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Applied Psychology: Thinking outside the books

Thursday, June 8, 2017

If you’re interested in doing a degree in Psychology, here’s our lecturer Dr Megan Birney on what it means to study Applied Psychology at UCS, how it’s different to a typical Psychology degree, and how you won’t just sit in a lecture theatre!

“For students thinking about studying Psychology, the number of choices on offer can feel overwhelming. Luckily, the standards set by the British Psychology Society (BPS) mean that students studying in the UK can rest assured that any accredited programme will provide them with the platform they need to launch a successful career after graduation. So, with over 120 universities offering accredited degree programmes, what makes Applied Psychology at UCS unique?

In many ways we are not unlike other courses. We are accredited by the BPS. We ensure students are taught all of the core topics in Psychology. All of our staff are research-active. But in some of the most important ways, the Applied Psychology course at UCS is miles apart from the rest. First, our small cohorts mean that we know our students personally. Students benefit from staff who have the time and space to give them the tutelage and support they need to succeed. Second, our programme applies psychology. This means that students have the chance to use the psychological theory they learn about in the classroom to solve problems in the real-world. We believe that students learn best by using their knowledge to improve the communities they live in. By providing them with the skills to achieve this, we ensure that our students have the resources and the experience they need to be successful in whatever route they choose to take after graduation.

How do we do this? By embedding opportunities for students to apply their knowledge on every level of the course. In addition to inviting practitioners in to teach on individual modules, students are given the opportunity to work with local organisations from the moment they begin their degree with us. Some examples of the questions our students have tackled include the following: How can we alleviate feelings of loneliness among our aging population? How can we combat bullying in our schools? How can we help reintegrate ex-prisoners into our communities? Answering questions like these for our network of businesses, schools, charities, and stakeholders means that our students get the benefit of enhanced personal and professional skills during their course, and leave with CVs that showcase their real-life experience using psychology. In short, students at UCS don’t just learn about Psychology….they actually get to practice Psychology.

For students who want to blend in with the crowd and be another number to their lecturers, Applied Psychology at UCS is not the course for them. But for those who want to be part of a close knit community where they can experience research-led teaching that allows them to use their skills in a meaningful way, Applied Psychology at UCS might just be the right choice. Because one thing is for certain, our students are not just sitting in a lecture theatre; they are out and active, and applying all that they have learned.”