For prospective students
There are very many texts which provide an introduction to psychology as a whole, and to its various subfields. There are also many web resources if you wish to pursue specific topics which you identify while reading these books or elsewhere. There is no expectation whatsoever that you will have read any of these before interview.
Eysenck, M. W. and M. T. Keane (2010). Cognitive psychology: a student's handbook. Hove, Psychology Press.
Hogg, M. A. and G. M. Vaughan (2010). Essentials of social psychology. London, Prentice Hall.
Nolen-Hoeksema, S., B. Fredrickson, et al. (2009). Atkinson and Hilgard's introduction to psychology. Andover, Cengage Learning.
Schaffer, H. R. (2006). Key concepts in developmental psychology. London, SAGE.
Gazzaniga, M.S., Ivry, R.B., Mangun, G.R. (2014). Cognitive Neuroscience: The Biology of the Mind, 4th edition. W.W. Norton
For offer holders
Congratulations on your offers! We are very much looking forward to seeing you in October.
The beginning of term is always a busy time, and you’ll no doubt find yourself being bombarded with lots of paperwork and invitations to all sorts of events: ‘please set up your e-mail account…’; ‘How to get a University Card…’; ‘Want to row? Come to the bar tonight at …’ etc etc. You’ll also be thrown into an entirely new set of surroundings. Hopefully you’ll find all of this exciting - but it can also be overwhelming at times.
Just to ease your landing a little, do look at the PBS handbook (via the links below), which is published each year with details of the course you’ll be taking. This contains lots of useful information about the general organisation of the course, as well as the structure of different papers (options). You can also find plenty of important information on the PBS website.
As you will see from the available information, in the first year of the PBS course (known as PBS Part I), students take four papers: two compulsory core papers (PBS1 and PBS2) and two further papers chosen from a range of options. The two core papers provide an introduction to psychology. The optional papers allow students to explore a variety of subjects, from archaeology and biological anthropology, to computer science, philosophy and politics. Each paper has its own 'guide', where the objective and requirements for the paper are laid out and the teaching arrangements are explained. Most paper guides also contain detailed reading lists and sample essay questions.
Please do make a start with the reading lists. The more you read before coming to Cambridge, the easier and more enjoyable things will be. Try and take notes too, as there is a lot of reading, things move at a fast pace and it’s easy to forget what you read all those months ago in the summer holidays.
I hope this information proves useful. We really look forward to seeing you in October!