UG Handbook - Studying Psychology at York

The York Approach is a distinctive teaching framework, informed by research evidence on the best approaches to promote effective learning.  It focuses clearly and consistently on students' experience of their programme as a whole rather than as a collection of modules.  It defines the University's learning culture and is innovative because it constructs programmes around the notion of student work - all student activity, in and outside contact time with staff - with a focus on developing student capability within their subject.

Studying Psychology at York should be a stimulating and fulfilling experience. Psychology is a very broad subject which you can think of on many different scales and from different perspectives. Some psychologists research the way an individual's behaviour depends on brain mechanisms, and ultimately on the activity of microscopic brain cells. Others work on much larger phenomena involving the interaction of different people, groups, civilisations and cultures. Some are concerned with what makes each person unique, others in what we may share with each other and even with other animals. Some focus on how we act as adults, others on how we develop from childhood and into old age. What makes a person mentally ill and what can we do to make them better? You will find all of these perspectives and more in the course of your Psychology programme.

And you won't just be learning about Psychology, about what others have thought and said about these issues. At York, you'll be learning to do Psychology. That means learning to make careful observations, to gather and interpret evidence so that you can pose you own questions about the mind, brain and behaviour, and find out the answers for yourself. Just as importantly, you will also learn how to explain your findings clearly and persuasively to others.

At the end of your degree you'll have a unique set of skills that will be useful not just in Psychology but in many walks of life:

  • You'll have broad, useful subject specific knowledge about the basis of human behaviour, motivations, development, learning and so on: what makes people tick?
  • You'll have scientific and analytical skills: how to collect and interpret data, and how to use statistical techniques to draw valid conclusions from numerical data.
  • You'll be able to communicate your ideas persuasively to others, argue coherently from evidence, and explain why you have reached your conclusions.

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