Psychosocial Studies (BA): 3-year, full-time

Many of us want to know why the world is the way it is: why it is filled with perpetual cycles of violence and trauma on the one hand, and with enormous potential for care and concern for one another on the other. We want answers to the pressing questions of our time, which are often questions about the precarious connectedness of different communities, be they global, national, public, civic, social, cultural, historical or the intimate communities of personal life.

Psychosocial studies enables us to unravel the interconnected psychic and social forces that produce us as people and to determine our complex relations to one another. While sociology students study the social world and psychology students study the brain and behaviour, psychosocial studies students investigate the relation between individuals and the social sphere: how people are made up of the relationships they have with one another and with the world around them. This means deepening our understanding of the emotional, imaginary and symbolic aspects of living together.

This course is also available for part-time evening study over four years.

Highlights

  • Birkbeck's innovative, creative and interdisciplinary courses will help you become a competent, critical and responsible student of the social world and the psychological and social forces that shape individuals.
  • Staff within our innovative Department of Psychosocial Studies have a keen interest in the development of new and innovative psychosocial methods, as well as forging new theoretical trajectories across a range of critical fields of enquiry.
  • The Department is genuinely interdisciplinary, with academics coming from backgrounds in anthropology, cultural and postcolonial studies, education studies, gender and sexuality studies, literary studies, critical psychology, psychoanalytic studies and sociology.
  • Read what our students have to say about studying with us.

Course structure

The programme consists of 11 compulsory modules, worth 30 credits each (two compulsory modules worth 15 credits each), and two option modules worth 30 credits each, making a total of 360 credits.

There are four types of module:

    • Compulsory modules in key psychosocial topics such as love, hate, power, bodies, sexualities, urban multicultures and psychoanalytic and social theory.
    • Fieldwork modules that develop your group-based skills and involve you in exploring the everyday physical and digital worlds we live in.
    • Option modules that develop knowledge across broad areas of study in the social sciences. We offer three options from our Department and one from the BA Film and Media. You will be able to choose two option modules in Year 3.
    • Independent study and dissertation modules that enable you to research a topic of your choice and write a dissertation based on your research in Year 3.

    Read more about this programme in our handbook.

            Module groups

            Suggested introductory reading

            The following publications will give you some sense of the topics, ideas and themes covered by this course. You may only wish to look at one or two of these or simply dip in to get some impression of what we mean by 'psychosocial'.

            • Lynn Froggett, Love, Hate, Welfare: Psychosocial Approaches to Policy and Practice (Polity Press, 2002).
            • Stephen Frosh, Brief Introduction to Psychoanalytic Theory (Palgrave Macmillan, 2002).
            • Stephen Frosh, Psychoanalysis Outside the Clinic (Palgrave Macmillan, 2002).
            • Stuart Hall, 'Introduction: Who Needs Identity?', in Questions of Cultural Identity, edited by S. Hall and Paul du Gay (Sage, 1996) pp. 1-17.
            • Elizabeth Hoult, Adult Learning and la Recherche Féminine: Reading Resilience and Hélène Cixous (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).
            • Gail Lewis, 'Birthing Racial Difference: Conversations with My Mother and Others', in Studies in the Maternal, 1 (2009). This is a free, open access online journal. You may also find it helpful to look at other articles in Studies in the Maternal.
            • Sasha Roseneil and Stephen Frosh, eds., Social Research After the Cultural Turn (2012), especially the introduction by Roseneil and Frosh and the chapter by Yasmeen Narayan, 'The Cultural Turn, Racialization and Postcoloniality'.
            • Lynne Segal, Why Feminism? Gender, Psychology, Politics (Polity Press, 1999).
            • Entry Requirements

              Entry requirements

              We welcome applicants without traditional entry qualifications as we base decisions on our own assessment of qualifications, knowledge and previous work experience. We may waive formal entry requirements based on judgement of academic potential.

              UCAS tariff points

              96

              The UCAS tariff score is applicable to you if you have recently studied a qualification that has a UCAS tariff equivalence. UCAS provides a tariff calculator for you to work out what your qualification is worth within the UCAS tariff.

              Foundation Year Degrees

              You can progress onto this degree if you successfully complete the foundation year of our BSc Social Sciences with Foundation Year course. This is an ideal route onto an undergraduate degree if you are returning to study after a gap, or if you have not previously studied this subject, or if you didn't achieve the grades you need for a place on this degree.

              Alternative entry routes

              Access to Higher Education Diploma with a minimum of 15 credits achieved at Merit or Distinction in humanities or social science units.

              International entry requirements

              If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.

              If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses, foundation programmes and language support services to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.

              Visit the International section of our website to find out more about our English language entry requirements and relevant requirements by country.

              Visa requirements

              If you are not from the European Economic Area (EEA) and/or Switzerland and you are coming to study in the UK, you may need to apply for a visa.

              The visa you apply for varies according to the length of your course:

              • Courses of more than six months' duration.
              • Courses of less than six months' duration.
              • Pre-sessional English language courses.

              International students who require a Tier 4 visa should apply for our full-time courses (with the exception of modular enrolment certificates of higher education and graduate certificates), as these qualify for Tier 4 sponsorship. If you are living in the UK on a Tier 4 visa, you will not be eligible to enrol as a student on Birkbeck's part-time courses (with the exception of some modules).

              For full information, read our visa information for international students page.

              Credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL)

              If you have studied at university previously, you may have accumulated credits through the modules you studied. It may be possible to transfer these credits from your previous study to Birkbeck or another institution. You should discuss this with the Programme Director when you are making your application.

              Find out more about credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL).

            • Fees

              Fees

              Full-time home/EU students: £ 9250 pa
              Full-time international students: £ 13675 pa

              Students are charged a tuition fee in each year of their programme. Tuition fees for students continuing on their programme in following years may be subject to annual inflationary increases. For more information, please see the College Fees Policy.

              Additional costs

              As well as fees, you should expect to pay other study-related expenses, for travel to and from College, books, stationery, etc. Birkbeck provides advice and financial support for students who experience hardship in meeting the travel costs of essential fieldwork or study visits. 

              On this programme, you will also have to pay for the following additional costs:

              You may be required to travel for the fieldwork module Creative Archives; you will be expected to pay your own travel costs.

              TUITION FEE AND MAINTENANCE LOANS

              Eligible full-time and part-time students from the UK and the EU don’t have to pay any tuition fees upfront, as government loans are available to cover them.

              Maintenance loans are also available for eligible full-time and part-time UK students, to assist with covering living costs, such as accommodation, food, travel, books and study materials. From 2018, maintenance loans are available to part-time students for the first time. The amount you receive is means-tested and depends on where you live and study and your household income.

              Find out more about tuition fee and maintenance loans for full-time and part-time students at Birkbeck.

            • Teaching and assessment

              Teaching

              At Birkbeck, almost all of our courses are taught in the evening and our teaching is designed to support students who are juggling evening study with work and other daytime commitments. We actively encourage innovative and engaging ways of teaching, to ensure our students have the best learning experience. In the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), the government’s system for rating university teaching, Birkbeck was allocated a Silver award.

              Teaching may include formal lectures, seminars, and practical classes and tutorials. Formal lectures are used in most degree programmes to give an overview of a particular field of study. They aim to provide the stimulus and the starting point for deeper exploration of the subject during your own personal reading. Seminars give you the chance to explore a specific aspect of your subject in depth and to discuss and exchange ideas with fellow students. They typically require preparatory study.

              Our distance-learning and blended-learning courses and modules are self-directed and we will provide you with interactive learning opportunities and encourage you to collaborate and engage via various learning technologies. These courses involve limited or no face-to-face contact between students and module tutors.

              In addition, you will have access to pastoral support via a named Personal Tutor.

              Methods of teaching on this course

              We employ a range of teaching methods and formats, including lectures, small group seminars and individual tutorials, 'practical' fieldwork sessions, interactive group work with fellow students and supervised research projects on a topic of your choice.

                Contact hours

                On our taught courses, you will have scheduled teaching and study sessions each year. Alongside this, you will also undertake assessment activities and independent learning outside of class. Depending on the modules you take, you may also have additional scheduled academic activities, such as tutorials, dissertation supervision, practical classes, visits and fieldtrips.

                On our taught courses, the actual amount of time you spend in the classroom and in contact with your lecturers will depend on your course, the option modules you select and when you undertake your final-year project.

                On our distance-learning and blended-learning courses, discussion, collaboration and interaction with your lecturers and fellow students are encouraged and enabled through various learning technologies, but you may have limited or no face-to-face contact with your module tutors.

                The following information gives an indication of how many contact hours you can expect for each year of this course:

                Year Contact hours
                1 216
                2 180
                3 120

                Timetables

                Timetables are usually available from September onwards and you can access your personalised timetable via your My Birkbeck Profile online (if you have been invited to enrol).

                Indicative class size

                Class sizes vary, depending on your course, the module you are undertaking, and the method of teaching. For example, lectures are presented to larger groups, whereas seminars usually consist of small, interactive groups led by a tutor.

                Independent learning

                On our taught courses, much of your time outside of class will be spent on self-directed, independent learning, including preparing for classes and following up afterwards. This will usually include, but is not limited to, reading books and journal articles, undertaking research, working on coursework and assignments, and preparing for presentations and assessments.

                Independent learning is absolutely vital to your success as a student. Everyone is different, and the study time required varies topic by topic, but, as a guide, expect to schedule up to five hours of self-study for each hour of teaching.

                On our distance-learning and blended-learning courses, the emphasis is very much on independent, self-directed learning and you will be expected to manage your own learning, with the support of your module tutors and various learning technologies.

                Study skills and additional support

                Birkbeck offers study and learning support to undergraduate and postgraduate students to help them succeed. Our Learning Development Service can help you in the following areas:

                • academic skills (including planning your workload, research, writing, exam preparation and writing a dissertation)
                • written English (including structure, punctuation and grammar)
                • numerical skills (basic mathematics and statistics).

                Our Disability and Dyslexia Service can support you if you have additional learning needs resulting from a disability or from dyslexia.

                Our Counselling Service can support you if you are struggling with emotional or psychological difficulties during your studies.

                Our Mental Health Advisory Service can support you if you are experiencing short- or long-term mental health difficulties during your studies.

                Assessment

                Assessment is an integral part of your university studies and usually consists of a combination of coursework and examinations, although this will vary from course to course - on some of our courses, assessment is entirely by coursework. The methods of assessment on this course are specified below under 'Methods of assessment on this course'. You will need to allow time to complete coursework and prepare for exams.

                Where a course has unseen written examinations, these may be held termly, but, on the majority of our courses, exams are usually taken in the Summer term, during May to June. Exams may be held at other times of the year as well. In most cases, exams are held during the day on a weekday - if you have daytime commitments, you will need to make arrangements for daytime attendance - but some exams are held in the evening. Exam timetables are published online.

                Find out more about assessment at Birkbeck, including guidance on assessment, feedback and our assessment offences policy.

                Methods of assessment on this course

                There are no examinations for this degree. Coursework includes a portfolio of short written assignments on key reading, essays, collectively produced projects (e-journals, blogs, maps, visual ethnographies such as video-diaries and photographic assignments) and collective writing assignments, plus individual reflective work, and a dissertation.

                  Breakdown of assessment on this course

                  The balance of assessment by examination and assessment by coursework will often depend on the option modules you choose. The approximate percentages for this course are as follows:

                  Year % Exams % Practical % Coursework
                  1 0 0 100
                  2 0 0 100
                  3 0 0 100
                • Careers and employability

                  Careers and employability

                  Graduates can pursue careers in social research, education, psychotherapy or the media and creative arts. This degree may also be useful in becoming a psychotherapist, higher education lecturer, community arts worker, charity officer or community development worker.

                  We offer a comprehensive Careers and Employability Service to help you advance your career, while our in-house, professional recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, works with London’s top employers to help you gain work experience that fits in with your evening studies.

                  Graduate Destinations

                  Average salary six months after the course: £26000

                  Go on to work and/or study:

                  Go on to work and/or study
                  Now working: 50%
                  Doing further study: 35%
                  Studying and working: 0%
                  Unemployed: 0%
                  Other: 15%

                  Read more of the statistics for this course on the Unistats website.

                • How to apply

                  How to apply

                  If you are applying for a three-year, full-time undergraduate degree at Birkbeck, you have to apply through UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). To apply, go to the UCAS homepage and click on 'Apply and Track'. You will have to register, giving UCAS a few personal details, including your name, address and date of birth, and then you complete an application form.

                  Birkbeck offers a range of free face-to-face advice and support to help you make a successful application.

                  Birkbeck can give you all of the information and help you need to complete your application form, including our online personal statement tool, which will guide you through every step of writing your personal statement.

                  UCAS Code

                  C880

                  Application deadlines and interviews

                  15 January is the first UCAS deadline and the majority of university applications through UCAS are made by then. We welcome applications outside of the UCAS deadlines, so you can still apply through UCAS after 15 January, depending on the availability of places. We also take late applications via the UCAS Clearing system in August.

                  Read more about key dates for UCAS applicants.