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Year 2 (Part IIA)

PBS students take four papers in their second year. One paper is compulsory, PBS 3: Social and Developmental Psychology, and either PBS 4: Biological & Cognitive Psychology or PBS 5: Experimental Psychology must be offered. If PBS 4 is offered students choose two further optional papers, if PBS 5 is offered students offer one optional paper and must offer PBS 6: Research Skills Project.  PBS 6 allows students to develop a particular research skill, assessed by a 5,000 word project report. A list of optional papers available to students is published before the end of the previous academic year, but choices normally includes papers on Sociology, Neurobiology, Social and Biological Anthropology, the History and Philosophy of Science, Philosophy, and Education.


  • Papers. A list of papers available in Part IIA and their Paper Guides.
  • E-Learning Resources: The PBS Tripos - Part IIA Moodle site contains lecture handouts and other useful documents, including links to a selection of the material referenced on the reading lists, available electronically..

Affiliated or transferring students

For affiliated students, or students who are transferring into PBS Part II from a different Tripos, there are restrictions on what papers can be offered in Part IIA. Students must offer PBS 1 and PBS 2, from PBS Part I, if they have not previously offered these papers. Because of this affiliated students can only offer PBS 1, PBS 2, PBS 3 and PBS 4 for Part IIA. In exceptional circumstances the PBS Tripos Management Committee can give permission for a student to not offer PBS 1 or PBS 2.

By requiring students to offer PBS 1 & 2, a student who completes Part II of the PBS Tripos will have received the same psychological teaching as a typical PBS student, and therefore would still be eligible for the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership with the British Psychological Society (having met all other requirements).