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Which Psychology course is right for me?

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If you know you’re passionate about psychology, but you’re unsure which course is right for you, we’re breaking down our specialist Psychology courses to help you choose the right pathway. All our undergraduate Psychology programmes are accredited by the British Psychological Society, with a shared core of modules to get you the accreditation you need to go further.

If you are interested in a certain area of psychology, choosing a degree that specialises in that area can help you to achieve your aspirations after graduation, whether in further education or employment.

For more information about Psychology, you can also chat to some of our students and after applying to learn more about their experience on a particular course and their time at our university generally. You can also read some of our student stories to learn about their favourite elements of their course and what our students have done after they graduate.


We recommend BSc (Hons) Psychology to students who aren’t sure what they want to study after graduation as it offers the most flexibility. Students can take a range of modules within this pathway not tied to a particular area, allowing for exploration of topics like clinical and forensic psychology alongside other areas.

As well as studying the five core areas of Psychology specified by the British Psychological Society, the core content of this pathway is unified by a meta theory of evolution to help you understand human thoughts and behaviours. Topics covered include examining paranormal experiences, male psychology, mental health and illness, animal behaviour, addiction, neurodiversity, and cyberpsychology.

Your employability skills are also encouraged on this pathway with a catalogue of Continuous Professional Development (CPD) courses to choose from which can help you to consider your options after graduation.

We also offer BSc (Hons) Psychology with Integrated Foundation Year, which is a four year version of the course for those who do not meet the required qualifications, have been out of education for a while, or have experience rather than formal qualifications. The integrated foundation year allows for skills to be developed that will help you to succeed at university.

"My favourite part of my course is the staff. Every single member of staff goes above and beyond for their students. They are always there to help and support you and I am so grateful for everything they have done for me. I also love that you get to be creative. A lot of people assume that Psychology, and Science subjects in general, just involve writing essays (including me!), but that really isn’t the case. Throughout my degree so far, I have submitted assignments in the form of YouTube videos, Tik Toks, portfolios, mind maps, PowerPoints, presentations, the list goes on. You really can show your creative side and get out of your comfort zone."

Victoria Ward, BSc (Hons) Psychology student

Forensic Psychology

Aside from our core Psychology course, we also offer several specialisms. The first we’re going to look at is BSc (Hons) Forensic Psychology. While forensic psychology graduates do often go on to work with criminals or in the prison service, we try to be clear it isn’t how it is portrayed in the media!

Through this pathway, we teach about the conceptualisation and approach of the legal system and criminal behaviour. You will have the opportunity to examine violent offending such as terrorism, murder, stalking and sexual crime, as well as how you can apply psychology to understand offenders of these crimes. We also teach our students how to use and interpret psychometric tests, risk assessments and other critical data utilised in the field, all crucial to your future career.

Just like our other pathways, we offer BSc (Hons) Forensic Psychology with Integrated Foundation Year. You can also read All about Forensic Psychology.

"Being at the University of Sunderland is an experience that is hard to find anywhere else. The connections that I have made for my career have set me up for life. The friendships that I have formed are forever. The memories are priceless, and it has made me a better person as I never would have thought I was capable of doing a PhD until I came here and the only people, I must thank for that are my lecturers as they were the ones who put that fire in my belly and gave me the confidence and motivation to think I CAN do this!" - Phoebe Usher, BSc (Hons) Forensic Psychology graduate

Psychology with Counselling

Our next specialism is BSc (Hons) Psychology with Counselling. Counselling is a one-to-one therapeutic relationship between a practitioner and a client, which is often a reflective process requiring introspection and self-development under the guise of a practitioner. Even though all our psychology pathways develop quantitative and qualitive research methods, here they are developed further in relation to a practitioner-client relationship.

Within this pathway, we have a range of counselling modules, both skills based and theoretical, that are developed and run by trained counsellors. These modules are exclusively available on the Psychology with Counselling pathway!

We also offer BSc (Hons) Psychology with Counselling with Integrated Foundation Year.

"If I was to sum up my experience of studying at the University of Sunderland, I’d struggle not to be clichéd and on-brand by saying it’s been life changing." Sam McBride, BSc (Hons) Psychology with Counselling graduate

Clinical Psychology

BSc (Hons) Clinical Psychology is like Psychology with Counselling, however this pathway has more of a medical background. While clinical psychologists won’t be prescribing medication, they will be involved in a medicalised approach to patient care and often work within the NHS.

This pathway helps you to develop the skills necessary to work with people who have mental health problems and allow you to gain a comprehensive view of what clinical psychology can achieve. Our students will learn about ethical and current issues around policy and politics of mental health diagnosis and assessment. Topics include addiction, psychosis, cognitive and emotional impairments, and depression.

Like our other pathways, we offer BSc (Hons) Clinical Psychology with Integrated Foundation Year.

"My favourite elements of the course have been the lived experience workshops and interprofessional learning. For me both these elements have involved real people, with real experiences and stories to tell. I have found it inspiring listening to their journey and how psychology has helped and assisted in their recovery. I want to be the one to help people in the future, either working directly with them or through research to source new interventions or check the efficacy of current ones." - Chloe Bradbury, BSc (Hons) Psychology with Counselling graduate

Take your next step

Before you apply for your chosen course, consider your future career path as this will help you to decide which speciality may be for you. Each of our psychology pathways are uniquely distinct and will teach you a range of transferable skills valuable to your future, whether it is in further education or employment.

Each pathway allows students the options to choose modules based on their interests and expand their knowledge of the key psychology areas as specified by the BPS. The project undertaken in the third year of all pathways allows students to choose an area that fits their interests, allowing them to specialise in their chosen field.

Find out more about all our Psychology courses or join us at an Open Day to discover more about what we have on offer at the University of Sunderland.

Published: 7 November 2022