Why study Psychology at Christ's?

Students are hugely positive about their experiences studying this subject at Christ’s, not just because of our College’s friendly community feel, but because we offer excellent tutorial and cross-college support.

Undergraduates can join active research groups, such as the behavioural science lab and field studies run by Christ’s Director of Studies, Professor Theresa Marteau. These look at how changing behaviour can improve population health and are widely popular with students.

PBS graduates to date have gone on to study for further degrees, or to work as research or care assistants with a view to training as clinical psychologists. Information about becoming a psychologist is available on the British Pscyhological Society website.
 

Course content and structure

The PBS course (or ‘tripos’) is a three-year degree. Please visit the University website for full details of the Psychological and Behavioural Sciences course content and structure.

 

Teaching

You attend lectures at the Department of Psychology, just a short walk away from Christ’s (see map). You also have weekly ‘supervisions’ here in College. These small-group (or one-to-one) tutorial sessions are arranged by your Director of Studies and give you the advantage of personally-tailored guidance and tuition from an experienced supervisor. And our modern library is designed to ensure you get the peace you need without feeling isolated when you’re studying independently.

Christ's currently has two academics in Psychological and Behavioural Sciences. Dr Camilla Nord is the Director of Studies and  Professor Dame Theresa Marteau is a bye-fellow and Director of the University's Behaviour and Health Research Unit in the Department of Public Health and Primary Care as well as Associate Fellow of the Centre for Science and Policy.
 

What do our students think?

Student Q&A film
  Watch the Christ's student Q&A film

Read about the experiences of students studying PBS here at Christ’s.

If you’d like to hear from other Christ's students, please watch the Christ's student Q&A film, and visit our Student Profiles page.

"Out of all of my papers this year, I thought that the most interesting essay I got to work on was either one on social norms, or another on non-traditional families, as I enjoyed being able to explore ongoing research."

Liz

How to Apply

Visit How to Apply for full details and a timeline of the application process. We welcome applicants from all backgrounds and school types, all over the world. If you're applying from outside the UK, please read our international students section.

Updates
  • Please check the subject requirements carefully before applying to Christ's, as we require either Biology or Maths at A level or equivalent.
  • On interviews: students who apply in October 2022 and are selected for interview will be interviewed online - you will not need to travel to Cambridge. For more detail see the interviews section below.


Subject requirements

Applicants for Psychological and Behavioural Sciences at Christ's College must be taking (or have taken) Biology or Mathematics amongst their A-level, IB Higher, Scottish Advanced Higher or equivalent subjects.

  • Students taking the International Baccalaureate must take Biology or Maths: Analysis and Approaches as one of their Higher Level subjects.
  • Students taking USA Advanced Placements should take five subjects including Biology or Calculus BC.

We do not require you to be studying Psychology at school.

Interviews (online in 2022)

If we invite you for interviews, these usually take place in early December. Those invited for Cambridge interviews are normally interviewed for 35-50 minutes in total. At Christ’s, we usually split the time into two interviews with academics in Psychological and Behavioural Sciences. During one of these, we’ll ask you to interpret a graph, solve a problem or comment on an essay question. 

For an idea of what to expect, please read the information and watch the short films on Cambridge admissions interviews.

There will be no written assessment for Psychological and Behavioural Sciences at Christ's College.

Offers

Christ's College does not have fixed quotas of places for different subjects and the exact numbers admitted in any one year will depend upon the strengths of the fields of applicants in various subjects. However, our aim is to make around three offers each year for PBS. 

Our typical conditional offers for PBS are A*AA or A*A*A at A level, 42 points overall in the IB with 7,7,6 in relevant Higher Level subjects, or the equivalent in other qualifications. If you are an international applicant taking another qualification, do look at the international students section for further information. If you apply after you have finished school and we give you the offer of a place, it will not normally have further academic conditions if you have already met our requirements. Further information is given on our page for post-qualification applications.
 

Helpful Resources

Psychology at Cambridge Short film
Reading suggestions Books you might enjoy reading that provide a general background to Psychological and Behavioural Sciences.
Theresa Marteau on The Life Scientific Theresa Marteau discusses how to change behaviour (a BBC Sounds registration needed to access this recording).
Psychology A-Z Exploring the range of Cambridge Psychology research

History and Philosophy of Science at Cambridge

Film about one of the possible second year options (see routes into History & Philosophy of Science)
Advanced Mathematics Support Resources for students taking A-level Mathematics (or equivalent)
Gresham College Psychology lectures Free online lectures. You can search for terms such as Psychology, Biology, or Neuroscience.
The Psychologist The British Psychological Society magazine. You may also like to explore articles on Psychology in science publications such as Nature and New Scientist.
BPS Research Digest Blog. You can even sign up to get a weekly email with summaries and links
Nuffield Research Placements Year 12 opportunity to work on a summer research project. Strict eligibility criteria apply.
HE+ Psychology Website for secondary school students who would like to explore Psychology
CamGuides Introducing the academic and information skills that you will need during your studies, as well as how and where you would be working.

 

"Both the best and the hardest thing about PBS is that it combines humanities and the sciences."

Oscar

Come to an open day or online event

Our open days and events page advertises regular online opportunities as well as events you can attend in Cambridge. If you can, sign up for a College Open Day (our October, February and September events normally include a meeting with a subject specialist). Between February and August we run regular webinars:

  • Subject Matters: The importance of post-16 subject choices (this one is also run Sept - Nov)
  • Cambridge for Beginners
  • Christ's College: A look at the Grounds and Facilities
  • Personal Statements and preparing for an application

Further subject-specific opportunities you might wish to consider include Subject Masterclasses organised by Cambridge Admissions Office, and subject-specific talks in the July Cambridge Open Days. If you are a UK student from a background where there is little tradition of entry to Higher Education, you can apply to attend a Sutton Trust Summer School in Psychological and Behavioural Sciences or to shadow a current undergraduate studying PBS via the Cambridge SU Shadowing Scheme (do be aware that there's a high proportion of applicants to places for both of these last two opportunities so please don't be discouraged if you don't get a place).

 

Need more information?

For a full picture of what the course involves, take a look at Undergraduate Psychological and Behavioural Sciences admissions on the University website and read the PBS course overview for prospective students too.

If you have any queries at all, please contact us at admissions@christs.cam.ac.uk. We’ll be happy to advise.
 

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