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Successful Personal Statement For Psychological and Behavioural Sciences At Cambridge

Author: Rob Needleman

Table of Contents

Welcome to our popular Personal Statement series where we present a successful Personal Statement, and our Oxbridge Tutors provide their feedback on it. 

Today, we are looking through a Psychological and Behavioural Sciences (PBS) applicant’s Personal Statement that helped secure a place at Cambridge University. The PBS Course at Cambridge gives you the opportunity to study cognitive, social, developmental and biological psychology within the broader context of the behavioural sciences.

Read on to see how this candidate demonstrates their interest in the behavioural sciences.   

Here’s a breakdown of the Personal Statement (the applicant uses most of the 4,000 characters available):


The universities this candidate applied to were the following:

Enrolling on our Oxbridge Psychology comprehensive Programme will give you access to Personal Statement redrafts. 

Your tutor will give you actionable feedback with insider tips on how to improve and make your Personal Statement Oxbridge quality for the best chances of success.  

Psychological and Behavioural Sciences Personal Statement

”Such a shame she will not study medicine!” I heard several times as my interests finally steered into a university degree. Having grown up with my mum – a psychologist, from primary school I constantly questioned human behaviour. And although parents from small towns dream of their children becoming doctors, phenomena that I saw in my surroundings, like eating disorders or extreme shyness, relentlessly attracted my attention. I knew I needed to pursue an intense educational path to gain the depth of knowledge I desired.

My exceptional curiosity led me to follow the IBO program. Thanks to its curriculum, I relished the opportunity to extend my private research and put it into academic framework. While working independently on my Extended Essay “Should introversion be treated?” I discovered Susan Cain and her book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts”. My puzzle of introversion developed into educated distinction for introversion, social anxiety disorder and behavioural inhibitions. In addition, the EE helped me understand the role of biology, encouraging me to start an online course “Introduction to psychology” taught by the University of Toronto. My curiosity still reaches far beyond these introductions and I am looking forward to studying details of brain lobes during biological modules of the course. Moreover, since the subject of eating disorders is too sensitive to be researched in high school, I cannot wait to approach it at an academic level and discuss it with world class experts.

My in-depth, intense processing applies not only to theory, but I also appreciate the material world we live in. Hence, to step out of my comfort zone and into reality, I attended a Business Week program organised by Washington City in Gdansk. My initial function as Vice-President for a business simulation left me with a deep aspiration for a better performance. Therefore, I followed-up Business Week program with an advanced option and became the CEO of my team. Right then I started to appreciate the contribution of every member. I took real pleasure in guiding my team through the processes of marketing, pricing, R&D, production and the construction of a business plan, all of which I understood quickly and precisely thanks to analytical thinking skills I developed during a demanding Maths HL course.

My commitment and eagerness to learn may also be seen by the title of a finalist in the French Language Olympiad, meaning that I reached an advanced level in just two years. Furthermore, I participated in two exchange projects with a Provencal theatre to check my linguistic competencies with native speakers. Although both exchanges were awarded with European Language Label, what counted most was my exceptional chance to explore the French culture inside out. My other interests include French literature, contemporary dancing, horse riding and behavioural economics. The latter led me to the online course organised by the University of Queensland, Australia. The course outlined concepts from Daniel Kahneman’s “Thinking Fast and Slow”, of which planning fallacy and confirmation bias I consider of greatest importance. Moreover, thanks to good time management I constantly look for other initiatives, such as a charity campaign or volunteering in teaching English or organising TriMUN as Deputy Secretary General. During TriMUN I explained to participants how to follow all the diplomatic procedures – those activities made me wonder about different approaches I had to take in order to teach.

I no longer want psychology to remain only an interest of mine; instead, I need dependable academic tools to understand the research already done. As psychology is a relatively new field of science, early starting form Wundt in 1879, there is still space for much more to be done. I believe that a strong scientific background is crucial for building a career involving communicating with people efficiently and helping them function optimally in our complex material world.

For more inspiration, take a look through our other successful Personal Statement a nalysis articles:

Successful Personal Statement For Computer Science At Oxford

Good Points Of The Personal Statement

This candidate is able to identify a range of ways in which they have developed their interest in their subject area beyond the demands of their current courses of school-level study. They are also able to demonstrate that they have thought clearly and carefully about what kinds of material they might encounter at undergraduate level, and how that intersects with both their current interests and their potential areas of interest in the future. In order to have arrived at these opinions, the candidate has read a range of texts, and is able to utilise their thoughts on these texts in their statement. As such, they draw together various aspects of their academic pursuits in order to fully paint the picture of themselves as a motivated and tenacious academic student.

Bad Points Of The Personal Statement

While the candidate is generally able to express themselves clearly, there are moments where the syntax and exact choices of vocabulary seem slightly stilted, suggesting perhaps a non-native speaker or an unedited statement. This slight lapse in language skill does present areas where the communication level is affected, and therefore puts pressure on the content of the statement as a whole. The statement also relies heavily on anecdotal evidence and does include some slightly uncomfortable generalities. In addition, the candidate would benefit from perhaps adjusting the tone of their moments of personal reflection; the statement has the potential to be read in a way that suggests the writer is arrogant or pompous, and it may well be that this is solely down to word choice rather than intention.

UniAdmissions Overall Score:

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Although this statement illustrates the candidate’s academic fervour, it does also show areas for potential improvement. It would have been beneficial for the statement as a whole had the candidate maintained a clear and developed level of academic prose throughout, and they could have more clearly linked some of their extra-curricular activities to their chosen course of study. In addition, while the candidate ably discusses texts that they have read in preparation for undergraduate study, these discussions could have taken prominence in the statement, over and above the inclusion of more personal or anecdotal material.

This Personal Statement for Psychology is a good example of demonstrating interest. The candidate’s passion is clearly shown which is vital to Admissions Tutors.

Remember, at Cambridge, these Admissions Tutors are often the people who will be teaching you for the next few years, so you need to appeal directly to them.

There are plenty more successful personal statements and expert guides on our Free Personal Statement Resources page.

Our expert tutors are on hand to help you craft the perfect Personal Statement for your Cambridge PBS application.

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Top Tips for Cambridge Psychological and Behavioural Sciences Personal Statement

Your Cambridge personal statement should show the admissions tutors at Cambridge that you are interested in and engaged with Psychology, and demonstrate why you would be a great candidate for the Psychological and Behavioural Sciences course (PBS). Read on to find out how to make a great impression with your personal statement!

1. Start preparing early!

A great Cambridge PBS personal statement will include lots of super-curricular activities (this means things you’ve done related to Psychology above and beyond what you’ve done as part of your school curriculum). You want to give yourself plenty of time to read things you’re interested in and perhaps even discover some new areas of interest, so start preparing for this early.

2. Figure out what areas of Psychology interest you

Psychology is a broad topic, and you would never be able to talk about all of it in a Cambridge PBS personal statement. Instead you need to focus on what areas interest you the most. If you’re studying Psychology already, think about which aspects of your course you enjoy the most and try and seek out some wider reading that goes beyond what you’ve been taught. If you’ve never studied it before, there must be a reason you want to study it at degree level so focus on what got you into Psychology as a starting point. Cambridge want to know why you want to study the subject at degree level – what specific aspects captured your interest?

3. Be reflective about your super-curricular activities

Your Cambridge PBS personal statement shouldn’t just read like a big list of all the things you’ve read/seen/done that relate to Psychology. Try taking a more reflective and critical approach – what did you learn from what you did? You can also try making links between different things you’ve done, and how one piece of reading might have led you to another idea and a different activity. This helps to show you are engaging with the subject.

4. Don’t worry if you don’t have relevant work experience

Cambridge does not require or expect you to have any work experience. It is not always easy to organise and is not a requirement for the course. If you have work experience, it is important to demonstrate how this has changed your perspective on Psychology and what you learned from it. This doesn’t necessarily have to be work experience that is directly subject relevant as long as it had an impact on your approach to the subject. For example – someone who had work experience volunteering with children learning to read might be inspired to read up on the psychological theories of how reading skills develop.

5. Use a variety of sources to explore Psychology

The bulk of your Cambridge PBS personal statement will be about your super-curricular activities, and this is a really broad category. Basically anything you can relate to Psychology counts, whether that’s some volunteering you did, a book or article you read, a documentary you watched, a MOOC you completed or anything else you can think of! Plenty of these resources will be free too.

6. Structure your Cambridge PBS personal statement appropriately

Admissions tutors will be reading loads of statements, so you need to make yours clear and easy to read – if it’s structured confusingly and full of unnecessarily complicated language they may not have the extra time to make sense of what you’re trying to say. Separate your ideas into paragraphs, and have a short introduction and conclusion to bring it all together. Also be aware of the Cambridge PBS personal statement word limit – you only have 4000 characters (47 lines of text). Therefore it’s important to be concise in the language you use. Use formal language, but make sure it’s natural for you to use – if you use flowery and complex language you wouldn’t normally use to try and impress the reader, it’s not going to work. All that really shows is you know how to use a thesaurus!

7. Your Cambridge PBS personal statement should be personal

Asking others for advice, whether that’s teachers, friends, parents etc. can be useful but remember it is YOUR Cambridge PBS personal statement, not theirs! Don’t change anything you don’t want to change just because someone else says you should. And don’t let anyone else write it for you – it is really obvious when students haven’t used their own words in a statement and have let someone else have too much control. Everyone will have their opinions on how a Cambridge PBS personal statement should sound – your opinion on how your Cambridge PBS personal statement should sound is the only one that matters.

8. Give yourself plenty of time to write it

The UCAS deadline for applying to Cambridge is always in mid-October, which is much earlier than for applicants to other universities. This deadline is also inflexible – you won’t be able to apply late. Therefore it’s important you start writing well in advance of the deadline to have enough time to carefully consider what to write, get feedback from others, and refine your Cambridge PBS personal statement. It’s worth thinking about starting it towards the end of the summer before you apply. You can’t write the best Cambridge PBS personal statement possible if you’re rushing it the night before the deadline!

9. Make sure you know the content of your statement well, and don’t lie about what you’ve done

Cambridge says that they may use your PBS personal statement as a basis for interview questions. Therefore, it is vital that you don’t put anything on it if you wouldn’t be comfortable having a conversation about it. Also remember that it is unlikely but entirely possible that the person who conducts your interview has actually written one of the books on your Cambridge PBS personal statement. Therefore you really don’t want to put anything on there that you haven’t read properly, and it might be a good idea to reread things before interview.

10. Try to avoid cliches

Admissions tutors will be reading loads of Cambridge PBS personal statements so you want yours to seem original. Avoid cliched phrases like ‘I have always been interested in…’ ‘For as long as I can remember…’ ‘From a young age…’ (this is by no means an exhaustive list!). Opening with a quote is also rather overdone and doesn’t add much to your statement. Don’t just say vague things about how ‘passionate’ or ‘fascinated’ you are about Psychology – you’re applying to study it at Cambridge so passion for the subject is a given! Your statement should demonstrate your fascination for Psychology without you needing to use the cliche of saying that directly.

11. Proofread

Don’t neglect the proofreading! The last thing you want is to submit a Cambridge PBS personal statement that is full of typos – it doesn’t look very professional. PBS at Cambridge is primarily an essay based subject, and while the Cambridge PBS personal statement isn’t the main way they assess your writing ability, it can’t hurt to make sure your Cambridge PBS personal statement is well-written.

12. Don’t worry too much about extra-curriculars

You might want to add some extra-curricular activities that don’t relate to Psychology to your statement, particularly if you are also applying to other universities too that might value them, but keep it brief. Cambridge do not care about what you have done outside of your subject, however impressive it might be. It’s good to put this sort of thing in as other universities you are applying to will be looking for it, but keep it to a couple of sentences as it’s not really relevant for your Cambridge application.

13. Avoid mentioning Oxford by name (or any other university you’re applying to).

Chances are Cambridge isn’t the only university you’re applying to, and all universities you apply to through UCAS will see identical versions of your Cambridge PBS personal statement. It’s not a good idea to mention any university by name or be too specific in any way, as it may put off other universities from giving you an offer. Keep your Cambridge PBS personal statement applicable to everywhere you are applying to. However, there is a way to tell Cambridge what it is about their course you especially like, bringing us nicely on to…

14. Don’t forget the Supplementary Application Questionnaire (SAQ)

The SAQ is an additional piece of the application that Cambridge will ask for after you’ve submitted your UCAS. It is mainly for extra admin information but there is also space to write an additional 1,200 character PBS personal statement that is only seen by Cambridge. This is a great opportunity to let them know what specific aspects of the course attracted you to apply to study it. You don’t have to write one, but if you do have anything you’d like to add about the Cambridge course specifically this is the place to do it. The SAQ deadline is usually around a week after the October UCAS deadline (be aware that an earlier deadline may apply for international students) so think about what you might want to say on the SAQ in plenty of time.

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Cambridge University Personal Statements

We hope our collection of cambridge university personal statements provides inspiration for writing your own. please do not plagiarise them in any way, or ucas will penalise your application. our  personal statement editing & review services  are availble if you feel you need a little extra help..

History Personal Statement Example 2 I am captivated by the diversity and depth offered by a History degree; attracted by the way it encourages us to be analytical of the values and patterns of past societies. It was in my final year of secondary school that I was awarded the History Attainment Award, although my desire to study History dates back to an earlier age when I visited the site of the allied landings in Normandy at just eleven years old...

Linguistics Personal Statement Example 1 My most memorable Christmas came with a parcel of Harry Potter audio books and this was where my quest to understanding language began. The moment Stephen Fry started to narrate chapter one, I fell in love with words and all they could achieve...

Psychology Personal Statement Example 2 Psychology surrounds us. I often observe my class mates and ask myself why they are so different, struggling with attention or eating disorders. While looking for reasons, I also want to find ways to help them and I am confident that psychology will give me the means to do so...

Politics and International Relations Personal Statement Example 4 The era in which we live goes through constant turmoil and shifting powers. Not a day goes by without a change somewhere on our planet, which in turn has an effect on yet another change to come elsewhere...

Education and Drama Personal Statement Example (Oxbridge) "I shall have poetry in my life. And adventure. Unbiddable, ungovernable, like a riot in the heart, come ruin or rapture." Perhaps one should not begin with the words of another when presenting oneself, but as an actress, utilising the words of others is something that has become second nature...

Psychology Personal Statement Example 6 It was the odd behavioural traits displayed by my uncle, who has Asperger’s syndrome that first generated from a young age my questioning about why he acted so ‘differently’ to the rest of us. This was part of what led to my interest of studying psychology, as it made me question how and why humans are so disparate from one another, and what part the brain plays in running our everyday lives...

Politics & International Relations Personal Statement Example 2 It was November 1989. My parents were rattling their keys in the main square of Bratislava with other Czechoslovak youngsters asking for the democracy that was denied by the Communist regime. They raised me in an environment, where appreciation of freedom, expressing my thoughts and being an active citizen have been essential...

Mathematics and Physics Personal Statement Example 1 Mathematics is a fundamental tool for understanding our world: it can be used to define the symmetry of flowers or to manage global companies. What is so appealing about mathematics is the opportunity of applying it in the physical world...

Aerospace Engineering Personal Statement Example 1 Fire, the wheel, boats, book printing, electricity, engines, automobiles, planes, spaceships, wireless information transfer: engineering is determining this progress. Leading engineers are the creators of our future...

Maths and Spanish Personal Statement Example For as long as I have recognised words and numbers, I have seen a connection between the two. As I progressed in the AS Mathematics course I realised how drawn I was to the subject, motivating me to spend 2 weeks at school over the summer holidays learning 2 entire AS Further Maths modules, in order to take the full A-level course in one year...

Languages Personal Statement Example 10 At the age of eight, a friend introduced me to Guy Hamilton's 1969 film 'Battle of Britain'. This instilled in me two things: my doomed childhood ambition to be a Spitfire pilot, long since grudgingly abandoned, but also, perhaps ironically, a love for the sound and feel of the German language that has stayed with me all through the intervening decade...

English Personal Statement Example (Mature Student) Having worked on a secure psychiatric unit for two years, caring for many people unable to or precluded from following their dreams due to mental illness, as well as over a decade employed in positions just to pay the bills, I am finally pursuing my dream of becoming a published novelist...

History Personal Statement Example 7 It isn't an exaggeration to say my devotion to History has moulded me into the diligent and ambitious person I am today. History continues to shape our contemporary world and my opinions have been formed from an intellectual curiosity about the resonances between the past and the present...

Chemistry Personal Statement Example 2 Science is not just a subject taken in school, or a body of knowledge; it is a state of mind as well – always inquisitive and wondering. As a child, the world around me constantly captivated me and inspired questions, and I found delight in having my questions answered, always wanting to learn more, from fundamental particles, to atoms and molecules, to organisms, planets, and the universe...

Anthropology Personal Statement Example 2 My fascination with human behaviour and the motivations behind human actions has existed for most of my adult life, to determine a cause however I would accredit this to the voluntary work I participated in with Crisis Single Persons Homeless charity...

Mathematics and Economics Personal Statement Example 2 Every day we make decisions and interact with others; the laws of economics help us make rational choices and consider the irrationality of others, as well as understand the world better. Maths and statistics are the necessary tools for me to understand the modern economics...

Mechanical Engineering Personal Statement Example 2 The ability to apply what I have learnt in the classroom to the outside world is an aspect of physics and maths that I particularly enjoy. An example of this was being able to calculate the coefficient of friction between a book and a table, by knowing the weight and measuring the angle at which it started to move...

Pure Mathematics Personal Statement Example Mathematics is beautiful to me because of the deep and meaningful ideas touched upon by it, the vastness of these ideas, the clearness and elegance of their representation. Mathematics gives me the ability to apply knowledge by approaching things logically, and thinking clearly...

Civil Engineering Personal Statement Example 9 Civil engineering is a discipline which is essential in the modern world: roads, bridges, airports, railways, sewage works and power stations all provide the fabric of today's society, and without them the world would be a very different place...

Mathematics and Engineering Personal Statement Example Questions regarding the reason for my liking of mathematics have only one answer: mathematical logic and concepts contribute to a practical approach in every aspect of life. It is the diversity and universal applicability of this subject that encourages me to delve further and study it in depth...

Maths and Science Personal Statement Example Maths and science, in particular physics, have always been my favourite subjects in school. I have an inquisitive mind and am always asking "how?" and "why?" to find out how things work. I chose maths, physics and biology for my A levels, yet only realised I wanted to do engineering when I started studying topics such as mechanics...

Medicine Personal Statement Example 48 Given that over ninety nine percent of the body consists of just six elements, it is hard to imagine the human body as an intricately synchronised and immensely complex machine. Yet, it has done well to puzzle even the brightest minds in history-but I am drawn to a challenge; I cannot think of anything else more fascinating to work with...

Geography Personal Statement Example (Human/Environmental) The possibility of the human race’s days being numbered by our destructive lifestyles, as planted in my mind by Al Gore’s sensationalised and controversial ‘The Inconvenient Truth’, has fuelled my interest in the global warming phenomenon, forcing me to question society’s reluctance to tackle it and realise the worldwide impact of each of our daily lives...

Psychology Personal Statement Example 51 There is a reason behind everything we do, a purpose to our actions. The cognition behind any decision that we make is one of the many aspects of psychology that I am fascinated by. The following five words, as said by the Prophet Muhammad, I believe explain such a suggestion: "Actions are but by intentions"...

Mathematics Personal Statement Example 12 Mathematics is at the root of many academic subjects, such as mechanics in Physics, organic Chemistry and even Music and this is why I find it so fascinating. The process of starting from a simple set of formulae and deriving nearly all mathematical truth from these is what makes Mathematics a leading academic subject...

Engineering Personal Statement Example 20 Overcoming economic hurdles tempered by ecological limits requires innovative solutions. For centuries mathematical and analytical skills have fused to solve practical problems. The diverse nature of engineering has made advancements possible in an array of fields from the wheel to The International Space Station...

Architecture Personal Statement Example 16 I vividly remember the moment when I knew I wanted to be an architect. I had been taken to Barcelona to see ‘the wavy buildings’, at the time I didn’t know anything about Gaudí or his work so I was relatively unenthusiastic...

History Personal Statement Example 37 My interest in history lies in the simple fact that I have always been fascinated by the past. At eleven I won a full academic bursary to attend my current school. This was a way into a community in which my intellectual curiosity would be valued and where I could further my enthusiasm for history...

Medicine Personal Statement Example 61 While the idea to care for others is appealing to me, the applications of medicine for finding remedies to the complexities of the human body fascinates me even more. Studying medicine opens several career options from general practice to clinical research! Having the interest and aptitude for scientific knowledge and the awareness to promote health safety, it encourages me to choose this highly rewarding and satisfying course...

Aerospace Engineering Personal Statement Example 17 While other children fell asleep to the sound of their parents reading them bedtime fairytales, I was busy re-reading Ladybirds Explorer’s, “Flight” for probably the fourth time that day. I’ve been enthralled by the concept of flight and aerodynamics ever since I was young...

Chemistry Personal Statement Example 17 The realisation I wanted to study Chemistry at degree level came with my growing appreciation of its contribution and significance in shaping modern society, coupled with an increasing interest in the subject as my knowledge and understanding have developed...

History Personal Statement Example 40 History has always fascinated me because of what it can tell us about humanity; the decisions taken, the actions chosen and the mistakes made can all make us reflect on what it means to be human. I firmly believe history is not simply a case of learning facts and dates but rather a chance to analyse the past, enhancing our understanding of how we interact with each other today...

Maths Personal Statement Example 12 Mathematics dictates our understanding of the universe; the sciences that the world depends on today are founded and dependant on maths. Scientists and mathematicians spend their lives making remarkable discoveries contributing to the development of humanity, the findings we have been making in fields like quantum mechanics would be completely impossible without maths...

English Personal Statement Example 30 English is not simply the study of humanity, or society, or history or the written word; it is all of those together and it is this versatility that makes it so appealing to me. The link between literary criticism and psychoanalysis is a great interest of mine...

Psychology Personal Statement Example 67 I first became interested in psychology whilst discussing the underlying causes of criminal behaviour and non-conformity with my father. The nature-nurture debate gave me a huge desire to increase my knowledge and understanding of the human condition...

Economics Personal Statement Example 31 Since my parents were busy with the financial income throughout my childhood, I have been raised up by my grandmother. She was the oldest of 8 siblings in a family who were living in impoverished conditions...

Natural Sciences Personal Statement Example 4 Why and How? I believe these are the two most important question words as they express mankind’s unquenchable thirst for knowledge, and they have lain the foundation of sciences and have helped us find answers and solutions to problems throughout history from the domestication of fire to Darwin’s theory of evolution, to landing on the moon and so on...

Archaeology Personal Statement Example 6 I have always enjoyed learning about different cultures and civilisations, reflected in my enduring love of history, and more recently, archaeology. Compared to modern history, archaeology carries a sense of enigma which makes it much more stimulating for an imaginative and inquisitive mind...

Mechanical Engineering Personal Statement Example 19 These days, we are surrounded by engineering marvels. From radios to space shuttles, everything involves a vital feat of engineering. That is what I find most attractive about this field as its application is everywhere...

Land Economy Personal Statement Example (Cambridge University) Having been born and lived all my life in Hungary, with an English father and Hungarian mother, I have always wanted to go to university in England and spend most of my summers working in England. Being bilingual gives me an ability to see both sides of the question, and examine things from different perspectives which I feel will be useful for my studies...

Engineering Personal Statement Example 23 As I triggered the release mechanism and watched two pounds of rock hurtle skywards I thought to myself, "trebuchets are awesome!". Years passed before I realised that this was my first engineering project...

Engineering Personal Statement Example 24 When I was a child, most of the sentences I spoke out finished with a question mark, asking how everyday things work. Receiving answers to these questions and learning more about Mathematics and Physics has enlarged my desire to make human life easier and become an Engineer...

Linguistics Personal Statement Example 3 Have you ever heard the Tuvan throat singing technique? Beautiful and intriguing at the same time. The question that's bound to accompany a throat singing performance is how the human voice could possibly produce such a sound...

Computer Science Personal Statement Example 56 Computer Science - the most exciting insight into humanity's mission to conquer the future. It has been my favourite and most fascinating preoccupation since childhood, though back then I did not even know it...

History Personal Statement Example (Oxbridge) 2 Whether considering the real world applications of Bentham's utilitarianism in Religious Studies, analysing the context of a changing Victorian society in English Literature, or debating the evolving ideology of the Labour Party in Politics, there is one common thread connecting what I enjoy most about my studies: history...

Sociology Personal Statement Example 14 The need for the study of Sociology in society is, arguably, universally fundamental. The study of society is of paramount importance in solving social problems of great magnitude such as poverty and family disorganisation...

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Psychology Personal Statements

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Psychology Personal Statement Advice

When applying for a psychology degree, you need to provide a persuasive psychology personal statement. Alongside your application form, your psychology UCAS personal statement is a description of your skills, ambitions and interests. Writing a personal statement for a psychology masters or undergraduate programme is a big deal: it’s a really popular discipline, so this is your chance to set yourself apart from the other candidates. Don’t worry about combing the internet for psychology quotes for personal statements. The course leaders are interested in you, not your ability to choose a punchy sound bite from Freud. Use your word count to show them who you are!Be honest, clear and specific. Sharing personal statement examples for university can be helpful; reading your friends’ drafts and giving each other feedback can help you pick up on mistakes. Check out our examples of personal statements for psychology for more ideas, and read on to discover how to start a personal statement… Your main goal is to summarise your subject-based strengths and evidence them. A top-notch psychology personal statement example would reference elements of the course and link them to personal qualities, goals and successes. E.g. your experience as a peer mentor at college supports your psychology / mental health personal statement. When applying to multiple universities, keep your comments broad enough to suit different joint honours choices. A psychology and sociology personal statement combined with a forensic psychology personal statement could, for example, mention an interest in criminal behaviour, as it complements both disciplines. Creating a postgraduate psychology personal statement can tough, so gaining clinical work experience can give your application the edge. The main difference between a psychology masters personal statement and undergraduate will be demonstrating expertise; really consider your achievements, experiences and interests in this narrowed field. For example, a psychology and law personal statement might highlight a legal internship, and a criminology and psychology personal statement could highlight voluntary work with the police.

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How to Write a Psychology Personal Statement: Our Updated 2023 Guide

This blog leads you through some of U2’s Oxford and Cambridge-educated Psychology graduates’ tips for building content for, writing and structuring your Psychology personal statement. Most University level Psychology courses do not require that students have taken Psychology at A-level or IB (in fact, some professors advise that students don’t take it, because the A-Level/ IB syllabus is so different from what you learn at University). So, how do you demonstrate your aptitude for the course at university level? Whether you have studied Psychology at school, or are starting afresh, this blog will teach you how to ensure your Psychology personal statement stands out to interviewers for the top UK universities.

Few students will have written anything like a UCAS personal statement before - an approximate side of A4 on what exactly you have to offer. For some general tips on how to write a high-level and original personal statement, check out our blog on 10 Top Tips for Writing a Standout Oxbridge Personal Statement .

Your personal statement should integrate your personal interests, subject knowledge and extracurricular experience. For Psychology, we suggest focusing on three main areas: (1) highlight your personal interest in psychology and link this more explicitly to the range of ways you have explored the subject; (2) emphasise your academic abilities and how these will ensure you suit the course e.g. You may mention your mathematical/ scientific abilities and how this complements/ facilitates your interest in empirically studying human behaviour; (3) discuss extra-curricular activities and how these also relate to your subject interest. E.g. Essay competitions, projects, lectures etc. We have provided guidance on each of the three key points below, how to weave them together and structure your personal statement. Take heed and you should have all the tools you need for writing a standout Psychology personal statement!

(1) Highlight your personal interest in psychology and link this more explicitly to the range of ways you have explored the subject

If you have an initial interest in Psychology, but have not had a chance to explore it in-depth, or beyond the school syllabus, this should be the first step. Do not regurgitate your school syllabus. You’ll need to read and research the subject, refining your interests and building evidence of your wider exploration e.g. through reading books, articles and scientific research papers.

Ideas to direct your exploration:

One way of developing an early understanding of key aspects of Psychology is to briefly look at the compulsory modules of the courses that interest you and gain an initial overview of key themes/ topics through reading and research. E.g. The undergraduate psychology course at Oxford University covers: Social Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, and Neuroscience, so you could try to gain a quick appreciation of each module through research. Cambridge also provide a useful A-Z of key topics in Psychology.

After an initial introduction into broad areas of psychology and what they involve, focus in. Which areas pique your interest most? Keep a file with notes on each topic, read articles to extend your knowledge, and remember to relate concepts to your personal experience (e.g. examples from everyday life, real-world applications of concepts) so you don’t end up turning your personal statement into an essay. Why does [Insert topic] make you want to study Psychology at degree level? What catalysed your interest in [Insert topic]? Can you think of examples in your everyday life that relate? :

E.g. Following some research, you may find you are interested in Social Psychology, in particular group identity. What interests you about it? You may have read about ‘outgroup homogeneity’: the failure to see differences between members of out-group. Can you think of examples in your everyday experience? E.g. Racial prejudice?

Conversely, you may have started with thinking about racial prejudice, if that is something you are particularly passionate about, and that could have led you to research the psychology behind it, which could have brought you to Outgroup homogeneity. Either method is great. When it comes to writing your personal statement, it can be best to start with the personal experience/ interest and mention how this spurred you on to the academic research/ how your interest deepened with wider exploration.

Psychology Reading Recommendations

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat – Oliver Saks: This book provides case histories of patients who have suffered a range of neurological disorders. E.g. Patients who have lost their memories, patients with violent tics, those with disabilities, but who are mathematical geniuses.

Thinking, Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman : Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences laureate, Kahneman, developed ‘Prospect theory’, a theory of the psychology of choice, which has been central to the relatively new field of behavioural economics. The book provides a good overview of a variety of key topics and is particularly useful for those with a penchant for economics (thinking about interdisciplinarity and how your subjects of interest link is always great for your personal statement), or for those simply interested in real-world applications of theories. Try to think of examples from your everyday life e.g. How decision making can be influenced by advertising and product placement.

Bad Science - Ben Goldachre: Dr Ben Goldacre is the author of the Bad Science column in the Guardian. This humorous book should encourage you to critically appraise articles that you read and stimulate a broader discussion on subjectivity/objectivity and empiricism in psychological research. Humans introduce bias into all research - e.g. Look into the spurious findings of fMRI research when researchers do not adequately account for ‘noise’ in the data.

The Memory Illusion – Dr Julia Shaw: Forensic psychologist and memory specialist, Dr Julia Shaw, uses the latest research to show the many ways in which our brains can be led astray by memory. Learn about how errors in reconstructing memory reflect inherent biases. If you would like to learn more about memory, check out our co-curricular division, Minds Underground™’s Mind-Enhancing Articles: Psychology section, where our Oxbridge psychologists examine the role of memory and other key psychology topics/ questions.

Psychology Personal Statement

Also try to read some scientific papers and start thinking critically about them, and stay updated on developments in psychology and psychology in the news. E.g. Through reading The New Scientist - Psychology News , Neuroscience News , Naked Scientist Psychology articles & podcasts, or the Royal Society of Psychology research articles, podcasts and blog posts.

(2) Emphasise your academic abilities and how these will ensure you suit the course

Throughout your personal statement, you should demonstrate how you have built skills in preparation for university and for studying Psychology . To begin preparation, brainstorm your academic abilities and skills, and how these ensure you will suit the course/s you are applying for. Extensively research your top university choices, and see if they have a page dedicated to what they want from applicants. Fill a table as in the example below to help you relate your skills to the study of Psychology.

Psychology Oxford

(3) Discuss extra-curricular activities and how these relate to your subject interests

Many students mistake “extra-curricular activities” for non-subject-related activities such as sport, art, or music. Whilst you can mention these at the end of your personal statement, you are much better off mentioning co-curriculars that directly link to your subject, especially if applying to Oxford or Cambridge (non-academic activities should be 2-3 lines maximum to round-off your personal statement in this case).

If you can’t think of co-curricular activities to mention, now is the time to start finding opportunities to take part in! Here are some ideas:

Essay Competitions

Minds Underground hosts a Psychology Essay Competition each year. This year, the competition includes a Psychology Research Proposal Challenge, which is perfect for demonstrating independent research & initiative, and will encourage you to learn about experimental design, data collection, handling and analysis.

Also check out Oxford and Cambridge-run essay competitions e.g. Newnham College runs a Psychological & Behavioural Sciences competition each year.

Research Projects

You could task yourself with curating your own independent research project to mention on your personal statement.

3 Example Projects:

Investigating the effects of colour, word type, or other non-semantic factors on memory/reaction time/false memory recall of word lists

Influence of age/gender/multilingualism or any number of other factors on memory, number & word processing, any easily quantifiable metric.

An investigation into behavioural economics in the style of Kahneman & Tversky, looking at Type 1 & 2 decision making and how this can be influenced, for example, by advertising and product placement.

If you are looking to undertake a project under the tutelage of a Psychology subject expert, we also run specialised guided research projects through Minds Underground, usually a month in duration, with weekly project tutorial sessions (these are paid). E.g. “A Psychology or Medicine Project with a Research Associate for the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences at the Oxford University Hospital Trust (NHS)” or “Psychiatrists & Pharmaceuticals: Alzheimer’s Research Project” with Psychology & Philosophy Oxford graduate, Georgia, who is studying for an MSc in Child and Adolescent Mental Health at UCL.

The aim is to combine teaching of high-level subject-specific content with exposure to real-world applications of these concepts, giving you the opportunity to undertake a project that is both useful for a university application and potential future career. The projects are great to mention on personal statements, and make impressive talking points at interview, particularly for top UK universities such as Oxbridge (our project hosts are all Oxbridge-educated), who favour applicants with an interest in scientific research. 

Societies, Summer Schools & Lectures/ Talks

 Are you part of your school’s Psychology Society ? If the school doesn’t have one, could you start one up? Or if they have a STEM society, could you introduce a Psychology element or invite speakers for lectures?

We host a fantastic Psychology Summer School for university applicants, hosted by our team of Psychology Oxbridge graduates. The 12 weekly sessions, running from June - August, will provide a taster of University level Psychology, to provide material which students can write about in personal statements, an discuss during their interviews

There are a plethora of online lectures and talks for you to access online - E.g. Gresham College Psychology lectures, or Ted Talks on Psychology

Oxbridge Psychology Personal Statement

Next Steps: Drafting & Structuring the Personal Statement

Try to narrow your interests down to 2 or 3 topic areas which you can use as overarching themes for your personal statement, e.g. (1) Theories of Mind, of Consciousness, (2) Psychology & Gender, (3) Social Psychology - Group Identity.

Ensure you can address these themes in depth. Have a range of resources to draw from e.g. a scientific paper, a book, research you undertook as part of an essay competition.

Ensure a strong narrative, including linking of concepts between key sections.

Demonstrate personal critical analysis to show your engagement and interest in the subject.

Example Structure

Aim for around four main paragraphs:

1st paragraph (introductory): What is your motivation to study Psychology? Be specific: what do you want to explore at university? What is distinctive about studying Psychology that makes it worthwhile? Ensure you talk about what motivates your study of the subject now, not a catalyst from your childhood as the interviewer will find it clichéd and less relevant.

2nd paragraph: Explore your interest in [Insert topic] through [Insert activity: e.g. Summer School]. Which of your abilities did this highlight? Link the topic to an interest in [Insert research form: An experiment, article etc.]. Link this to [Insert another activity e.g. a Cambridge lecture on X].

3rd paragraph: Link to paragraph two. This paragraph can follow the same format, but deal with a different topic/ theme.

4th paragraph: Mention extra-curricular activities that don’t relate to your subject interests really briefly (e.g., music, volunteering, anything else of relevance) and demonstrate how these have built skills in preparation for university and for studying Psychology.

You could mention your other A-Level/ IB subjects, perhaps describing how they have enhanced your study of Psychology. 

You could mention any prizes or roles of responsibility which you have had at school, including any clubs that you might organise, such as the school newspaper or student council.

It can be useful to conclude your personal statement by returning to your aptitude for studying the subject in a final few lines . Which core skills do you possess which will equip you to excel at degree level? It’s important to strike a balance between enthusiasm for the subject and evidence of skills.

Finally, remember not to start thinking about your personal statement too late! The content building part is by far the most important - without well-thought out content and a wide range of evidence for your independent exploration, you will not be able to write an engaging personal statement. The writing part will be easy if you have lots of exciting content to draw from.

Best of luck!

Looking for a Personal Statement Tutor or Support For Your Wider Psychology Application?

Personal Statement

U2’s Oxbridge-educated mentors have a close insight into what admissions tutors like to see in a Psychology personal statement, and can help students to convey their skills, motivations, and long term goals, in order to stand out from other applicants. The statement should be the candidates own work, but our mentors will provide direction and guide you through the process of content building and writing. We offer offline drafting as well as tuition sessions.

Oxbridge Psychology Mentoring

U2 offers both ad hoc tuition and wider Oxbridge Mentoring programmes (book a free consultation to discuss options). We have a large team of Oxbridge-educated Psychology mentors including 1st Class, Master’s and PhD level graduates.

The Process:

1) We suggest an Oxbridge Psychology graduate as a mentor and send their full CV for review. Our mentors are deeply familiar with the admissions process to study Psychology at the University of Oxford and Cambridge, and are well-placed to guide you through personal statement curation and the interview process. We may suggest a range of application tutors to choose from with slightly differing rates depending on qualifications and level of experience.

2) We typically suggest beginning with a 1.5 hour informal assessment/ taster session , where the mentor will informally assess the student’s current performance level for application. Following this, we issue a report with feedback, and structure a plan to best prepare.

3) U2’s approach for regular Psychology application sessions: The main focus of tutorial sessions will be to explore material that can be discussed in the personal statement and at interview - this may sometimes stretch from A-Level standard to First Year Undergraduate. Mentors ensure each student refines their interests within Psychology, and is exposed to a range of key themes and topics. Throughout there will be a focus on the experimental side of psychology, by centring the course on real studies, and discussing the techniques and limitations involved in psychological experiments. Together, we build a case for the student, solidifying the stance and direction they will take during interview.

Frequency of sessions can be decided between student and mentor. Students can take either ad hoc sessions, or we structure a full programme for preparation, which may include further co-curricular opportunities such as our research projects , Psychology summer school and Oxbridge mock interview days. Honing the skills necessary to succeed for Oxbridge ideally requires long-term preparation and mentoring presents a wonderful opportunity to learn from some of the very best Oxbridge has produced.

Sessions from £70/h.

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How To Write A Personal Statement For Psychology

How To Write A Personal Statement For Psychology

Writing a personal statement for a psychology course in the UK can be a daunting task. Your personal statement is an opportunity to highlight your achievements, experiences, and goals, and to showcase your fit for a specific programme or institution.

Many students want to study psychology in the UK since it has one of the best universities in the world. Also, many international students are applying to UK universities every year. In total, around 60000 students study psychology in the UK.

In this blog post, we will provide tips and guidelines on how to write a compelling personal statement for a psychology degree and university. We will also discuss common mistakes to avoid and give some examples to help you get started preparing for your university application.

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It is an opportunity for you to show your unique background, experiences, how strong the secondary school education you have, and your interests, and to explain how these have prepared you for a career in psychology.

In your personal statement, you should highlight your passion for psychology and your goals for the future. This part is very important for admission tutors at universities.

You should also write about a relevant research project or work experience, as well as any relevant coursework or extracurricular activities. 

Recommended guides:

What makes a good personal statement for psychology

When creating your personal statement for psychology, it’s essential to focus on your passion and demonstrate your desire to pursue an undergraduate degree in psychology. To make your application stand out, be specific and provide concrete examples of your experiences and accomplishments.

It’s also essential to use a clear and concise writing style, avoiding jargon – this is something that is not appropriate for university admission tutors. And don’t forget to carefully edit and proofread your statement to ensure it’s error-free and presents a polished, professional image.

Finally, make sure to tailor your statement to the specific psychology programme applying for. Since you will study Psychology, you can choose from many programmes. See the list below. 

Consider the values and goals of the programme, and explain how your experiences and interests align with these. Asking a friend or family member to review your statement before submitting it can also be helpful. Also, you can hire a professional writer to proofread your application.

Check out our UCAS-specific guide: Perfect your application with these useful guides.

How to structure a psychology personal statement

Well-written psychology personal statements increase your chances of getting a place on your desired course and help you stand out from other applicants.

Learning what to include and how to structure your psychology personal statement can improve its quality. As a general framework for your psychology personal statement, we have included some steps below.

Research before starting writing 

For example, formatting advice, examples of the kind of experience that would be relevant to mention, or what they are looking for in candidates may be included. Your writing can be guided and informed by this information.

Outline ideas on paper 

Prepare a brief outline of what you want to discuss in your psychology personal statement. An introduction to yourself, your experiences (shown in an example), your knowledge, research projects (if you have it), important skills, and why you are interested in this particular course might be included.

The outline can help you plan the structure and content of your personal statement.

Write an amazing personal statement introduction

You will have the first opportunity to demonstrate to admission tutors why you are the best candidate for a psychology course during your introduction.

Stand out while staying on topic by highlighting what makes you unique in terms of your skill sets, experience, and passions.

Engage Tutors with your statement

The opening sentences of your personal statement are crucial in making an impact on admission tutors. To capture their attention and interest, try starting with punchy, short, and relevant sentences that stand out and create a smooth flow for the reader.

Experiences, skills and interests in psychology

A personal statement is much more than a representation of yourself. It emphasises why the psychology course is appropriate for you.

Highlight to university members why you’re interested in psychology and what abilities you’ll bring to your studies to achieve.

Always back up your views with real-world examples from your own life, whether it’s a personal experience, something you witnessed secondhand, or something you read about that inspired you to pursue this job.

Make a clear conclusion

An excellent conclusion to your psychology personal statement , like the start, may create a lasting influence on the tutors . Try to cover all of the essential arguments you’ve raised in a clear, succinct manner. Show why you want to study a specific course at a university.

Stick to the subject and avoid using fluffy, long boring sentences. Make sure you leave the admission tutor in a good, enthusiastic tone so that they end your statement with a positive view.

Check to spell and proofread errors

Before you submit your UCAS personal statement , be sure to thoroughly proofread it for any grammar or spelling errors. Reading it out loud or having someone else read it for you can help catch mistakes.

Keep in mind that a successful psychology personal statement is clear , informative , and personal , so avoid using overly long sentences and aim for a professional yet energetic tone.

Highly recommended to read:

Tips for writing your psychology personal statement

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Writing a psychology personal statement is a time-consuming process if the writing is not your “thing”, so it’s essential to start early . This will allow you to brainstorm ideas, gather materials, and revise your statement multiple times before submitting it.

2. Understand the Purpose of the Personal Statement

Before you begin writing your personal statement for the UCAS application , it’s important to understand the purpose of the statement. A personal statement for psychology university should:

3. Follow the Prompt

Most programmes will provide a prompt or guidelines for creating your psychology personal statement. It’s important to follow these guidelines closely and address all of the points requested in the prompt. If the programme doesn’t provide a prompt, you can use the list above as a general guide.

4. Be Specific and Personal

A personal statement should be specific and personal. Avoid vague or general statements, and focus on specific experiences, A-levels, subjects, achievements, and goals.

Use concrete examples to illustrate your points and help the reader understand your motivations and interests.

5. Use a Clear and Cohesive Structure

Psychology personal statement should be well-organised and easy to follow. Use a clear and cohesive structure to help the reader understand your story and the progression of your experiences and goals.

Don’t use headings or subheadings to divide your statement into sections. Use transitional phrases to help connect your ideas.

6. Edit and Proofread

Once you have completed a personal statement, it’s important to take the time to edit and proofread your work. Check for typos, grammatical errors, and spelling mistakes, and make sure your statement is clear and concise.

You can ask a trusted friend, family, alumni student, teacher from the same subject or professional tutor to review your application for feedback and suggestions.

7. Avoid Common Mistakes

There are several common mistakes to avoid when writing a personal statement for a psychology course:

8. Use Examples to Illustrate Your Points

To make your personal statement more engaging and memorable, use examples to illustrate your points. This can help the reader better understand your motivations, interests, and goals, and it can help bring your statement to life.

9. Show, Don’t Tell

When working on your personal statement, use descriptive language and action verbs to show interest, rather than tell, the reader about your experiences and achievements. This can help paint a vivid picture for the reader and make your statement more engaging and memorable.

Advice From Psychology Students

Here is advice from students who have undergraduate degrees.  

I structured it by introducing myself first and then talking about my passion for psychology. I then talked about my experiences and how they adapted me for my studies, before talking about why I wanted to come to USW and study Psychology. – First-year student Keira
If I was to do it all again, I would talk more about my current interest in Psychology and read around this subject, as I think this would have demonstrated initiative and real passion. – First-year student Keira

Here in our Psychology personal statement examples section, we have amazing samples you can use as guidance for yours. Make sure you check them before you start perfecting your application for UCAS .

Psychology Courses to Apply In The UK

A list of psychology degrees available for undergraduate applicants in the UK are:

Final Thoughts

Preparing a personal statement for psychology is a vital part of the university application process. It’s your first contact with admission tutors as a future student.

A compelling personal statement focuses on your passion for psychology and your future goals, provides specific examples of your experiences and achievements, and it’s tailored to the specific course you are applying for. 

With these tips and guidelines in mind, you can start preparing for an application that will increase your chances of getting accepted.

Most universities in the UK recommend that a personal statement for psychology be around 4,000 characters or 47 text lines long.

In your personal statement, you should include your passion for psychology and your future goals, any relevant research, coursework, or extracurricular activities, and how these experiences have prepared you for a career.


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Psychological and Behavioural Sciences

cambridge personal statement psychology

Psychological and Behavioural Sciences is an exciting, broad and flexible degree that covers all aspects of psychology.  

Psychology is very diverse – overlapping with and contributing to many other disciplines such as anthropology, archaeology, neuroscience, philosophy and sociology.

Psychological and Behavioural Sciences (PBS) at Cambridge gives you the opportunity to study cognitive, social, developmental and biological psychology within the broader context of the behavioural sciences.

The course covers, for example, cognitive psychology, psychopathology, language, brain mechanisms, family relationships and influences, personality, statistics and data-science, and group social behaviour. A wide range of options enable you to study the topics that interest you most in greater depth.

Teaching and facilities

In the Department of Psychology, you’re taught by lecturers and researchers of international excellence. Subject societies and seminar programmes offer regular talks from guest speakers too.

In addition to this academic expertise, you have access to the Department library and specialist collections held in associated departments’ libraries – amounting to around 50,000 books and more than 150 periodicals – as well as other resources and computing facilities.

Course costs

Information on tuition fee rates for PBS is available on the  tuition fees page .

Additional course costs

All students are required to have a University approved calculator (c£23).

Changing course

It may be possible to transfer from another course into the PBS Tripos. Transfer is usually into the second year, when students will take four papers in total - the two Part IA papers (Introduction to Psychology and Psychological Enquiry and Methods) and the two Part IB papers (Social and Developmental Psychology and Experimental Psychology) before proceeding to the third year. Students wishing to transfer to PBS will need to consult their Colleges and the department and in some cases undertake a short assessment.

To be able to change course, you need the agreement of your College that any change is in your educational interests, and you must have the necessary background in the subject to which you wish to change – in some cases you may be required to undertake some catch-up work or take up the new course from the start/an earlier year. If you think you may wish to change course, we encourage you to contact a College admissions office for advice. You should also consider if/how changing course may affect any financial support arrangements.

Professional accreditation and careers

The University’s teaching of psychology is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) . This means that students who successfully graduate (with at least second class Honours) achieve the ‘ graduate recognition ’ needed to pursue a career in psychology.

Many students continue with further study and research, and graduates are eligible for admission to professional courses in clinical, educational, forensic or applied psychology. Recent graduates of psychology at Cambridge have gone on to positions in psychology and related fields, as well as careers in social, community and charity work, research and teaching.

Our course also equips you with skills and knowledge applicable in a range of professional sectors, including the media, management, the Civil Service, finance, law and business. Some of our former students have gone on to work in destinations as varied as global communications firm Edelman, the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, the Cabinet Office, and Arsenal Football Club.

Course outline

Teaching is provided through lectures, classes or seminars, and supervisions. Some papers include a practical element, which takes place in laboratories. You can typically expect two lectures a week for each paper.

You also have one or two supervisions a week to discuss your work and develop your reasoning and ideas.

Year 1 (Part IA)

In Part IA, you take a total of four papers, three of which are compulsory:

The remaining paper is chosen from a selection of around nine options. The optional papers available each year may vary but subjects usually include:

You will be assessed via a range of laboratory reports, and written exams. 

Year 2 (Part IB)

Part IB provides specialised training in Developmental Psychology and Biological Psychology, in addition to further developing the research skills for your third year project. 

You take four papers in total, two of which are compulsory:

The optional papers are selected from a broad range. The subjects may change from year to year but typically include papers in:

Year 3 (Part II)

In your final year, you undertake a research dissertation of 7,000 words from a range of topics across the psychological sciences. You also choose a further three papers from a selection available, each of which is assessed via a range of assessments, including written and oral exams. 

The subject of these papers may change from year to year but typically include the following topics:

For further information about studying Psychological and Behavioural Sciences at the University of Cambridge see the Psychological and Behavioural Sciences Tripos website.

Entry Requirements

This page shows the standard entry requirements for this course. A PDF detailing any variations between Colleges (some may ask for an A* in a particular subject for example) will be published here in April 2023.

Typical offers require

A Level: A*A*A IB: 40-42 points, with 776 at Higher Level Other qualifications : See  Entrance requirements .

Subject requirements

Required: No specific subjects required by all Colleges, but applicants would normally be expected to have taken A Level/IB Higher Level Biology or Mathematics. Where this is not the case, applicants should show evidence of strong performance in the Sciences to GCSE level (or its equivalent, as demonstrated in a high school transcript). 

See Entrance requirements  and  Choosing your post-16 subjects  for additional guidance and conditions of entry. 

Admission assessment

Some Colleges may require applicants for this course to take a written assessment if shortlisted for interview - please check the document above for details. You will not need to register in advance for this assessment and the Colleges will provide details directly to you.

See  Admission assessment  for further information.

Applicants to some Colleges are required to  submit written work  prior to interview. See the 'entry requirements by College' document above for details.

All undergraduate admissions decisions are the responsibility of the Cambridge Colleges. Please contact the relevant  College admissions office  if you have any queries.

Typical PBS entrants (A Level and IB)

For 2017, 2018 and 2019 entry, the majority of entrants from an A Level background achieved at least grades A*A*A (65% of entrants). These successful applicants typically took Psychology (78%) and at least one of Biology or Mathematics (82%). For the same period, the majority of International Baccalaureate entrants achieved at least 42 points overall and/or grades 776 at Higher Level.

This information is intended to give you a sense of the academic standard of our typical A Level entrants. We welcome applicants from a range of qualification backgrounds .

Find out more about Psychological and Behavioural Sciences at Cambridge

Discover Uni data

Contextual information.

Discover Uni allows you to compare information about individual courses at different higher education institutions.  This can be a useful method of considering your options and what course may suit you best.

However, please note that superficially similar courses often have very different structures and objectives, and that the teaching, support and learning environment that best suits you can only be determined by identifying your own interests, needs, expectations and goals, and comparing them with detailed institution- and course-specific information.

We recommend that you look thoroughly at the course and University information contained on these webpages and consider coming to visit us on an Open Day , rather than relying solely on statistical comparison.

You may find the following notes helpful when considering information presented by Discover Uni.

The above list is not exhaustive and there may be other important factors that are relevant to the choices that you are making, but we hope that this will be a useful starting point to help you delve deeper than the face value of the Discover Uni data.

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Psychology Personal Statement 2

Sample Psychology Personal Statement

Human behaviour fascinates me. From the thoughts and feelings people posses, to motives underlying such behaviour, the science and study of behaviour exhibited by individuals and groups intrigues me. I wish to embark on a career where my understanding of the human mind will positively contribute to individuals and society. I believe my range of skills, academic performance and enjoyment of working with others, make me an ideal candidate to study Psychology.

Having studied psychology and biology at A-Level, I have a broad overview of applying scientific methods to human behaviour. I particularly enjoy the fact it relates to everyday life by covering areas such as learning, memory, group behaviour, development and disability. Biology complements the study of behaviour, focusing on genetics and physiology. The course will offer further insight in to a variety of social and scientific areas which I find highly interesting, from drug addiction, language, memory and mental disorders. Studying psychology at a higher level will combine these areas, alongside computational and philosophical elements.

As a social science, hypotheses are presented, investigated, tested and proven. I have a firm grounding in methodological skills needed for a psychological investigation, from computing skills to advanced statistical techniques for analysing data. Carrying out a range of studies at A-Level, I used logic; organisation and problem solving skills to ensure the study adhered to the methodology, to ensure results were valid.

I have a natural curiosity to understand and interpret the behaviours of others, on an individual and group basis. My research and analytical skills have been reflected in my studies, where I look for commonalities and anomalies, to prove or disprove theories. This course will offer me the opportunity to take this forward in conducting my own empirical research. I wish to develop my research methods within the BPA standards. I fully understand the ethical impositions placed upon studies, which protect the participants and researcher. However, I also understand that these have been developed from previous studies which are deemed unethical but important to the field of psychology. Psychologists such as Zimbardo and Freud are controversial, but important figures who have contributed to the development and understanding of how humans interact in various situations.

As a high level Decathlon athlete, I possess an understanding of the human form pushed to its limits. Time management is an essential skill at performing well academically and competing at a high level. As a qualified lifeguard, I am responsible for observing and reacting in situations, which may be stressful to the individual and surrounding people. Effective communication skills, attention and managing group situations are skills I have developed.

As an active sports person, I am acutely aware of psychological challenges professional sports players face, from extreme adrenaline rushes of winning, to the spiralling lows. I am keen to understand and apply psychological knowledge of how different experiences and influences affect sport performance, both positively and negatively. Developmental, group, personality traits, biological and social psychology all come in to play with regards to sports players.

My future expedition to Ghana will involve working with local school children, offering me the opportunity to immerse myself in a culture radically diverse from the UK. Here, I will observe a range of cross-cultural behaviours, attitudes, motivations and actions. This experience will provide a higher level of critical thinking, which will be applicable to the course and future career.

I am committed to expanding my psychological knowledge, learning from esteemed professors and sharing experiences with likeminded peers. I have a passion for science and human behaviour and endeavour to pursue a career within the health industry.

We hope this Psychology sample personal statement proves useful for you.

Personal Statement


Psychology Personal Statement

Psychology Personal Statement Example Since studying Psychology at GCSE my interest in this subject has gained new impetus with every academic paper and publication I read. Because of my immense fascination in behavior and the mind, and my concurrent interest in science, Psychology is my chosen subject to take into further education. Building on my knowledge and learning as much as possible is highly important to me, and I am passionate about engrossing myself in this subject at university level.

Many areas of academic psychology appeal to me, currently the most significant being the debate of nature versus nurture. Reading Philip Zimbardo’s Lucifer Effect as a consequence of my interest in this argument has furthered my intrigue, and also guided me onto a new course of exploration into the subject. Environmental influences on human behavior, and the idea that the structure of our surroundings can alter how we treat the people around us is hugely captivating and I am enjoying exploring this with much enthusiasm. Cialdini’s principles of social influence are very engaging, and during my undergraduate degree I hope to be able to pursue research into this field of persuasion based behavioral studies.

Having weekend jobs whilst in education has been important to me, as I have widened my skill base and diversified the competences already learnt at school. Working in a Deli, with one other colleague, allowed me to develop my organizational and motivational skills; we ran the shop alone and hence had to cooperate well and work both as a team and alone whilst providing a high quality of customer service under pressure. Taking on the role of manager gave me confidence in my leadership abilities, and to also function well within our small team and to hit set targets, deal with customers and to assist my colleague when he was short-handed. The benefits of having these skills will invaluable whilst reading psychology – I feel prepared for large work loads, pressurized deadlines and projects involving both team and individual work, as an effort has been made on my part to equip myself for the demands of higher education.

Working as a credit controller for Harlands Services has developed my eye for detail and also permitted me to increase my analytical and statistical aptitude. Using the database to examine and investigate unpaid contracts, my critical and numerical skills have been greatly improved; I feel assured of my capabilities in this area and look forward to translating these skills when studying statistics. This position at Harlands has also been valuable – it has taught me persuasive tact when dealing with outstanding payments, and has illustrated the advantage of dealing patiently with sometimes abusive clients. These communication skills were developed from the basics I learnt whilst working in the community teaching skateboarding – communication is essential in the study of psychology and I look forward to utilizing this aptitude within practical seminars and in projects where interviews and verbal testing are necessary.

In the future my ambition is to continue my studies and progress towards a PhD, eventually leading to an academic career; the British prison environment and rehabilitation process are currently high on my agenda for postgraduate study, alongside the area of institutional aggression. I do of course realise that these interests can be developed, or indeed superceded, during my undergraduate education.

Over the past two years, whilst at school and working in jobs, I have attempted to academically prepare myself for my undergraduate course - I am a member of The British Psychological Society and immensely enjoy reading The Psychologist. The Economist also provides excellent insight into world news and opinion, and I appreciate having a subscription to this due to the informed writers and varied opinion it voices. I place great importance on having awareness of world events and issues - being lucky enough to have the chance to study at university offers us much opportunity to support others and to positively influence our environments.

My hard work and determination in relation to both my academic interest in psychology, and in gaining the essential skills necessary for succeeding at university, demonstrate well my motivation to study this subject.

This undergraduate degree will kick start my career and my anticipation and motivation is already high. Having studied psychology at both A Level and GCSE I feel prepared for the challenges that lie ahead, and very much look forward to tackling them with the skills I have learnt during my time at school and during work, and with those that I am yet to learn.

We hope that this Psychology Personal Statement has been of use to you.

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