Psychological and Behavioural Sciences
Psychological and Behavioural Sciences (PBS) is a three-year course covering social, developmental, biological and behavioural psychology within the broader context of the behavioural sciences. It will appeal to students interested in the development of social behaviour, psychopathology, cognitive psychology, language, brain mechanisms, gender, family relationships and influences, personality and group social behaviour amongst many other topics.
In the first year (Part I), students take two compulsory papers introducing them to psychology and psychological inquiry and methods, and two optional papers selected from Humans in Biological Perspective; Language, Communication and Literacy; Evolution and Behaviour; Analysis of Politics; British Economic History; and an introduction to Computer Science.
In the second year (Part IIA) all students take four papers. Everybody studies social psychology plus a specialist paper chosen from a range of about nineteen options including biological or social anthropology, sociology, criminology, the sociology of education etc. For the two remaining papers students can either take Biological and Cognitive Psychology and a second specialist topic, or choose Experimental Psychology and undertake a research project (assessed by a 5,000 word essay).
In the final year (Part IIB) all students undertake a research dissertation (6,000 - 10,000 words) on a psychology topic of their choice as well as three further papers which may be selected from the Part IIA specialist list which includes Development and Psychopathology, Experimental Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience, or additional psychology papers.
PBS at King's
King's has always admitted a particularly large number of students in Psychology and related disciplines and provides a stimulating and supportive intellectual environment both inside and outside of the formal course curricula. PBS students would normally attend two lectures a week for each paper as well as one or two college supervisions where they discuss written work and develop their reasoning and ideas.
After graduating, many PBS students pursue further study and research, or undertake professional courses in clinical, educational, forensic, or applied psychology. Other King's students have opted for alternative careers: the skills and knowledge you acquire on the PBS course could lead to careers in the media, management, government administration, finance or business, for example.
Fellows at King's in PBS:
Applying for PBS at King's
We welcome applications for King's PBS from a wide range of academic backgrounds in the UK and beyond. Candidates are assessed strictly on the basis of their academic promise.
There are no particular subject requirements for studying PBS, and an A-Level (or equivalent) in Psychology is not a requirement. Mathematics, science subjects such as Biology, Chemistry or Physics, and humanities subjects will all be useful preparation for this course.
All candidates for PBS are required to take the pre-interview admissions assessment, which will take place in schools and other assessment centres. You must be registered in advance (separately to your UCAS application) to take the assessment.
You will not be asked to submit any written work as part of your application.
Most (but not all) candidates are invited for interview in King's, which take place in early December. You will be asked to collect a text to read and think about in the half hour before your interview. You will then discuss the text with the interviewers.
Reading, Resources and Events
There is no prescribed reading for PBS applicants, but you may find the PBS reading suggestions below useful.
Events which may be of interest in the year before you apply (year 12 in the UK) include Oxford and Cambridge Student Conferences, CU Science Festival, CU Masterclasses, and King's Open Days. Students from backgrounds where there is little tradition of entry to Higher Education might like to think about applying for the Sutton Trust Summer Schools or the CUSU Shadowing Scheme.