Psychology and Global Sustainable Development (BASc) - Course Full
On our Psychology and Global Sustainable Development (BASc) you will apply your passion for Psychology to answering the Big Questions of our time by studying it in combination with Global Sustainable Development (GSD).
Why do people think, behave, and understand themselves in certain ways? Why does this vary between individuals and across cultures? How might a more complete understanding of human behaviour help to achieve a more sustainable future for all? A BASc in Psychology and Global Sustainable Development challenges you to ask these questions across both sides of your degree programme. You will study biological, developmental, and social aspects of human psychology with Warwick's Psychology Department. Meanwhile, you will balance your studies with the Global Sustainable Development Division of the School for Cross-faculty Studies, by delving into the Big Questions of today, including food and water security, gender equality, and climate change. Throughout, you will be researching the relationship between individual behaviour and the global challenges we all face.
Our students are aspiring global citizens with social consciences. They are flexible, adaptable and broad minded. By studying GSD, you'll take a transdisciplinary approach and confront issues from a diverse array of perspectives. You'll need to be ready to think creatively and embrace new opinions from your peers from across the world. We'll challenge you to become an active participant in your own learning and help you to develop professional skills through certificates you'll complete as part of the course. You'll also have the opportunity to spend part of your second year studying abroad at our partner institutions in Australia - home to the world-leading Monash Sustainable Development Institute. Alternatively, you may choose to apply for an intercalated year abroad or a work placement.
Students are automatically enrolled on the three-year course, however you have the option to change to a four-year course with an intercalated year in the third year. During the intercalated year, you may pursue a study abroad programme or a work placement (subject to you meeting departmental academic requirements).
Taught by staff from the University of Warwick’s departments of Education, Psychology and Sociology, our taster course is two days long and packed with teaching activities designed to give you a real taste of studying these exciting and complementary disciplines at undergraduate level.
Year 1: 50% GSD modules and 50% Psychology modules. You will undertake four required core GSD modules, three of which introduce you to the ‘three pillars of sustainability’: economy, environment, and society. Your fourth required core module will be a GSD Project. With Psychology, you will choose two of three optional core modules to study: 'Brain and Behaviour', 'Psychology in Context', 'Psychology in the Real World'. Optional certificates in Digital Literacy, Sustainability and Professional Communication (with a work placement) will be available.
Year 2: 50% GSD modules and 50% Psychology modules. As you begin to apply the perspectives you were introduced to in Year 1, you will have the opportunity to engage with a major issue in sustainability, studying either ‘Health and Sustainable Development’, ‘Security, Sovereignty and Sustainability in the Global Food System’ or 'Inequalities and Sustainable Development: Inclusion and Dignity for All' (25% of workload). You will take a further 25% of your course load from a range of modules available across the University (including from within the Global Sustainable Development Division of the School for Cross-faculty Studies), which have a global sustainable development focus.
With Psychology, you will take a series of optional core modules. Options could include ‘Language and Cognition’ and ‘Social Psychology ’. There is also an opportunity to take the Certificate of Coaching Practice and the Certificate of Professional Communication (alongside a work placement).
Year 2 (with Terms 2 and 3 abroad): If you opt to travel abroad, you will take 50% of the course load outlined above at Warwick during Term 1, and the other 50% at Monash University where you will continue to study modules with an approved sustainability and psychology focus.
During term 1 at Warwick you will take one of three optional GSD modules ('Health and Sustainable Development', 'Security, Sovereignty and Sustainability in the Global Food System' or 'Inequalities and Sustainable Development: Inclusion and Dignity for All'), together with further relevant second year modules from within or outside of the School for Cross-faculty Studies, with a global sustainable development focus.
For the Psychology half of the work load, you will take a series of optional core modules, which could include 'Language and Cognition' and 'Social Psychology'.
Final year: 50% GSD modules (including Dissertation) and 50% Psychology modules. Hone your research focus and break new ground as you undertake a compulsory dissertation with GSD and study intensive Honours level optional modules from within or outside the School for Cross-faculty Studies, with a global sustainable development focus. With Psychology, you will have a series of optional modules to choose from. In final year, these currently include ‘Body Perception: Neurons to Experience’, ‘Developmental Psychopathology’, and ‘Abnormal Psychology’.
You will attend lectures and take part in seminars, workshops and tutorials and work with your fellow students in teams on controversial, topical problems that pose significant sustainable development questions. You will undertake fieldwork, archival research, interviews with members of the local area and engage in peer discussion to propose alternative solutions. You will review the work of your fellow students.
You will be taught by a range of academics, from different disciplines, who will communicate their expertise on a specific issue and describe their methodology for addressing it. Your role is to bring together these various approaches and to develop your own informed stance on each issue.
Core first year GSD modules have 23 hours of contact time each made up of lectures, workshops and, for the 'GSD Project' module, group supervision sessions and a field trip. In the second year, optional core GSD modules have around 45 contact hours each for the 30 CATS versions and half this for the shorter 15 CATS versions.
Teaching is via workshops. Optional GSD modules are available with between 20 and 50 hours for scheduled contact time depending upon how the module is taught. For example, some modules have lectures, seminars, film screenings and research supervision whereas others have lectures and workshops. Some modules include field trips.
Seminar groups comprise between 10 and 15 students.
In the first year, two of the GSD core modules have an exam worth 40%. The remaining 60% of these modules and the other core GSD modules are assessed by methods other than formal examination. In the second year GSD optional cores and options do not have traditional examinations. The final year core GSD module is a Dissertation/Long Project and so is assessed via coursework. Psychology modules may be assessed either by a combination of coursework (essays, tests) and exam, wholly by coursework or wholly by exam. The overall percentage of the course that is assessed by coursework depends upon the options taken.
The final degree classification is determined by your second and final year marks and each contributes 50%.
There is an option to spend Terms 2 and 3 of second year abroad studying at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. You may be based at either the University’s Melbourne campus or at its campus in Malaysia.
You will spend the first term of your second year studying at Warwick and will travel to Australia in February to join Monash for the start of its second semester (which spans Warwick’s second and third terms). This arrangement is the integrated terms abroad variant of the course.
During your time abroad you will study approved modules/units and will undertake assessments. The credit gained from this study is used to contribute towards your final degree classification awarded by Warwick.
You may also choose to spend a year studying or working abroad (e.g. as part of the ERASMUS scheme). Marks gained from the year-long intercalated study abroad or work placement do not count towards the overall Warwick degree but recognition of the time spent abroad is recorded on the HEAR.
A level: BBB
IB: 32 to include English and Mathematics (at Higher Level or Standard Level 5)
Our standard GCSE requirements
All applicants must possess a minimum level of competence in the English Language and in Mathematics/Science. A pass at Grade B or above in GCSE English Language and in Mathematics or a Science, or an equivalent qualification, satisfies this University requirement.
Additional requirements: You will also need to meet our English Language requirements.
Contextual data and differential offers
Warwick may make differential offers to students in a number of circumstances. These include students participating in the Realising Opportunities programme, or who meet two of the contextual data criteria. Differential offers will be one or two grades below Warwick’s standard offer (to a minimum of BBB).
- Warwick International Foundation Programme (IFP)
All students who successfully complete the Warwick IFP and apply to Warwick through UCAS will receive a guaranteed conditional offer for a related undergraduate programme (selected courses only). For full details of standard offers and conditions visit the IFP website.
- We welcome applications from students with other internationally recognised qualifications. For more information please visit the international entry requirements page.
Taking a gap year
Applications for deferred entry welcomed.
We do not typically interview applicants. Offers are made based on your UCAS form which includes predicted and actual grades, your personal statement and school reference.
Second personal statement
We ask applicants who meet, or are predicted to meet, the minimum entry requirements to submit a second personal statement to Warwick which addresses their reasons for applying to the course.
Economic Principles of Global Sustainable Development (GSD)
What is economic development, what does it look like and how can it be measured? These are questions that are explored in this module. You’ll learn about the relationship between economic activity and social and environmental development, the economic theories that underpin sustainable development policy interventions, and how those theories impact upon policy design. After studying this module, you’ll be able to apply the economic principles that you’ve learned to the analysis of GSD problems. You’ll also understand how economic policies intended to address those problems are developed and be able to offer informed critiques of such policies.
Social Principles of GSD
This introductory module examines in-depth the most crucial concepts that allow you to analyse and interpret the social and political issues related to GSD. You’ll be considering complex, topical issues that allow you to understand and evaluate the most pressing social and political contexts of sustainable development at national and international levels. Upon completing this module you’ll have acquired specific knowledge and understanding that allows you to offer a well-informed evidence-based explanation of the key challenges that face our world, focusing on the social and political contexts.
You’ll also be able to explain the global social threats that are caused by economic development, consider and reflect critically on the reasons why some countries developed while others stayed poor, engage critically with various strategies that have been suggested to end extreme poverty, understand and write critically about the continuing challenges of providing “Education for all” and “Health for all”, and write critically about the notion of goal-based development.
Environmental Principles of GSD
This module is structured around an emerging global consensus that humans are compromising the global biosphere by transgressing nine Planetary Boundaries: the result of which will be fundamental and unrecoverable change that significantly compromises the operating space of human development. We focus on the natural science of these environmental issues – covering well known topics like climate change and biodiversity loss, but also lesser realised problems, such as biochemical flows. We evaluate existing governance and management efforts, and try to develop responses of our own. You’ll be taught how to write a Policy Briefing and will prepare one on your chosen subject, aimed at a specific key decision maker. Then, you’ll convert your Brief to a Policy Pitch: a two minute ‘sell’ of your research. By the end of this module, you’ll possess key knowledge of environmental principles and also skills valuable for creating meaningful change in the real world of work, governance and/or activism.
During this module, you'll collaborate with your peers on a task of investigating the issue of sustainable transport. You'll be immersed in a wealth of qualitative and quantitative data that you'll gather, examine, analyse and critique. As well as deepening your understanding of the economic case for sustainable transport, you'll be strengthening your academic research skills to deconstruct a major problem, formulate and test hypotheses, evaluate the evidence, and undertake field research, including interviews and focus groups.
Brain and Behaviour
In this module you'll learn about the structure and function of the nervous system, how we detect and respond to stimulation and how behaviour changes with experience. After exploring memory, language, emotion and goal-directed action, you'll study contemporary and historical approaches to psychological disorders. This will give you a critical appreciation of psychology as a science.
Psychology in Context
This module introduces you to the history of psychology and core topics in social, developmental and cognitive psychology. You'll be able to discuss some of the classic studies, critically appreciate the main concepts and take a historical perspective on psychology as a science.
Psychology in the Real World
This module aims to provide you with an in-depth examination of current issues in abnormal, biological, cognitive, developmental, and social psychology. Rather than providing comprehensive coverage of classic psychological theories, this module will present you with cutting-edge research in the lecturers’ own areas of expertise, giving you insight into the most dynamic areas in this field.
Health and Sustainable Development
Your starting point on this module is the sustainable development goals for health and well-being, gender equality and reducing inequalities, with an overarching theme of how our bodies relate to various forms of development. You can expect to articulate your knowledge of major global inequalities and apply your understanding across different cultural and social norms. You'll ask provocative questions and critically engage with the way the environment is affecting health outcomes, and critique the efficacy of policy measures that aim to address health-related global crises. You’ll also improve your research skills by generating original, well-researched arguments for policies that address health and inequalities outcomes.
Security, Sovereignty and Sustainability in the Global Food System
At least 800 million people are chronically undernourished globally, and the global population is projected to increase to a staggering 10 billion by 2050. From this challenging starting point, you’ll be working with active researchers from across various disciplines at the University of Warwick. You'll become acquainted with contrasting disciplinary approaches to the investigation of food systems, and be able to analyse scholarly concerns surrounding food security, sovereignty and sustainability. You’ll evaluate competing solutions and research, evaluate and synthesise academic and other credible research and analysis in order to respond critically to the essential topics and questions in this exciting field.
Inequalities and Sustainable Development: Inclusion and Dignity for All
This new module focuses on issues of inequalities shaping our societies, economies, environments and politics. Starting with the question does inequality matter, you will critically reflect on the UN’s decision to integrate inequalities into the Sustainable Development Agenda. You will then explore six different dimensions of inequalities (work, politics, environmental justice, societal discrimination, automation and globalisation, opportunities and empowerment) and gain an understanding of the complexities of these problems. Finally, you will appreciate the challenges faced by today’s policy makers who aim to reduce inequalities.
A choice of four modules from the following:
Language and Cognition
This module encourages you to investigate the evolution, biological mechanisms, and cognitive processes of language and communication, as well as the relation between language and cognition more generally.
Perception, Planning and Action
The aims of this module are to interest students in: the psychology of perceiving, planning and acting; neuropsychological deficits in perceiving, planning and action; attention; and the role of perception in the control and guidance of movement.
The module builds on the first year developmental module of Psychology in Context by exploring current research in infancy, childhood and adolescence. The key findings in Developmental Psychology will be linked to examples from atypical development and education. The module is necessarily selective and focuses primarily on cognitive and social development in childhood. Students should be aware of links with the adult cognitive and social psychological literature, particularly in the areas of reasoning, language and social relationships.
The module aims to extend the basic psychobiological knowledge acquired in the first year to more complex issues of nervous system functioning and nervous system /endocrine system interactions in order to enable students to appreciate how a psychobiological perspective might help us to understand human behaviour. Particular emphasis will be placed on providing an insight into the complexities of psychobiological research, its recent advances, as well as its limits. A further aim is to encourage students to address and discuss challenging, up-to-date topics in psychobiology by requiring assessed group work instead of individual work, thereby encouraging students to develop their team-player capabilities and communication skills.
The module discusses social psychology as the scientific study of human behaviour as influenced by other people and the social context in which this occurs. It aims to provide an introduction to central concepts, theories and research in social psychology and to discuss the contribution which social psychology makes to understanding the individual, the social context of behaviour and the relationship between the two.
Examples of optional modules/options for current students
Language and Cognition; Perception, Planning and Action; Keeping the Phoenix Flying or Clipping its Wings?; Learning through Student Research into the Praxis of 'Local' Sustainable Development; Extinction & Survival; The Energy Trilemma; Surviving the Apocalypse.
Our degree programmes have been developed to provide you with a set of skills that will enable you to compete for existing and emerging roles across a variety of professions. Your options are varied across a range of industries, from working in the United Nations to advising small businesses on issues that will affect the local community.
You will also learn valuable transferable skills that will help you with your employment prospects including:
- Analysing and problem solving: Through your study of economic principles and models, you’ll learn how to extract the essential features of complex systems, providing useable frameworks for evaluation.
- Critical thinking: Assess arguments, make judgements, formulate reasoned debates and generate feasible solutions.
- Communicating: Develop advanced communication skills that enable you to communicate with a variety of audiences and in different settings.
- Researching: An integrated programme of research skills training, teaching you how to source, evaluate and use different forms of information and data.
- Organising: Through a rigorous assessment schedule and a compulsory dissertation module in your final year, you’ll learn the essentials of time management, prioritisation and how to be well organised.
- Collaborating: You’ll have plenty of opportunities to work with others and nurture your emotional intelligence, developing a professional attitude.
The nature of our GSD degrees is such that graduates can go into global sustainable development itself, or take their interdisciplinary skills, along with the specialist knowledge gained from subject-specific modules into a wide range of roles, such as:
- Project work / lobbying for international organisations, NGOs and charities
- Advisory / consultancy roles in public services, education or the environmental or energy sectors
- Roles in communications, public relations and the media
- Sustainable finance
The GSD Division has a dedicated Placements' Officer who is able to offer careers guidance, provide information about suitable placement opportunities and support you to secure appropriate work experience. The Placements' Officer gives specialist pre-placement advice, guidance and preparation, and provides on-going support for you whilst on placement. In addition, the Officer delivers the associated Certificate of Professional Communication.
Degree of Bachelor of Arts and Sciences (BASc)
3 years full-time
4 years full-time with intercalated year
28 September 2020
Location of study
University of Warwick, Coventry
Find out more about fees and funding
Additional course costs
There may be costs associated with other items or services such as academic texts, course notes, and trips associated with your course. Students who transfer to the intercalated course and do a year-long work placement will pay reduced tuition fees for their third year.
This information is applicable for 2020 entry.
Given the interval between the publication of courses and enrolment, some of the information may change. It is important to check our website before you apply. Please read our terms and conditions to find out more.
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