Ucas Personal Statement Psychology And Criminology

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Key stats

Over 75,000 students were studying this subject in 2014/15.

  • 92% UK
  • 8% international
  • 73% full-time
  • 27% part-time

72% of graduates went directly into employment.

 Top graduate destinations:

  1. Human health and social work
  2. Education
  3. Retail/administrative and support
  4. Legal, social, and welfare professions
  5. Business, HR, and finance
  6. Marketing, PR, and sales

A degree in psychology offers not only a pathway to becoming a psychologist, but also the knowledge and skills that you can apply in a wide range of careers."

Professor Ann Colley, CPsychol Chief Executive, The British Psychological Society

What courses are available?

Psychology is one of the most popular subjects to study at degree level. Many degree courses are accredited and follow the professional body guidelines, set out by the British Psychological Society. This is important if you want to pursue a career as a practicing psychologist with chartered status. Courses can focus on scientific research and/or applied psychology. Many course providers will therefore offer research facilities for studying perception, developmental psychology, cognition, and behavioural neuroscience, as well as for the applied side, such as studying neurorehabilitation, education, and health.

Universities and colleges in the UK offer a wide range of courses, including in specialist areas such as:

Course options include:

  • single, joint, and multiple subject combinations
  • full-time, part-time, and distance learning, as well as some courses with a placement (sandwich courses)
  • qualifications ranging from BSc (Hons) and BA (Hons) degrees, to Foundation Certificates, as well as master's

Subject combinations:

Psychology is offered in combination with a very wide range of subjects, including:

  • Criminology, criminal investigation, forensic science
  • Sociology, social anthropology, social care, philosophy
  • Biology, zoology, animal behaviour, environmental science
  • Education, childhood studies, child development, counselling
  • Accounting, finance, HR management, advertising, business, economics, entrepreneurship, marketing
  • Archaeology, architectural design, art and design history, Celtic studies
  • Computer science, computing, digital media and information, film and media studies
  • English, creative writing, journalism, publishing, drama and theatre studies, dance, music
  • Philosophy, politics, law, international relations
  • Social history, European studies, tourism, geography, religious studies
  • Mathematics, sport/sports studies

Find courses at UK universities and colleges

Entry requirements

A levels – While you don’t need to have all three sciences at A level for a psychology degree, most universities prefer at least one out of chemistry, physics, biology, or maths. 

Overall, a combination of good, academic A level subjects is required. Psychology A level is desirable, but not usually required. Other preferred subjects include sociology, geography, anthropology, economics, politics, philosophy, and history. Literature A levels can be helpful because of the report writing you will inevitably be doing, and maths/statistics will help with the analytical component of the degree. General studies is usually not considered appropriate.

Competition for places on UK psychology courses is intense, as the subject is very popular. Therefore, it is not uncommon for admissions tutors to request high grades or UCAS Tariff points. Check each course provider's entry requirements carefully. Tutors may also take GCSE grades into account as another way to filter the growing number of straight A students.


There are some advanced, higher, and degree-level apprenticeships offered in related career areas and industries, including:

Find out more about apprenticeships


You may be invited to attend an open day, or interview which can include a small group exercise led by academic staff, at which you will be asked to talk about a topic relevant to the course, and discuss it with other members of the group.

Personal statement

Universities and colleges will be looking for a well-written and structured statement, with evidence that you're well-informed about the subject and have a strong interest and motivation. This could be demonstrated by:

  • informed but personal insights into the subject
  • how you have pursued the subject outside of school or college
  • related career ambitions, relevant work experience, or voluntary work
  • additional reading and research of relevant topics, key issues, and content of the course

Where can I find out more?

Visit the websites of the following professional bodies to find out more about courses and careers in psychology.


Career Prospects

You will be equipped to work in a number of environments such as health and social care, criminal justice institutions, and the prison service. You could also continue your study at postgraduate level. If you go on to become a chartered psychologist, you may specialise in forensic, clinical, educational, health, or occupational psychology.

Our graduates have taken a range of jobs within a variety of fields. Some graduates have gained employment as an assistant psychologist, mental health support worker, within drug and alcohol services, or have gone on to pursue a career as a chartered psychologist. Alternatively you may take a role within policing or probation services, education, advertising, marketing, or retail.

Following graduation you may decide to continue your studies with us on the MSc Applied Psychology (Addictions), MSc Applied Psychology (Therapies) or MA Terrorism and Security, or a complete a vocational course such as the MA Social Work. Whatever direction you choose, the key skills within this degree ensure that you will be both accomplished and imaginative in your career.

Alumni Profile

"The combination of excellent teaching and continued support from academic staff and my own commitment and desire to succeed has resulted in achievements that have surpassed my own expectations. Not only did I graduate with a first class honours degree, but I was also awarded Best Student Prizes from the School of Health Sciences and the British Psychological Society. The Psychology and Criminology programme provides an excellent knowledge base for both disciplines whilst simultaneously providing a good grounding into research methods. Studying at Salford has equipped me with the skills required for academic success and I am now looking forward to starting an MSc in Social Research Methods and Statistics."

Rachel Gribbin, BSc Psychology and Criminology graduate 2014

“I chose to study at Salford due to its close proximity to Manchester without there being a necessity to contend with the chaos of the city centre on my regular commute. Since completing the first year, I am extremely pleased with my decision of Salford. My decision to study psychology and criminology developed from a passion to improve the treatment and understanding of mental health sufferers, and I feel studying both subjects provides a wider perspective than one alone can.”

Marie Lisa Campbell, BSc (Hons) Psychology and Criminology, second year student

Links with Industry

The British Psychological Society accredits this course – if you achieve a lower second class degree or above, Graduate Basis for Chartership is awarded. This is the first step to becoming a chartered psychologist.

Further Study

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