Study psychology in the UK: an international student’s guide 

Do you dream of making a difference in people’s lives? There are many reasons why the world’s stress levels are at an all-time high, from climate change to global health concerns, and psychologists are more in-demand than ever. 

Where better to study psychology than in the UK – a country that was key to establishing modern psychological practices. It’s also home to the British Psychological Society – a leading professional body that ensures your education in psychology is outstanding. 

How to study psychology in the UK as an international student 

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Need some extra support during the first year of your studies? The best way to integrate into UK university life is to take a pre-university psychology course for international students. 

Studying an International Year One in Psychology before a psychology degree means you can still complete your degree in the same number of years as students directly entering an undergraduate degree in the UK, but you’ll receive additional English, academic and study support to help you adjust. 

What is an International Year One in Psychology? 

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Julia Lancaster, the International Year One Program Manager at INTO University of East Anglia (INTO UEA), describes the program in more detail: “the International Year One in Psychology is designed for international students who want to study their first year in a more supportive environment at INTO UEA, before going on to study Years 2 and 3 at undergraduate level at the University of East Anglia (UEA).” 

The program aims to integrate you into the university community from day one, as Julia explains: “from the very start of their course, International Year One in Psychology students join the other Year 1 undergraduate students to study modules at UEA.” 

“The INTO UEA students feel more part of the School of Psychology this way”, she continues. “Students study all their academic modules at UEA, then they study another English module at INTO UEA.” 

What is INTO University of East Anglia (INTO UEA)? 

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At INTO, we help thousands of international students achieve their study abroad dreams every year. You’ll study Year 1 of your study program with dedicated support at our INTO Study Center, located on the University of East Anglia’s campus. 

Our experienced teaching staff and welfare officers will offer you personalized support to help you settle into your new home and adjust to the UK education system. 

Why study an International Year One in Psychology? 

We spoke to three INTO UEA alumni about the benefits of studying the International Year One in Psychology before progressing to a degree in psychology at UEA. 

“It takes less time to graduate than in Hong Kong” 

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Sammi from Hong Kong, who went on to study BSc (Hons) Psychology at UEA, explains: “I wanted to study psychology in the UK to experience the different culture and the education system. It also takes less time to graduate than in Hong Kong.” 

How did she reach her dream? Sammi continues: “INTO UEA offered me a way to progress to university and the International Year One in Psychology got me up to the academic level I needed to be successful in my degree.” 

According to Sammi: “INTO UEA supported my development in lots of ways, including learning the skills required to write academic essays, enhancing my knowledge of psychology and improving my English skills.” 

“It was also a good experience to study with people from different countries,” she adds. 

“I had the advantage of having a support team” 

Adrian graduated with a bsc honours psychology from one of the top uk universities for psychology

For Adrian from Hong Kong, who went on to study BSc (Hons) Psychology at UEA: “doing an International Year One with INTO UEA meant that I had the advantage of having a support team in my first year at UEA.” He continues: “if I had questions about tackling coursework, I could always seek help from INTO UEA.” 

In addition to academic teaching, INTO UEA focuses on English language skills in an academic context, as Adrian explains: “INTO UEA’s biggest supporting role was the English class as it greatly benefits those whose first language isn’t English. The classes were well structured and covered content explored in the main psychology modules.” 

“A taste of what’s expected for university life” 

Ning graduated with a bsc honours in cognitive psychology

Ning Chiu from Hong Kong went on to study BSc (Hons) Cognitive Psychology at UEA. She explains: “I wanted to study psychology in the UK as I felt the university environment made it a less stressful place to study.” 

Why not apply directly to the University? As Ning Chiu describes: “I chose INTO UEA as it provided a taste of what is expected for university life, but with much more support.” 

Where’s best to study psychology in the UK as an international student? 

There are two UK universities that offer an International Year One in Psychology at the INTO Study Center on campus, leading to an undergraduate degree in psychology: 

INTO University of East Anglia 

From human cognition and perception to developmental science, social psychology, and cognitive and social neuroscience, the University of East Anglia (UEA) offers an array of flexible, research-led degrees that focus on the skills psychologists need. 

Study an International Year One in Psychology at INTO UEA to prepare for one of four undergraduate degrees in psychology at UEA. 

Rankings and accolades: 

  • Top 25 in the UK for Psychology (Guardian University Guide 2021). 
  • Top 200 in the world for Psychology (Times Higher Education World University Rankings by Subject 2021). 
  • UEA psychology degrees are accredited by the British Psychological Society. 

Top psychology facilities at UEA: 

  • Virtual Reality Laboratory – create more realistic and natural settings, such as the inside of an aircraft to help those with flying phobias. 
  • Vision and Action Laboratory – capture detailed information relating to measures such as reaction times, limb trajectories and movement speeds. 
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Laboratory – a non-invasive technique used to stimulate and gain novel insights into the human brain. 
  • Electroencephalography (EEG) Laboratory – a functional neuroimaging technique that measures brain activity in real-time using electrodes. 
  • Brain Imaging Centre – take very high spatial resolution images of the human brain using a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Scanner. 

Employability support: 

  • Option to study abroad or take a placement year with specialist organizations. Previous work placement destinations have included the NHS Trust, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and mental health charities. 
  • PsychX – a program of extra-curricular activities that includes student-led ‘Leminars’. These sessions are led by psychology graduates and second or third-year students who share their experiences with new psychology students. 

INTO University of Exeter 

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From social and organizational psychology, psychopathology and human cognition to cognitive neuroscience and animal behavior, this broad program enables you to explore a range of fields at the University of Exeter before choosing an area of special interest. 

Study an International Year One in Psychology at INTO Exeter to prepare for BSc (Hons) Psychology at the University of Exeter. 

Rankings and accolades: 

  • Top 15 in the UK for Psychology (The Complete University Guide 2022). 
  • Top 100 in the world for Psychology (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021). 
  • BSc (Hons) Psychology degree is BPS accredited by the British Psychological Society. 

Top psychology facilities at Exeter: 

  • Mood Disorders Centre – assessment, treatment and training for the benefit of people who suffer from depression. 
  • Cognitive Electrophysiology Lab – record EEGs and ERPs to determine the sequence of cognitive processes. 
  • Eye-tracking Lab – monitor eye positions to study spatial attention. 
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Lab – study the effects of localized brain stimulation on perception, attention, movement control, executive control and memory. 
  • MR Scanner – measure brain activity when someone is performing a task. 

Employability support: 

  • Career talks with psychology employers and alumni. 
  • Career conversation events with top organizations. 
  • Annual events including ‘Your Future in Psychology’ and ‘Careers in Healthcare’. 

Find out more about the International Year One in Psychology at the University of East Anglia or the International Year One in Psychology at the University of Exeter. 

You might also want to read ‘5 in-demand future jobs – and how to secure them’. 

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