University of Chester

Programme Specification
Applied Psychology BSc (Hons) (Single Honours)
2015 - 2016

Bachelor of Science (Single Honours)

Applied Psychology

Applied Psychology

University of Chester

University of Chester

University Centre Shrewsbury

Undergraduate Modular Programme

Full-time and Part-time

Classroom / Laboratory,

3 years

7 Years

Annual - September




17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Social Science Psychology


The application process to the British Psychological Society has been started.


Tuesday 13th January 2015

The programme aims to enable students to study a British Psychological Society approved curriculum within a highly employability-focused framework, with an emphasis on practical problem-solving, teamwork, and community focus. As such it aims

  • To introduce students to core psychological content which meets national subject benchmarking and the UK Quality Code for HE requirements and which enables them to satisfy requirements for eligibility for the Graduate Basis for Chartership (GBC) with the British Psychological Society (BPS).
  • To provide for students with a particular interest in real-world applications of psychology through a coherent and distinctive teaching approach. This provision is evident in both the core BPS modules and in the applied modules.
  • To provide students with opportunities to engage with ‘cutting-edge’ theory and research in applied areas of psychology, with a view to promoting societal innovation.
  • To promote a community-focused approach where students are able to forge links with local organisations and businesses in order to foster their understanding the application of psychology to real-world issues and problems.
  • To foster employability and aid students to gain and document ‘soft’, generic and employability skills to enable them to function effectively as graduate employees in psychological and other fields.
  • To foster students’ understanding of ethical and professional approaches in study and work, according to departmental and BPS guidelines.
  • To promote students’ active learning through a discursive and small group approach that promotes intellectual curiosity and problem-solving.

Key knowledge areas are a firm grasp of psychology as a science, and a systematic knowledge of the core areas as identified in section 27. In addition, on this applied programme, students should have an understanding of ways in which psychological knowledge has informed practice in business and industry, education, health and the community.

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

  • PS4201 (research methods and statistics)
  • PS4202 (biological and cognitive psychology)
  • PS4203 (social psychology and individual differences)
  • PS4204 (developmental psychology).

Specialist knowledge at this level includes an understanding of the work of professional psychologists and applications of psychology in organisational contexts (PS5205).

FHEQ Level 5;  an in-depth knowledge of four of the core BPS domains, taught in:

  • PS5201 (advanced research methods and statistics, with understanding of range of empirical designs and analytical techniques in both quantitative and qualitative fields)
  • PS5202 (biological psychology)
  • PS5203 (social psychology)
  • PS5204 (individual differences)

Specialist knowledge at this level will focus on an area of applied 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, taught in: 

  • PS6202 (cognition)
  • PS6203 (developmental psychology)

In the dissertation module (PS6201) 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 modules PS6204 and PS6205.

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 (all modules)
  • Understand the scientific method including the formulation of hypotheses (PS4201)
  • Interpret basic data sets (PS4201)
  • Be able to write reports in a standard scientific format (PS4201)
  • Analyse data using appropriate level tests of relationship, association, and difference (PS4201)

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 (PS5201)
  • Adapt writing styles for specific audiences (PS5205)
  • Problem-solving (especially PS5205 and WB5101 or its equivalent)
  • The ability to critique a source (PS5202)

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 (PS6201)

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, keeping to deadlines; the ability to reflect upon their own learning and performance and enhance their abilities in the light of that reflection. 

FHEQ Level 4

  • Time management (PS4201)
  • Reflection skills (PS4201)
  • An awareness of ethical issues raised when working with humans or animals (PS4201)
  • IT skills (all modules)

FHEQ Level 5

  • Project management (PS5205)
  • The ability to work as a key member of a team (PS5205)
  • Enhanced reflection skills (PS5205)
  • Sensitivity to inter-personal factors and cooperation (PS5205)

FHEQ Level 6

  • The ability to plan, manage, conduct and report a complex individual project (PS6201)
  • Apply psychological knowledge to a range of real-world problems and issues (PS6204, PS6205)
  • The ability to reflect on and document own skills-base with a view to strengthening an employability portfolio (PS6205)

FHEQ Level 4

  • Describe and discuss psychological issues clearly and accurately both orally (PS42005) 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 (PS5205)
  • Communicate fluently with members of a team (PS5205)
  • Report findings orally for a lay audience (PS5205)

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 (PS6201)

Psychology, as the study of brain and behaviour, has a wide brief that involves the explanation of human behaviour at micro- and macro-levels. As such, it is interdisciplinary, involving a knowledge of influences on behaviour ranging from the neurochemical to the social and cultural. In turn, psychological research and theory influences our understanding of many facets of human life, and this programme is designed to study those influences by promoting knowledge and understanding of a wide range of psychological applications. Modules at all levels allow students to engage in the application of their understanding of psychology to problem-solving of real world examples, and on some occasions, there may be opportunities to work with other stakeholders to address specific issues in businesses or organisations in the Shrewsbury and Shropshire area. Students will be able to follow specific areas of interests by opting for more specialist areas in some modules, and by conducting dissertation work in an area of particular interest or which they feel will help them develop aspects of their employability.

At Level 4 students will develop their essential understanding of core levels of explanation of behaviour – biological and cognitive, developmental, holistic and social, as well as their understanding of how psychologists study their subject matter using a range of research methodologies. In addition, students begin their exploration of the applied nature of psychological research, both through an emphasis on applications throughout the core modules, and also through a specific introduction to the area in module PS4205, Introduction to Applications of Psychology. The latter considers the work of professional psychologists, as well as introducing students more widely to ways in which their understanding of psychology may serve them in the workplace.

At Level 5, students develop a more detailed and in-depth understanding in core areas of biological and social psychology, and in individual differences. They will build their analytical skills throughout the year. Again, there is an emphasis on applied aspects, for example, practical psychometric testing in module PS5204 Exploring Individual Differences. Students develop their research and analytical skills to give them the tools for supervised research at Level 6. Students also gain a focused research experience in a community project, inspired by a real-life organisational or occupational issue. A choice of topics is offered, to reflect students’ specific interests. In the last seven weeks of the year, students undertake a work placement to further their employability skills by taking WB5101 Enhancing your Employability Through Work Based Learning or one of its equivalents. WB5101 involves 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 and conduct 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 upon. Throughout this they are supported by the Work Based Learning Department and a dedicated 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 upon graduation.

At Level 6 students complete core modules in cognitive and developmental psychology. Again, there is an emphasis on applied aspects of these core BPS areas, for example, in the classroom or workplace. Students will increasingly be able to demonstrate graduate level characteristics, including critical analysis and reflection, clear communication skills, and an ability to deal with complexity. They will show an ability to apply knowledge and skills to new situations, often 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 Dissertation which requires good planning and time-management. Supervision is provided on a one-to-one basis and 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. The other two modules further build students’ knowledge of applied psychology, and in PS6205 Applications of Psychology in Business and the Workplace, students are specifically asked to focus on, and document, their own employability skills in preparation for the world of work.

For students who wish to complete the GBC BPS route and 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 Shrewsbury to undertake the rest of their degree programme. 

All psychology (code PS) modules on the programme are currently compulsory, with some optionality being offered, particularly within the non-core BPS modules, where students will be offered a range of practical projects. While at present no electives are being offered, we would expect to expand provision as the programme develops.

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
PS4201 4 Introduction to Psychological Investigation 40 Comp
PS4202 4 Introduction to Biological and Cognitive Psychology 20 Comp
PS4203 4 Introduction to Self and Society 20 Comp
PS4204 4 Introduction to Child Psychology and the Psychology of Learning 20 Comp
PS4205 4 Introduction to Applications of Psychology 20 Comp
PS5000 5 Year Abroad Placement (Psychology) 120 Optional
PS5201 5 Research Methods in Applied Psychology 20 Comp
PS5202 5 Exploring Brain and Behaviour 20 Comp
PS5203 5 Exploring Psychology in Society 20 Comp
PS5204 5 Exploring Individual Differences 20 Comp
PS5205 5 Community Project 20 Comp
WB5004 5 Learning in the Wider World 20 Optional
WB5008 5 The Study Abroad Experience 120 N/A
WB5101 5 Enhancing your Employability through Work Based Learning 20 Optional
PS6201 6 Dissertation 40 Comp
PS6202 6 Exploring the Mind 20 Comp
PS6203 6 Exploring Development 20 Comp
PS6204 6 Applications of psychology in the community and the health service 20 Comp
PS6205 6 Applications of psychology in business and the workplace 20 Comp

Exit Awards:

Certificate of Higher Education

Level 4 - 120 credits

Diploma of Higher Education

Level 4 - 120 credits plus

Level 5 - 120 credits

Honours Degree

Level 4 - 120 credits plus

Level 5 - 120 credits plus

Level 6 - 120 credits


It is intended that the programme should be accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS). To this end, students must take all compulsory modules. They must pass the dissertation module (PS6201) - it cannot be compensated. In order to achieve the Graduate Basis for Chartership with the BPS they must also achieve a minimum lower second class honours classification in their degree studies.

 •          A minimum of 300 UCAS points, at A Level, together with GCSE mathematics and

            English at grade C or above.

•           BTEC National Diploma/Certificate: merit or distinction profile

The core content meets the QAA subject benchmark statement that states that core knowledge domains are biological psychology, cognitive psychology, individual differences, developmental psychology, social psychology and research methods, as well as conceptual and historical issues (in this programme, and as permitted by the BPS, the latter are embedded within each core module). The QAA gives examples of topic areas to be covered:

  • Ethical, theoretical and practical research issues arising 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., abnormal and normal personality, psychological testing, intelligence, cognitive style, emotion, motivation and mood; 
  • 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.

In addition:

  • Knowledge both of the areas and of the links between them is expected, as is an understanding of appropriate applications. 

These subject areas are all introduced at Level 4 and further developed at either Level 5 or Level 6. It is expected by the QAA that more specialised areas will be offered, especially at higher levels of study, and there is provision for this in the non-core modules. All elements of research methodology specified by the QAA are covered at levels 4 and 5 and applied as appropriate in the Level 6 dissertation and in project work at various levels.

Subject skills revolve around psychology as science, and the ability to formulate appropriate research questions and testable hypotheses, conduct research appropriately, and report it effectively. Research methods are taught at Levels 4 and 5, and there are many opportunities to apply these in a range of modules, often in group work, and culminating in the independent research project at Level 6. In addition, students are expected to:

  • Apply multiple perspectives to psychological issues, recognising that psychology involves a range of research methods, theories, evidence and applications; and
  • Integrate ideas and findings across the multiple perspectives in psychology and recognise distinctive psychological approaches to relevant issues.

Within the applied modules, students will be encouraged to apply these multiple perspectives to problem-solving psychological issues. The QAA document also notes that a knowledge of psychology in and of itself underpins skills such as, for example, clear communication and group dynamics, and students will be encouraged to reflect on these issues, sometimes in summative assessments.

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 is intended that the Single Honours Applied Psychology programme at University Centre, Shrewsbury should be accredited by the British Psychology Society (BPS) as providing the basis for the Graduate Basis for Chartership (GBC) and we will be seeking accreditation immediately after validation.  The curriculum therefore conforms to BPS requirements which in turn reflect the subject benchmarks listed above. 

Learning and teaching:

A wide range of learning and teaching methods is used, including lectures, practical classes, seminars, individual tutorials, use of intranet-based materials, group work, guided reading, and self-directed learning. Group work is a feature, particularly of the more applied modules, and students will be encouraged to reflect on their team-working skills. Opportunities will be provided for experiential learning, and group discussions.

A key feature of the programme is its emphasis on helping students to develop strong employability skills. To this end, students are encouraged from the outset to reflect on, and to articulate and document, key transferable skills which they will acquire in the course of their studies.

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. 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. To equip students as independent learners, time management, literature searching, independent writing skills, and numeracy will be explicitly taught in PS4201: Introduction to Psychological Investigation, as will an ethical and professional approach to research. Students will begin to develop team-working and problem-solving skills in the applied module, PS4205: Introduction to Applications of Psychology.

At Level 5, students will increasingly be encouraged to show evidence of synthesis of sources when constructing an academic argument. With continued understanding of research design and methodology in PS5201: Research Methods in Applied Psychology, they will be able to apply an increasingly critical approach to the reading of research studies to support their understanding of the literature. Critical understanding will be taught in several modules, and assessed in module PS5202: Exploring Brain and Behaviour, in particular. The team-working introduced at Level 4 will be further developed in the module PS5205: Community Project, where students will be expected to play a full part in the running of a group project. The year culminates with a work placement which allows students to practise their employability skills and gain new ones with input from employers.

At level 6, a strongly critical stance will be expected, and students will have the opportunity to engage systematically and critically with a body of evidence in PS6201: Dissertation, as well as employ powers of time management and project management. In the core BPS modules they will be expected to apply an evidence-based approach to the writing of laboratory reports, critiquing previous literature and methodology. In the two Level 6 applied modules, PS6204: Applications of Psychology in the Community and the Health Service, and PS6205: Applications of Psychology in Business and the Workplace, students will apply problem-solving behaviours developed through team-work at previous levels to independent study. In addition, in PS6205 they will also reflect on the key employability skills they have acquired during the course of their studies in preparation for the workplace or further study.

Assessment and feedback:

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.

Subject benchmarks for psychology include provision for three elements: key knowledge domains (subject knowledge), subject-specific skills, and generic skills. The assessment strategy for the programme reflects these three elements. The assessment strategy is, therefore, based on providing students with a wide range of assessment methods in order to demonstrate the achievement of key learning outcomes, while allowing them to demonstrate capability in a range of skills domains. 

Subject knowledge

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.

Subject specific skills

Many of the subject specific skills required by psychology graduates concern psychology as a scientific discipline. Students should be able to generate hypotheses, conduct empirical studies, analyse data, present research findings, use evidence-based reasoning, and use a variety of psychology-specific tools. These skills are taught and assessed across all three levels of study, through a knowledge of research methods in PS4201, PS5201 and PS6201, but also through an understanding of the scientific literature which the student will encounter in their reading and discussions in all modules. In addition, the psychology graduate should be capable of carrying out an extensive piece of research, and in the first and second year of study they build the skills required to do this in PS6201. These skills are assessed by means of methodological exercises, laboratory reports and poster or oral presentations. In addition, students are required to apply multiple perspectives to issues, integrate ideas, evaluate patterns in behaviour, and understand the role of brain function in behaviour. These skills are assessed using essays, portfolios and examinations across a range of modules.

Generic skills

Psychology graduates are required to have good communication skills, evidenced in their written work, and in oral presentations. They should be computer literate at least to the extent of using computer packages to present all their work, and to comprehend data effectively, assessed in modules PS4201, PS5201 and PS6201. They must handle source material critically, problem-solve and reason scientifically, and make critical judgments. These are assessed in all modules. In addition students should develop such transferable skills as sensitivity to interpersonal factors and team working, assessed in PS5205, and personal planning and project management, assessed indirectly in many modules such as PS6201 and PS6205.

The full range of assessment types is as follows:

Essay or literature review: PS4203; PS4204; PS5202; PS5203; PS6204

Laboratory report or portfolio of practical work: PS4201; PS4202; PS5201; PS5204; PS5205; PS6202; PS6203; PS6204

Examination or class test: PS4201; PS4202; PS4203; PS4204; PS4205; PS5202; PS5203; PS5204; PS6202; PS6203

Oral presentation: PS4205 (group); PS5205 (group); PS6201 (individual); PS6204 (individual)

Poster presentation: PS6205

Research proposal and dissertation: PS6201

Reflective account: PS4201; PS5205; PS6205

Other: PS4201 Psychology in research and practice exercise (ethics and professional issues); PS5201 magazine article

Each module is assessed on a 4000 word-equivalent basis. In the core BPS modules, students usually take a final examination. In this case assessment is typically 50% examination and 50% coursework, though there are variations on this where appropriate.  The module descriptors provide a clear indication of the relationship between individual assessment components and learning outcomes, both in terms of knowledge and understanding and different skills.

The programme as a whole is designed to ensure that students have experience in delivering research outcomes using a range of media, and designed for both a professional and lay audience as befits an applied psychology course.

The graduate characteristics of Single Honours Applied Psychology students include subject knowledge, subject skills and generic skills as described in 28 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. It is intended that students who complete the approved programme with a minimum lower second class honours award will be eligible for Graduate Basis for Chartership (GBC) and may wish to proceed to training for a range of professional psychology qualifications and other career paths.   Apart from post-graduate training in applied psychology (e.g. in clinical, counselling, educational, health or forensic psychology), students may enter such diverse fields as teaching, business, health or care work, personnel, management and financial services.  The emphasis on applied and practical aspects of study is intended to enhance employability in a range of applied psychology or related fields.

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. 


The University of Chester is committed to the active promotion of equality of opportunity both as an employer and an educational institution.  For this purpose it has an Equal Opportunities Policy and appropriate codes of practice to ensure compliance with the Equality Act 2010. The Policy covers discrimination in relation to the protected characteristics of disability, age, race, gender, religion and belief, sexual orientation, pregnancy, marriage and civil partnership and gender reassignment. The policy relates to all aspects of employment, academic and student experience. It is implemented by heads of department reporting to a designated member of the Senior Management Team. Support is provided by the Dean of Students and the Director of HRM in consultation with bodies such as the Equality Forum.

The aim of the policy is to ensure that all students and all members of staff at the University of Chester have equality of opportunity and are treated solely on the basis of their aptitude, ability and potential to pursue a course of study or to fulfil the requirements of a job.  The policy also aims to eliminate unlawful or unfair discrimination. 

The objective of the policy is a University which is open to all sections of the community, where people from all groups in society are represented at all levels, and in whose activities all members of staff and all its students can participate fully and equally for the benefit of the University of Chester.

This programme is intended to offer a distinctive introduction to applications of psychology, with an emphasis on a problem-solving approach, and may involve interaction and collaboration with the community, organisations and businesses in the Shrewsbury and Shropshire area, identified as a key feature of University Centre Shrewsbury. Students at Shrewsbury are a valued and integral part of the University of Chester Psychology Department, and staff in the department have a wide range of expertise in Applied Psychology. Many of them conduct research in applied settings such as the health service, schools, the police and other employer organisations. In addition, students in the department have been very successful in gaining a range of voluntary and work-based placements in local businesses, schools, youth groups, and prisons.

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