BSc Cognitive Psychology with a Placement Year

Full Time
Degree of Bachelor of Science

A-Level typical
AAB (2020/1 entry) See All Requirements
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Life as a student in the School of Psychology

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“Studying psychology has taught me a lot about myself, as well as the people around me. It was a stimulating and engaging programme and modules in child observation and development psychology have equipped me well for my career as a teacher.”

In their words

Joanna Lilley, BSc Psychology Graduate.

Cognitive Psychology is the study of the mental processes that inform human behaviour, such as attention, language, memory, perception. On this degree you will master key theories and research methods of this fascinating field.

You’ll have access to excellent facilities and cutting edge equipment for teaching and research, and as you gain an in depth understanding of human psychology you’ll develop a range of key skills valued by employers.

You’ll benefit from research-led teaching in a balance of small and larger groups so you’ll really get to know your lecturers.

In your third year, you’ll have the opportunity to get hands-on experience, build contacts, and explore potential roles and career routes by spending a year on a work-based placement.


On this British Psychological Society-accredited course, you’ll gain a strong grounding in key theories and research methods of cognitive psychology. You’ll study topics such as psychology and risk, psychology of language, brain, mind and machines, social and affective neuroscience, and applied neuropsychology.

In your final year, you’ll design and implement your own research project related to cognitive psychology. Past students have researched areas such as autism, face perception, visual perception and attention, and brain activity in relation to social and non-social stimuli. If you’re interested in a career in mental and physical rehabilitation, neuroscience or clinical psychology, this course is ideal. Because you’ll learn to handle large data sets and gain expertise in human/computer interaction, product testing, human factors, and how we process information, you’ll also be well equipped to go into data or computer science. Alternatively the course will provide you with a firm base for further postgraduate study in cognitive psychology.

You’ll be able to choose from a range of psychology programmes according to your interests, be they broad or specific. You’ll also have the chance to experience topics you may not have come across before. If you discover a new passion or interest during your first year, you’ll have the option to change to a different Psychology pathway, ensuring you’re on the right degree for you.

All of our programmes are accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) for Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership.

Course Structure

Year 1

In your first year you’ll study three compulsory modules which will give you a firm foundation for developing your understanding of psychology.

You’ll encounter a wide variety of topics, from child development to linking the study of the individual to society. The research module will introduce you to the specific methods used in the study of psychology, as you begin to develop research skills and a critical perspective.

Year 2

You’ll continue to study compulsory modules designed to develop your understanding of different branches of psychology. These include an advanced module in research methods on which you’ll consolidate your knowledge of research design, qualitative analysis and statistics.

Alongside these, you’ll have the opportunity to choose an optional module from a published list. This could be a psychology module or an option from outside the School which may be relevant to your career or other interests. For example you could take a business or advanced language module.

Year 3

You’ll spend your third year on a work-based placement.

Year 4

In your final year you’ll complete a substantial research project, reflecting your intellectual interests and career aspirations. You’ll be supported by a supervisor with expertise in your area of research. They’ll help you use your research skills to plan and produce a project drawing on a specific form of data gathering and analysis. This could be focused on interviewing, survey work and/or experimental design, both within the laboratory and in applied contexts.

You’ll also select a number of optional modules from a wide range of psychology subjects, giving you specialist knowledge or an integrative, cross-disciplinary perspective.

Teaching and Learning

You’ll be taught in a combination of small and larger groups, giving you the opportunity to get the most out of your teachers. You’ll be given the knowledge and skills to establish your own position on exciting and intriguing psychological matters. The modules you take will have been designed by the teaching team to provide coherent coverage of the psychological sciences.

You’ll explore both compulsory and optional modules, developing a combination of breadth and depth, core knowledge and creativity. Our programmes promote psychology as a science and are all underpinned by a research methods route which runs throughout the course. You’ll be guided on pathways across the discipline rather than transported to a destination.


You’ll be assessed across coursework, reports, essays, projects, presentations, timed tests and examinations.

Study abroad or Placement Year

On this course you will spend 9-12 months of your third year in a full-time placement, gaining invaluable working experience and employability skills in a relevant area of your choice. Your placement is the perfect opportunity to get a taster of one of the many professions that use psychological insight. We always try our best to match your career goals and interests with your placement, but because it depends on what’s available at our placement partners, we can’t guarantee specific roles.

Should you choose to study our BSc Cognitive Psychology with a Year Abroad course you will spend your third year studying abroad before returning to UEA for your final year. A year abroad is a unique, fulfilling experience that will help you develop skills that you’ll use throughout your career, and that are coveted by employers. You can choose from a broad range of partner universities across Asia, Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand.

After the course

You’ll graduate able to pursue a range of careers in a variety of sectors including rehabilitation, data management or research.

Alternatively, you could go on to postgraduate study, if you wish. Your degree will be accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS). That means you’ll have an advantage if you choose to go onto postgraduate study in cognitive psychology, neuroscience, clinical psychology, business or computer science. 

Career destinations

Career destinations related to your degree include:

  • Psychology
  • Legal and criminal justice
  • Social work and health care
  • Human resources and management
  • Education, research and consultancy
  • Marketing and advertising

Course related costs

You are eligible for reduced fees during your placement year. Further details are available on our Tuition Fee website.

There may be extra costs related to items such as your travel and accommodation, which will vary depending on location.

Please see Additional Course Fees for details of other course-related costs.


This course is accredited against the requirements for the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) of the British Psychological Society (BPS).

Course Modules 2020/1

Students must study the following modules for 120 credits:

Name Code Credits

PSYCHOLOGY OF THE INDIVIDUAL: Development, Personality, Brain and Cognition

The overall aim of the module is to provide you with an introduction to the knowledge base and research issues underpinning how psychologists understand both normative processes and how people are different. From developmental psychology, you will cover a range of issues such as the contributions of nature and nurture. From personality psychology, you will look at areas such as the measurement and major controversies of personality. In semester 2, the module provides you with an introduction to evolutionary, biological and cognitive psychology enabling you to develop an understanding on a range of subjects including the basics of evolutionary theory, the anatomy and physiology of the central nervous system, the computational metaphor of the mind and how this is used to comprehend processes such as memory and perception. You will begin to develop effective study skills, such as searching for literature, research and essay writing.




In this module you are introduced to the principles of research methods in psychology. You will be expected to think about the meaning of research and the philosophical underpinnings of scientific method. You will be provided with an introduction to the intellectual and practical process of scientific discovery, and will be taught how to use and evaluate some common research techniques and to produce properly organised research reports.




This module introduces you to the theories, approaches and research areas within social psychology and provides you with a broad psychosocial perspective on society. Covering a range of traditional and critical ideas within social psychology you will study people through a scientific lens while appreciating the humanistic and subjective elements of psychology. Overall the module provides you with a foundation for understanding people as individuals living within a social context.



Students must study the following modules for 120 credits:

Name Code Credits

Applied Psychology (placement version)

In the first semester the module is oriented around students gaining overall, holistic understanding of the application of psychology in different professional roles. Sessions will cover forensic, clinical, psychology in the workplace, motivation, presenting the challenges encountered by psychology professionals. The second semester is designed to allow students to make the most of their placement year experience. It is specifically oriented to prepare students for workplace issues common across different placement positions and to familiarize them with the psychology theory that informs workplace and recruitment practices. The semester is organized around the top professional skills expected in the workplace. Each will be analysed making reference to their importance for professional development, selection, and human resources (HR), and outlining relevant psychological processes. Each of the taught themes will include provision for specific requirements associated with university policies and procedures concerning learning in the workplace.




You will cover a wide range of core psychological topics on this module which are arranged into two distinct themes: Cognitive Psychology and Biological Psychology. Cognitive Psychology Theme: -Critically evaluate theories and discuss conflicting evidence within cognitive psychology. -Understand the practical implications of research in cognitive psychology. -Critically discuss recent progress in cognitive psychology. Biological Psychology Theme: -Describe and evaluate a range of methodological techniques which underpin the study of the human brain. -Demonstrate an understanding of the neurobiological basis of behaviour including vision, movement, language, learning, memory and emotion. -Critically discuss the neurobiological of some psychopathologies. By the end of this module you will have acquired advanced knowledge about how the mind is thought to be organised and how it operates (cognitive) and the neural systems that underpin the mind (biological).




This module firstly considers individual differences and will explore and evaluate theories and findings, in the areas of differential psychology: scientific foundations of personality and intelligence, measurement and psychometrics. The module will build on the content from year 1 but will cover a diverse range of more advanced topics such as nature-nurture interplay, the biological basis of individual differences, emotional intelligence, personality and temperament and an insight into how Individual Differences is applied in real life settings. The spring semester we move onto an overview of the main ideas, people, approaches and methods that have shaped the discipline of psychology throughout its history. It will also help you to better understand contemporary psychology, its relationship to the sciences and humanities, as well as providing a context for the other modules that make up your psychology degree. The major schools of psychology and some of the key themes and debates that characterise the discipline will also be discussed (for example, the freewill-determinism debate, reductionism and the nature and limitations of scientific enquiry in psychology). We then move onto the consideration of individual differences and will explore and evaluate theories and findings, in the following area of differential psychology: scientific foundations of personality and intelligence, measurement and psychometrics.




You'll develop your understanding of quantitative and qualitative research methods. The module will enhance your understanding of statistical methods for drawing valid conclusions from numerical data through examination of: (i) techniques for data screening and exploration (ii) statistical significance, power and effect size (iii) parametric and nonparametric tests (iv) analysis of variance models (v) multiple regression. It aims to develop your skills and confidence in using SPSS for the analysis of data. You'll also be offered the opportunity to develop your skills in relation to qualitative research design and analysis. You will become familiar with the theoretical, philosophical and methodological dimensions of qualitative psychology, building interviewing skills and exploring meaning through the analytical processes of grounded theory, narrative and discourse analysis.




The module runs across two core themes of psychology, Social Psychology and Developmental Psychology. The Social Psychology theme will consolidate and expand your knowledge of core areas of social psychological theory and research, namely; Social Perception (including person perception, attitudes, attribution), Inter-group Processes (including prejudice, inter-group conflict, social identification), Small Group Processes (including norms, leadership, decision-making, productivity), Social Influence (including conformity, obedience, majority and minority influence, the bystander effect), Close Relationships (including interpersonal attraction, relationships). The Developmental Theme will consider a range of concepts, issues and debates concerning social, emotional and cognitive development during infancy, childhood and adolescence. You will be encouraged to think critically about some key theoretical and methodological approaches. Recurrent themes include the influences of genes and environment; thought and language; typical and atypical development; social context and communication with children; and the relative roles of the individual and culture in development.



Students must study the following modules for 120 credits:

Name Code Credits

Students must study the following modules for 40 credits:

Name Code Credits


This module offers you the opportunity to demonstrate your independent research capabilities and competence through the development, design and performance of an empirical research project. Building from a foundation of the research methods modules in previous years, instruction on this module is mainly linked to supervision. Supervisors will offer guidance on the delineation of a researchable question, an awareness of ethics relating to your project; a comprehension of the appropriateness of the research design, managing the data collection process and the writing up of a report. The area of research, methodological approach and research context will be negotiated and agreed through supervision.



Students will select 60 - 80 credits from the following modules:

Name Code Credits


In this module, you will undertake an extensive examination of various experimental approaches used in Cognitive Neuroscience. Using the examples of commonly studied cognitive functions, we will examine how they develop in infancy, how they are modified as we age, to which brain networks they are associated with, and how they are impaired by focal brain lesions. The goal of the course is to develop your critical thinking, research and presentation skills, enabling you to synthesize, evaluate, and debate current theory and data in the field.




Learn about how artificial intelligence, neuroscience, philosophy and psychology inform one another in understanding human cognition and building intelligent systems. You will understand key ideas in the philosophy of mind, computational neuroscience and artificial intelligence and how these different disciplines have informed one another. You will also develop your skills at critically analysing and presenting information.




How do infants learn to think? How do memory and language develop? How do we get data from young children, and how can we understand them? In this module you will learn how the human mind develops during infancy and childhood using examples from language development, memory and other areas of cognition. This will provide you with an understanding of how cognition is shaped by our early experience, and how we can study learning in children. You will gain both knowledge of the current theories of development, as well as hands-on experience with state-of-the-art tools in this area. You will approach these topics with a mix of lectures, seminars and practical classes that guide you towards being able to understand how babies learn to think, and design your own developmental research.



MAGICAL VISUAL WORLD: from Light to Neurons to Experience

The world we live and act in is a creation of our mind. Our brain takes small samples of light and sound and cobbles together the rich world we experience. This module will develop your understanding of how we make sense of our visual and auditory world, how we put information together, and what we often miss. Throughout the module you'll focus on both the behaviours (how do we remember an environment, recognise a friend's emotions, etc.) and the underlying neural activity that make these experiences possible, including how various brain regions interact and the type of information passed along neural pathways. In addition, you'll cover the methods researchers use for empirical investigations (fMRI, clinical populations, eye tracking, etc.). You'll be encouraged to critically evaluate current perspectives and design a study to help reveal how we understand our visual and auditory world.







In this module we will explore areas of current interest and debate in the psychology of criminality, and in the relationship between psychology and the criminal justice system. We will consider the roles that psychologists play in understanding, detecting and treating criminal behaviour, and we will discuss the issues, methods, findings and implications of research in areas such as crime statistics, psychopathy, sex offending, serial murder, terrorism, offender profiling, eyewitness testimony, and the assessment and rehabilitation of offenders.




This module will develop your understanding of both typical and atypical development through a detailed introduction to theory and empirical research related to neurodevelopmental disorders. It will highlight how genetic, environmental, biological and cognitive factors interact to shape development and behaviour over time. You will be encouraged to critically evaluate classical and contemporary perspectives on the subject and invited to consider practical issues related to the identification of, and provision for, children demonstrating an atypical developmental trajectory.




What is psychological health and wellbeing? How might it change as we get older? How might it affect and be affected by the other areas of our lives? Throughout this module you will explore psychological health and wellbeing across the lifespan. You will consider a number of psychological perspectives, including critical and positive psychology approaches, to take a broad look at what we mean by psychological health and wellbeing, paying attention to cultural and historical context. You'll start by discussing different theories and components of psychological wellbeing, and then link this knowledge to examples of functioning and application at different life stages. Past examples of this have included psychological health programmes in schools, the workplace, therapeutic interventions, and positive approaches to ageing and later life.







You will consider the psychological aspects of destructive and benevolent behaviour. Classic and contemporary research will inform the understanding of the psychological processes that underpin extreme detrimental and beneficial behaviours. You will examine empathy, altruism, anti-social and criminal behaviour on both the individual and group level, integrating social psychological theory with historical examples. 'Evil' elements such as cults, killing, power and control will be balanced by the second strand of the module concerning virtuous behaviour, compassion, empathy, solidarity and social change. Situational and personal factors that drive these behaviours will be considered.




This module will survey psychological approaches to language, featuring discussions of experimental methods in psycholinguistic research and theoretical approaches to both language comprehension and production. More specifically, you will gain an understanding of the main theories of language comprehension and production, and how psycholinguistic research develops and tests theoretical questions concerning the nature of underlying representations and the mechanisms associated with language *processing*. Emphasis will be placed on a full understanding of the mapping between theoretical research questions, and the experimental methodologies and techniques used to advance our understanding of how language is processed in the adult human brain.




This module is about the study of mental health from a biopsychosocial perspective. By the end of the module you will learn about: - Historical approaches to defining abnormality; - The biological, psychological and social treatments for psychiatric disorders; - The methods to assess and diagnosis abnormality and psychiatric disorders; - The research strategies used to gain knowledge of abnormality and psychiatric disorders.




In this module you will gain an understanding of how and why we sleep, and the importance of sleep for good health and daytime functioning. We will consider biological, psychological and social factors relating to sleep, including the mechanisms of healthy sleep, changes in sleep across the lifespan, and how sleep interacts with physical and mental health conditions to affect our wellbeing.




In this module, you will consider the science of relationships and identify some of the critical factors that make and shape 'family' life. You will begin by deconstructing the concepts of 'relationships' and 'family' within their historical and cultural contexts. You will consider the different theoretical approaches utilised to understand and research relationships and family life. You will then explore specific topics such as relationships, parenting, marriage and divorce, before concluding with a consideration and evaluation of family and relationship research and policy.




In this module, you will cover contemporary research and theoretical debates in the related fields of Social Neuroscience and Affective Neuroscience. Your learning objectives for this module will be to: 1) Understand the methodological and conceptual underpinnings of social and affective neuroscience, 2) Understand the state of research in a variety of topics, 3) Understand why key debates in these topics are important for the discipline more broadly. By the end of this module you will have a mastery of the key topics and issues in social and affective neuroscience. You will understand and be able to give an individual account of the important theoretical and empirical work. You will develop an understanding of the neuroscientific techniques available to social and affective neuroscientists and the importance and limitations of these techniques.



SOCIAL PERCEPTION AND BEHAVIOUR: From Individuals to Relationships to Groups

THIS MODULE IS RESERVED FOR PSYCHOLOGY STUDENTS. The module aims to enable students to comprehend, evaluate and compare the core topics and major perspectives in social psychological theory and research. The module will: - Introduce you to topic areas related to social perception in the context of individual, interpersonal, and intergroup processes, and highlight how these topics relate to everyday behaviour. - Assist you in formulating an appreciation of the strengths and limitations of key theoretical approaches discussed in this class. - Encourage you to adopt a constructively critical and creative approach. - Nurture intellectual enthusiasm for the subject matter within a supportive learning environment.



Students will select 0 - 20 credits from the following modules:

Name Code Credits


Have you ever wondered what it means to write creatively? Or how you might articulate what Zadie Smith calls 'your way of being in the world'? Together we'll address these questions. You'll explore the work of some of the finest writers in the world, while also receiving clear guidance on how you might bring shape to the promptings of your imagination. This module will get you writing prose fiction and/or poetry. While there is no single, authorised way to write, there are things worth knowing about. You'll discover some of these things in class; others you'll pick up through being alert to what you have read and the way in which it functions. The most important thing, however, is to discover your own way of doing things. What drives you to capture a certain moment, or tell a certain story in a certain way? That's what we'll be aiming for. Along the way you'll develop an understanding of the craft of writing - the technical nuts and bolts - while acquiring the disciplines necessary to being a writer - observation, drafting, and submitting to deadlines. You'll be guided through a series of themes and concepts that go to the heart of creative writing, from voice and structure, to imagery and form. You'll generate material throughout the course, both through guided exercises and private study. Very often you'll be asked to write about 'what you know', drawing on notebooks, memory, family stories, your sensory impressions. In prose you will go on to look at such things as character, dialogue, point-of-view, 'showing' versus 'telling', plotting, etc. In poetry, there will be an exploration of the possibilities of pattern and form, sound, voice, imagery, and rhythm. By the end of the course you'll have developed a body of work to call your own and a sense of what it means and what it takes to write seriously.




This module will provide you with an introduction to key areas of psychology with a focus on learning and teaching in education. By the end of the module you should be able to: - Discuss the role of perception, attention and memory in learning; - Compare and contrast key theories related to learning, intelligence, language, thinking and reasoning; - Critically reflect on key theories related to learning, intelligence, language, thinking and reasoning in the practical context; - Discuss the influence of key intrapersonal, interpersonal and situational factors on pupils learning and engagement in educational settings.




This interdisciplinary module will begin by exploring the various approaches to understanding gender and development, then introduce and explain a range of key concepts as the foundations of gender analysis. The module then applies these concepts in examining a selection of important relevant debates: gender analysis of economic growth, divisions of labour and incomes, land and property rights, environmental change, education and health policies, voice and empowerment, and violence and religion.




You will critically consider the relationship between media and education, considering what effect the media has in shaping knowledge, what role education plays in supporting media narratives, and how media and education influence cultural and social issues. You will draw upon current social and cultural issues and explore how these issues are shaped and discussed through the intersecting narratives of media and education. You will consider and reflect on current topics that may include issues around gender, sexuality, religion, youth, class, and sport.




Whilst the University will make every effort to offer the modules listed, changes may sometimes be made arising from the annual monitoring, review and update of modules and regular (five-yearly) review of course programmes. Where this activity leads to significant (but not minor) changes to programmes and their constituent modules, there will normally be prior consultation of students and others. It is also possible that the University may not be able to offer a module for reasons outside of its control, such as the illness of a member of staff or sabbatical leave. In some cases optional modules can have limited places available and so you may be asked to make additional module choices in the event you do not gain a place on your first choice. Where this is the case, the University will endeavour to inform students.

Further Reading

  • Forget-me-not

    UEA Psychology researchers have been investigating a new type of memory that could help early diagnoses of dementia

    Read it Forget-me-not
  • PsychX

    PsychX is a range of extracurricular activities which we coordinate to enhance opportunities for learning, create greater interaction between students, and provide a focus for career conversations.

    Read it PsychX

Entry Requirements

  • A Level AAB or ABB with an A in the Extended Project
  • International Baccalaureate 33 points
  • Scottish Highers AAAAA
  • Scottish Advanced Highers BBC
  • Irish Leaving Certificate 4 subjects at H2, 2 subjects at H3
  • Access Course Pass the Access to HE Diploma with Distinction in 36 credits at Level 3 and Merit in 9 credits at Level 3
  • BTEC DDD. Excludes BTEC Public Services, BTEC Uniformed Services and BTEC Business Administration.
  • European Baccalaureate 80%

Students for whom English is a Foreign language

Applications from students whose first language is not English are welcome. We require evidence of proficiency in English (including writing, speaking, listening and reading):

  • IELTS: 6.5 overall (minimum 5.5 in all components)

We also accept a number of other English language tests. Please click here to see our full list.

INTO University of East Anglia

If you do not yet meet the English language requirements for this course, INTO UEA offer a variety of English language programmes which are designed to help you develop the English skills necessary for successful undergraduate study:

·         Pre-sessional English at INTO UEA

·         English for University Study at INTO UEA


If you do not meet the academic and or English requirements for direct entry our partner, INTO University of East Anglia offers guaranteed progression on to this undergraduate degree upon successful completion of a preparation programme. Depending on your interests, and your qualifications you can take a variety of routes to this degree:

Any International Foundation Course (for first year entry)



Most applicants will not be called for an interview and a decision will be made via UCAS Track. However, for some applicants an interview will be requested. Where an interview is required the Admissions Service will contact you directly to arrange a time.

Gap Year

We welcome applications from students who have already taken or intend to take a gap year.  We believe that a year between school and university can be of substantial benefit. You are advised to indicate your reason for wishing to defer entry on your UCAS application.


The annual intake is in September each year.

Alternative Qualifications

UEA recognises that some students take a mixture of International Baccalaureate IB or International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme IBCP study rather than the full diploma, taking Higher Levels in addition to A Levels and/or BTEC qualifications. At UEA we do consider a combination of qualifications for entry, provided a minimum of three qualifications are taken at a higher level. In addition some degree programmes require specific subjects at a higher level.

GCSE Offer

You are required to have Mathematics and English Language at a minimum of Grade C or Grade 4 or above at GCSE.

Course Open To

UK and overseas applicants.

Fees and Funding

Undergraduate University Fees and Financial Support

Tuition Fees

Information on tuition fees can be found here:

UK students

EU Students 

Overseas Students

Scholarships and Bursaries

We are committed to ensuring that costs do not act as a barrier to those aspiring to come to a world leading university and have developed a funding package to reward those with excellent qualifications and assist those from lower income backgrounds. 

The University of East Anglia offers a range of Scholarships; please click the link for eligibility, details of how to apply and closing dates.

How to Apply

Applications need to be made via the Universities Colleges and Admissions Services (UCAS), using the UCAS Apply option.

UCAS Apply is a secure online application system that allows you to apply for full-time Undergraduate courses at universities and colleges in the United Kingdom. It is made up of different sections that you need to complete. Your application does not have to be completed all at once. The system allows you to leave a section partially completed so you can return to it later and add to or edit any information you have entered. Once your application is complete, it must be sent to UCAS so that they can process it and send it to your chosen universities and colleges.

The Institution code for the University of East Anglia is E14.

Further Information

Please complete our Online Enquiry Form to request a prospectus and to be kept up to date with news and events at the University. 

    Next Steps

    We can’t wait to hear from you. Just pop any questions about this course into the form below and our enquiries team will answer as soon as they can.

    Admissions enquiries: or
    telephone +44 (0)1603 591515