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THE UK: Subject Guides

Best universities for psychology in the UK

What are the best universities for psychology in the UK? We use UK rankings to source the leading institutions for this subject to help you in your quest.

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The UK is a world-leading study destination for international students offering prestigious universities, impactful research, and a wide range of programmes on offer. Psychology is one of the most popular degree courses to study in the UK, ranked as the 2nd most studied course by the Complete University Guide 2020. But which universities are best for psychology degrees in the UK? Hotcourses Abroad investigates.


We used the Complete University Guide 2021 rankings to compile a list of the best universities in the UK for psychology to help you decide on the right institution for you. But first, we’re going to consider why the UK is a top destination for psychology.


Why study psychology in the UK?


Many universities in the UK offer accredited psychology degrees, which is important if you want a career as a practising psychologist. Make sure you check for accreditation when researching psychology courses. Professional bodies for psychology include:


  • UK Council for Psychotherapy
  • Association of Educational Psychologists 
  • British Psychological Society
  • British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy 
  • Experimental Psychology Society


Plus, UK universities and degrees are widely recognised by employers around the world. So, gaining a psychology degree from a British university will impress future employers and help you to secure the job you want. Within the UK, 47.7 per cent of psychology graduates are in employment within 15 months of graduation. Psychology graduates predominantly work in childcare, health, and education positions (Prospects 2020/21).


Types of psychology degrees


At the undergraduate level, you can choose to study a bachelor of arts (BA) or a bachelor of science (BSc) in psychology. It will depend on the university as to which qualification they offer. The distinction lies in the focus of the course as a BA will explore more of the social sciences while a BSc will look more at mathematics, statistics, and science. So think about your strengths and which appeals to you more. Similarly, at the postgraduate level, you can study either a master of arts (MA) or master of sciences (MSc).


Find out more about studying for a master’s degree abroad.


What will I learn during a psychology degree?


A psychology degree is essentially the study of human behaviour. During this programme, you can expect to learn how to design experiments, conduct research, analyse data and use specialised software. Common course modules at the undergraduate level include:


  • Language and communication
  • Social and cognitive development
  • Forensic psychology
  • Statistics
  • Human memory
  • Cultural psychology
  • Research skills
  • Evolution and genetics
  • Biological psychology
  • Clinical psychology

At the postgraduate level, you will be developing your knowledge and skills, but this qualification is also compulsory if you wish to become a chartered psychologist. You may choose to specialise in a specific type of psychology at this level if you know what career you want to pursue. This might be child psychologyclinical psychology, sports exercise and psychology, forensic psychology and so on. The course content will therefore depend on which discipline you choose to focus on.


Now that you know a little more about what to expect from a degree in psychology in the UK, here are 10 of the best universities for this subject.


1.University of Oxford


A world-renowned institution that you’ve probably heard of. The University of Oxford is a prestigious institution with a reputation for producing high-quality research. 28 of 55 British Prime Ministers have studied at the University of Oxford. As a student here, you can expect to be taught by leading researchers and experts in their fields. Therefore, obtaining a psychology degree from the University of Oxford will be internationally recognised and valued by future employers.  


Undergraduate psychology entry requirements:

A-level – A*AA

International baccalaureate – 39 points


Postgraduate psychology entry requirements: 

A 1st or strong upper-second class honours degree



Read more about the city of Oxford.



2.University of Cambridge 


Regularly ranking within the top three in international league tables, the University of Cambridge is another globally leading and respected institution in the UK. A total of 89 per cent of Cambridge graduates find work within 15 months of graduation (Graduate Outcomes Survey 2018). As a psychology student, you will be taught by leading researchers who are often sought out by the media and policymakers.

Undergraduate psychology entry requirements:

A-level – A*AA

International baccalaureate – 40 to 42 points


Postgraduate psychology entry requirements: 

At least a 2.1 honours degree


3.University of St Andrews


The University of St Andrews offers unique psychology courses such as a BA in animal behaviour or an MA in film studies and psychology. With a reputation for excellent research, the impact of this work is also demonstrated. For example, a senior lecturer at St Andrews has developed a method for improving communication between Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers. The university also prides itself on its global outlook, representing over 140 countries. 

Undergraduate psychology entry requirements:

A-levels – AAB-ABB

International baccalaureate – 36 points


Postgraduate psychology entry requirements:

At least a 2:1 honours degree in psychology or related discipline


4. University of Bath


The university received an 88.6 per cent student satisfaction rating in 2020 (National Student Survey). During a psychology course at Bath, students are taught many aspects of the field as recognised by the British Psychological Society. What’s more, the psychology department at the University of Bath has a 70 per cent employment rate based on the percentage of students in work six months after graduating.

Undergraduate entry requirements: 

A-levels - A*AA 

International baccalaureate – 36 points 


Postgraduate entry requirements:

At least a 2:1 honours degree in psychology or related discipline


5.King’s College London 


Accredited by the British Psychological Society, who recognise that psychology at King’s is particularly strong because of its research-led teaching and Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience. This London-based university benefits from close ties to South London and Maudsley Hospital which allows placements and volunteering for students.


Undergraduate entry requirements:

A-level – A*AA

International baccalaureate – 35 points

Students must also achieve grade A or equivalent in biology, chemistry, maths, psychology or physics.


Postgraduate entry requirements: 

At least a 2:1 honours degree in psychology or related discipline


We’ve given you five of the best universities for psychology in the UK, but here are the remaining universities that rank within the UK top 10.



Want to keep browsing for psychology courses? Find an institution and course tailored to your preferences with our course matcher tool


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