Anthropology and Psychology MA, Joint Honours

Anthropology and Psychology, MA


Anthropology and Psychology at Aberdeen is a great partnership, adding to your thorough grounding in what it means to ‘be human’ with a closer look at how humans think and behave, including language, perception, personality and intelligence. You will gain the unique insight, perspective and skills to open up a world of exciting career options.


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Key Facts

4 Years
Study Mode
Full Time
Start Month
Learning Mode
On Campus Learning

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Anthropology – for which we boast 100% student satisfaction – will give you a thorough grounding in humanity, the differences in human cultures and communities and how they have developed. You will gain insight into differing human behaviours, beliefs and attitudes all over the world, exploring connections between aspects of life such as family, economics, politics and religion.

Psychology will deepen your understanding of the processes involved in thinking and behaviour, taught by internationally leading teachers and researchers who are experts in developmental, social and industrial psychology, neuroscience, memory, language and cognition.

You will learn in a supportive and stimulating teaching environment that gives you a hands-on approach to gaining the skills and grounding to succeed in any career involving ‘people’.

Aberdeen is the oldest school of psychology in the UK and our facilities are state-of-the-art, including specialised laboratories for brain imaging analysis, eye movement recording, movement analysis and visual neuroscience.

You will have many employment opportunities, including those that relate directly to psychology, such as clinical and occupational psychology, the human mind and behaviour such as teaching, marketing and advertising, or the application of your wide skills in a business role.

What You'll Study

Year 1

Compulsory Courses

Academic Writing for Social Sciences (AW1006)

This compulsory evaluation is designed to find out if your academic writing is of a sufficient standard to enable you to succeed at university and, if you need it, to provide support to improve. It is completed on-line via MyAberdeen with clear instructions to guide you through it. If you pass the evaluation at the first assessment it will not take much of your time. If you do not, you will be provided with resources to help you improve. This evaluation does not carry credits but if you do not complete it this will be recorded on your degree transcript.

Introduction to Anthropology: Peoples of the World (AT1003)

Anthropology is the comparative study of human ways of life through the study of societies and cultures around the world. In this course we introduce some of the key topics of contemporary anthropological inquiry: What is Anthropology? What do anthropologists do? What is ethnography? How can we see the diverse world of societies and cultures around us, not by looking from the outside, but by looking at how people themselves make their own lives and meanings?

Introductory Psychology I: Concepts and Theory (PS1009)

PS1009 introduces you to major concepts and theories in psychology to provide you with a strong understanding of the human mind and behaviour. You will attend lectures on biological, development and cognitive psychology and participate in workshops where you will work as part of a team and debate topics related to the lecture materials such as “should teenagers be held responsible for the crimes they commit?” Studying psychology is beneficial to a range of careers including management, finance and counselling, to name but a few. Psychology regularly tops employers’ lists of producing the most employable graduates.

Introductory Psychology I: Methods and Applications (PS1011)

PS1011 is a perfect combination of subject-specific knowledge and transferable skills. In weekly lectures and hands-on practicals, you will learn how various research methods are applied across a range of Psychology sub-fields. In addition, you will learn how to read scientific articles and begin to critique them. You will also be encouraged to develop skills such as giving presentations and writing literature reviews. Apart from acquiring these skills, the course will give you insight into the ‘human factor’ that all sciences necessarily have in common, and as such it will be a valuable addition to any degree.

Introduction to Anthropology: Questions of Diversity (AT1502)

In this course students will be offered an extended introduction to social anthropology and will focus on topics: language and culture, belief and religion, gender and sex, kinship, and race. Students will develop and refine their understanding of major issues in the discipline of social anthropology through staff lectures, tutorials, and ethnographic films.

Introductory Psychology II: Concepts and Theory (PS1509)

PS1509 introduces you to major concepts and theories in psychology to provide you with a strong understanding of human mind and behaviour. You will attend lectures on evolution & emotion, social, and sensation & perception and participate in workshops where you work in a team and debate topics related to the material covered in your lectures such as “should teenagers be held responsible for the crimes they commit?”. Studying psychology is beneficial to a range of careers such as management, finance and counselling, to name but a few. Psychology regularly tops employers’ lists of producing the most employable graduates.

Introductory Psychology II: Methods and Applications (PS1511)

PS1511 builds on PS1011. You will learn more about research methods in Psychology through lectures, practicals, and taking part in experiment-demonstrations. You will also learn how to set up and conduct a Psychology experiment yourself. Part of the lectures will focus on statistics, to equip you with the skills to analyze and interpret your own data, culminating in a written research report, in which your critical thinking skills will be encouraged. You will also learn about the role of ethics in research. This course will enable you to spot the difference between ‘pop-science’ and genuine science.

Professional Skills Part 1 (PD1001)

This course, which is prescribed for level 1 students and optional for level 2 students, is studied entirely online and covers topics relating to careers and employability, equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing. During the course you will learn about the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes, how they are relevant to you and the opportunities available to develop your skills and attributes alongside your University studies. You will also gain an understanding of equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing issues. Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’ (non-completion will be recorded as ‘Not Achieved’). The course takes approximately 3 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks and it will be available to you throughout the academic year.

Optional Courses

  • Select a further 30 credit points from courses of choice.

Year 2

Compulsory Courses

Advanced Psychology A: Concepts and Theory (PS2017)

The course builds on the material covered in the 1st-year courses expanding on psychology’s concepts and theories. The course covers three core areas of psychology: cognition & language, personality & social psychology, and behavioural neuroscience. Social Psychology will cover topics such as leadership and group processes. The third strand within this course is focused on Neuroscience, and will cover topics such as localisation of brain function and the neuroscience of emotion.

Advanced Psychology A: Methods and Applications (PS2018)

This course aims to introduce students to a broad range of methods used in psychological research. Lectures cover methods used to collect physiological data (e.g. brain imaging techniques), behavioural data (e.g. measures of task performance) and self-report data (e.g. survey, questionnaire and interview techniques). Practical classes involve students working in small groups to design studies, collect and analyse data, and write reports. Practical sessions are also used to teach students to use a statistical software package (SPSS) to analyse data collected in psychological studies.

Advanced Psychology B: Concepts and Theory (PS2517)

This course builds on the material that is covered in the 1st-year courses expanding on psychology’s concepts and theories. The course covers four core areas of psychology: organisational & clinical, perception and developmental psychology. The lectures on Organisational Psychology cover organizational culture, occupational stress, motivation, leadership and team work. The clinical psychology section of the course will give you grounding in the key ideas within current Clinical Psychology practice and is taught by a practicing Clinical Psychology. The Perception part of the course will examine the visual and intentional systems.

Advanced Psychology B: Methods and Applications (PS2518)

This course builds on the material covered in the first semester course PS2018. Lectures focus primarily on statistical methods and data analysis, with associated practical classes where students work in small groups to design and run their own studies and write reports. In addition, there are lectures and small-group sessions addressing broader topics, including ethical issues in psychological research and how the knowledge and skills that are developed in studying psychology methods can enhance students’ employability.

Year 3

Compulsory Courses

Anthropological Theory (AT3027)

This course explores theoretical issues and key debates in contemporary anthropology. We begin with the questioning of the central concepts of culture and society in anthropology during the 1980s. Following this, we ask: how can anthropology proceed if the targets of its investigation can no longer be understood as objective entities? How can anthropology proceed if the anthropologist themselves is inevitably implicated in and part of those very targets? To look for possible answers, the course examines current anthropological interest in power and history, political economy and phenomenology, experience, embodiment and practice, ontology and things that speak.

Psychological Assessment (PS3011)

Psychological assessment is used by chartered psychologists in a number of areas, including clinical, occupational and forensic applications. The aim of this course is to introduce students to psychometric theory, real life applications of psychological assessment and the legal and ethical issues surrounding test administration.

Topics covered on this lecture based course include: IQ and mood assessment; clinical neuropsychological tests of cognitive dysfunction and memory; assessment of dementia and forensic aspects of assessment (legal malingering).

An ideal course for students intending to secure a career in applied psychology.

Methodology A (PS3015)

The main aim of this course is to help students prepare, evaluate and run their own Psychological research. As such this is a ‘hands-on’ course, where students will have the opportunity to conduct a small research project and practice using SPSS for a variety of statistical analyses. The course also provides a thorough grounding in qualitative and quantitative research methods through a lecture series. Specific topics covered in this course include: verification and falsification of results; ANOVA and qualitative research strategies.

Developmental Psychology (PS3518)

What does it mean to be human? This course takes a developmental approach to that question, covering a range of psychological attributes that change with age. The course aims to introduce students to theories of perceptual, language, social and emotional development along with encouraging debate on some key conceptual issues (e.g. nature versus nurture).

Specific topics covered within this course include: Awareness of mental states; information processing theory; face perception and Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

The broad range of developmental topics make this an ideal course for anyone with an interest in working with children.

Social Psychology (PS3520)

Social Psychologists explore the psychological factors that influence individual behaviours within social situations. As such, the aim of this course is to provide students with an introduction to the range of topics within experimental social psychology, with a defined focus on social cognition.

Topics covered within this lecture based course include: Stereotypes; social perception and action; self-control; consciousness and mimicry.

This course provides a scientific explanation for social phenomena, making it ideal for students with an interest in individual and group behaviour.

Optional Courses

  • Select a further 30 credit points from Level 3 courses of choice.

Year 4

Compulsory Courses

Advances in Biological Psychology (PS4033)

This course aims to provide students with a good understanding of the biological basis of behaviour and cognition. The course is split into two sections. Section 1 focuses on psychopharmacology, which is the investigation of the effect of medication on normal and abnormal brain function. Section 2 examines brain function and memory, with a specific focus on the application of this knowledge within the criminal justice system.

Specific topics that will be covered include: neurotransmitters; drug effects; Alzheimer’s disease; memory and psychedelic drugs.

This course is intended for students completing joint honours degrees in Behavioural Studies or Psychology.

Perceptual Processes (PS4037)

Interaction with the world around us involves perceptual processing using our three main senses: visual (seeing), auditory (hearing) and haptic (touch). The aim of this course is to consider a range of approaches to human perception, from historical beginnings to recent innovative research.

Topics covered include: colour perception; face recognition; perception of pain and age related changes in perception. Students will also engage in guided debate with their peers regarding media portrayal of recent research findings.

This course is intended for students completing joint honours degrees in Behavioural Studies or Psychology.

Psychology Joint Honours Thesis (PS4038)

This course constitutes the final year thesis for any joint honours Psychology degree. The thesis is an empirical based one, where the student collects and analyse a body of data in answer to a research question. The thesis itself begins in January and the final draft of the thesis is handed in for assessment the end of the second term. The Schools has an International Level research culture and the final year projects offer the students an opportunity to be involved in that culture. A number of the student projects have contributed towards research publications.

Memory and Language Processes (PS4532)

The memory component of this course aims to introduce students to the main theoretical components of memory (working and autobiographical memory). Psychological theories of forgetting and eyewitness memory will also be discussed.

The second component of the course, language, will introduce students to the key issues in psycholinguistics. This will include assessment of sentence processing, analysis of the processes underlying language production and factors that influence communication in different settings.

This course is intended for students completing joint honours degrees in Behavioural Studies or Psychology.

Optional Courses

  • Select a further 60 credit points from Level 4 Anthropology courses.

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

Undergraduate Open Day

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How You'll Study

Learning Methods

  • Lectures
  • Tutorials
  • Research
  • Individual Projects


Students are assessed by any combination of three assessment methods:

  • Coursework such as essays and reports completed throughout the course.
  • Practical assessments of the skills and competencies they learn on the course.
  • Written examinations at the end of each course.

The exact mix of these methods differs between subject areas, years of study and individual courses.

Honours projects are typically assessed on the basis of a written dissertation.

Why Study this Degree?

  • Aberdeen is one of the fastest growing Anthropology departments in the UK our core staff specialise in regions as diverse as Canada, the Central  Asian Republics, Iceland and Scandinavia, Siberia, Scotland and the UK, South America, Tibet and the Himalayas.
  • We offer innovative ideas and a fresh vision of the subject, with an emphasis throughout on work at the cutting-edge of the discipline and research.
  • A vibrant student anthropology society regularly organises academic and social events bringing together undergraduate and postgraduate students with staff outside the classroom.
  • Internationally recognised researchers in social cognition, neuroscience, lifespan development, perception, language and cognition and occupational/industrial psychology.
  • There are a range of specialised laboratories including those for brain imaging analysis, eye movement recording, movement analysis and visual neuroscience.
  • The School is the oldest in the UK. Founded over 100 years ago, it maintains a strong commitment to providing a supportive and stimulating environment for undergraduate studies.

Fees and Funding

You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.

Fees and Funding Table for HOME, EU, RUK and International Students
Nationality Status Amount
Home / EU All Students £1,820
RUK All Students £9,000
International Students Students admitted in 2014/15 £12,600
International Students Students admitted in 2015/16 £13,000
International Students Students admitted in 2016/17 £13,800
  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trip courses. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.


View all funding options in our Funding Database.

Top in Scotland for Anthropology

Source: National Student Survey 2016

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Entry Requirements


SQA Highers - AABB
A Levels - BBB
IB - 32 points, including 5,5,5 at HL

Further detailed entry requirements for Arts and Social Sciences degrees.

Language Requirements

To study for a degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Students undertaking Education, Medicine or Dentistry programmes must comply with the University's fitness to practise guidelines.


Apart from careers specialising in Anthropology and / or Phsychology areas which may require further study you can apply for a wide range of general careers in the civil service, graduate recruitment employers and other professional areas.

Key Information Set (KIS)

Unistats draws together comparable information in areas students have identified as important in making decisions about what and where to study. The core information it contains is called the Key Information Set.

You can compare these and other data for different degree programmes in which you are interested.


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