University of Chester

Programme Specification
Psychology BSc (Hons) (Combined Honours)
2015 - 2016

Bachelor of Science (Combined Honours)



University of Chester

University of Chester

Chester Campus

Undergraduate Modular Programme

Full-time and Part-time

Classroom / Laboratory,

3 years full-time

7 Years

Annual - September




17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Social Science Psychology


Graduate Basis for Chartership from the British Psychological Society, subject to gaining at least a 2ii and passing the final year dissertation (for approved pathway)


Tuesday 5th November 2013

The aims of the Combined Honours Psychology programme are: 

  1. To introduce students to core psychological content which meets national subject benchmarking and the UK Quality Code for HE requirements, leading to eligibility for the Graduate Basis for Chartership (GBC) of the British Psychological Society (BPS) for those who wish it.
  2. To provide effective, structured opportunities for the scientific study of mental processes and behaviour, recognising a diversity of perspectives.
  3. To foster students’ understanding of ethical and professional approaches in study and work, according to departmental and BPS guidelines.
  4. To foster employability and aid students to gain 'soft', generic and employability skills needed to open our graduates up to a wide variety of career opportunities. In addition, to enable students who study the appropriate modules to obtain GBC to be prepared for careers in professional psychology.

These apply across the range of content outlined in section 25. They involve psychological principles explaining human mental processes and behaviour; the social, historical and ethical context of psychology today; the roles of psychologists and psychology across a range of applied fields; codes of conduct for ethical research.

FHEQ Level 4; historical antecedents, basic theories and research in the following British Psychological Society curriculum areas:

  • PS4005 (Research methods and skills)
  • PS4010 (Core topics in psychology)

FHEQ Level 5;  an in-depth knowledge of at least two of the four core BPS domains (GBC requires all of these), taught in:

  • PS5015 (Becoming a psychological researcher, with understanding of range of empirical designs and analytical techniques in both quantitative and qualitative fields)
  • PS5017 (Understanding the mind, cognitive psychology and intelligence aspect of individual differences)
  • PS5018 (Social and individual psychology, social psychology and non-intelligence aspects of individual differences)

Specialist knowledge at this level will focus on areas of psychology of special interest chosen by the student in conjunction with peers and staff.

FHEQ Level 6; an in-depth knowledge of two further core BPS domains for those wishing GBC, taught in: 

  • PS6002 (Developmental psychology)
  • PS6034 (Biological psychology)

In the dissertation module (PS6001) students will be capable of applying the research methods and analytical knowledge learned in previous years (using either quantitative or qualitative methodology) to complete a large-scale piece of independent research. Specialist knowledge in a range of applied settings will be demonstrated in elective modules.

Thinking and cognitive skills are expected to develop across the three years of study, with progression from an emphasis on clear description and understanding, to demonstration of analytical and critical skills by the end of the studies. The ability to reason scientifically, to synthesise information and data from various sources, to analyse, evaluate and interpret theories, and to formulate and test hypotheses will be shown.

FHEQ Level 4

  • Find, read and understand psychology-specific texts, including primary sources, and reference them using an appropriate referencing format (PS4010 and PS4005)
  • Understand the scientific method including the formulation of hypotheses (PS4005)
  • Interpret basic data sets (PS4005)
  • Be able to write reports in a standard scientific format (PS4005)
  • Analyse data using appropriate level tests of relationship, association, and difference (PS4005)

FHEQ Level 5

  • The ability to synthesise material across a range of sources, looking for general principles to increase the power of analysis (all modules)
  • The ability to analyse data using complex tests of relationship and difference, and text-based analysis (e.g. PS5015)
  • Adapt writing styles for specific audiences (e.g. PS5013)
  • Problem-solving (all modules WB5101 or its equivalent)
  • The ability to critique a source (all modules)

FHEQ Level 6

  • The ability to apply a critical and analytical stance to the reading and reporting of research and other texts (all modules)
  • To problem-solve and reason scientifically (all modules)
  • To comprehend and analyse complex data sets (PS6001)

Students will demonstrate the ability to manage their time, and to plan, conduct and report research in a variety of formats, and deal with statistical and textual analysis of data. Students will gain experience in project management consistent with practice in professional contexts, as well as knowledge of ethical standards in research. They will demonstrate numerical skills appropriate to the interpretation of large data sets; use of information technology (including use of specialist software for experimental work and for statistical analysis); the ability to work effectively in a team; the ability to plan and carry out work individually, and keeping to deadlines. 

FHEQ Level 4

  • Time management (PS4005)
  • An awareness of ethical issues raised when working with humans or animals (PS4005, PS5015, PS6001 in particular)
  • IT skills (all modules)

FHEQ Level 5

  • The ability to work as a key member of a team (PS5018 primarily)
  • Sensitivity to inter-personal factors and cooperation (PS5018 particularly, also PS5014)

FHEQ Level 6

  • The ability to plan, manage, conduct and report a complex individual project (PS6001)
  • Apply psychological knowledge to a range of real-world problems and issues (elective modules)

FHEQ Level 4

  • Describe and discuss psychological issues clearly and accurately both orally (PS4005) and in written work (all modules)
  • Be able to write for an academic audience (all modules)

FHEQ Level 5

  • Develop a coherent and evidence-based argument (all modules)
  • Adapt writing styles for specific audiences (PS5013)
  • Communicate fluently with members of a team (PS5018)

FHEQ Level 6

  • Fluent and accurate written communication, based on clear and critical argument and evidence-based reasoning (all modules)
  • Fluent oral communication suitable for an academic audience (PS6001, PS6005)

i. At Level 4 students will develop knowledge of important historical and contemporary concepts and theories, as well as the ability to use qualitative and quantitative information accurately in support of rational arguments. Learning is predominantly tutor-guided.  The core modules at Level 4 can be regarded as foundation modules designed to provide a comprehensive introduction to students with no prior study of psychology and to provide a useful and interesting curriculum for those who have undertaken previous study in the subject, for example at AS or A2 level.  Students take three modules in their other subject.

ii. At Level 5 students will build on the conceptual knowledge base acquired at Level 4; and, in the minimum of one core module they must take (from a choice of two), appreciate the evolution of modern psychological theories and ideas. They will be encouraged to begin to demonstrate a more critical approach to data and evidence, which will sometimes involve inter-relating complex elements of knowledge.  At Level 5, students take modules involving greater detail and depth of study of key ideas and enhanced skills, particularly in the areas of group work and presentation skills.  Depending on their choice of modules students may be taught higher level statistical and / or qualitative techniques. However, in order to fully prepare for their final year of study students need to take one module from PS5017 and PS5018 (two of the core modules for BPS). In addition, they can take other optional modules offered at this level but if they wish to be recognised for GBC by the BPS they will need to take all 3 of the core BPS modules (PS5015, PS5017, and PS5018). Where students do not take PS5015 they will not be able to take PS6001 (Research Dissertation) the following year and will be advised of this when making their level 5 module choices.

Full-time for the final seven weeks of the teaching year, students elect to take Work-Based Learning modules or an experiential module in their other subject.  These options will allow the students to develop and enhance their employability skills to help them achieve suitable employment or further study on graduation. If they take WB5101 (Enhancing your Employability Through Work Based Learning) this is a five week (minimum of 144 hours) work-placement with an employer, as well as a supportive programme helping students to develop the skills needed to successfully arrange a work placement. Prior to and during the placement the student is expected to develop their own specific learning targets and placement plans, which they then reflect on. Throughout this they are supported by the Work Based Learning Department and a Work Based Learning tutor. As an alternative to this, students can take WB5004, undertaking a similar experience but abroad. These options will allow all students to develop and enhance their employability skills to help them to achieve suitable employment or further study on graduation.

For students who wish to spend a year abroad there is also the option of taking module PS5000 or WB5008. This allows them to spend a year abroad at a University linked to the Socrates / Erasmus programme (Europe, PS5000) or via the International Exchange Programme Scheme or Direct partners (other regions, including USA / Australia, WB5008) studying from the courses available at that institution. They would then return to Chester to undertake the rest of their degree programme. As Combined Honours students they would need permission from both departments (students who combine Psychology with Modern Languages will take EU5000 instead).  

iii. The amount of psychology taken at level 6 within the combined honours programme will vary from 33% to 66%.  At Level 6 students will be required to display a wide range of study skills including analysis, interpretation, synthesis, reflection and critical analysis, and to show an ability to articulate a personal standpoint with respect for the views of others. Students will handle complex ideas and show an ability to apply knowledge and skills to new situations, sometimes in relation to problem-solving activities. They will be required to assume greater responsibility for their own learning, both independent and collaborative, and will have achieved a certain degree of autonomy. This is particularly the case in the research dissertation module, available to both majoring and joint honours students (who have previously taken PS5015), which requires good planning and time-management.  Supervision is provided on a one-to-one basis.  In addition, the students are supported by a programme of topic-focused lectures throughout the year, and weekly drop-in ‘clinics' for advice on data analysis are also offered.  An assessed research proposal, an application for ethics approval (formatively assessed) and an assessed short presentation are required in addition to the final report.  Apart from being valuable in their own right, these additional tasks provide a degree of time-structure helping students to plan ahead and maintain momentum. The other modules at Level 6 are made up of modules applicable to those taking a pathway which gives eligibility for GBC with the BPS, plus optional modules aimed at enhancing students experience and career aims, as well as reflecting the expertise and interests of lecturers.   

For students commencing from 2012-2013 the modules that must be included for GBC with the BPS are: PS4005; PS4010; PS5015; PS5017; PS5018; PS6001; PS6002; PS6034.  It should be noted that GBC requires a 2.2 honours award or better and successful completion of the PS6001 Research Dissertation.  

The PS6004 and PS6031 modules are on the system as they will be on offer to students at Raffles College of Higher Education in Singapore, but will not be available to students in Chester. Similarly, the PS5019 and PS6003 modules are available only to students undertaking their Erasmus or ISEP studies within the Psychology department and not normally our home students.

Combined Honours only
Mod-Code Level Title Credit Major Equal Minor
PS4005 4 Research Methods and Skills 40 Comp Comp Comp
PS4010 4 Core Topics in Psychology 20 Comp Comp Comp
PS5000 5 Year Abroad Placement (Psychology) 120 Optional Optional Optional
PS5009 5 Social Psychology 20 N/A N/A N/A
PS5010 5 Cognitive Psychology 20 N/A N/A N/A
PS5011 5 Individual Differences 20 N/A N/A N/A
PS5012 5 Forensic Psychology and Mental Health 20 Optional Optional Optional
PS5013 5 Psychological Therapies 20 Optional Optional Optional
PS5014 5 Psychology of Parenting 20 Optional Optional Optional
PS5015 5 Becoming a Psychological Researcher 20 Optional Optional Optional
PS5017 5 Understanding The Mind 20 Optional Optional Optional
PS5018 5 Social & Individual Psychology 20 Optional Optional Optional
PS5019 5 Special Study in Psychology 20 Optional Optional Optional
PS5099 5 Applied Research Experience in Psychology 20 N/A N/A N/A
PS5500 5 The Psychology of Identity, Community and Diversity 20 Optional Optional Optional
WB5004 5 Learning in the Wider World 20 Optional Optional Optional
WB5008 5 The Study Abroad Experience 120 Optional Optional Optional
WB5101 5 Enhancing your Employability through Work Based Learning 20 Optional Optional Optional
PS6001 6 Research Dissertation 40 Optional Optional N/A
PS6002 6 Developmental Psychology 20 Optional Optional Optional
PS6003 6 Negotiated Learning in Psychology 20 Optional Optional Optional
PS6004 6 Occupational Psychology 20 N/A N/A N/A
PS6005 6 Recent Developments and Trends in Psychology 20 Optional Optional Optional
PS6006 6 Organisational and Work Psychology 20 N/A N/A N/A
PS6011 6 Understanding developmental disorders 20 Optional Optional Optional
PS6015 6 Health Psychology 20 Optional Optional Optional
PS6022 6 Animal Psychology 20 Optional Optional Optional
PS6028 6 Clinical and Counselling Psychology 20 Optional Optional Optional
PS6031 6 Psychology of Emotion 20 Optional Optional Optional
PS6034 6 Biological Psychology 20 Optional Optional Optional

Certificate of Higher Education:
Level 4 - 120 credits

Diploma of Higher Education:
Level 4 - 120 credits
Level 5 - 120 credits

Honours Degree:
Level 4 - 120 credits
Level 5 - 120 credits
Level 6 - 120 credits

Students who successfully complete their degree with at least a 2ii honours award (and successfully pass their dissertation module at level 6) are eligible for GBC with the BPS provided they take the modules listed below:

PS4005, PS4010, PS5015, PS5017, PS5018, PS6001, PS6002, PS6034

  • 300 UCAS points
  • There are no subject specific GCE A2 or BTEC Diploma requirements
  • Access to Higher Education Diploma – to include a minimum of 15 Level 3 credits at Distinction and 15 level 3 credits at Merit      
  • 28 points at International Baccalaureate
  • Offers will be made in grades or a combination of points and grades
  • Psychology requires GCSE grade C or above in Mathematics (or equivalent)

Additional information:

  • The University accepts grades and points achieved from General Studies
  • The University allocates the full 120 points achieved for successful completion of the Welsh Baccalaureate

The Combined Honours Psychology programme at Chester is accredited by the British Psychology Society (BPS) as providing the basis for the Graduate Basis for Chartership (GBC).  The curriculum therefore conforms to BPS requirements.  BPS requirements in conjunction with the "core domains" of the national benchmarks more or less constitute a national curriculum for Psychology.  Knowledge, both of the areas and of the links between them, is expected, as is an understanding of appropriate applications.  Ethical, theoretical and practical research issues arise in each of the knowledge areas within psychology:          

Biological psychology, e.g., biological bases of behaviour, hormones and behaviour, behavioural genetics, neuropsychology, sociobiology and evolutionary psychology; 

Cognitive psychology, e.g., perception, learning, memory, thinking, language, consciousness and cognitive neuropsychology; Developmental psychology, e.g., childhood, adolescence and life-span development, development of attachment, social relations, cognitive and language development, social and cultural contexts of development; 

Personality and individual differences, e.g., personality, psychological testing, intelligence, cognitive style, emotion, motivation,  mood, mental health (including social, biological, and cognitive processes), and gender and ethnicity; 

Social psychology, e.g., social cognition, attribution, attitudes, group processes and intergroup relations, close relationships and social constructionism. 

Research methods in psychology, i.e., research design, the nature and appropriate statistical analysis of data, psychometrics and measurement techniques, and quantitative and qualitative methods.

Generic skills identified by the benchmarking statement include effective communication, use of data, IT literacy, information organisation and retrieval, critical handling of source material, teamwork, problem-solving and scientific reasoning, critical judgement, interpersonal sensitivity, and personal planning skills. These will be explicitly taught in many modules, and students encouraged to document their development in summative assessments in some modules.

It should be noted that the BPS require a 2.2 degree pass or better, plus a pass in their dissertation, for the award of GBC.


A wide range of learning and teaching methods is used, including lectures, practical classes, seminars, individual tutorials, experiential learning, use of intranet-based materials, group work and guided reading.
At Level 4, students entering the programme will do so at different levels of experience. Students are introduced to a range of university facilities and resources in induction week, when they also meet their personal academic tutor (PAT) who will oversee their progress in a series of regular meetings throughout their degree. The teaching team will help them to develop their discursive skills, learning discrimination in the choice of reading materials and evidence, evidencing discourse and argument, and encouraging them to read widely in order to achieve a good knowledge base.

The assessment strategy is based on providing students with a wide range of assessment methods in order to demonstrate the achievement of key learning outcomes, focusing on key knowledge and skills domains.  In addition there is recognition of the need to provide formative assessment elements, particularly at level 4.  In some modules we have incorporated a series of small-scale summative assessments which provide progressive formative feedback at level 4 to aid the transition to Higher Education. Subject knowledge is assessed through the provision of modules specifically designed to cover the core content required by QAA. Assessments are provided which test the knowledge of this core content both at level 4 and at either level 5 or 6. Each module has more than one assessment method, and core BPS areas are assessed using a range of written and oral work ensuring that subject benchmarks are met in the key knowledge domains.

Feedback is available on all summative work, and there are opportunities for formative feedback and for draft reading in line with departmental policy. University level support is also available via the Study Skills Unit which provides both online and face-to-face support for teaching.

Each module is assessed on a 4,000 word-equivalent basis, with a one hour examination equating to 1,000 words.  The majority of modules involve more than one method of assessment.  Typically assessment is 50% examination and 50% coursework, though there are variations on this where appropriate.  The descriptors provide a clear indication of the relationship between individual assessment components and learning outcomes. 

The full range of assessment types is as follows:

Essay or literature review: e.g. PS4010; PS6034

Laboratory report or portfolio of practical work: PS4005; PS5015; PS5017; PS6001

Examination or class test: most modules

Oral presentation: PS4005 (group); PS5018 (group); PS6001 (individual); PS6005 (individual)

Poster presentation: e.g. PS4013

Research proposal and dissertation: PS6001

Reflective accounts: PS5000

Other: PS5013 leaflet for lay audience, case studies (PS4013, PS6002, PS6011, PS6015) 


The graduate characteristics of Combined Honours Psychology students include subject knowledge, subject skills and employability skills as described above.  From this grounding, students are in a position to secure employment in a wide range of settings or proceed to postgraduate courses and research. Students who complete the approved programme will be eligible for Graduate Basis for Chartership (GBC) and may wish to proceed to training for a range of professional psychology qualifications (such as clinical, educational, occupational, counselling, forensic or health psychology) and other career paths.   

Apart from post-graduate training in applied psychology, students would be able to proceed to work or train in diverse fields such as teaching, personnel, management and financial services.  Psychology graduates are well placed in the employment market by virtue of their enhanced understanding of human behaviour in work and other situations, and the extensive practice in language-based and quantitative skills which is gained as a psychology undergraduate.  Psychology graduates will have well-developed skills in research and handling data, together with team working, problem solving and the analysis of complex information. 

Career options may also reflect the student's second subject.  Particular combinations of subject within the combined degree will be well-suited to particular career directions.  For example, psychology and criminology would be good preparation for a career in the prison or probation service.  Psychology and a commonly-taught school subject such as English or Biology would be a good basis for a career in school teaching.

The University is committed to the promotion of diversity, equality and inclusion in all its forms; through different ideas and perspectives, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. We are, in particular, committed to widening access to higher education. Within an ethically aware and professional environment, we acknowledge our responsibilities to promote freedom of enquiry and scholarly expression.

In addition, issues of diversity and inclusiveness are embedded in the curriculum, and students are able explicitly to learn across all three undergraduate stages about individual differences, individuals with specific educational needs, gender identity issues, and the psychology of religious belief, ideological and political differences.

In recent years we have performed well locally and nationally in the National Student Survey and other surveys in terms of our teaching quality. We believe this is due, at least in part, to our student focus. We seek input from our students not only on our current provision, but also on future directions, seeing the development of our programme as a partnership. We also practice an open door policy, making ourselves available to support our students both pastorally and academically. In order to strengthen our student supportive framework further we are currently working with the HEA and other universities across the UK on the Student Retention and Success initiative. From this we hope to further improve our students overall experience at Chester.

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