What Grades Do I Need to Apply for Psychology?

Not to be confused with Psychiatry (which is a highly specialised field of medicine only open to qualified doctors) Psychology is the study of people – their behaviour, thoughts, actions, interactions, and reactions.

Psychology is a broad degree subject covering a range of topics and subjects including criminology, philosophy, the social sciences, and humanities.

This means that Psychology appeals to students from diverse academic backgrounds and your future psychology career could be just as broad and varied as the topics you study at university. 

Here’s more about studying Psychology at university.

What does a Psychology degree involve?

Most Psychology degrees spend the first year studying a range of introductory modules that give an insight into the basics of Psychology. You should expect to look at topics such as mental health, childhood development, and the fundamental scientific elements associated with Psychology.

In the later years of your course (Psychology degrees are usually three years in length) the topics will become more specialised and you’ll have more choice of modules to tailor the course to your particular area of interest.

Topics for the second and third years of a Psychology degree include:

  • Cognitive processes
  • Neuroscience
  • The psychology of certain groups of people

For example:

  • Criminals
  • Victims of abuse or trauma
  • The elderly

The focus of your degree (science or humanities) will be reflected in the course title and/or the degree type – either a BSc (Bachelor of Science) or a BA (Bachelor of Arts).

What grades do I need to apply for Psychology?

The exact entry requirements vary between universities so it’s important to research the course carefully before you apply.

The majority of universities don’t ask for specific A Level subjects from applicants. However, some universities ask for science subjects or Maths to demonstrate that you can cope with the scientific and statistical aspects of the course.

If the university doesn’t specify which subjects it prefers, the A Levels that would be useful to a Psychology student include:

  • Biology
  • Maths
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • English
  • History

Grade requirements also vary between universities, so double check to ensure that your predicted grades meet the universities standards.

Generally speaking universities look for grades at the higher end of the scale with some of the top universities asking for A*AA or AAB.

Where can I study Psychology?

Psychology is a popular course so the majority of the universities in the UK offer it as a subject.

At some universities you may also have the opportunity to combine it with another subject to take a joint degree if you have two areas of interest you particularly want to study together.

Some universities to consider if you’re thinking about studying Psychology are:

  • Cambridge
  • Bath
  • Oxford
  • University College London
  • Glasgow
  • Durham
  • St Andrews
  • Birmingham
  • Bristol
  • Exeter

When you’re considering which university to go to, remember to look at every aspect of the course. For example, if you don’t like the sound of 50% of the modules, then that probably isn’t the right university for you.

Also, try to visit the open days of each university that you’re interested in. It’s easy to get sucked in by the glossy brochure and flashy website but an open day gives you the chance to get a real feel for the place.

You’ll also have the chance to talk to current students about what the course is really like to help you decide whether it’s right for you.

What are my career prospects with a Psychology degree?

Psychology graduates go on to work in a number of fields and you’ll gain many transferrable skills that all employers will find appealing.

The obvious roles include becoming a Clinical Psychologist, Forensic Psychologist, or Counsellor. If you want to become a chartered psychologist then you’ll need to complete postgraduate qualifications and many students spend a year or more gaining work experience to have more of a chance of getting a place on a postgrad course.

For those of you interested in postgraduate study you could also consider moving into a teaching or research role that would combine your degree with an area of psychology that particularly interests you.

If you’d prefer a less obvious role then many Psychology graduates take positions in HR, Marketing, Advertising, and other business related roles.