Studying for the psychological professions

This page provides an overview of the things to consider if you are thinking about applying to train in the psychological professions, what you can expect during training and your next steps after training.

Not to be confused with psychiatrists (who are doctors), people who specialise in the psychological professions include:

Female mental health nurse and male student nurse

The following information focuses on training and registration for psychologists, but a relevant degree (usually in psychology) is often the starting point for training in other careers in the psychological professions. For instance, to train as a psychological wellbeing practitioner (PWP) you usually need a degree in psychology followed by further study which you'll do while you're working in a trainee PWP position.

Applying for a degree in psychology

The first step to becoming a professional psychologist is to take a degree in psychology accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) which will give you Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) of the BPS. GBC is necessary to progress to training in the area of psychology that interests you and to practise as a professional psychologist. If your psychology degree doesn’t provide GBC, conversion courses are available.

Applications for first degrees are made through UCAS

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for psychology degree courses vary because each university sets its own entry criteria, but you are likely to need at least two (usually three) A-levels or equivalent qualifications at level 3, plus supporting GCSEs. Contact universities directly to find out whether qualifications equivalent to A-levels or GCSEs are acceptable.

Entry is competitive, so aim for as high grades as possible. For most courses you don’t need specific A-levels (or equivalent), but some specify preferred or essential subjects, such as a science. Psychology A-level can give you an insight into the subject, but isn’t necessary.

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