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Photo: Allan Ajifo. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Synapse_in_brain.jpg. Licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Psychological and Behavioural Sciences

  • Number of students per year: two to three
  • Typical offer: A*AA or equivalent
  • Essential subjects: none
  • Useful subjects: Biology, Mathematics, Psychology

Jesus College has a resident Fellow who specialises in Experimental Social Psychology: Dr Simone Schnall, an expert on the interaction of cognitive and affective processes.

We encourage our students to develop their own interests within a supportive and challenging intellectual environment. Psychology is unique as a discipline because it spans a wide range of topic areas that can be approached from a biological perspective and a social science discipline.

At Cambridge we emphasise the scientific study of Psychology and its link to other areas of study, which can be chosen as optional modules. In this way, our undergraduates have the opportunity to broaden their horizons and develop independence of thought and pleasure in intellectual engagement with the material.

The College has first rate study facilities, such as the Quincentenary Library, which has an excellent stock of textbooks and more advanced readings in Psychology and related areas, as well as a number of anatomical models that are useful for the study of the brain and neuroscientific investigation.

Our Psychology graduates find employment in a very wide range of professions because they develop a variety of skills that are popular with prospective employers, like the ability to analyse quantitative data, a skill that is extensively practiced in the form of statistical methods and research methods.

We're also very pleased to be able to welcome some of our graduates back as graduate students, in the first instance for the MPhil Degree in Social and Developmental Psychology, or as PhD students.

Find out more on the University webpage.

Requirements

Our typical offer is for an A* and two A grades at A-Level or equivalent. 

There are no essential subjects you must have studied to read Psychological and Behavioural Sciences (PBS) as the degree covers a great diversity of topics. The main requirement for studying PBS is that you have a passion for learning about the underlying causes of human experience and behaviour. 

Psychology A-Level would be useful, and Biology and Mathematics will also give you a good foundation as they can help you develop the necessary logical thought and critical analysis skills.

Preparation

No specialist knowledge is required, but we expect you to have explored your interest in the subject.

Written assessment

You'll need to complete a two hour written assessment at an authorised local centre, most likely your school or college. These usually take place in November. 

The purpose of the assessment is to determine your potential to achieve in an academically demanding undergraduate degree course. 

For more information see the University Psychology undergraduate pages.

Interviews

You'll have two interviews lasting 20 to 30 minutes each: one with the Director of Studies, and one with another subject specialist.

The interviews aim to assess your intellectual ability, enthusiasm, and commitment to the subject. They usually include some exercises designed to assess your aptitude to think creatively and logically about psychology, but no previous knowledge is expected.

Our goal is to allow you to demonstrate that you can think for yourself, and to show us your enthusiasm for the subject.

Written work

You don't need to submit any written work.

Deferred and post A-Level entry

We're happy to consider applications for either immediate or deferred entry, or from applicants who have already taken their A-Levels or equivalent qualifications. The College also welcomes applications from mature students.

Find out how to apply to study at Jesus.

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