Introduction

Behavioural Studies and Sociology at Aberdeen combines a fascinating exploration of what ‘makes us tick’ as humans with exploring how society shapes us as individuals in all sorts of ways, giving a better understanding of ourselves, our relationships with others, and the challenges we face in a changing world. Top-quality teaching and research culture in both subjects will give you the skills to be a sought-after graduate by employers in many sectors.

This programme is studied on campus.

Behavioural Studies provides you with all the advantages of our long tradition and special strength in psychology, for which the most recent national assessment of university research placed Aberdeen as third top in the UK. Psychology deals with the understanding and explanation of human behaviour and experience, and changes that develop throughout our lives.

In Sociology you will deepen this knowledge and insight through studying topics as wide-ranging as sociology of the family, work-life balance, religion and society. You will gain skills in the social research methods used to gather evidence to better understand aspects of society, and be taught by academic staff with international reputations for their research in conflict and peace, religion and secularisation, social movements, and global political sociology.

The skills and knowledge you will gain from this subject combination will open up a wealth of potential career opportunities in psychology-related fields, including human resources, social work, counselling and teaching. You could also choose areas benefiting from an understanding of the human mind and behaviour including business, marketing and advertising, while your general skills in thinking critically and posing probing questions will appeal to employers in all sectors.

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Key Programme Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
MA
Duration
48 months
Study Mode
Full Time
Start Month
September
UCAS Code
CL13

What You'll Study

Year 1

Year 1

Compulsory Courses

Introductory Psychology I: Concepts and Theory (PS1009) - 15 Credit Points

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.

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Introductory Psychology I: Methods and Applications (PS1011) - 15 Credit Points

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.

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Introductory Sociology I (SO1005) - 15 Credit Points

Sociology is the study of human social groups. It particularly focuses on modern societies, analyzing how they work and how the major social institutions in them (such as religion, the media, government and the economy) operate. The course provides students with a general introduction to the unique manner in which sociologists seek to understand contemporary societies. Students are presented with current and classical approaches to understanding the social processes that underlie self-construction, group formation and social interaction, within urbanizing and globalizing social contexts.

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Introductory Psychology II: Concepts and Theory (PS1509) - 15 Credit Points

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.

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Introductory Psychology II: Methods and Applications (PS1511) - 15 Credit Points

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.

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Introductory Sociology II (SO1507) - 15 Credit Points

This course is an introduction to macro-sociology, which analyzes the ways that people’s lives are shaped by large-scale forces, structures, and institutions. Students are introduced to the particular ways in which classical and contemporary sociologists understand social forces in the modern domestic and global environment and learn to think critically about those social forces that impact their everyday lives using the sociological imagination. Substantive topics likely to be covered in this course include the media, politics, religion, surveillance, education, class stratification, international inequalities, and the relationship between humans and other animals.

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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.This course, which is prescribed for level 1 students and optional for level 2 students and above, 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

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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.

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Optional Courses

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

Year 2

Year 2

Compulsory Courses

Advanced Psychology A: Concepts and Theory (PS2017) - 15 Credit Points

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.

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Advanced Psychology A: Methods and Applications (PS2018) - 15 Credit Points

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.

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Advanced Psychology B: Concepts and Theory (PS2517) - 15 Credit Points

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.

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Advanced Psychology B: Methods and Applications (PS2518) - 15 Credit Points

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.

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Studying Social Life 1 (SO2005) - 30 Credit Points

This follows on from level-one sociology. It is designed to highlight the ways that sociological theory informs the research endeavour, not only the questions sociologists raise, but also the particular modes through which we go about investigating them. The module examines these points in relation to a range of micro-level topics – the body, food and feeding, health and illness, the emotions, group behaviour, sex and gender, the life course and death and dying – all of which emphasise the nature of human interaction and sociological efforts to understand it.

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Studying Social Life 2 (SO2505) - 30 Credit Points

This macro-sociology course extends students’ understanding of large-scale social, as well as political and economic, processes and institutions. Particular focus is on the sociological analysis of global issues and socio-political controversies, many of which are subject to topical and, at times, contentious debate at the beginning of the 21st century. The substantive topics include areas of social and political concern such as globalisation; the changing nature of economy, work and leisure; risk and insecurity; multiculturalism; food production and security; social movements; nationalism and identities.

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Optional Courses

Studying Social Life 1 (SO2005) - 30 Credit Points

This follows on from level-one sociology. It is designed to highlight the ways that sociological theory informs the research endeavour, not only the questions sociologists raise, but also the particular modes through which we go about investigating them. The module examines these points in relation to a range of micro-level topics – the body, food and feeding, health and illness, the emotions, group behaviour, sex and gender, the life course and death and dying – all of which emphasise the nature of human interaction and sociological efforts to understand it.

View detailed information about this course

Studying Social Life 1 (SO2004)
Studying Social Life 2 (SO2505) - 30 Credit Points

This macro-sociology course extends students’ understanding of large-scale social, as well as political and economic, processes and institutions. Particular focus is on the sociological analysis of global issues and socio-political controversies, many of which are subject to topical and, at times, contentious debate at the beginning of the 21st century. The substantive topics include areas of social and political concern such as globalisation; the changing nature of economy, work and leisure; risk and insecurity; multiculturalism; food production and security; social movements; nationalism and identities.

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Studying Social Life 2 (SO2504)
Year 3

Year 3

Compulsory Courses

Psychological Assessment (PS3011) - 15 Credit Points

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.

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Social Research Methods (SO3524) - 30 Credit Points

Sociologists use a range of methods and techniques to explore and test sociological theory. This module introduces many of these methods and techniques. It aims to ground students’ theoretical understanding of society through the practical analysis of a variety of data. It starts by introducing the varying philosophical starting points of research and goes on to provide foundation level critical analysis skills in the key quantitative and qualitative methods that sociologists have deployed to understand and ‘capture’ the social world.

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Social Psychology (PS3520) - 15 Credit Points

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.

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Developmental Psychology (PS3518) - 15 Credit Points

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.

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Optional Courses

  • Religion and Society (SO3067) or Thinking Sociologically (SO3066)
  • Select further credits from courses of choice to achieve 120 credits.
Religion and Society (SO3067) - 30 Credit Points

Modernization changes the nature and social position of religion: what was once imposed on entire societies becomes a matter of choice and as societies become more religiously diverse, religion is increasingly confined to the home and the family. National churches are replaced by denominations and sects and the state’s increasing neutrality allows new religious movements to flourish. This course uses secularization to examine such basic sociological concepts as social differentiation, individualism, social cohesion, community versus voluntary association, immigration, conversion, recruitment, gender, and cultural defence.

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Thinking Sociologically (SO3066) - 30 Credit Points

Thinking Sociologically is the department's core sociological theory module. The course offers our students an introduction to a range of key sociological thinkers and bodies of thought, both classical and contemporary, that inform sociological analysis of social life and social institutions. As such, this course is intended to provide our honours students with a conceptual 'toolkit', that can be applied to facilitate understanding, insight and informed critique with respect to a broad range of historical and contemporary social, political and economic phenomena.

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Year 4

Year 4

Compulsory Courses

Advances in Biological Psychology (PS4033) - 15 Credit Points

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.

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Perceptual Processes (PS4037) - 15 Credit Points

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.

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Library - Based Thesis Project (PS4039) - 15 Credit Points

This course constitutes final year thesis for any joint honours Behavioural Studies degree. The project within the Behavioural Studies programme is a Library based one. Students perform a literature search focused on a topic or question agreed with their supervisor. Students produce under supervision a literature review in answer to a research question. For joint honours students the thesis itself begins in January and the final draft of the thesis is handed in for assessment at the end of the second term.

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Memory and Language Processes (PS4532) - 15 Credit Points

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.

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Optional Courses

  • Select a further 60 credit points from level 4 courses in Sociology.

Course Availability

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.

How You'll Study

Learning Methods

  • Individual Projects
  • Lectures
  • Research
  • Tutorials

Assessment Methods

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 learnt on the course; and
  • written examinations at the end of each course.

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

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

Why Study Behavioural Studies and Sociology?

  • 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, being founded over 100 years ago, and maintains a strong commitment to providing a supportive and stimulating environment for undergraduate studies.
  • The Department has an international reputation for its research. It is recognised by the UK Government's Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as an outlet for research training and supervision for Masters and PhD students.
  • The Scottish Higher Education Funding Council judged the department to be "excellent" in its most recent Teaching Quality Assessment exercise: the highest grade possible.

Entry Requirements

You will find all the information you require about entry requirements on our dedicated 'Entry Requirements' page. You can also find out about the different types of degrees, changing your subject, offers and advanced entry.

Qualifications

SQA Highers - AABB
A Levels - BBB
IB - 32 points, including 5,5,5 at HL
ILC - 5H with 3 at H2 AND 2 at H3 OR AAABB, obtained in a single sitting. (B must be at B2 or above)

Further detailed entry requirements for Arts and Social Sciences degrees.

English 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.

Fees and Funding

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

Fee Waiver

For international students (all non-EU students) entering in 2017/18, the 2017/18 tuition fee rate will apply to all years of study; however, most international students will be eligible for a fee waiver in their final year via the International Undergraduate Scholarship.

Most RUK students (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) on a four year honours degree will be eligible for a full-fees waiver in their final year. Scholarships and other sources of funding are also available.

Fee information
Fee category Cost
Home / EU £1,820
All Students
RUK £9,250
Students Admitted in 2018/19 Academic Year
International Students £14,600
Students Admitted in 2018/19 Academic Year

Additional Fees

  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. 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.

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.

Careers

You may wish to look at a range of careers such as HR, behavioural analysis, retail, marketing and mental health areas.

Our Experts

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

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.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

Address
Student Recruitment & Admissions Service
University of Aberdeen
University Office
Regent Walk
Aberdeen
AB24 3FX