University of Chester

Programme Specification
Psychology BSc (Hons) (Combined Honours)
2014 - 2015

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


British Psychological Society (for approved pathway)


Friday 1st November 2013

The aims of the Combined Honours Psychology programme are: 

  1. To provide effective, structured opportunities for the scientific study of mental processes and behaviour, recognising a diversity of perspectives.
  2. To provide accredited programmes of study within the combined subjects modular undergraduate degree, leading to eligibility for the Graduate Basis for Chartership (GBC) of the British Psychological Society (BPS).
  3. To work in accordance with the ethics and values of appropriate professional and learned bodies in the activities of the Department.
  4. To impart the key 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.

Knowledge and Understanding

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.
Thinking or Cognitive Skills

The ability to synthesise information/ data from various sources; analyse, evaluate and interpret theories; formulate and test hypotheses.

Practical Skills

Plan, conduct and report research.


  • Communication
  • Application of Number
  • Information Literacy and Technology
  • Improving own learning and performance
  • Working with others
  • Problem solving

Students will developemployability skills in the areas of problem-solving, communication (oral and written); numerical skills appropriate to scientists; 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 work effectively individually keeping to deadlines; the ability to reflect upon own learning and performance and revise approach to learning.

Professional Skills

Students will gain experience in project management consistent with practice in professional contexts

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. Students will be taught to audit their own skills and personal development, and to select appropriate individual learning styles for the tasks set, with progression towards greater independence in learning activities.  At Level 5, students take modules involving greater detail and depth of study of key ideas and enhanced skills.  Depending on their choice of modules students may be taught advanced 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).

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. 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.    

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 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 studying from the course available at that institution. They would then return to Chester to undertake the rest of their degree programme. Students who combine psychology with a modern language will take EU5000 instead, and those who combine Psychology with Business studies may choose between PS5000 and BU5000.

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.  

Due to students who have currently interrupted studies a number of level 5 modules remain on the system (PS5009, PS5010, PS5011 and PS5099). These have now been replaced by modules PS5015, PS5017 and PS5018, with students taking WB5101 or WB5004 also. It is envisaged that these students will switch to the new programme but as this has not been done yet the 'old' modules remain on the system. All of these 'old' modules will be removed from the system as soon as possible. In addition the PS6004 and PS6031 modules remain 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. In case of failures in the PS6004 module in the 2013-14 cohort they may undertake reassessment over the 2014-15 year.

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 N/A Optional
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 Optional Optional Optional
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 N/A N/A N/A
PS6034 6 Biological Psychology 20 Optional Optional Optional

Certificateof Higher Education
Level4 - 120 credits
Diploma of Higher Education
Level4 - 120 credits
Level5 - 120 credits
Honours Degree
Level4 - 120 credits
Level5 - 120 credits
Level6 - 120 credits

  • 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.

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.

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.

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 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 recent years we have performed well locally and nationally in the National Student Survey. 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 experience at Chester. 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.

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