Social Psychology - BSc (Hons)

Overview

Psychology is the study of people – what they do, think, perceive and feel. It helps us to answer many important questions about society by applying scientific principles to human behaviour. Our Social Psychology degree trains you in experimental methodology and emphasises the practical value of psychology when applied to issues and problems of human social relationships.

Kent is a leading centre for social psychology – the study of human behaviour in a social environment – and we also have strengths in cognitive, forensic and developmental psychology. Passionate about research, our academics are world-leading experts and can inspire you to develop your own ideas and become an independent thinker.

Our degree programme

Our modules cover a wide range of topics such as child development, language, mental health, motivation, and forensic psychology. By drawing on aspects of biology, computing and philosophy, you gain a broad scientific and analytical background. You can also gain direct experience of research through the:

  • Research Participation Scheme (where you take part in a project as a participant)
  • Research Experience Scheme (where you gain hands-on experience of working on a project and a reference at the end)
  • Work Experience Scheme (where you volunteer with a local organisation – such as a school, college, prison or hospital – and collaborate on a project).

The lecturers have a friendly approach to teaching and you get a high level of academic support via lectures, seminars and one-to-one feedback.

Study resources

The School of Psychology is in a modern building with state-of-the-art teaching facilities and two computer rooms. Our specialised equipment includes:

  • eye-tracker technology
  • electroencephalography (EEG) equipment for monitoring brain function
  • brain stimulation laboratories
  • physiology laboratories
  • child-friendly testing spaces
  • a virtual reality laboratory
  • group dynamics laboratories
  • observation suites.

Extra activities

The Psychology Society is run by Kent students. Previous activities include talks by guest speakers and the chance for students to publish work in the Student Journal of Psychology.

The School of Psychology also puts on many events that you are welcome to attend. These may include:

  • research seminars led by leading psychologists
  • professional development workshops
  • informal staff presentations followed by open discussion.

Entry requirements

Home/EU students

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice. 

Please note that meeting this typical offer/minimum requirement does not guarantee an offer being made. Please also see our general entry requirements.

New GCSE grades

If you’ve taken exams under the new GCSE grading system, please see our conversion table to convert your GCSE grades.

  • Certificate

    A level

    AAB-ABB excluding General Studies and Critical Thinking

  • Certificate

    GCSE

    Mathematics grade C or 4

  • Certificate

    Access to HE Diploma

    The University will not necessarily make conditional offers to all Access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis. 

    If we make you an offer, you will need to obtain/pass the overall Access to Higher Education Diploma and may also be required to obtain a proportion of the total level 3 credits and/or credits in particular subjects at merit grade or above.

  • Certificate

    BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

    Distinction, Distinction, Merit

  • Certificate

    International Baccalaureate

    34 points overall or 17 points at HL with Mathematics 4 at HL or SL

International students

The University welcomes applications from international students. Our international recruitment team can guide you on entry requirements. See our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country. 

However, please note that international fee-paying students cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.

If you need to increase your level of qualification ready for undergraduate study, we offer a number of International Foundation Programmes.

Meet our staff in your country

For more advice about applying to Kent, you can meet our staff at a range of international events.

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of 'pre-sessional' courses in English for Academic Purposes. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme. 

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Course structure

Duration: 3 years full-time, 6 years part-time

The course structure below gives a flavour of the modules available to you and provides details of the content of this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.

Stage 1

You take all compulsory modules and then choose two elective modules from across the University. The School of Psychology offers two option modules: SP306 Introduction to Forensic Psychology and SP311 Business Psychology: An Introduction.

Compulsory modules currently include

SP300 is concerned with methodology in psychology, with statistics in psychology, and how they interact. In the lectures, relevant topics in methodology and statistics are introduced over the course of the year (examples are design considerations, counterbalancing, sample versus population, descriptive statistics, histograms, summary statistics, hypothesis testing). There are a number of dedicated lectures looking at how the psychological literature reflects the methodological and statistical issues that have been addressed in the lectures, and how researchers have balanced the requirements of methods, statistics and theory-driven investigation

Find out more about SP300

Psychology is an increasingly popular discipline, possibly because of its relevance to the problems of everyday life. It is also a scientific discipline and draws on other areas of scientific investigation for its concepts and ideas, including Biology, Linguistics, Computer Science and Philosophy. The general aim of this module is to introduce students to the scientific study of behaviour, covering the basic approaches to the subject, including the Biological approach, the Cognitive approach, Behaviourism and Ethology, the Development perspective and related philosophical ideas. Rather than teach these topics in separate blocks, the module is organised so as to emphasise how the theoretical frameworks underlying these approaches relate and contrast. The module also shows how psychological theories and ideas can be used to account for both everyday and abnormal human behaviour.

Find out more about SP301

This module, along with other Stage 1 psychology modules, provides a foundation for Stages 2 and 3. It will provide students with an introduction to the methods, techniques and issues involved in the study of social psychology. The emphasis of the module is on theory as the foundation of an empirical discipline and the importance of scientific methodology. It highlights the interplay between theory, research, and application in social psychology. Focus is placed on core theories and research in social psychology, developmental psychology, personality psychology, and applied psychology. The module is taught through lectures and skills workshops.

Find out more about SP302

You have the opportunity to select elective modules in this stage.

Stage 2

You  take all compulsory modules. These modules, together with the final-year project, are required for professional recognition by the British Psychological Society.

Compulsory modules currently include

The broad aims of the module are: (a) to provide a continued training in methodological skills appropriate to psychological investigation; (b) to provide advanced training in statistical techniques of the analysis of psychological data; (c) to provide training in computing skills for conducting analysis of psychological data; and (d) to provide direct experience of some of the phenomena encountered in other Stage 2/3 psychology modules. The practical component of the module consists of a structured programme of laboratory classes and non-laboratory sessions during which students work in small supervised groups designing and carrying out four research projects related to themes encountered in the department’s other Stage 2/3 modules. A programme of statistics lectures and computing workshops is closely linked to the practical classes. Computer–based statistical analysis is illustrated using SPSS, a general-purpose statistical package.

Find out more about SP500

The focus of this module is on understanding how children develop, with particular emphasis on the historical background of this part of the discipline, and the key theories, explanations and research conducted within developmental psychology. Certainly, it would hardly be an exaggeration to say that for all of us, the period of our lives we go through described as 'childhood' has a significant influence on who we become as adults. Understanding something of the processes we all appear to go through is a central part of any psychology degree, and by the end of this module you should be in a much better position to understand the significance of child development for human psychology. As the course progresses we will move from issues germane to early infancy, then through early childhood and the associated social, cognitive and emotional changes the child experiences during that period, and then a detailed look at adolescence. An additional major component of the course examines how children acquire language and learn how to talk - possibly the most significant development of all.

Find out more about SP528

The module provides a comprehensive overview of the main theories in personality and differential psychology and introduces a number of key topics in research on personality and individual differences. We will consider what personality is, why it differs between people, and what the impact is of personality on life outcomes. The module introduces the basic principles of the scientific study of personality and the major dimensions of personality variation. We examine personality change and stability, the biological bases, and genetic and environmental influences. We will also focus on other important individual differences such as mental abilities (intelligence), political attitudes, religious beliefs and sexuality.

Find out more about SP529

The Research Participation Scheme (RPS) enables students commencing their training in Psychology to gain experience with academic research through participation in studies conducted by staff and other students who are more advanced in their studies (i.e., Final Year, MSc, PhD). Students enrolled in the RPS accumulate credits that correspond to the time spent participating in studies. All studies offered via the RPS have received independent ethical approval and comply with the BPS Code of Human Research Ethics.

Find out more about SP588

This module focuses on the study of the biological bases of human behaviour, relating actions and experiences to genetics and physiology. The study of brain functioning is central to this module. It will address questions such as: How do genes, drugs and hormones influence behaviour? Why do we sleep? What causes behaviour? How are memories stored in the brain? What is the role of bodily reactions in emotion? Is schizophrenia a disorder of the brain? In addition, the module will focus on the methods that are used to answer these questions, such as the recording of physiological signals, brain-imaging techniques, and the study of brain-damaged patients.

Find out more about SP604

The module gives a grounding in methods, techniques and issues of cognitive psychology and allied disciplines. Focusing on vision, memory, higher-levels of cognition concerned with language and cognitive control, and methodology, it examines how cognitive processes are instantiated in mind and brain. It also provides an historical overview of the schools of thought that led to the inception of cognitive psychology as a distinct academic discipline.

Find out more about SP605

This module introduces you to the major orientations and discoveries in the social psychology of group processes. The material covers both behaviour within groups (e.g. group structure, social influence, leadership, and group performance) and behaviour between groups (e.g. intergroup conflict and co-operation, social categorisation and social identity, and prejudice and its reduction). We analyse the basic mechanisms in groups that occupy the same position in the social structure in terms of power, status, and group size, as well as mechanisms that characterize asymmetric groups. There is a strong emphasis on social psychological theory being examined by systematic empirical research. Teaching is by lectures and seminars with additional practical demonstrations from time to time.

Find out more about SP619

This module introduces you to the major theories and research in the social psychology of interpersonal behaviour. The emphasis throughout is on social cognition, and three main areas will be considered: social cognition and the self, attitudes (including attitude-behaviour relations, attitude change and persuasion), and interpersonal relationships. There is a strong emphasis on social psychological theory and systematic empirical research in both field and laboratory settings.

Find out more about SP620

Stage 3

You take all compulsory modules and then choose four optional psychology modules, two of them in the area of social psychology, allowing you to follow specialist interests and benefit from staff research expertise.

Compulsory modules currently include

This module complements the focus of the BSc degree on basic (fundamental) psychological research by providing training in applied psychology. It equips you with an understanding of what is meant by applied psychology, of the domains in which psychology can be applied (e.g., in business, education, health, and the law), and decision rules governing applied psychology such as the balance between the cost and risks inherent in an intervention and its benefits. It introduces you to ethical, logistical, and methodological challenges in applied psychology. You also learn about the history and philosophy of applied psychology, for example contrasting humanistic and behaviourist approaches to intervention, and a consideration of the role of socially constructed 'value' in the application of science (for example, how prejudices against homosexuality as a 'problem' warranting psychological intervention have waxed and waned according to prevailing social values).

Find out more about SP633

All students are required to carry out a piece of psychological research on a specific topic, and to then present it as a report that adheres to the conventions of academic Psychology.

Find out more about SP582

Optional modules may include

The module systematically explores common logical and psychological barriers to understanding and critically analysing empirical research. Major topics considered include common fallacies of deductive and inductive reasoning, judgmental heuristics relevant to evaluating empirical research claims, essentials of a scientific method, misleading statistical and graphical techniques, establishing genuine associations, the role of inferential statistics for identifying illusory associations, essentials of causal inference, and threats to the validity of experimental and non-experimental research.

Find out more about SP636

This module provides you with a critical introduction to Freudian and post-Freudian psychoanalytic psychology. It includes a critical evaluation of theory, method, and data in relation to fundamental concepts in psychoanalytic psychology (e.g. the unconscious, infantile sexuality). It also provides a critical introduction to the application of these concepts to specific clinical conditions (e.g. neurosis, depression, autism, schizophrenia); to adult and child psychotherapy; and more generally to society (including social and cultural issues such as politics and art).

Find out more about SP639

This module is concerned with contemporary concepts, theories and findings in the social psychology of justice and morality. We will consider how social psychology has been applied to understand the basis of our sense of morality and justice, with a particular focus on how these theories can help us understand contemporary real-world ethical debates and be applied with benefits for individuals, groups and society. In doing so, we will see how the empirical methods of psychology can be joined with philosophical and political concepts of justice and morality, and better understand how individuals develop and use moral concepts to navigate the social world and guide their behaviour.

Find out more about SP653

This module gives you an opportunity to study the literature on universal motivation, inspired by a wide range of psychological perspectives (e.g., Evolutionary Psychology, Social Psychology, and Existential Experimental Psychology). You consider what universally motivates human cognition and behaviour, specifically: (a) general theories of human motivation, (b) evolution and biological perspectives, (c) The self and self-regulation, (d) human mating strategies, (e) relationships, (f) threat management, (g) emotion, (h) religion and illusion, (i) the modern unconscious, (j) curiosity. You will learn about methods and measures applied in the field of research on human motivation, and applications of theory and findings on human motivation to applied settings (e.g., daily life) will be discussed.

Find out more about SP608

This module offers an exciting opportunity to learn more about cutting-edge research into groups.

You will understand and apply group research to social policy, business, politics, marketing, etc. and get the chance to consider current affairs and personal experiences with the opportunity for small group discussions and team work. Example topics: group decision making, leadership, organisational identity, improving co-operation in groups.

Find out more about SP603

Developmental psychology aims to understand the developmental trajectory of psychological processes involved in human thought, action, behaviour and emotion. The underlying premise of this field is that a fuller understanding of any psychological phenomena becomes available once we explain when and how it develops. The main purpose of this module is to critically review recent research into key topics within advanced developmental psychology (e.g. social development, the development of prejudice, children as witnesses, the development of mindreading and learning from others). Through such an examination we will be a good position to understand the questions, issues and controversies that are at the forefront of research in developmental psychology

Find out more about SP580

Fees

The 2021/22 annual tuition fees for UK undergraduate courses have not yet been set by the UK Government. As a guide only full-time tuition fees for Home undergraduates for 2020/21 entry are £9,250:

  • Home full-time £9250
  • International full-time £20500
  • Home part-time £4625
  • International part-time £10250

For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.

Full-time tuition fees for Home undergraduates in 2020 were £9,250.

For students continuing on this programme, fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* 

EU students

Kent is supporting its EU students as the UK leaves the EU with a special EU fee offered for students joining in 2021 for the duration of their programmes. EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals will no longer be eligible for home fee status, undergraduate, postgraduate and advanced learner financial support from Student Finance England for courses starting in academic year 2021/22. It will not affect students starting courses in academic year 2020/21, nor those EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals benefitting from Citizens’ Rights under the EU Withdrawal Agreement, EEA EFTA Separation Agreement or Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement respectively. It will also not apply to Irish nationals living in the UK and Ireland whose right to study and to access benefits and services will be preserved on a reciprocal basis for UK and Irish nationals under the Common Travel Area arrangement.

Your fee status

The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

Additional costs

General additional costs

Find out more about accommodation and living costs, plus general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.

Funding

University funding

Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details. 

Government funding

You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.

Scholarships

General scholarships

Scholarships are available for excellence in academic performance, sport and music and are awarded on merit. For further information on the range of awards available and to make an application see our scholarships website.

The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence

At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created the Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence. 

The scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of AAA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages

The scholarship is also extended to those who achieve AAB at A level (or specified equivalents) where one of the subjects is either mathematics or a modern foreign language. Please review the eligibility criteria.

Teaching and assessment

Modules are taught by weekly lectures, workshops, small group seminars and project supervision. The Psychology Statistics and Practical modules include laboratory practical sessions, statistics classes, computing classes and lectures in statistics and methodology.

Most modules are assessed by examination and coursework in equal measure. Both Stage 2 and 3 marks and, where appropriate, the marks for your year abroad or placement count towards your final degree result. Our assessment methods are varied and will include, but are not limited to, examinations, written assignments and essays, group work and oral presentations.

Contact Hours

For a student studying full time, each academic year of the programme will comprise 1200 learning hours which include both direct contact hours and private study hours.  The precise breakdown of hours will be subject dependent and will vary according to modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

Methods of assessment will vary according to subject specialism and individual modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

Programme aims

The programme aims to:

  • meet the needs of those contemplating a career in the psychological professions, as well as those motivated by an intellectual interest in psychology
  • attract candidates from a variety of educational backgrounds
  • provide an understanding of the principal perspective in psychology (for example, social, cognitive, and biological)
  • introduce students to a range of theoretical and methodological approaches
  • enable students to study chosen areas of psychology in depth
  • cover the foundations of psychology to provide entry into the British Psychological Society
  • provide teaching which is informed by current research and scholarship and engages with work at the frontiers of knowledge
  • enable students to manage their own learning and carry out independent research
  • develop critical, analytical and problem-solving skills that can be applied within non-applied psychological and extra-psychological settings
  • develop skills appropriate for graduate employment, both in the psychology professions and other fields.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • general psychology
  • psychology statistics, practical experimentation and research
  • cognitive and social development
  • interpersonal and group behaviour
  • cognition and cognitive neuropsychology
  • personality and individual differences
  • philosophical and theoretical issues in psychology
  • the relationship between psychology and allied disciplines
  • different frameworks in psychology and levels of description and explanation.

Intellectual skills

You develop intellectual skills in:

  • critical reflection
  • oral discussion
  • written analysis and interpretation
  • critical evaluation and exposition of ideas
  • development of writing and reading skills
  • time management and preparation
  • self-reflection and development, responding to feedback from different sources (for example staff and peers, information technology)
  • clarity in thinking, critical thinking, problem identification.

Subject-specific skills

You gain subject-specific skills in:

  • conducting an empirical study, under supervision
  • the design and conduct of psychological research
  • evaluating and selecting frameworks and methodologies for exploring issues in psychology
  • using the major analytic techniques employed by psychologists
  • employing the inferential method of science (deductive methods, single case methods, semiotics)
  • psychological statistical methods and their interpretation
  • the use of psychology-oriented software applications (for example, database programmes, experiment generators, statistical packages)
  • disseminating psychological information to appropriate bodies.

Transferable skills

You gain transferable skills in:

  • communication – how to organise information clearly; respond to written sources; present information orally; adapt style for different audiences; use images as a communication tool
  • numeracy – how to make sense of statistical materials; integrate numerical and non-numerical information; understand the limits and potentialities of arguments based on quantitative information
  • information technology – how to produce written documents; undertake online research; communicate using email; process information using databases
  • working with others – how to define and review the work of others; work co-operatively on group tasks; understand how groups function
  • improving own learning – how to explore personal strengths and weaknesses; time management; review your working environment (especially the student-staff relationship); develop specialist learning skills (for example by taking a foreign language); develop autonomy in learning
  • problem solving – how to identify and define problems; explore alternative solutions and discriminate between them.

Teaching Excellence Framework

All University of Kent courses are regulated by the Office for Students.

Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that the University of Kent delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK.

Please see the University of Kent's Statement of Findings for more information.

Independent rankings

Psychology at Kent scored 93% overall and was ranked 5th for research intensity and 7th for graduate prospects in The Complete University Guide 2021.

Of Psychology graduates who responded to the most recent national survey of graduate destinations, over 97% were in professional work or further study within six months (DLHE, 2017).

Careers

Graduate destinations

Our graduates have gone on to work in:

  • government administration
  • social welfare
  • the Home Office
  • the probation service
  • teaching
  • special needs work
  • NHS and health charities
  • social work
  • public relations
  • marketing
  • publishing.

Many continue their studies at postgraduate level to qualify as a:

  • clinical psychologist
  • educational psychologist
  • forensic psychologist
  • neuropsychologist
  • occupational psychologist.

Help finding a job

The University has a friendly Careers and Employability Service, which can give you advice on how to:

  • apply for jobs
  • write a good CV
  • perform well in interviews.

Work experience

The School of Psychology has valuable links with educational establishments, hospitals and prisons in the area, offering you the possibility of both visits and work placements. We also offer a Research Experience Scheme that gives you a taste of working within a research environment.

Career-enhancing skills

Studying for a degree is not just about mastering your subject area. Employers also look for a range of key transferable skills, which you develop as part of your degree.

These include:

  • computing skills
  • writing and presentation skills
  • analytical and problem-solving skills
  • the ability to respond to challenges.

You can also gain extra skills by signing up for our Kent Extra activities, such as learning a language or volunteering.

Professional recognition

The programme is accredited by the British Psychological Society as conferring eligibility for Graduate Membership with Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (provided you graduate with at least second class honours and pass your final-year research project). 

This is the first step towards becoming a Chartered Psychologist, which is important if you want to work within the NHS or a local education authority.

Apply for Social Psychology - BSc (Hons)

Full-time applicants

Full-time applicants (including international applicants) should apply through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) system. If you need help or advice on your application, you should speak with your careers adviser or contact UCAS Customer Contact Centre. 

The institution code number for the University of Kent is K24, and the code name is KENT.

Application deadlines

See the UCAS website for an outline of the UCAS process and application deadlines. 

If you are applying for courses based at Medway, you should add the campus code K in Section 3(d).

Apply through UCAS

Apply now for part-time study

Social Psychology - BSc (Hons) - part-time at Canterbury

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T: +44 (0)1227 823254
E: internationalstudent@kent.ac.uk

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