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Department of Psychology


Psychological and Behavioural Sciences Tripos

The Psychological and Behavioural Sciences (PBS) course was introduced in October 2013.  PBS covers the full spectrum of topics in psychology. For more information, see the Psychological and Behavioural Sciences website.

First year (Part IA)

NST Part IA Evolution and Behaviour (interdepartmental course). Comparative cognition, comparative psychology, and evolutionary psychology are introduced as part of this course.

NST Part IA Elementary Mathematics for Biologists (interdepartmental course). The Department contributes teaching on statistics to this course.

Second year (Part IB)

NST Part IB Experimental Psychology. This course focuses on human psychology, beginning with topics in perception not far removed from biology and physics and moving on to the mental processes involved in attention, learning and memory, language, action, awareness, thinking and reasoning, cognitive and social development, and abnormal mental states. For details, see the NST Part IB Experimental Psychology course booklet.

NST Part IB Neurobiology (interdepartmental course). This multidisciplinary course in neurobiology includes material contributed by the Department on the neurobiology of motivation and emotion, learning and memory, and higher functions of the nervous system including language.

MVST Part IB Neurobiology and Human/Animal Behaviour (interdepartmental course). Psychology is fundamental to medicine; psychiatric disease is a major burden on individuals and on society, mental states influence physical disease processes, and psychology relates to the day-to-day job of a medical or surgical practitioner. The Department teaches psychological and neurobiological aspects of mental illness within the Neurobiology and Human/Animal Behaviour course taken by all medical students; the course also includes material on the neurobiology of learning, memory, and cognition.

Third year (Part II)

NST Part II Psychology. The Part II course allows you to study at greater depth the topics covered at NST Part IB. Since psychology is so diverse, the Part II course gives you a good deal of freedom to pursue particular interests. The lecture courses include the following major areas: perception; attention and the control of action; human learning, memory, and cognition; animal learning and cognition; neuropsychology; cognition and intelligence; language; the brain mechanisms of motivation, behaviour, memory, and cognition; developmental psychology; abnormal psychology. Students conduct a substantial original research project as part of their course, and have the option of writing a dissertation on a topic of special interest to them. For details, see the NST Part II Psychology course guide. 

Biological and Biomedical Sciences Part II: Psychology. No experimental project is required for this course and so it will recommend itself to those who do not plan a career in experimental science. Candidates attend the same lectures and sit the same written papers as those reading NST Part II Psychology (see the NST Part II Psychology booklet), but in addition they read a minor subject and write a dissertation of up to 6000 words. The topic of the dissertation may be drawn either from the field of psychology or from the field of the chosen minor subject. Note: this course does not qualify candidates for entry to postgraduate training in clinical psychology.

Part II Joint Course in Physiology and Psychology. This is typically taken by only a few students each year. It combines the neurobiology element of Part II Physiology with topics available in Part II Psychology.

Part II Neuroscience (interdepartmental course). Part II Neuroscience is a course offered jointly by four departments: Psychology, Pharmacology, Zoology, and Physiology, Development & Neuroscience (PDN); it takes a broad approach to the rapidly advancing field of neuroscience, treating it at a range of levels from the molecular to the cognitive.


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