Psychological and Behavioural Sciences


At the crossroads of psychology, biology, history and philosophy

Diagram: Biological Organisms (Constituted by neaural an dendocrine systems- Product of Evolution); Information Processers (Perceive, understand an manipulate the world); Agents in a social setting (Influenced by, and influencing others). All feeding into the Applications

Icon: The British Psychological Society. Accredited.

The Psychological and Behavioural Sciences Tripos is accredited by the British Psychological Society and gives access to professional courses for careers in counselling and clinical, forensic, health, sport, educational, and occupational psychology.

Students must graduate with at least a 2.2, and pass their final year research dissertation, to achieve the ‘graduate basis for chartered membership’ of the BPS.

Only about 20% of psychology graduates work in psychology.

Psychology graduates are very well placed to enter a wide range of careers and further training, in areas including:

  • Health and social care, e.g. social worker, youth worker, speech and language therapist
  • Marketing communications, e.g. advertising executive or planner, market researcher, brand consultant, PR
  • Human resource management
  • Public sector, e.g. graduate Fast Streamer, social researcher
  • Education, e.g. teacher, SEN specialist
  • Technology development

PBS design principle:

  • A psychological core plus the option to connect to related disciplines and application areas.
  • 1st year: Intro & Methods plus two optional papers
    • Key ideas in, and approaches to, psychological research
  • 2nd year: Foundation topics plus options
    • Foundations of the subject: studying behaviour in the laboratory (cognitive, biological) and in the ‘social’ world.
  • 3rd year: Advanced Options & Research
    • Significant research project and three written papers based on current research in the University.

First year’s Optional papers can be selected from:

  • HSPS: Archaeology; Biological Anthropology; Politics; Social Anthropology; Sociology
  • Education: Language, Communication & Literacy
  • Land Economy: Economics
  • Natural Sciences: Introduction to Computer Science; Evolution & Behaviour
  • Philosophy: Metaphysics; Logic; Ethics

2nd Year develops these interests in various ways

3rd Year is research focussed

Typical final year week:

  • Lectures (1-3 per day)
  • Supervisions/Tutorials (1 to 2 per week): Discussion of essay work, 2-3 students with a lecturer/researcher.
  • Skills classes (c. 2 hrs/week), e.g. essay writing/statistics/data interpretation.
  • Research seminars (at least one or two per week, at the host department).
  • Research work: 100 hours over course of the year, designing study, collecting & analysing data, preparing report. Working with your supervisor

Final year research dissertations

  • An original piece of research
  • Supervised by a leading researcher in the Department or an associated institute.
  • Dissertation: a fully-fledged research article; many are published.
  • Recent topics include:
  • Visual development in children
  • Inter-group contact and attitudes
  • Neuroimaging of language
  • False memory and psychosis
  • Eye contact in young children
  • Computational neuroscience
  • Cognition in siblings of autistic children

Homerton decided to take students for this subject as soon as it became available. Homerton will be looking to take 6 students in Psychology each year, which is quite a large number, but it brings a critical mass so that PBS students very quickly become part of a community here at Homerton.

We have a Director of Studies who is a fellow of the college, Dr David Belin, who works primarily in Behavioural Neuroscience. Dr David Belin’s research is interested in the psychological, neural and cellular mechanisms whereby some individuals develop impulsive/compulsive disorders such as drug addiction or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

Dr David Belin is the PNB course organiser and teaches in several of the PBS modules. At Homerton he also supervises PBS2 and offers additional training in paper reading and writing to all PBS students.

Additionally, every year Dr Belin offers two summer internships in his lab for Homerton 1st and 2nd year PBS students. This is a unique opportunity to discover the breadth and complexity of Behavioural Neuroscience and contemporary Experimental Psychology.

Also involved with the teaching for this course is Anna Hughes, Anna's is currently at University College London where she is  a teaching fellow in visual perception and is producing a growing number of publications. She is also a bye-fellow of Homerton having had a long assocation with the college. Anna is currently our supervisor for the module Experimental Psychology, which is taken by both IB Natural Scientists and IIA PBS students.

As we have a relatively large number of PBS students, as well as those who opt to take Psychology within the Natural Sciences degree, within HSPS, or within the Education degree, there will always be those here who share your fascination with the subject, and who will come to it from a wide variety of approaches, enriching the study of psychology and behaviour in Homerton.

Director Of Studies:

Application to PBS is the same as for other subjects in Cambridge, The UCAS deadline is early (15th October) and there will be a short supplementary admissions questionnaire (SAQ) to fill in online as soon as we get your UCAS form. For 2021 entry, candidates for PBS will be required to take an at-interview written assessment.  You do not need to register in advance for this, and will be sent full details about the assessment if called for interview.

Assessment format

Section 1: Thinking Skills Assessment. To prepare a question on either experimental design or a little problem.  
Section 2: Essay/text response (45 minutes)

Psychological and Behavioural Sciences Admissions Assessment Specification:

Please note that your performance in the at-interview assessment will not be considered in isolation, but will be taken into account alongside the other elements of your application.