PROGRAMME SPECIFICATION Programme title: Final award (BSc, MA etc):

Programme title:
BSc Psychology
Final award (BSc, MA etc):
(where stopping off points exist they should be
detailed here and defined later in the document)
UCAS code:
(where applicable)
Cohort(s) to which this programme
specification is applicable:
2008 onwards
(e.g. from 2015 intake onwards)
Awarding institution/body:
University College London
Teaching institution:
University College London
Brain Sciences
Parent Department:
Division of Psychology and Language Sciences
(the department responsible for the administration of
the programme)
Departmental web page address:
(if applicable) (Main Site) (UG site)
Method of study:
Criteria for admission to the
Length of the programme:
A*AA-AAA at A-level or equivalent. Subjects to include at least one,
preferably two science-based subjects (Psychology is acceptable) or
3 years
(please note any periods spent away from UCL, such
as study abroad or placements in industry)
Level on Framework for Higher
Education Qualifications (FHEQ)
(see Guidance notes)
Relevant subject benchmark statement
(see Guidance notes)
Brief outline of the structure of the
(see guidance notes)
Advanced Level (Level 6)
Board of Examiners:
Name of Board of Examiners:
Board of Examiners in Psychology
Professional body accreditation
(if applicable):
British Psychological Society
Date of next scheduled
accreditation visit: 2015
1. To educate our students in systematic, scientific thinking and argumentation about human beings and human
problems informed by world-class research and taught by world-class faculty
2.To provide our students with leading-edge experimental, empirical and statistical/computational tools so they can
develop and evaluate psychological ideas
3.To provide a challenging and supportive intellectual environment that is international and culturally diverse
4.To develop the intellectual potential of our students so that they can become reflective and creative professional
psychologists or psychologically-informed professionals in other careers
The programme provides opportunities for students to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding,
qualities, skills and other attributes in the following areas:
A: Knowledge and understanding
Knowledge and understanding of:
1. All relevant areas of modern scientific
psychology including:
Biological foundations of behaviour,
perception learning and memory, thinking
and language, personality and
intelligence, social psychology, historical
and conceptual issues and
developmental psychology.
2. Research design and quantitative
Teaching/learning methods and strategies:
Our teaching covers the spectrum of psychological ideas
with an emphasis on the experimental, cognitive and
neuroscientific aspects of the discipline.
Our strategy is to ensure in-depth coverage of the key
areas of modern psychology using core examples in
years 1 and 2. Year 1 and 2 provide a rigorous
foundation for the enormous breadth of choice available
to students in year 3 of the course.
We use a wide range of delivery methods:
Statistical, computational and experimental methods are
taught in practical classes.
Formal lectures are supplemented by teaching in smallsize seminar groups. We aim to increase the active
learning component of lectures and to ensure good
coverage of technical detail supported where
appropriate by web-based exercises.
A major site of exploration and integration of ideas is the
weekly seminar. We have excellent procedures in place
to induct and guide new seminar leaders and we
propose to further support seminar leaders in their tasks
sing a variety of methods including IT.
Our strategy encourages students to assume
responsibility for their own learning from the start and to
collaborate with others in learning
We require students to comment and appraise other
student’s essay work and to appraise their own efforts
against formally defined criteria.
Students work in small-groups to devise and run
laboratory experiments in year 2.
Seminars provide an opportunity to explore and to
integrate ideas. We propose to explore ways to support
and encourage this activity.
A major goal of our programme is to develop our
student’s capacity to carry out a fully-fledged research
project from initial research and planning to execution
and report. We view the project as a type of
apprenticeship in research. We shall continue with our
current strategy of stipulating experiments in year 1,
allowing students to develop their own experiments
under guidance in year 2, requiring them to undertake a
small scale mini-project in year 2, followed by a fullyfledged project under guidance in year 3.
Formative assessment:
We use weekly self-assessments as part of our statistics
We encourage the use of in-course self-assessment.
Students write essays as part of their weekly seminar
programme and are provided with structured feedback
on these. Their marks reflect the explicit criteria for each
Students also appraise their own essay efforts and those
of their peers.
Termly appraisals with the seminar leader based around
the student profiles also provide an opportunity for
formative assessment and for wider guidance.
Summative assessment:
Our principle summative assessments are yearly
examinations of specific course-units. The majority of
the examinations are essay-based, but some also have
an MCQ element.
Laboratory work is assessed on a continuous basis and
In year 3 of the course one-quarter of the marks are
assigned to the project. Outline feedback on first drafts
is provided by supervisors.
B: Skills and other attributes
Intellectual (thinking) skills:
Teaching/learning methods and strategies:
able to:
Lectures model the relevant skills in presenting their
1. engage in scientific argumentation
2. generate and appraise psychological
3. critically evaluate the psychological
literature both theoretical and
Weekly seminars provide an opportunity for student to
present and to discuss ideas with feedback from
experienced members of staff as well as their own
Students are required to write a minimum of three
essays each term and these are commented on by the
member staff in terms of the quality of argumentation.
Laboratory classes in years 1 and 2, together with the
project in year 3, provide an opportunity to generate and
test hypotheses and to integrate findings with the
existing literature.
Formative assessment is provided via grades on essays
written for the weekly seminar
Laboratory reports in years 1 and 2 are commented on
and assessed on a continuous basis.
Outline formative feedback is also provided on first
drafts on the year 3 project.
Summative assessment is provided by written unseen
examinations (the majority are essay-based, but some
are a combination of essays and MCQs).
C: Skills and other attributes
Practical skills (able to):
1. use statistical packages for the
analyses of data
Teaching/learning methods and strategies:
Statistical skills are taught in weekly practical classes
using relevant psychological problems that students are
required to solve
2. running laboratory-based experiments
5. using electronic resources ( e-journals,
the world-wide web), word processing
Skills in planning running and analyzing experiments are
taught via laboratory-classes. In year 1 the teaching
method involves the entire group of students performing
the same experiments and being led through the
planning, execution and interpretation stages. In year 2
students mainly work in small –groups to design their
own experiments under guidance. In year 3 they work
with a single supervisor in an apprenticeship-relation.
6. presenting materially orally in a
seminar and in laboratory-groups with or
without presentation aids such as power
Effective writing and presentation skills are taught via
the weekly seminars and background work for this
requires the use of electronic media. Essays are
routinely submitted using a word-processing package.
3. designing questionnaires
4. communicating effectively in writing
7. designing and executing a complete
piece of innovative research
Two statistics assessments in each of the first two-years
of the programme – each contains a multiple-choice
(theory) component and a computer-based (practical:
open-book) component.
Students submit a minimum number of laboratoryreports (8 in year 1 and 5 in year 2. These are graded
and commented upon so that students can learn
Seminar essays are graded according to a
comprehensive marking scheme and returned promptly
to students. These provide a formative assessment for
unseen written exams held at the end of each year.
Seminar presentations are assessed informally during
the term and students receive additional feedback on
their overall seminar performance in individual meetings
at the end of each term.
The project is assessed in two stages: a project proposal
and a final project report.
D: Skills and other attributes
Transferable skills (able to):
1. Study independently and efficiently
2. Think critically and write effectively
3. Analyze and appraise numerical data
4.Argue from a scientific standpoint:
5.Generate hypotheses and test these
6.Collaborate with peers and others to
achieve goals
7. Make effective use of IT (e.g., word
processing packages, search engines,
spreadsheets, statistics packages and
other software).
8.Communicate confidently and
effectively to both specialist and nonspecialist audiences
9. Reflect on their own learning and
manage competing demands on their
Teaching/learning methods and strategies:
The student handbook and seminar leaders act as
sources of guidance for effective study
Library and IT resources are available to facilitate
independent study
The weekly seminar provides a key forum for honing
thinking and writing skills
Numeracy skills are formally taught in the statistics
courses and are applied in research settings
Psychological argumentation and scientific thinking are
modeled and taught throughout the programme
Weekly seminars facilitate the acquisition of
interpersonal skills. In addition, in laboratory-classes in
year 2 students are required to work in small groups in
order to achieve their experimental goals. Seminars
also facilitate the development of effective verbal
communication skills
We run courses in the use of statistics packages (SPSS,
Minitab, Lisrel) and Matlab. Overviews of the software
available are presented by one of the computing staff in
the Department during induction week in year 1.
Students are encouraged to reflect on their learning via
the seminar and their personal tutorials and are required
to learn to manage their time effectively by numerous
deadlines for different kinds of work (e.g., essays,
laboratory-reports, seminar presentations, project
proposals and reports, unseen examinations).
Practical work –laboratory reports, statistics
Seminar essays and presentations
Project reports
Unseen examinations
The following reference points were used in designing the programme:
 the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications:
 the relevant Subject Benchmark Statements:
 the programme specifications for UCL degree programmes in relevant subjects (where applicable);
 UCL teaching and learning policies;
 staff research.
Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the
learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if he/she takes
full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information on the learning outcomes,
content and teaching, learning and assessment methods of each course unit/module can be found in the course
handbook. The accuracy of the information contained in this document is reviewed annually by UCL and may be
checked by the Quality Assurance Agency.
Programme Organiser(s)
Alastair McClelland
Date of Production:
March 2003
Date of Review:
October 2014
Date approved by Head of
October 2014
Date approved by Chair of
Departmental Teaching
Date approved by Faculty
Teaching Committee:
October 2014
November 2014