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Psychological and Behavioural Sciences Tripos


Sitting within the School of Biological Sciences, the PBS course at Cambridge covers the full range of perspectives important to understanding behaviour, including behavioural neuroscience in animals, cognitive neuroscience in humans, neurophysiology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, social psychology, as well as the study of atypical development and adult psychopathology. You will also study advanced research methods, statistics, and programming to equip you to engage critically with the scientific literature and prepare you to conduct your research dissertation in the final year..

Psychology shares considerable overlap with disciplines such as anthropology, philosophy, sociology, and many others. It is also of great value in many application areas ranging, for example, from traditional clinical concerns to the design of new technologies, or from how we can best educate ourselves to the workings of the economy or criminality.

The majority of the PBS degree is composed of compulsory core psychology papers that include topics such as statistics, neuroanatomy, neurotransmitters, neuroimaging, developmental psychology, psychopathology, cognitive psychology, language,  gender, family relationships and influences, personality, and group social behaviour. Students taking the PBS degree will also complete a research project in their final year, working in close collaboration with an academic expert. This research project enables students to gain greater depth on a topic of interest to them.

You will be taught by lecturers and researchers of international excellence in the subject of psychology, as well as by staff in the fields of biological and social anthropology, history and philosophy of science and sociology. Seminar programmes throughout the year offer regular talks from guest speakers. In addition to this academic expertise, you will have access to extensive library and computing facilities.

The PBS degree overlaps with two other programs of study in Cambridge and students who wish to focus more purely on a Natural Sciences programme or adopt a humanities approach to psychology might be better placed to apply to one these two neighbouring programmes. For example, students who wish to study psychology at Cambridge alongside a range pure science subjects can do so within the Natural Sciences (NST) course, whilst students who wish to take some psychology modules, but focus on a humanities degree should consider the Human, Social, and Political Sciences (HSPS) Tripos. Students applying to PBS should ideally have an aptitude for and be interested in both the Natural Sciences and humanities.


Psychology A-Z