How to Apply to a Psychology Degree in 2020 - Application Requirements

Psychology is a great discipline to study abroad that’s both fulfilling and rewarding for graduates. But how difficult is it to be admitted to a Psychology degree? What are the differences between the requirements for a Bachelor’s in Psychology and a Master’s in Psychology? And can you get accepted to a Master’s in Psychology without a Bachelor’s in Psychology? What documents and grades do you need to apply? We’ll try to answer all these questions in the following article.

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Admission requirement differences between a B.A. and a B.Sc. in Psychology

A first point to consider when it comes to Psychology Bachelor’s degree requirements is the fact if you are applying for a B.Sc. or a B.A. in Psychology. While both generally cover psychological theory, principles, and practice, there may be some differences in courses taught and application requirements.

Bachelor of Arts Psychology learners may take classes in Cognitive, Behavioural, and Social Psychology while pursuing coursework in History, Political Science, and Sociology. Many B.A. programs may include options for learners to specialize in Forensics or in Social Work.

A B.Sc. in Psychology may include more advanced classes in Neuroscience, Statistics, and Clinical Psychology. B.Sc. concentrations may include workplace, developmental, and addictions Psychology.

Generally, admission requirements for a B.A. or a B.Sc. are similar, with the exception that a B.Sc. may require higher Math grades.

Bachelor’s in Psychology application requirements

Application requirements for a Bachelor’s in Psychology will naturally vary from one university to the next, and from country to country, but there are some common elements you can prepare for to increase your chances of being accepted.

Bachelor’s grade requirements

Depending on how demanding the Bachelor’s and how prestigious the university, you may be required to have one, two or more A graduation grades for high-school disciplines. Grade requirements may vary also depending on the high-school education system you come from.

Here are some general type of grade requirements you may encounter while applying for a Bachelor’s in Psychology abroad:

  • A high school diploma or equivalent qualifications in two subjects at GCE A level plus passes at grade C or above in three subjects at GCSE level. 
  • An average of level BBB grades – meaning you will have to have at least B final graduation grades in at least 3 disciplines.
  • Entry requirements may range between CCC and AAB, depending on the university.
  • An A in high-school Psychology is a plus, but not usually required. Other important subjects include Maths, Statistics, Sociology, Anthropology, Economics, Politics, Philosophy, and History.  
  • Some requirements may specify that applicants must hold 5 GCSE grades between A and C including Maths and English or equivalent.
  • Most universities prefer at least one out of Chemistry, Physics, Biology, or Maths subjects to be an A grade. 
  • If coming from a British education system, you will need an equivalent level 3 qualification worth 120 UCAS points. Find out more about how to calculate your UCAS Tariff points.
  • Some universities (especially for a B.Sc. degree application) will consider your work experience for the application if you have GCSE Maths grade C or above.

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Especially in the UK, Psychology is a very popular subject. So, university admission staff may look at more grades and which disciplines have the highest grades from the student’s education history.

As part of the application process, you may be invited to attend a university open day or take an interview which can include a small group exercise.

Keep in mind that programmes may usually include a university application fee around 50 EUR, more or less.

Bachelor’s English language requirements

Non-native English speakers applying for an English-taught degree will have to meet some English test minimum requirements. Here are the average grade requirements:

  • IELTS: 6.0 and above
  • TOEFL iBT: 60 to 79 and above
  • PTE Academic: 51-58 and above

Can you get into a Psychology Master’s without a Psychology Bachelor’s?

While holding a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology represents a plus for advancing to a graduate program in Psychology, this is not always mandatory. Some programmes may encourage people who want to make a career switch to apply for a Master’s in Psychology without previous studies if they have graduated a Bachelor’s in a connected discipline considered. Examples include: Social Work, Sociology, Medicine, Philosophy, History, etc. Some undergraduate degrees facilitate an easier transition. For example, a student with a Bachelor’s Sociology will have an easier time than someone with a degree in Mathematics. Voluntary work and proof of interest in the field can also tip the scales in your favour during application.

Some schools also offer non-psychology students the option to take prerequisite Psychology preparation courses that give them exposure to foundational theories, statistics, and research methods in the field.

Requirement differences between a M.A. and a M.Sc. in Psychology

Just like in the case of B.A. and B.Sc. degrees in Psychology, there are no major differences between the course content and application requirements of M.A. and M.Sc.degrees.The only difference is that M.A.s may focus more on analysis and research while M.Sc.s in Psychology may be more focused on behavioural sciences.

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Master’s in Psychology application requirements

Just like in the case of Psychology Bachelors, Master’s degree requirements vary across different universities and countries. But there are a few common requirements you should have in mind:

  • A graduated Bachelor’s degree.
  • If you haven’t graduated a Psychology Bachelor’s you may be required to take a pre-Master’s before applying to the actual Master’s.
  • Some programmes may include a university application fee (around 50 EUR).
  • Official transcript of records including the courses you took during your Bachelor’s and the grades.
  • GPA scores, usually of at least 3.0.
  • Some programmes may require having passed a GRE test or an alternate test. High GRE scores can override a lower GPA score in some cases.
  • Curriculum Vitae or Resume – including academic and professional experience. Any activity or accomplishments connected to Psychology are important (volunteer work, community service, or internships).
  • Two to four letters of recommendation from past teachers or employers.
  • Statement of purpose answering specific questions about why you chose to study Psychology and your long-term goals.
  • Personal essay (sometimes optional) – a more personal description about your experience and qualifications, and why you think you fit the programme you are applying for.
  • Case study analysis based on requirements provided by the programme. Some Masters may require a case study to test your knowledge or expertise.
  • If you will be having practical lessons with fieldwork, some universities might require background checks to make sure you were not involved in criminal activities.

Especially if you graduated a Psychology Bachelor’s, admission committees may expect some work experience or activity in the field, as this is proof of your commitment and dedication to practising Psychology. Depending on the programme, a minimum of 1 year of work experience may be required as part of the application.

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Master’s English language requirements

Non-native English speakers applying for an English-taught degree will have to meet some English test minimum requirements. Here are the average grade requirements:

  • IELTS: 6.5 and above
  • TOEFL iBT: 79 to 93 and above
  • PTE Academic: 59-64 and above

Ready to start applying for a Psychology degree?

All of the information listed above is an approximation of Psychology degree requirements. If you want to find the exact requirements for a programme you are interested in check out the official programme website or find the programme on our portals and check out the Academic Requirements tab. If any of the requirements are unclear it’s a good idea to contact the university application staff and ask for more detailed information. Make sure you read the requirements carefully, prepare well in advance and take as much time as you need to deliver a great application that will make you stand out.

Best of luck!

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