What’s it like studying Psychology?


A bit about Psychology:

I study straight Psychology which is great as in third year I got to choose from a really wide variety of modules, covering everything from understanding social behaviour to learning in intricate detail about the memory function of a mouse! Exciting right?

Why Psychology?

Like a lot of students, I started off my Upper Sixth year with very little clue about what I wanted to study at university. My A-levels were a mixed bunch and didn’t really point towards any particular degree path. I realised after much thought that my chosen subjects:  Biology, History and Drama all had a common theme… an interest in people – their anatomy, or past and present behaviours. Psychology perfectly intertwined my interests in human behaviour and why and how we do what we do.

I was still not 100% sure about which particular field I was most interested in – this is where the Durham Psychology degree really shone out to me. It offered a very broad introduction to different areas of psychology, especially as someone who hadn’t studied Psychology at A-level. This was excellent as it meant I wasn’t likely to feel behind the people that had studied it at A-level.

Open Days – certainly worth a visit!

After attending one of Durham’s open days, I got to listen to a taster psychology lecture which was a great introduction to the kinds of things we would be studying. The lecturers were very engaging, and all involved in the top-level research going on in the field of Psychology today. This is something really special Durham has to offer. It’s great knowing that you are being taught by the people who are living, breathing, and contributing to the research itself today!

But seriously, why Psychology at Durham??

The excitement doesn’t stop there… academic prestige was only part of the reason I chose Durham. The beautiful old town has so much to offer, not only an aesthetically pleasing view of the castle and cathedral (which I had from my bedroom window in first year!), but also, I was especially drawn in by the idea of the colleges.

College life, easing you in gently

I am a member of St Mary’s College and can’t recommend the college system more. University can be a nerve-wracking time – new studies, new friends, new environment all at once! Being part of a college provides you with a sense of belonging and a soft landing ground to university life.

If you are someone who finds big university societies a bit daunting (like I did), college offers you the opportunity to get involved at college level – sport, art, drama, fashion shows, and so much more! As they are at college level, they are a bit smaller and more relaxed, which helps you to dip your toes into loads of fun things before you narrow down which societies you really want to be part of.

Getting involved with the Psychology department at Durham

I think what I love most about the Psychology department is getting involved in the scientific studies which are going on. As part of my degree in first year, I got to participate in groundbreaking research. This involved anything from filling in a 20-minute questionnaire, to going into the department and getting electrodes attached to my head, or getting involved in eye tracking experiments…and even using virtual reality. The field of Psychology has never been more relevant and it’s so exciting to know that researchers at Durham are at the centre of it!

Psychology and the environment rolled into one!

I am also part of the PEAs society, which stands for Psychologists for Environmental Action, a society run by students and members of the psychology department. I particularly wanted to get involved as the society combines two of my passions – psychology and the environment! This is a really excellent society, open to anyone, who work to improve Durham’s carbon footprint and organise projects such as litter picking, and talks from eminent speakers in the field of environmental psychology. I can sign up to any of these and hear them speak for free! There are always webinars going on, and sustainability projects to get involved in, which are always good fun and allow you to meet lots of members of the department and other students you wouldn’t otherwise have met.

Discover more

Our Department of Psychology prides itself on being a collegiate and welcoming department, committed to success for all who work here. Through dedicated teaching sessions, an optional placement module, external speakers and even an employability retreat – we actively prepare students for working life. We are proud to be ranked in the Top 10 Psychology departments in the UK by The Complete University Guide 2022. 

Feeling inspired? Visit our Psychology webpages to learn more about our postgraduate and undergraduate programmes.

Create your own personalised prospectus here

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