BSc Psychological and Behavioural Science FAQs

Answers to your questions

 

One of the real benefits of an LSE education is that the School is committed to inter-disciplinary study and our programme is no different

 

You can get a really good idea of what our programme is all about by watching this video:

BSc Psychological and Behavioural Science at LSE BSc Psychological and Behavioural Science at LSE
Hear about what to expect from the BSc Psychological and Behavioural Science at LSE LSE

We've also put together the answers to some frequently answered questions below. For easy navigation, these are sorted into six categories:

About the programme
British Psychological Society (BPS) accreditation
Student life in PBS
Applying to study with us
Preparing to start the programme
Careers

 

About our programme

What makes the programme unique?

Among other things:

  • We bring together Psychological Science and Behavioural Science into one programme, this is a cutting edge approach at undergraduate level.
  • All of our teaching is situated in the real world, we focus on real world problems and real world solutions. Our deparment's ethos is 'from the world to the lab and back again' and the programme embodies this. 
  • Our programme is rooted in the world class research of department. You'll be learning from some of the best in their field. 
  • We help you to develop a huge range of skills, our assessments see you not only writing essays and completing exams bit also developing blogs, editing Wikipedia, creating podcasts, delivering pitches, composing POSTnotes and much more. 

How can I find out more about the structure and content of the programme?

You can see how the programme fits together in the Programme Regulations

From the regulations you can also can access a description of each course (module). This provides you with information about teachers, teaching arrangements, assessment and indicative readings in the course guides for each course. 

Please remember that we are constantly updating and improving the programme, so there may be changes to the regulations and course content when you start. If any changes are made we will consult with current students and let offer holders know. 

Can I see some of the work students have produced?

Yes, a good place to start would the PB101 posts on the PBS Blog. Here you can see some of the topics tackled in PB101 - Foundations of Psychological Science. 

Lots of our courses see students producing work that can be widely shared - there are pitches, podcasts, OpEds, posters, POSTnotes and much more. As the programme progresses, we plan to publish more of this work on the website and beyond. In Year 3 of the programme students collate this work together as a Showcase Portfolio. 

 

What opportunities are there to study outside the Department?

Lots! One of the real benefits of an LSE education is that we are committed to inter-disciplinary study. Our programme sees students taking courses from outside the department in all three years so that you can see how the theories you are learning fit with the social sciences more generally. 

  • In Year 1 you take one full unit outside option - choosing from  Anthropology, Economics, Government, Philosophy, Social Policy and Sociology.
  • In Year 2 you are able to take a half unit outside option. You have free choice from any course available in the outside options list. You may choose to further pursue something you started in Year 1 or investigate something new.
  • In Year 3 you can take one full unit course or two half-unit courses outside of the department. You may want to develop a specialism, explore something new or do a combination of both. 

In addition, you will follow LSE100 – LSE's interdisciplinary course for undergraduates, designed to bring you into the heart of the LSE tradition of engaging with big questions.

Where can I find out more about the people who will be teaching me?

You will be taught by faculty and researchers who are at the forefront of their fields. You can find out more about all of the staff in the Department at PBS People.

In particular you might want to look out for:

  • Dr Thomas Curran - who currently leads PB130, PB230 and PB310
  • Prof. Liam Delaney - who currently leads PB300
  • Prof. Paul Dolan - who currently teaches on PB100
  • Prof. Bradley Franks - who directs the programme and leads PB204
  • Dr Jens Madsen - who currently leads PB201 and PB312
  • Dr Michael Muthukrishna - who currently leads PB101
  • Dr Jet Sanders - who currently leads PB100 and PB205
  • Dr. Miriam Tresh - who currently leads PB200 and PB202

When do students start to engage in their own research?

Our students start engaging in research from the very start. In the first term of Year 1 you'll complete an assessment where you'll have to design a research project. This focus on research carries on through the rest of Year 1 and into Year 2. 

Year 3 is when you have a real opportunity to undertake your own research. You'll complete an Independent Research Project where you can focus on an area of psychology or behavioural science that has particularly fascinated you during the programme. You can also undertake a research apprenticeship where you'll get to join a research lab being led by one of the PBS faculty. 

There are also always lots of research projects going on in the department, and LSE more generally, that you can get involved with. We're often looking for participants or research assistants. You can even get paid to take part in research in our Behavioural Lab.

How important is Maths?

Our students are people who take a scientific approach to their work, they are not always mathematical experts. 

You will need to have Grade 7 / Grade A at GCSE Maths (or equivalent) to make sure that you have the relevant grounding in maths and statistics. Beyond this a scientific mindset is the most important thing. You do not need A level (or equivalent) Maths to join the programme. 

You'll spend lots of time dealing with numbers but we'll ensure that we teach you the skills that you need. Our students tell us that our teaching in the methods and statistics courses means that everybody is able to perform really well whether they've studied A Level Maths or not. 

If you don't like numbers then this is not the programme for you, but at the same time you don't need to be a mathematical genius. 

How prominent is Economics?

In some ways, Behavioural Science was born out of Economics so it is certainly a key part of our curriculum. You're also coming to the LSE and Economics is a key part of what we do. So, you'll be exposed to some Economics teaching from Year 1. However, there is no requirement to have a background in Economics, we'll teach you all you need to know. 

If you're particularly interested in Economics then you can develop this by taking outside options in the Department of Economics.

Is it possible to study a language?

Yes, LSE has a very successful Language Centre that offers a range of options to learn languages. You can take language courses as either part of your degree or in addition to your degree. 

  • If you want to take a language as part of a degree then you can do so in the  third year by choosing Language Centre courses as your outside option. Find out more about courses as part of an undergraduate degree.
  • If you want to study a language in addition to your degree you can find out about costs, languages and timetables at non-degree language courses

 

British Psychological Society (BPS) accreditation

What is the British Psychological Society (BPS)?

The BPS acts as the representative body for psychology and psychologists in the UK, and is responsible for the promotion of excellence and ethical practice in the science, education, and application of the discipline.

The BPS support and enhance the development and application of psychology for the greater public good, setting high standards for research, education, and knowledge, and disseminating knowledge to increase public awareness.

What are the benefits of accreditation?

Our accreditation means that all students who graduate with be eligible for BPS Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC). Graduate membership of the BPS is often the starting point for a career as a psychologist, and is a prerequisite for many accredited post-graduate and Doctoral programmes. 

Another benefit of following an accredited programme is you can join the BPS as a student member. Membership starts from as little as £26 per year 

You can find out more about the benefits of BPS accreditation 

 

 

 

Student life in PBS

How can I find out a typical day in the life of an LSE student?

Take a look at:

  • The UG Takeover on the PBS Instagram account. Here you'll hear from Eli, one of our Year 1 students about how she has found the programme.
  • Our Student Life webpage which provides details of things happening in the department. 

What does a typical week look like?

Below is a rough outline of a typical week's teaching for a Year 1 student*:

  • Monday is stats and methods! You'll have a 2 hour lecture for PB130. This is followed by either a 2 hour statistics workshop or a 1.5 hour class.
  • Tuesday is for PB101 - Foundations of Psychological Science. This will see you take an hour long lecture followed by an hour long class.
  • Wednesday is Lab Day. Some week's will see you take a PB130 Lab Session on Wednesday mornings. In other week's you'll be able to join our bespoke LSE LIFE courses. In some weeks you might get the morning off. Wednesday afternoons are normally set aside for extra curricular activities. 
  • Thursday is for options. Many of the outside options run on Thursdays (but this is not always the case). Most options have an hour long lecture and an hour long class. 
  • Friday is for PB100 - Foundations of Behavioural Science. This will see you take an hour long lecture followed by an hour long class.

Around this you'll be expected to undertake about 20 hours of self-guided study. Take a look at 'How much contact time will I get?    How much time will I need to study?' for more information.  

*Please be aware that the timetable is rebuilt every year so things may well change. 

Will I be allocated a mentor / tutor / adviser?

Yes, at LSE we call these people Academic Mentors.

The academic mentoring system in our department has been recognised as excellent by the British Psychological Society and is something that our students say really sets the programme apart.

On our programme academic mentoring is provided at three levels. Some of your meetings will be one to one with your AM, others will see you meeting in small groups of students from your year, and then you’ll have some family meetings where students from Years 1, 2 and 3 all come together.

In a typical year, you’ll have around ten scheduled meetings but your AM is also available outside of these by email and through Office Hours. The small size of our programme means that we have a low staff to student ratio and are always willing to catch up for a chat.

How many students are on the programme?    How big are the classes?

A standard year will see around 45 people join us, so when we're fully up and running we expect there to be 135 people across the three years. 

We've deliberately kept the first few years a little smaller to make sure that we can provide the best support whilst we get going.

  • In 2019 we had 31 students join the programme
  • In 2020 we had 34 students join the programme 
  • In 2021 we're expecting to have 45 students join the programme

We deliver teaching in three key formats and the sizes vary accordingly.

  • Lectures: These are when a whole course (module) comes together to hear from faculty member. For Year 1 and Year 2 courses these will be around 45 to 50 students. For some Year 3 options they'll be much smaller
  • Workshops & Labs:  We use workshops and labs to teach statistics and methods and this will see whole year group meet with a couple of members of staff. Typically there will be around 45 students.
  • Classes: This is when you take the concepts you've been taught in lectures and discuss them in more detail. PBS classes typically see between 12 and 17 students meet with one member of staff. 

You will also got lots of one to one or small group time during your academic mentoring sessions.

Across the programme, our student to staff ratio is 12.5 which means we really do get the opportunity to get to know each and every student really well. 

How much contact time will I get?    How much time will I need to study?

The exact number of contact hours will vary depending on the year of study and courses that you choose. However, we offer more contact hours than typical programmes because of the nature of the subjects.

In Years 1 and 2 you will have around 10 hours of formal teaching time each week. The number of contact hours varies in Year 3 depending on the options that you take. 

In Years 1 and 2 will be expected to undertake around 20 hours of self-guided study. As a rough guide for every hour in the classroom you should do two hours self-guided study, this will include reading, doing research, and preparing for assessments. We will spend some time explaining how this works during the first few weeks of Year 1. In Year 3 you'll spend more time on self-guided study. 

In addition to formal teaching hours and self-guided study we have a great academic mentoring programme in place. You will meet with your mentor around ten times across the year.  

Do you support/encourage study groups?

Yes, absolutely. We passionately believe in the value of group work and peer learning. 

Our academic mentoring system is structured so that students are put into small groups of around five students. In Year 1 we'll also make sure that everybody in a group is taking the same (or at least similar) outside options. These mentoring groups are ready made study groups. 

You'll also work in groups during your teaching - these will vary in size and composition meaning that you get lots of experience of working in teams. 

What is the proportion of international students on the programme?

Around 50% for our current students are from overseas. This brings a great diversity to the programme and our students tell us it enriches their experience immeasurably. 

Around LSE generally,  55% of students are from overseas. To learn more about the LSE student body take a look at LSE at a glance

One of the things that make the LSE special is the exposure that you get from people from different parts of the world and different cultures. It’s one of those things that makes the LSE experience so unique.

Can I take a year abroad?

Yes, there are some opportunities to spend a year during your studies, to find our more about the options visit Global Opportunities. As a department, we're very happy to support students that want to take advantage of these opportunities and will do all we can to help with your plans. 

This year will not be part of your programme but will be in addition to it. You will pause your studies at LSE whilst following the year abroad. If you do not want to take an additional year, you may want to consider one of LSE’s summer schools in South Africa and China.  

 

 

 

Applying to study with us

How many people apply for the programme each year?

For September 2021 entry, we had over 600 applications for 45 places. 

That means that we had more than 13 applications for every place, most of these were very good quality applicants.

What subject combinations are you looking for?

We believe a broad mix of traditional academic subjects to be the best preparation for studying at LSE and expect applicants to have at least two full A levels (or equivalent) in these subjects.

Given the scientific nature of our programme applicants must have studied Psychology, Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Maths at A Level (or equivalent). You will also need a Grade 7 / Grade A in GSCE (or equivalent) Maths. 

For more information check the Entry Requirements section of the BSc Psychological and Behavioural Science programme page.

Will I be at a disadvantage if I haven't taken A Level Psychology?

No, not at all - this will not be a disadvantage either when you are applying, or when you're studying with us. So long as you have scientific approach to your studies, you’ll be absolutely fine.

The programme is designed to take you from foundations all the way up so you do not need to have followed A Level Psychology and every year we accept lots of students who have not got a Psychology background. 

Check 'What subject combinations are you looking for?' to see what we are looking for in applications.

Do you offer a foundation year?

We do not offer a foundation year at LSE. However, we are happy to consider applications from students who are able to completed a suitable foundation course elsewhere. Please note that not all foundation courses are acceptable for LSE programmes.

For more information check out the Foundation Courses section of the Entry Requirements webpage.

Can I transfer into your programme?

We are unable to accept incoming transfers onto our programme. This is primarily because the programme is carefully structured so that students build their knowledge, skills and understanding year on year. This means, for example, that if you have not completed the first year with us then it would be impossible to complete the second year.

The only route for you to transfer to our programme would be for you to apply to start in Year 1. If you were to go down this route, then your performance at your current institution (or on your current programme if transferring within LSE) would be taken into consideration when assessing your application.

Why doesn't LSE appear on the rankings for Psychology?

Our programme is still fairly new, and we've not yet had any students graduate. This means that we're not currently eligible to appear on most university ranking tables. 

However, LSE is an amazing institution and currently ranked number one in Europe for Social Science (QS Rankings 2021). Our programme receives good scores in LSE's internal surveys

We expect to start appearing on ranking tables soon (and hope to be close to the top!). 

 

 

Preparing to start the programme 

What can I read to find out more about the areas of study?

The following text books will give you a good introduction to the areas you will be studying:

  • Peter Gray & Daniel Bjorklund: Psychology. Worth. (2018)
  • Michael Hogg & Graham Vaughan: Social Psychology. Prentice Hall. (2013)

The following books are more specific but still very accessible: 

  • Paul Dolan: Happiness By Design. Penguin. (2015)
  • Joseph Henrick: The Secret of Our Success: How Culture is Driving Human Evolution, Domesticating Our Species, and Making Us Smarter. Princeton University Press. (2016)
  • Richard Thaler & Cass Sunstein: Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness. Penguin (2008)

It’s important to note that you do not need to do this reading before you arrive, we provide this list so that you have some guidance if you want to. You certainly do not need to buy these books for the programme.

Reading at university can be a completely new experience, so during your first few weeks, we will spend some time with you explaining how to read for university; how to use the LSE Library; and what resources are available to you.

How can I stay up to date with the department?

You can stay up to date with current news by reading our news page.

You can also follow us on InstagramTwitter and Facebook.

 

Careers

I am not sure about what I want to do after my degree, will this programme give me options?

Yes, the very nature of our programme means that you have the option to follow a number of routes after graduation, it's one of the things that make it pretty special. It will give you many additional options when compared to a more traditional Psychology degree.

Take a look at 'What are the potential career routes after the programme?' to see some of the career routes that we think our programme could lead to. 

So, if you're not sure if you'd like to follow more traditional psychology career or if would like to apply those skills in another environment our programme is ideal because it keeps all of those doors open. 

What are the potential career routes after the programme?

Our programme will equip you to go down a number of career routes after graduation:

  • BPS accreditation allows you to follow a traditional psychology route which requires postgraduate qualification.
  • Our focus on context and the real world opens up careers in public policy, marketing, media, finance, charities, consulting, government, NGOs and more.
  • Research led teaching opens up routes into further study or research.
  • The scientific training; skills development; and methods, statistics and data science teaching you will be well equipped to take on almost any role. 
  • LSE's central London location means you have lots of potential employers and educational institutions on your door step. 

In short, the very nature of our programme means that you can follow many routes after graduation. 

Will your programme make me competitive in the job market?

 Yes, without question, you'll be leaving your studies in a very enviable position:

  • Psychology graduates have some of the best employment prospects in the UK.
  • LSE has some of the best employment rates of any UK university.
  • You'll have a degree accredited by the British Psychological Society.

Having studied a combination of psychological and behavioural science; received thorough scientific training; and developed a comprehensive range of skills you'll be a brilliant position to enter the job market.

The programme is designed such that when students complete they'll be able to easily enter employment or undertake further study. 

What careers and employability support do you provide?

Students on our programme are able to benefit from three sets of careers and employability support that we mould together into one package. 

  • All LSE students are able to benefit from support from LSE Careers. LSE Careers are sector leading, offering some of the best student careers guidance in the country. 
  • In addition to this you'll be able to benefit from careers and employability support from the British Psychological Society
  • The department offers discipline specific support by running seminars, workshops and much more. In particular we aim to use our considerable networks to make sure you get access to a whole range of people. 

We're keen to ensure that we provide support for all of the potential career routes - so whether you want to develop a traditional psychology career, work in the public sector, target industry or take on further study we'll support you. 

 

 

 

If you have a question that has not been answered then please do get in touch - you can email pbs.bsc@lse.ac.uk or call +44(0)20 7955 7700.