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Study psychology abroad

An in-depth guide to studying psychology as an international student.

Psychology degrees abroad

Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and how it influences our behavior. It helps us better understand what makes us tick, and is one of the most popular university subjects to study at home and abroad.

Choosing to study psychology abroad can open up a huge number of opportunities, and there are plenty of great psychology degree programs available all over the world for international students to choose from.

You can study psychology at undergraduate, graduate and doctorate levels, and in most cases you will need to study at graduate level in order to become a qualified psychologist.

Psychology program structure

Most psychology degrees are made up of lectures, seminars and tutorials. Some programs also offer a year work placement which let you apply the theory you’ve learned in a working environment. This hands-on experience can help you when it comes to choosing your future career and is a good addition to your CV.

Exactly what you study, and the depth of detail will depend on the degree level you are studying.

The course structure and scope of studying psychology abroad will also vary depending on the country and university you’re studying in. However, common themes and modules you’ll see in a psychology program curriculum include:

  • Foundations of psychology

    This will include a focus on the four main areas of psychology: biological, cognitive, developmental and social psychology. These areas are often studied in more detail in the second or third years of your degree.

  • Research methods

    These will cover the quantitative and qualitative research methods you’ll need in order to complete your research project.

  • Conceptual and historical issues

    This covers how psychology theory has changed over time and what factors will affect its development in the future.

  • Individual differences

    This looks at why people have different personalities, how we can measure intelligence and how we treat mental disorders. This is often linked to social psychology.

  • Optional modules

    Depending on the university, you can usually choose some of the modules you study so you can specialize in an area you enjoy. These could include things like forensic psychology, neuropsychiatry or addiction.

  • Research project

    Most psychology degrees will include a year-long research project in the final year of your studies. This will make up a significant part of your final assessment.

Types of psychology degrees

Psychology is a broad topic, and a psychology degree will aim to give you an understanding of all the areas of the subject.

However, there are many options and concentrations you can choose from that offer a more focussed curriculum in a specific area. Some common psychology subdisciplines you could study include:

  • Clinical psychology
  • Counseling psychology
  • Experiment psychology
  • Abnormal psychology
  • Criminal psychology
  • Applied psychology
  • Child psychology
  • Developmental psychology
  • Educational psychology
  • Forensic psychology
  • Social psychology
  • Sport psychology

It’s worth exploring one of these programs if there’s an area of psychology you’re most interested in. Psychology can often be studied as a joint degree in combination with another subject, like sociology, education, business or mathematics.

Why study psychology abroad

Successfully completing a psychology degree will not only give you great career prospects, but it will also enhance your understanding of the people and world around you. Psychology is the perfect subject for those with an inquisitive mind, and a passion for helping people.

Choosing to study psychology abroad opens you up the opportunity of studying a much wider range of programs, and will give your studies an international perspective that can give you an edge in your future career.

Where to study psychology abroad

An important factor to remember when deciding where to study psychology is where you want to work after graduating. It will be easier to work as a practicing psychologist in the country you are studying in, provided you can get the correct work visa because you will be accredited in that country.

For example, in the UK, your degree will need to be accredited by the BPS (British Psychological Society) to practice. However, you can still work in the UK if your undergraduate and postgraduate education took place abroad, but you will need to contact the BPS and meet certain criteria and potentially do some additional studies.

Consider how long you want to study before you start work. If you want to practice as a psychologist in the US or UK, you’ll need a doctorate, however, in some countries you only need a master’s degree. This means studying and working in these countries would offer a much shorter pathway to your chosen career.

Best countries to study psychology

Europe is regarded as the birthplace of psychology, so many of the best courses are located here.

The UK offers some of the most highly ranked psychology programs in the world, as does the Netherlands. Germany also boasts a number of well respected psychology courses and has the added allure of meaning you’ll be studying in the country where the discipline was born.

The US is at the forefront of modern psychology theory and is home to many of the subject’s top-ranked programs. It’s also a great location if you want to stay and work after graduating, with many psychology related career opportunities available.

Best universities to study psychology

The best university for you to study psychology will offer a program that matches your interests and ambitions and be in a country you want to live in for at least three years.

Take a close look at the program curriculum in detail, and think about what the course offers. Ask yourself questions like:

  • Do I want to study a degree that includes work placement or internship?
  • Do I want a course that offers more practical learning?
  • How long do I want to study?

There are a large number of universities that offer psychology degrees, so take your time to make the right decision. It’s also important to think about what the university offers outside of the classroom.

See all universities offering psychology programs

How to study psychology abroad

  1. Universities & programs

    Find the right program for you and your career aspirations

  2. Application assistance

    Be guided through your application process

  3. Visa & embassy guidance

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  4. Enrollment & travel advice

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Psychology study abroad programs

Psychology degrees abroad are offered at several different levels. At undergraduate level you can study a bachelor’s as a BA or BSc. There may be slight differences between the two, for example a BSc may have a stronger focus on scientific study and research, but generally, the curriculums are the same. They usually take three or four years to complete depending on the country you are studying in.

As a graduate, you can study for a master’s as an MA, MS or MSci. An MSci is offered as a four year undergraduate program with an integrated master’s level qualification. Studying a separate master’s after your undergraduate degree will usually take between one and two years.

You can also study for a PhD in psychology, and it’s often necessary to do this if you want to practice as a psychologist. These programs will be largely research based, and can take two or three years to complete.

Psychology undergraduate programs

Bachelor's in psychology

  • false

    Psychology - BA
    Altinbas University, Turkey

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Tuition fees per year
    8,500 USD
    Start date
    February, September
    Show program overview about Psychology
  • false

    Psychology - BA
    Concord University, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Tuition fees per year
    18,186 USD
    Start date
    January, September
    Show program overview about Psychology
  • false

    Psychology - BA
    Long Island University Post, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Tuition fees per year
    35,736 USD
    Start date
    January, September
    Show program overview about Psychology
  • false

    Psychology - BA
    St. Francis College, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Tuition fees per year
    26,688 USD
    Start date
    January, May, September
    Show program overview about Psychology
  • false

    Psychology - BA
    Fisher College, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Tuition fees per year
    31,992 USD
    Start date
    January, September
    Show program overview about Psychology
See all bachelor's degrees in psychology

Pathway in psychology

  • false

    Criminology & Psychology (Foundation) - UGP
    Leeds Beckett University, UK

    Program type
    Undergraduate pathway
    Duration
    2 years
    Tuition fees per year
    10,900 USD
    Start date
    January, September
    Show program overview about Criminology & Psychology (Foundation)
See all undergraduate pathways in psychology

Associate in psychology

  • false

    Liberal Arts & Sciences: Psychology - ASc
    Mohawk Valley Community College, USA

    Program type
    Associate
    Duration
    2 years
    Tuition fees per year
    6,892 USD
    Start date
    January, September
    Show program overview about Liberal Arts & Sciences: Psychology
See all associate degrees in psychology

Psychology graduate programs

Master's in psychology

  • false

    Experimental Psychology - MA
    Long Island University Post, USA

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Tuition fees per year
    44,100 USD
    Start date
    January, September
    Show program overview about Experimental Psychology
  • false

    Psychology - MA
    St. Francis College, USA

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Tuition fees per year
    10,725 USD
    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Psychology
  • false

    Psychology - MSc
    Arizona State University, USA

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Tuition fees per year
    24,818 USD
    Start date
    August
    Show program overview about Psychology
  • false

    Psychology - by research - MSc
    RMIT University, Australia

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Tuition fees per year
    33,600 AUD
    Start date
    February, July
    Show program overview about Psychology - by research
  • false

    Psychology of Language - MSc
    University of Dundee, UK

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    1 year
    Tuition fees per year
    18,150 GBP
    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Psychology of Language
See all master's degrees in psychology

Doctorate in psychology

  • false

    Psychology - PhD
    RMIT University, Australia

    Program type
    Doctorate
    Duration
    3 years
    Tuition fees per year
    30,720 AUD
    Start date
    February
    Show program overview about Psychology
  • false

    Psychology - PhD
    University of Tasmania, Australia

    Program type
    Doctorate
    Duration
    3 years
    Tuition fees per year
    37,493 AUD
    Start date
    February, July
    Show program overview about Psychology
  • false

    Human Services Psychology - Clinical Psychology (APA accredited) - PhD
    University of Maryland, Baltimore County, USA

    Program type
    Doctorate
    Duration
    3 years
    Tuition fees per year
    22,899 USD
    Start date
    August
    Show program overview about Human Services Psychology - Clinical Psychology (APA accredited)
  • false

    School Psychology - SSP
    Texas State University, USA

    Program type
    Doctorate
    Duration
    3 years
    Tuition fees per year
    15,034 USD
    Start date
    January, August
    Show program overview about School Psychology
  • false

    Psychology - PhD
    Clark University, USA

    Program type
    Doctorate
    Duration
    3 years
    Tuition fees per year
    15,616 USD
    Start date
    January, September
    Show program overview about Psychology
See all doctorates in psychology

Certificate in psychology

  • false

    Business Psychology (Exit Award) - PGCert
    University of Newcastle, Australia

    Program type
    Postgraduate certificate
    Duration
    6 months
    Tuition fees per year
    20,190 AUD
    Start date
    February, July, September
    Show program overview about Business Psychology (Exit Award)
  • false

    School Psychology - PGCert
    University of Central Arkansas, USA

    Program type
    Postgraduate certificate
    Duration
    1 year
    Tuition fees per year
    9,648 USD
    Start date
    January, May, August
    Show program overview about School Psychology
See all postgraduate certificates in psychology

Pathway in psychology

  • false

    Environmental Psychology, Pre-Masters - PGP
    University of Surrey, UK

    Program type
    Postgraduate pathway
    Duration
    6 months
    Tuition fees per year
    12,500 USD
    Start date
    February, September
    Show program overview about Environmental Psychology, Pre-Masters
See all postgraduate pathways in psychology

Entry requirements to study psychology abroad

The specific entry requirements for each psychology course will depend on the country and university you’re applying to, however there are some requirements you’ll always need to meet:

  • Completion of secondary education in your home country
  • A clear interest in, and passion for, psychology
  • Satisfactory English language proficiency test scores
  • A bachelor’s degree, usually in psychology or a related field, to study at postgraduate level

Check the requirements for your chosen program carefully before you apply, to see what grades you’ll need. The application process will also be unique to the country, university and program you’re applying to, but you can see the general study abroad application requirements here.

Future psychology careers

One of the most attractive things about a degree in psychology is that it opens you up to a huge number of potential new careers - it’s not just for practicing psychologists.

It can give you loads of transferable skills that most employers value, so you’ll have plenty of options after graduation.

Here are some of the most common careers that psychology graduates go into:

  • Psychologist (you can also specialize in a specific area, e.g. clinical, educational, forensic psychology etc.)
  • Counseling
  • Advice work (e.g. careers adviser)
  • Police officer
  • Marketing
  • Human resources
  • Probation officer

Remember that to become a practicing psychologist you will usually need at least a master’s degree, and often a doctorate. However, a bachelor’s degree in psychology is still a valuable asset that many employers look at favorably.