We are in the 50th academic year of teaching psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. Working in collaboration with our students, our research has had a profound impact on health and wellbeing - a legacy which will continue for many years to come. To celebrate, we’ve put together a collection of videos, Alumni stories, competitions and much more.
Due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, examinations may be replaced by an alternative form of assessment during the academic year 2020/2021. Please refer to the Programme Specification on these pages for further details.
This course includes the options of:
*No fees are charged for this year
Why choose this course?
Taught by published authors and international researchers. We recently celebrated 50 years of psychology at Herts, so you’ll benefit from our extensive experience in teaching and research.
You’ll join our strong and vibrant community. We support one another, embracing diversity and inclusion. We’ll help you to grow, and much of our research examines the positive impact that psychology can have on both people’s lives and society, including promoting physical and mental wellbeing, reducing crime and promoting equality.
You’ll be actively engaged in research, with opportunities to regularly conduct experiments, being taught by staff with an international reputation for research. You’ll also have access to our excellent facilities, including observation laboratories, motion capture systems and brain activity monitors.
You can shape your own studies. Starting in your second year, you begin to focus on the areas of psychology that especially interest you. We also offer a study abroad option, and in your final year you carry out your own research project. Whether it's forensic studies, educational work or clinical psychology, the choice is yours.
You’ll increase your employability with valuable transferable skills, including the ability to think critically, analyse data and communicate effectively. Psychology graduates are highly sought after in many areas, including marketing, learning and development roles in organisations, charities, the public sector and consultancy. You can also gain further qualifications and work in a University as an academic psychologist.
Our course is accredited by The British Psychological Society, which is important if you want to work as a professional psychologist in a forensic, clinical, health or educational setting. You’ll also be in the right place to study on our postgraduate courses on business and clinical psychology.
What's the course about?
A major part of the course examines important theoretical issues within psychology.
For instance, to what extent are people the product of their genes or upbringing? Why do we sleep and dream? How does the brain store memories and thoughts? Why do people obey authority? We also focus on how psychology can help to transform lives and improve the world. What are the best ways to promote and improve health? How can psychological research be used to understand and predict offending behaviour? How do our brains recover from injury? How can teachers encourage their pupils to grow in the face of adversity?
Throughout the course you’ll gain several core skills. For example, you’ll discover how to think critically about a topic, collate and assess evidence, and present your findings. You’ll also find out how to design and conduct psychological studies. This will involve devising research questions, collecting data, using statistical tools as well as qualitative methods, and writing a laboratory report. These are all transferable skills that are highly valued by employees, and can also form a vital stepping-stone to future professional qualifications and work.
Your main campus is College Lane
This is where the creative arts, science and health-related subjects are based. This means you’ll share the campus with future nurses, scientists, artists and more. You can use the common rooms to relax with friends, work out in the 24-hour gym or have a drink in our on-campus pub or cafes. We also have restaurants for you to eat in or grab something on the go. Our Learning Resources Centres are open 24/7, which means you can study whenever suits you best. Want to pop over to the other campus? You can take the free shuttle bus or walk there in just 15 minutes.
What will I study?
In the first year, you’ll study several key topics, including developmental, cognitive and biological psychology. You will also learn about research methods and statistical analysis, and carry out several studies and experiments.
In the second year, you’ll begin to shape your course. As well as core modules, you’ll be able to choose options that help you explore areas of interest in more depth. Some examples of options include cyberpsychology, personal construct theory and nonverbal behaviour. Some of these courses are unique to the University of Hertfordshire.
You’ll also enhance your employability by undertaking 120 hours of work experience, providing an opportunity to explore how psychology is relevant to a range of work settings. If you pass all your first and second-year modules, then you’ll be eligible to take part in our study abroad option. This is a great experience, which some of our students take up to explore different learning environments and cultural contexts, and to also boost their employability.
In the final year, you’ll continue to shape your course, and we offer a wide range of options, including health psychology, cognitive neuropsychology, counselling, clinical psychology, sports psychology, forensic psychology, occupational psychology and educational psychology. You'll also work with a member of staff to design and carry out your own research project.
For more information on each of the years, please click the links in the sections below.
Elanor Webb - Life after graduation
I’m Elanor and I am a psychology graduate (x2!) from the University of Hertfordshire. My journey into psychology began in 2015, when I began studying for my BSc Psychology degree. Six years and a master’s degree later, I’m now working as a senior research assistant psychologist.
Life post-graduation (so far!)
Since finishing my postgraduate degree, I have worked at St. Andrew’s Healthcare, a secure forensic mental health hospital. My first position was a research assistant role, working within the research centre across a large range of projects, from virtual reality to risk assessment. After twelve months in that position, I moved internally within the organisation, and am currently working as a senior research assistant psychologist on the developmental and complex trauma research programme.
The main activities of my role include developing research protocols, writing research papers for journal publication, supervising the involvement of volunteers and students, and presenting at national and international conferences. Outside of this position, I have also recently begun a voluntary role with Staffordshire university as a professional mentor for psychology students wanting to pursue a career in the clinical and research field.
In regards to what’s next for me, I will be beginning my part-time PhD in September. The flexibility of university studies means that I can continue in my current research position, fitting my studies around this. Eventually, a little further into the future, I’d love to return to university, although in a teaching role rather than as a student. A key part of my current job which I particularly enjoy is being able to support other’s in their own development, and having supportive and passionate lecturers was definitely a big factor in my own success within my university studies.
How my studies have shaped my career pathway
Both my undergraduate and postgraduate degrees were essential stepping stones in my journey to where I am now and the opportunities that I’ve had along the way.
The applied clinical focus of my postgraduate degree and the emphasis on research skills undoubtedly helped shape a path for me into a research career within a mental health setting. The data handling and analysis skills that I learnt in both my undergraduate and postgraduate degrees are one’s which I use daily, constructing databases and analysing results (I never did get to escape from SPSS!). The more practical clinical skills that I learnt on my postgraduate course are also one’s which I utilise in my role, both in my interactions with patients and also fellow colleagues; mental health can be a challenging environment to work in, and sharing empathy and compassion with those working alongside you is hugely important.
The academic and scientific writing style that I developed consistently throughout all aspects of my degrees, from essay writing, research labs, and dissertation projects, has been so important to my success in publishing journal papers. The dreaded research vivas, while an experience I did not enjoy at the time, have been pivotal in developing my confidence in speaking and presenting at conferences post-graduation. And the list goes on.
While I did fall into a job within psychology, I am also confident that the knowledge and skills that I have developed from my studies would also prepare me well for a job outside of this sphere. A psychology degree is one of the most versatile qualifications on offer in terms of the transferable skills that you gain. Psychology is a popular area of study, but it is the minority of graduates who go on to pursue a career within the field. Since graduating from Herts, my friends and fellow graduates have gone on to pursue a whole range of different roles across so many different industries, including human resources and recruitment, teaching and education, marketing and sales, and policing.
There is no doubt that it is a degree which, with the combination of hard work, can open doors – and a lot of them too!
Elanor Webb - Advice as an alumni
Having graduated from Herts with an undergraduate and postgraduate degree in Psychology, I am now working in the sector as a senior research assistant psychologist. For anybody looking to study psychology, I want to offer you four key pieces of advice and tips to help get you started!
1. Don’t feel like you need to go into the course (or finish it!) with your career plans mapped out
Finding your feet after university can be daunting – I won’t sugar-coat it. Psychology, particularly the clinical field, can be a competitive area of work to get into, and it’s often not a quick, linear, or easy pathway into a career. So if you don’t have your life roadmap paved out for the next decade - or even the next year – don’t sweat it (easy said than done though, I know). Had you asked me what I wanted to do three years ago, as I came towards the end of my undergraduate degree, you would have been met with a nervous laugh and a face of complete panic.
My decision to continue into postgraduate education was largely the result of uncertainty about what direction I wanted to go in with my career. As my undergraduate degree was coming to an end, I knew clinical psychology was an area of particular interest to me, which prompted my decision to study for an MSc in Research in Clinical Psychology. Essentially, this was a course targeted at people who want to get onto the clinical doctorate training, and those who want to pursue a research career in the clinical field. Ironically, I began the degree as the former, and finished it as the latter.
Working in a secure mental health setting has also confirmed to me that clinical doctorate training isn’t the route that I want to take, and it’s research that I really love. So I’d definitely say to keep your mind open, and try to avoid that tunnel vision thinking of "this is what I want and I need to get there as soon as possible". There’s no timeline to your career and people often get caught up in thinking about the end goal without enjoying the parts in between.
2. Take advantage of opportunities during the degree… your post-grad self will thank you for it!
That’s perhaps quite hypocritical for me to say as I certainly wasn’t one for doing this. There’s a balance to be struck between focusing on your academic attainment and getting valuable experience along the way, and I definitely put my time and effort into getting good grades. A first class degree will undoubtedly open doors for you, but there’s also lots to be said for a replete ‘experience’ section on your CV.
Whilst I didn’t do a placement year, I often work with students who are on a clinical placement at St. Andrew’s, and I can definitely see the benefits of taking one. The experience they are gaining and the skills and knowledge that they are learning will undoubtedly prepare them well for both their final year studies and beyond this, in their journey into a career.
Getting involved in research can also be a really helpful thing to do. As well as updating your knowledge within an area and developing lots of useful skills, it can offer you an advantage when it comes to applying for training programmes, and is one way to stand out in a very large crowd.
3. Do your research on all the different pathways a psychology degree can take you
For many people, getting onto clinical doctorate training is the motivation underlying their decision to study for a degree in psychology. However, this is by no means the only pathway into a career within the field. As my postgraduate degree was coming to an end, and the delight of never-ending job applications began, my eyes were opened to a whole range of alternative roles and routes; at the time that I got my first research assistant job, I was also offered a training post as an education mental health practitioner – a role which I hadn’t heard about until five weeks prior. Also, there are a whole host of options available to psychology graduates which extend far beyond the area of psychology itself.
4. Celebrate your successes
Lastly, but by no means least, allow yourself to celebrate your own accomplishments and successes along the way. A degree isn’t meant to be handed to you on a plate, and it does unquestionably demand hard work, commitment, and lots of perseverance. But it also brings growth, personal and academic development, and exceeding beliefs about your own capabilities. Whilst it can be easy to get caught up in grades, studying for a degree will bring success in many other ways too. Expect the challenges that come with earning a degree, but allow yourself to revel in all the triumphs along the way – big or small!
Meet Adrienne Kirk who has had a long and successful career since graduating in 1994. Adrienne currently works a Psychotherapist.
|Current job role||Psychotherapist|
|Year of graduation||2010|
|Course of study||BSc (Hons) Psychology|
Exploring a new path
Initially Adrienne spent twenty-one years teaching Clinical Communication skills in medical schools. Her role encompassed teaching students in the essential methods of communicating as a medical professional, giving them tangible and applicable knowledge of these professions in practice.
Topics included how to take a medical history and how to deliver information and break bad news to patients. Adrienne also designed and ran the clinical practical exams. She found supporting struggling students the most rewarding element of the job which led her to making this her focus. She later retrained as a Psychotherapist.
Skills for success
Adrienne says her Psychology degree helped develop her critical and analytical skills as well as how to evaluate risk in relation to health. She says, 'I learned how to use statistics to understand data. The Social Psychology modules taught me that we are not always logical addressing social conventions and we are unaware we are applying them to our decision making.'
Adrienne was a mature student when she began her degree having worked for six years before her studies. She says, 'It was wonderful to get back into studying. I had inspiring lecturers who challenged me to think deeply and critically. There were quite a number of mature students, so I never felt that I was not part of the cohort. And I met my best friend, who I still see every week!'
Adrienne encourages new and prospective students to make the most of all the opportunities available through their programme. 'This is a time for exploration, for seriously investigating your ideas and beliefs, for meeting new people and having new experiences. I attended every lecture and there was always something interesting to think about from every one of them.'
'A psychology degree is a launchpad to so many opportunities. I went on and did a Master's in Health Psychology at UCL and from there developed an interest in doctor-patient communication. Working with medical students was so rewarding, but I decided to retrain to help others. I think it is important to have an open mind about where you might be in the future, but a psychology degree has given me an understanding of theories and a means of reading and evaluating research.'
Aspirations for the future
Adrienne is now setting up a private practice as a psychotherapist. She wants to develop a programme to help people with lifestyle changes, and to be the best version of themselves that they can be.
Dr Suzy Walton
Meet Suzy Walton who has utilised her psychology degree to benefit those around her. She is on numerous governing boards and has supported the work of the Ministry of Defence.
|Current job role||Multi sector Board Director |
Former Senior Civil Servant Ministry of Defence and Cabinet Office
|Year of graduation||1994 / 1995|
|Course of study||BSc(Hons) Psychology|
University life and experience
Suzy initially decided to study at the University of Hertfordshire due the reputation of the course and its proximity to her home and easy access to London. Throughout her degrees, Suzy was managing a hectic schedule working in London as well as looking after a young family.
However, she found the support and information offered to her unparalleled. She says, ‘I remember finding information very accessible however – even when I had to sometimes turn up in the wee small hours to use the library because the children wouldn’t let me do so earlier!'
Her studies have enabled her to achieve great success in her career and Suzy uses the knowledge and skills gained to enable her to communicate with fellow colleagues and solve complex problems. She says that, ‘Psychology has given me is the ability to be objective as a board member. I can take a robust approach to issues and listen to the evidence, stating my own case clearly and objectively.’
She stresses that she is also she is ‘also able to step back – as one must on a board – and put the data aside and focus on the human relationships and the key enabling factors that will allow any decision made by a board to actually translate into a difference on the ground.’
One of the highlights of her time studying at the University was being taught by Dr Richard Wiseman. She says, that ‘Through him I learnt a lot about the psychology of deception and my own expertise in this was put to extreme use by the Ministry of Defence. I can’t say any more on this without breaching the Official Secrets Act!’
Suzy is currently the Vice-President of the Royal Society of Medicine (Patron – Her Majesty the Queen). and is also the longest-standing board member at the Institute of Directors. She is also on the global board of ACCA which is the regulator for the accountancy profession around the world. She has many other roles mostly in and around government.
She has achieved great things throughout her career and in the future would like to continue to bring her passion and expertise to corporate governance. She enjoys that her expertise and knowledge enables her to have a direct impact an organisation’s strategy while having legal responsibilities for its safety, solvency and compliance.
‘I want the UK to continue to be one of the centres of excellence worldwide in corporate governance and I hope to be able to continue working to achieve that. I also want to continue to enjoy my family.’
Suzy also has 7 children – the youngest arrived in lockdown 2020.
Please note that some of the images and videos on our course pages may have been taken before social distancing rules in the UK came into force.