Psychology is the systematic and scientific study of behaviour and experience. It has a wide range of applications from industry to commerce, education and health and social services.

School of psychology 2

This is a four year long degree programme that is accredited by the British Psychological Society as conferring Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership. The third year of your degree will be spent in a professional placement approved by the School.

The School of Psychology is long established, well resourced, and has an excellent international reputation. As a Psychology student at Cardiff, you will be studying the subject very much from the scientific standpoint whilst meeting the challenges of understanding behaviour from social, cognitive and biological perspectives. Cardiff is one of only a few universities in the UK to offer a four year Psychology with Professional Placement degree programme, giving you the opportunity to gain relevant work experience in the field. Supported by enthusiastic lecturers from the UK's leading research department, you will also be studying a degree programme that is accredited by the British Psychological Society.

Key facts

UCAS CodeC810
Entry pointSeptember 2016
Duration4 years
AccreditationsBritish Psychological Society (BPS)
Typical places availableThe School typically has approx 190 places available.
Typical applications receivedThe School typically receives approx 1200 applications.
Typical A level offerAAA/A*AB or AABIf an applicant has studied one of the following subjects - Biology, Human Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics - the typical offer would be AAB. If a student has not taken any of these subjects, the typical offer would be AAA/A*AB. We do not accept General Studies as an A level.In addition to this, at least a grade B GCSE is required for English Language or Welsh as a First Language and for Mathematics or Statistics. Psychology uses statistical methods which is why some basic knowledge and skill in mathematics is required.
Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerWBQ core will be accepted in lieu of one A-level (at the grades specified above).
Typical International Baccalaureate offer36 points overall, with a minimum of 18 points at higher level.
Other qualificationsApplications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome.

Detailed alternative entry requirements are available for this course.
QAA subject benchmark


Admissions tutor(s)

Dr Marc Buehner, Admissions Tutor

Mr Christopher Evered, Course Administrator

Important Legal Information: The programme information currently being published in Course Finder is under review and may be subject to change. The final programme information is due to be published by May 2016 and will be the definitive programme outline which the University intends to offer. Applicants are advised to check the definitive programme information after the update, to ensure that the programme meets their needs.

This is a four year long degree programme that is accredited by the British Psychological Society as conferring Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership. The third year of your degree will be spent in a professional placement approved by the School.

If you are wondering whether you should have a year in a professional placement, then I would strongly suggest that you do. It is an experience you could not gain from anywhere else during your degree and a placement year can really help you stand out when you apply for jobs or places on postgraduate courses.

Jenna Spinks, undergraduate student

Year one

Level four of the degree occupies the autumn semester of the first year and is designed to help students make the transition from school to university level study. It consists of three modules. These modules will:

  • introduce scientific thinking skills and use example research topics to help students learn the differences between good and bad science
  • provide an overview of the main subject areas of psychology
  • introduce the basics of research methodology through practicals and research design teaching.

Interactive seminars and tutorials form an important part of the course.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Social Psychology IPS201620 credits
Biological PsychologyPS201720 credits
Research Methods in PsychologyPS101820 credits
Language and MemoryPS202020 credits
Introduction To PsychologyPS101620 credits
Current Topics in Psychological ResearchPS101720 credits

Year two

Level five occupies three semesters, starting in the spring of the first year. This level covers the main psychology areas in depth, combined with further teaching of research design and statistical analysis, practical work, and weekly tutorials.

Year three: Sandwich year

You will spend your third year in a professional placement approved by the School, subject to availability. Students complete placements in diverse environments in the UK and overseas. These include prisons, hospitals, research units at other universities, rehabilitation clinics, counselling centres and industrial placements.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Occupational PlacementPS3003120 credits

Year four

Level six is the final year. Here, students undertake a supervised research project that runs over two semesters. The research project is an opportunity to carry out an independent piece of research with individual supervision from a member of academic staff with expertise in the research area. In addition to the project, students at Level 6 complete a range of final year modules (commonly around six depending on whether the modules selected are single or double modules). The optional modules offer the opportunity for deeper exploration of topics that are close to the research interests of staff.

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

The School of Psychology is one of the largest and best departments in the UK. It is a stimulating and rewarding place to study. The School offers outstanding undergraduate and postgraduate teaching, informed by international, cutting-edge research, in a friendly and supportive environment.

All students have the chance to develop skills that will help advance their career prospects both inside and outside of Psychology. Students are active participants in our current research through projects, seminars, vacation schemes and online blogs. Students on professional placements benefit from strong collaborative research and teaching links with local hospitals, forensic psychiatric services and prisons.

The courses are taught through a wide range of media. Traditional lectures are supplemented by video demonstrations, practicals, small group seminars and discussion groups. These encourage and help students in presenting arguments, setting out ideas and enhancing communication skills and analytical competence. Practical work, conducted both in the laboratory and the field, enables students to learn interviewing techniques, survey work, psychometric testing and experimental skills. Personal contact with academic staff at all levels is sustained by the extensive use of tutorials throughout the degree programme. Each student is assigned a personal tutor, whose role it is to provide academic advice and pastoral guidance throughout the degree programme.

The BSc in Psychology with Professional Placement provides excellent employment prospects. In addition to providing graduates with in-depth subject knowledge, it also offers fantastic preparation for employment: Over the last two years, 89% of graduates felt that their degree had prepared them “well” or “very well” for employment.  Furthermore, in that same time 95% achieved a positive outcome from their degree (as defined as the proportion of graduates who were available for employment and had secured employment or further study). In 2014, 73% of graduates had secured graduate level employment or further study within six months of graduation.


  • Pyschologist
  • Counsellor
  • Educational Psychologist
  • Recruitment Consultant


4 Year(s)

Next intake

September 2016

Places available

Typical places available

The School admits 190 students each year to its undergraduate degree programmes.

Applications received

Typical applications received



QAA subject benchmark

QAA subject benchmark


Overview and aims of this course/programme

The four principal aims of the Programme are:

To encourage and develop an appreciation of, and interest in, the discipline of psychology, especially as it applies to the world of work.

To provide an education in the discipline of psychology presented as a coherent and systematic field of study, for those who will undertake further study and research in psychology, or in a related field, or who will study psychology no further than first degree level.

To enable students to enter subsequent phases of their careers with competence, initiative and work experience.

To develop an appreciation of, and competence in, the use and application of psychological principles and methods in work situations and contexts.

More specifically the Programme aims to:

Provide students with the opportunity to extend their knowledge and understanding of historical and current texts associated with Psychology;

Develop students’ practical and experimental skills;

Assist students to develop their academic writing skills and their practical techniques;

Encourage students to progressively take ownership and direction of their learning so that they develop as independent life-long learners;

Provide experience of psychology as it is applied in the work domain.

What should I know about year five?

Students will be expected to attend all timetabled sessions and are also expected to engage in independent study. They will receive supervision to help them complete the research project, but will be expected to manage their own time to undertake significant independent study during this phase. 

Students are expected to adhere to the Cardiff University policy on Dignity at Work and Study.

How is this course/programme structured?

Details of the Programme structures and requirements, courses and awards are available in the Student Handbook.

In summary, the Programme is offered in sandwich (4 year) mode only. Students take 60 credits in Level 4, which do not count towards the final degree classification. In Level 5 (commencing in the second semester of Year 1) students take modules to the value of 180 credits. At final year, students take 120 credits. Modules are compulsory at Level 5 and optional at final year (with the exception of the research project). Students also submit a Placement Report in the final year. Details of the criteria used to assess student work are to be found in the Student Handbooks. Performance in Level 5 contributes 30% towards honours classification, the Placement Report contributes 10% and the final year contributes 60% towards the degree classification. The degree of difficulty of the modules progresses as the Level increases. For example, final year modules are more challenging than those at Level 5. The different Learning Outcomes demonstrate the increasing demands at each Level and hence student progression through the Programme.

What should I know about year four?

No specific equipment required

What should I know about year three?

Please see Learning Outcomes

What should I know about the preliminary year?

A Knowledge and understanding

Learners play the leading role in their own education. The School facilitates learning by: identifying appropriate readings, communicating knowledge and understanding through lectures, practical classes and tutorials. The student engages critically with the material presented by: writing practical reports and essays, participating in class discussions and in tutorials and through team work.

B Intellectual Skills

Intellectual Skills are promoted via lectures, seminars and group discussions, tutorials, group work. Application of these skills is developed via tutorial presentations, research practicals, project, and a work placement.

C Discipline Specific, including Practical Skills

Writing for different Psychology audiences is achieved via preparation of essays, practical reports, and the project. Practical Skills are promoted via experimental work including group and project work and work placement.

Acquisition of competence in practical skills is progressive. At Levels 4 and 5 students have detailed guidance to ensure that they have a firm foundation in relevant experimental skills. Tutors ensure that an acceptable level of competence is achieved before students progress to the final year. At the final year students have an element of independence and are required to design, conduct, analyse and report individual project work. Students meet regularly with a supervisor to discuss methodologies and practical work.

D Transferable Skills

The communication of ideas and team work are an integral part of all modules via tutorials and practicals.

Promotion of IT skills is via programme–wide compulsory modules at Levels 4 and 5. The research project at final year is designed to develop these IT and statistical analysis skills through independent research.

What should I know about year one?

A Knowledge and understanding

Knowledge and understanding are assessed both summatively and formatively via multiple choice and

conventional written examinations, essay writing, practical, written placement and project reports.

Formative feedback is provided at practical classes and in tutorials via oral presentation.

B Intellectual Skills

Summative assessment is by means of unseen written examinations, essay writing, practical reports, work placement report and research project.

Feedback is provided via seminars, tutorials and project supervision.

C Discipline Specific, including Practical Skills

Students’ ability to write for different Psychology audiences is determined through summative assessment of essays, practical reports, project and the work placement report.

D Transferable Skills

Assessment of Transferable Skills is via essays, team work in practical classes and the independent research project.

The School of Psychology, in liaison with the University Careers Service, provides Careers Management Sessions (at Level 5) and an annual general careers talks at Final Year.  Students also have the opportunity to attend University approved courses provided by the Careers Service, and by the Students' Union, which focus on Transferable Skills.

Other information

Students obtain support materials either via Learning Central (Cardiff University’s Virtual Learning Environment) or from study packs specially developed for selected modules. All students are allocated a personal and academic tutor. 

Distinctive features

The Programme Outcomes have been informed by:

· The requirements of the British Psychological Society.

· QAA Higher Education Quality Assurance and Standards Framework: H level.

· QAA Benchmarking Statements for Psychology.

· The School of Psychology's Strategic Plan.

· The School of Psychology's Teaching Learning and Assessment Policy.

· The University's Policy on Student Learning.

Students who gain the award will have demonstrated achievement of the following

Learning Outcomes, as se t out under A, B, C, D, below:

A Knowledge and understanding

Intended Outcomes: Upon completion of the programme a typical student will be able to:

Recognise the work of a professional psychologist in a specified area of applied psychology.

Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of psychological facts, theories, ideas, methods, concepts

and principles and to appreciate their significance in the applied context.

Demonstrate an understanding of psychology as a coherent and developing scientific discipline.

Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between theoretical and applied psychology.

B Intellectual Skills

Intended Outcomes: Upon completion of the programme a typical student will be able to:

·         Demonstrate the skills/abilities necessary for scientific research in psychology, including abilities to formulate research hypotheses, design and conduct empirical studies, analyse data, and interpret findings.

·         Demonstrate the skills in comprehending and evaluating psychological material, including the abilities to communicate clearly and concisely the concepts of literature, appraise the literature critically, in both written and oral presentation.

·         Demonstrate the skills and abilities involved in the use and application of psychological principles and methods in work situations and contexts.

C Discipline Specific, including Practical Skills

Intended Outcomes: Upon completion of the programme a typical student will be able to:

Conduct safely, ethically and competently psychological research studies involving human and non human animals in both the laboratory setting and the work environment.

Record, analyse statistically, present (written and orally) and interpret data from psychological


D Transferable Skills

Intended Outcomes: Upon completion of the programme a typical student will be able to:

Communicate ideas, principles and theories effectively by both oral and written means.

Use information technology e.g. the Internet, reference database, spreadsheets, word processing, graphics and statistics packages.

Perform and interpret statistical analyses of data.

Work and communicate effectively both as an individual and in a team.

Demonstrate effective time-management skills and the ability to meet deadlines.

Be aware of a range of techniques used in the workplace by practising applied psychologists and have a working knowledge of the constructs that underpin them.

Be aware of ethical guidelines.

How will I be taught?

The distinctive features of the Programme include:

 - the opportunity for students to learn in a School which was graded ‘Excellent’ in the last Teaching Quality Assessment, achieved Grade 5* in the 2001 Research Assessment Exercise and was ranked top in the UK on Research Power in the 2008 RAE;

 - the involvement of research-active staff in Programme design and delivery;

 - the variety of modules on offer;

 - the emphasis on independent learning in a research-led environment;

 - the emphasis on acquisition of high quality practical skills and the development of innovative ideas;

 - the emphasis on safety and ethical issues;

 - membership of the British Psychological Society and an awareness of professional standards and progression;

 - flexibility, permitting graduates to pursue professional careers as psychologists, as well as a wide range of other careers, including postgraduate research;

 - availability of placements in a wide variety of work situations, the quality of which is monitored through

 - feedback mechanisms

Admissions tutors

Dr Marc Buehner, Admissions Tutor

Mr Christopher Evered, Course Administrator

Key Information Sets (KIS) make it easy for prospective students to compare information about full or part time undergraduate courses, and are available on the Unistats website.


Get information and advice about making an application, find out when the key dates are and learn more about our admissions criteria.

How to apply
Students outside the Glamorgan Building

Open Day 2016

Open days are your chance to get a real first-hand experience of the university and the city.

Related courses

Related links