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About us

The department is one of the oldest academic departments of psychology in the UK. It was established in 1906 when CS Myers was appointed Professor of Experimental Psychology at King's College London. The whole department moved from King's to Birkbeck, University of London, at the beginning of the Second World War, where it remained with CA Mace being appointed the first Professor and Head of Department at Birkbeck in 1944. (The department still possesses original equipment dating back to 1879 from Wundt’s first ever laboratory for experimental psychology at Leipzig: a Hipp chronoscope, an electro-mechanical device for millisecond timing.)

Research excellence recognised by International awards

These auspicious beginnings are reflected in the contemporary high quality of our research. Our department is consistently regarded as one of the top psychological sciences departments in the UK. In the 2021 Research Excellence Framework, and for the third time, it was ranked in the top ten universities in the UK. Recently our staff have included three Fellows of the British Academy, two Fellows of the German National Academy of Sciences, two Honorary Fellows of the British Psychological Society (BPS) and four former BPS Spearman Medal winners, among many other awards and prizes. Our yearly research-related income is around £4.5M (£141K per academic staff member).

Our academics and researchers work together in a range of research clusters, centres, labs and groups. These cut across the subjects of cognitive development neuroscience (including genetics and education), perception attention and action, computational modelling and health and lived experience to encourage innovative, interdisciplinary research. Our research facilities include two MRI scanners (1.5T and 3T at the Birkbeck-UCL Centre for Neuroimaging, BUCNI), a newly built £8.5M Toddler Lab (with state-of-the-art virtual reality and ambulatory wireless EEG) to complement our existing Babylab, a genetics wet-lab and many other labs set up for biosensing and behavioural experiments.

Stimulating study at all levels

Our research provides a stimulating environment for the students on our undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. Our undergraduate degrees are accredited by the British Psychological Society, with successful completion of your degree (2:2 or higher) providing the first step to chartership and becoming a professional psychologist. We also run a highly successful full-time (1-year) and part-time (2-year) Master's in Psychology conversion course, taught alongside the undergraduate programme, for those who already have a degree in another subject.

We run a variety of specialist Master's courses in Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuropsychology, Educational Neuroscience, Health and Clinical Psychological Sciences, Cognition and Computation and Developmental Science. We have a vibrant doctoral programme and are members of doctoral training programmes funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Medical Research Council (MRC). Since 2014, 76 PhD students have completed their theses with us.

Stay up to date with our news and events

We're proud to have been awarded an Athena SWAN Bronze Award in recognition of best practice supporting gender equality in the department and we're currently working towards a Silver Award.

You can stay up to date with our research, awards and event news by following the department on Twitter: @bbkpsychology and attending our virtual, and real world, events.