Introduction

Philosophy and Psychology at Aberdeen is a great subject pairing, taking you on a fascinating study of argument and how we apply it to Big Questions of fundamental importance to us as humans. At the same time, this programme explores how we think and behave as humans, in a stimulating teaching and research environment that gives you a hands-on approach to gaining the skills and grounding to succeed in any career involving ‘people’.

Study Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
MA
Duration
48 months
Study Mode
Full Time
Start Month
September
UCAS Code
VC58
Pathway Programme Available
Undergraduate Foundation Programme
Degree marketing image

Philosophy attempts to answer questions such as: What is knowledge? What is the nature of truth? Why should we act morally? Philosophy is just as much the study of reasoning and argument as it is the application of thought to specific problems.

What makes Philosophy at Aberdeen especially attractive is the breadth of courses, the user-friendly materials you will use and the experts who will teach you. In your first year alone, you can study topics such as How Should One Live? Controversial Questions and Experience, Knowledge and Reality.

You will combine this with our special strength in Psychology, rated in the latest UK assessment of university research as third top in the UK. Psychology deals with the understanding and explanation of behaviour and experience and how these change and develop throughout our lives.

You will learn from our internationally-recognised researchers in neuroscience, perception, language and cognition and occupational/industrial psychology and use specialised laboratories including those for analysing brain scans.

The skills you will gain will open up career opportunities in many fields with strong focus on people, including human resources, social work, counselling, teaching and areas benefiting from an understanding of the human mind and behaviour such careers in business, marketing and advertising.

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, social and cognitive psychology and participate in workshops where you will work both individually and as part of a team to write about and present topics related to the lecture materials. Studying psychology is beneficial to a range of careers including management, finance and counselling, to name a few. Psychology regularly tops employers' lists of producing the most employable graduates.

View detailed information about this course
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.

View detailed information about this course
Introductory Psychology II: Concepts and Theory (PS1509)
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.

View detailed information about this course
Academic Writing for Divinity, History & Philosophy (AW1007)

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.

View detailed information about this course
Getting Started at the University of Aberdeen (PD1002)

This course, which is prescribed for level 1 undergraduate students (and articulating students who are in their first year at the University), is studied entirely online, takes approximately 5-6 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks.

Topics include orientation overview, equality and diversity, health, safety and cyber security and how to make the most of your time at university in relation to careers and employability.

Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’.

View detailed information about this course
Experience, Knowledge and Reality (PH1023)

15 Credit Points

This course is an introduction to some of the main topics and problems of contemporary epistemology and metaphysics in a form suitable for students with little or no prior background in these disciplines. In the first part, the epistemological topics may include the analysis of knowledge, scepticism about knowledge, internalise and externalism, virtue epistemology, and social epistemology. In the second part, the metaphysical topics may include modality, universals and particulars, the nature of causation, free will, and the dispute over realism and anti-realism.

View detailed information about this course
Optional Courses

Select 30 credit points from the following courses:

  • PH 1027 Controversial Questions
  • PH 1522 How Should One Live?
  • PH 1518 Logic and Argument

Plus further courses of choice to make up 120 credit points.

Controversial Questions (PH1027)

15 Credit Points

Watch this course video! We examine questions such as: Is eating animals immoral? Is being a good or bad person a matter of luck? If so, are we justified in punishing bad people? Should anyone be able to set limits on what you can do with your own body, even if it's ‘for your own good’? Should everyone be allowed to state their mind, even if their views are harmful or offensive? Is censorship ever justifiable? Do you have a moral obligation to help those worse-off? Are you unknowingly biased against underprivileged groups?

View detailed information about this course
How Should One Live? (PH1522)

15 Credit Points

What are the key elements of a good life? Freedom, happiness, acting in our own interests, doing good for others, or following moral laws? Philosophers have asked these questions for millennia, generating a large number of answers and a larger number of further questions. In this course, we will read and discuss theories of ethics from a range of times and cultures. We will read some of the most important works in the history of philosophy from Plato, Aristotle, Confucius, Kant, and Mill, before turning to contemporary approaches including feminist ethics and virtue ethics. Throughout, we will consider and discuss our own views about the values of good and bad, right and wrong, and how to live a good life.

View detailed information about this course
Logic and Argument (PH1518)

15 Credit Points

What makes an argument a good argument? What are the correct rules for reasoning? How do the meanings of sentences relate to each other? How can the tools of logic be used in philosophy? This course provides an introduction to logic and tools for successfully evaluating arguments. Some of the topics covered include validity, soundness, consistency, entailment, provability, quantification, and identity. Two formal languages are introduced, the language of sentential logic and the language of quantified logic. The course develops the ability to symbolise English sentences into formal languages and to complete proofs in Natural Deduction. Logical concepts are applied to issues in philosophy of language, metaphysics, as well as philosophical puzzles and paradoxes.

View detailed information about this course
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 perception. Social Psychology will cover topics such as leadership and group processes. The perception part of the course will examine the visual and intentional systems.

View detailed information about this course
Advanced Psychology 1 - 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.

View detailed information about this course
Advanced Psychology B - Concepts and Theory (PS2517)

15 Credit Points

This course builds on the material covered in the 1st-year courses, expanding on psychology’s concepts and theories. The course covers four core areas of psychology: organisational & clinical, behavioural neuroscience and developmental psychology. The first strand covers 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 Psychologist. 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.

View detailed information about this course
Advanced Psychology 2 - 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.

View detailed information about this course
Optional Courses

Select further courses of choice to make up 120 credits.

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.

View detailed information about this course
Methodology A (PS3015)

15 Credit Points

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. This course also features workshops on employability, providing students with information on career planning, networking etc.

View detailed information about this course
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.

View detailed information about this course
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.

View detailed information about this course
Optional Courses

Select 60 credits from level 3 Philosophy courses.

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.

View detailed information about this course
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.

View detailed information about this course
Psychology Joint Honours Thesis (PS4038)

15 Credit Points

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.

View detailed information about this course
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.

View detailed information about this course
Optional Courses

Select a further 60 credit points of level 4 Philosophy 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.

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 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 Philosophy and Psychology?

Why Philosophy

  • Ranked top in Scotland for teaching and course content in the last National Student Survey.
  • Famous philosophers who worked at the University include Thomas Reid, founder of the 18th century Scottish School of Common Sense Philosophy, and Alexander Bain, who helped lay the foundations for modern scientific psychology.
  • The Aberdeen Philosophy in Education Group (APEG), which is unique in Scotland, trains students to discuss philosophical questions with local primary and secondary school pupils.
  • Café Philosophique brings philosophers and the local community together, using popular films and novels to explore philosophical puzzles in an informal atmosphere.
  • The Centre for the History and Philosophy of Science, Technology and Medicine acts as the focus for research, teaching and engagement in the history, philosophy, ethics, literature and museology of science, technology and medicine.
  • The spectacular, award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library offers superb collections, including early printed works of natural philosophy and medicine, the archives of Thomas Reid, and records of the Aberdeen Philosophical Society.
  • We offer a packed programme of public events, lectures and debates, including the annual May Festival, which attracts high profile scientists, scholars, authors, actors and broadcasters discussing and debating the big issues of today.
  • The skills you learn in Philosophy—for example, to think and write clearly, to explain complex ideas, to challenge orthodoxy—lend themselves to many careers.
  • Studying Philosophy will change how you think about things and how you approach life's challenges.
  • Philosophy is interesting! Students from all disciplines often report that studying Philosophy was the most rewarding experience of their studies.

Why Psychology

  • You will be introduced to state-of-the-art concepts and theories taught by award-winning teachers and world-class researchers, exposing you to the latest thinking in the field.
  • You will benefit from the key strengths within the School of social psychology, neuroscience, language, perception and industrial psychology.
  • We have a wide range of course options available in 4th Year to allow you to specialise in areas such as clinical, forensic, language and developmental psychology.
  • The School of Psychology is ranked in the top twenty for research in the UK (2014 REF).
  • You will have the opportunity to gain experience using specialised laboratories and equipment including those for brain imaging analysis, eye movement recording, movement analysis and visual neuroscience.
  • To help you get a job we have an employability programme for our students which includes: internship opportunities, online resources, career talks and networking events.
  • Psychology graduates are eligible for membership of the British Psychological Society, this is a first step towards becoming a professional Psychologist.
  • In the final year students have the opportunity to do a unique research project to a professional level. A number of final year projects have gone on to be published in internationally renowned journals.

Entry Requirements

Qualifications

The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.


General Entry Requirements

2021 Entry
2022 Entry

SQA Highers

Standard: AABB

Applicants who have achieved AABB (or better), are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/ Advanced Highers may be required.

Minimum: BBB

Applicants who have achieved BBB (or are on course to achieve this by the end of S5) are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will normally be required.

Adjusted: BB

Applicants who have achieved BB, and who meet one of the widening participation criteria are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will be required.

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

A LEVELS

Standard: BBB

Minimum: BBC

Adjusted: CCC

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

International Baccalaureate

32 points, including 5, 5, 5 at HL.

Irish Leaving Certificate

5H with 3 at H2 AND 2 at H3.

Entry from College

Advanced entry to this degree may be possible from some HNC/HND qualifications, please see www.abdn.ac.uk/study/articulation for more details.

SQA Highers

Standard: AABB

Applicants who have achieved AABB (or better), are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/ Advanced Highers may be required.

Minimum: BBB

Applicants who have achieved BBB (or are on course to achieve this by the end of S5) are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will normally be required.

Adjusted: BB

Applicants who have achieved BB, and who meet one of the widening participation criteria are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will be required.

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

A LEVELS

Standard: BBB

Minimum: BBC

Adjusted: CCC

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

International Baccalaureate

32 points, including 5, 5, 5 at HL.

Irish Leaving Certificate

5H with 3 at H2 AND 2 at H3.

Entry from College

Advanced entry to this degree may be possible from some HNC/HND qualifications, please see www.abdn.ac.uk/study/articulation for more details.

The information displayed in this section shows a shortened summary of our entry requirements. For more information, or for full entry requirements for Arts and Social Sciences degrees, see our detailed entry requirements section.


English Language Requirements

To study for an Undergraduate degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:

IELTS Academic:

OVERALL - 6.0 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 5.5; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0

TOEFL iBT:

OVERALL - 78 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 18; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21

PTE Academic:

OVERALL - 59 with: Listening - 59; Reading - 59; Speaking - 59; Writing - 59

Cambridge English B2 First, C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency:

OVERALL - 169 with: Listening - 162; Reading - 162; Speaking - 162; Writing - 169

Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

International Applicants who do not meet the Entry Requirements

The University of Aberdeen International Study Centre offers preparation programmes for international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements for undergraduate study. Discover your foundation pathway here.

Fees and Funding

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

Fee information
Fee category Cost
RUK £9,250
Students Admitted in 2021/22
EU / International students £1,800
Tuition Fees for 2021/22 Academic Year
Home Students £1,820
Tuition Fees for 2021/22 Academic Year

Scholarships and Funding

Students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland, who pay tuition fees may be eligible for specific scholarships allowing them to receive additional funding. These are designed to provide assistance to help students support themselves during their time at Aberdeen.

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.

Undergraduate EU Scholarship

The Aberdeen Global Undergraduate Scholarship is open to European Union (EU) students.

This is an £8,000 tuition fee discount available to eligible self-funded Undergraduate students who would have previously been eligible for Home (Scottish/EU) fee status.

View Undergraduate EU Scholarship

Careers

There are many opportunities at the University of Aberdeen to develop your knowledge, gain experience and build a competitive set of skills to enhance your employability. This is essential for your future career success. The Careers and Employability Service can help you to plan your career and support your choices throughout your time with us, from first to final year – and beyond.

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.

Discover Uni

Discover Uni draws together comparable information in areas students have identified as important in making decisions about what and where to study. 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