UG Handbook - Introduction

This section of the Department wiki contains general information about the Department of Psychology and specific information about the degree programme in the session 2023/2024. The main advantages of a wiki-based handbook are that the content can be kept up to date and it's easier to search for the information you need.

From time to time the procedures and regulations change. Any changes that materially affect your degree programme will only be introduced after proper consultation and agreement at the level of the Departmental Board of Studies. Descriptions of such changes will be notified to all students.

In this section

Introduction to the Department

Welcome to the Department of Psychology and to the University of York.

We're glad you chose York. You have made a good decision. York is a great place to live and study. The University is one of the world's top 100 and this Department is one of the very best in the country.

There are three distinctive themes that characterise the undergraduate experience in Psychology.

  • The first theme is choice, In the first two years of both our Bachelor of Science programme and Masters programme we cover the essential elements of Psychology which are required for your degree to be accredited by the British Psychological Society.  This means that in the third and fourth year (if applicable) you can choose what you want to study through Advanced Modules, a Literature Survey and an empirical Project.  So you can, if you wish, elect to focus on Developmental Psychology, Social Psychology, Cognitive Neuroscience or any of a number of other topics; the choice is yours.
  • The second theme is integration. Teaching and research are integrated in York. You will be taught by international experts who are at the forefront of their area of Psychology.  If you are interested in research, you will be able to work in their laboratories as members of their research groups.
  • The third theme is inclusivity and the sense of belonging.  We are fortunate in Psychology in having our own building. It houses our laboratories, our offices, our Lecture Theatre and our seminar rooms. As a result, our Department will be your academic home throughout your time at York.

Here are a few suggestions that will help you during your first weeks and months as an undergraduate:

  • Get to know the staff who will be teaching you, especially your supervisor who is here to help you and who will normally be with you throughout your degree.
  • Get to know the University's information systems. Check your university email regularly; log into the VLE; read this handbook and the accompanying guide to the BSc/MSci Psychology course (and bookmark the pages so that you can come back again in the future).
  • If you have a problem that affects your study or your wellbeing, there will always be someone to help.
    • Your supervisor can help with issues that affect you as an individual such as ill-health. If ever you're not sure where to turn, talk to your supervisor . They will point you in the right direction.
    • Administrative matters can often be dealt with by the departmental office. Staff at reception can advise you on who to contact.
    • Your module organisers can help with problems you may have with particular lectures, tutorials, and assessments. If you can't catch them face-to-face at the end of a lecture, send them an email or post a question on the VLE discussion board.
    • If the problems are of a more general nature, or are unresolved after taking advice from your supervisor, you can raise them through your representatives at the Staff-Student Forum or with the Board of Studies.

If we are doing our jobs well, then studying Psychology at degree level will be challenging and fulfilling. You should be learning new skills and acquiring knowledge and understanding well beyond what you learned at school - at times it will be very hard work. And if you have just arrived from school or college, University should, we hope, stretch your thinking far beyond what you may have experienced in the classroom. At University you won't just be learning about Psychology, you will be learning to think for yourself, how to critically evaluate others' ideas, how to ask and answer new questions about the mind and behaviour, and eventually doing Psychology. To gain the very best marks, you will need to express your own original ideas with flair and critical judgement. This means going beyond what you've been explicitly taught, to include ideas that have come from your own private study, reflection and critical thinking. These are amongst the skills that employers prize most highly in graduates and these are what we aim to develop in all our students. We provide the environment in which these advanced skills can flourish, but it's only fair to warn you - there is a paradox: we can't tell you exactly how to be original, because if we told you what to say, it wouldn't be original any more!
Our experience suggests that success at university is a matter of:
  • Taking responsibility for oneself
  • Working hard and efficiently
  • Learning to study independently

We will provide a context in which you can succeed, but we can’t do the work for you.

Once again, welcome to the Department of Psychology. We hope that you have an enjoyable and fulfilling time here.

Dr Lisa Henderson, Head of Department

Together York

The University Together York community statement articulates our values, priorities and expectations, and invites all members of our community to join together in upholding and developing them.

  • We are a community of scholarship, where independent critical thinkers explore their area of study with passion and diligence.
  • We are a community of respect, fairness and compassion. We hold each other to these expectations and call out inappropriate behaviour. 
  • We are a community of purpose that cultivates personal growth and supports each student in developing a vision for their future.

The purpose of this handbook

This handbook provides a comprehensive introduction to your department and information on all aspects of your degree programme. It outlines what you should expect of your department and what we expect from you, and clarifies the policies and procedures relevant to your area of study. 

General information can also be found on the student pages of the website.


We have tried to ensure that the information contained in this document is accurate as of July 2023.  Please check our website for any changes to this information.

To contact the Student Documentation maintainers please email (use your University of York email address).