University of Oxford Psychology

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University of Oxford Psychology

Psychology has been defined as the science of mental life and its scope includes a wide variety of issues. It addresses such questions as: How do we perceive colours? How do children acquire language? What predisposes two people to get on with each other? What causes schizophrenia?

Psychology at Oxford is a scientific discipline, involving the rigorous formulation and testing of ideas. It works through experiments and systematic observation rather than introspection.

The Oxford Experimental Psychology Department is widely regarded as one of the leading psychology departments in the UK. The department’s size and its commitment to excellence in teaching and research means there are typically four or five research seminars each week, in addition to undergraduate lectures and classes. At present, there are particularly strong research groups in the fields of human cognitive processes, neuroscience, language, developmental psychology, social psychology and psychological disorders.

Psych Careers

Experimental Psychology graduates can enter careers including professional psychology, education, research, medicine, the health services, finance, commerce, industry, the media and information technology. Some careers will require additional study and/or training. This degree is accredited by the British Psychological Society for the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership.

During her time as a client consultant at Nunwood, Rachel said: ‘Since graduating I have worked for two large market research companies specialising in brands and advertising research. My degree helped me to develop my analytical skills as well as gaining project management experience which have been invaluable in my chosen career path.’

Lauren now works as a Graduate Research Assistant at Oxford’s Department of Experimental Psychology. She says: ‘Studying EP gave me the opportunity to conduct my own research project from its inception, to recruiting participants, collecting and analysing data, and writing it up in a report. These skills have been invaluable to me in my job as a research assistant, as it involves co-ordinating a large number of participants taking part in a randomised control trial, and handling large amounts of data.’

Related courses

Students interested in this course might also like to consider Biomedical SciencesHuman Sciences, or Psychology, Philosophy and Linguistics.

Fieldwork/international opportunities

A wide choice of research projects is available to students in their final year, including projects based in other departments and outside the University.

A typical weekly timetable

  • Terms 1 and 2: About six lectures and two–three tutorials
  • Terms 3–8: About six lectures, one–two tutorials and one practical class. You will also carry out your own research project and be given the opportunity to write a library dissertation and undertake independent research
  • Term 9: About two revision lectures or tutorials and final examinations
Terms 1 and 2

Three introductory courses are taken out of:

  • Psychology
  • Philosophy
  • Linguistics
  • Neurophysiology
  • Probability theory and statistics*

*Students must sit the examination in Probability theory and statistics either at Prelims (first University examinations) or as a qualifying examination.


First University examinations:
Three written papers

Terms 3–5

Students will study core subjects in Psychology covering:

  • Cognitive psychology
  • Biological psychology
  • Developmental psychology
  • Social psychology
  • Individual differences

Final University examinations, Part I:
Five written papers, covering all core subjects Practical portfolio

Terms 6–9

Students will choose either:

  • Three advanced options or
  • Two advanced options and a library dissertation

A full list of current options is available on the Psychology website.

Students can carry out practical work in Psychology:

  • Lab-based ‘block’ practicals
  • Research project

Final University examinations, Part II:
Research project, practical portfolio
Three written papers (or two written papers and a library dissertation)

The content and format of this course may change in some circumstances. Read further information about potential course changes.