BA (Hons) Psychosocial Studies

  • UCAS
  • Entry requirements
    A-level: ABB/BBB
    IB: 33 points including three HL subjects
  • Length
    3 years full-time or 6 years part-time
  • Department
    Social, Therapeutic and Community Studies

Course overview

A multidisciplinary degree that's ideal if you're interested in counselling and psychotherapy practices but also want to study the social and cultural contexts of their production.

This degree has been designed to meet the learning needs and aspirations of, broadly speaking, two kinds of students. Some students will want to undertake a degree focusing on counselling and psychotherapy practices and also the social and cultural contexts of their production in late modernity; while others, at a later stage of their educational careers, may want to undertake formal clinical training as counsellors and/or psychotherapists.

The programme has several aims:

  • to promote your knowledge and understanding of contemporary therapeutic cultures, principally in the UK
  • to inform this knowledge of clinical practices, culture and discourse by use of the kinds of enquiry made possible by sociology, anthropology and cultural studies
  • to provide a multidisciplinary focus of study
  • to develop 'soft skills' such as imagination, creativity, risk-taking, and a willingness to challenge orthodoxy

Why study BA Psychosocial Studies at Goldsmiths?

  • You'll be taught by a highly experienced team of academics, therapists and counsellors 
  • You'll develop your understanding of counselling and therapy practices, and their social and cultural contexts
  • We place great importance on your unique life experiences and personal qualities, and encourage you to continuously question your values in relation to what you are learning
  • We'll encourage you to develop your imagination, creativity and risk-taking ability, and will promote the importance of challenging orthodoxy
  • We're committed to widening participation and life-long learning, and our diverse mix of students helps create an inventive and stimulating environment

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Dr Chrysanthi Nigianni

Modules & structure

Level 4

In the first year you undertake:

  • 1 core module
  • 2 compulsory modules, each to the value of 30 credits
  • 2 compulsory modules each to the value of 15 credits

This consists of:

Contemporary Approaches to the Theory and Practice of Psychotherapy and Counselling
This core module introduces the central theoretical principles of contemporary theory and the practice of psychotherapy and counselling which have changed markedly in the past thirty years. During this time, many forces have converged, leading to major alterations in the therapeutic landscape. The scope of the module encompasses history, theory, practice, trends and research in psychotherapy and counselling at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Like every human practice or set of beliefs, psychotherapy has its own particular historical context forged by major traditions in the field such as psychoanalytic, cognitive-behavioural, humanistic and existential. At the same time, therapeutic cultures will be placed within a critical socio-political and philosophical context, considering Foucault, Feminist and intercultural critiques. 

Assessment: 2 exams (50%) and 1 essay (50%)

You also take:

Module title Credits
  Theories of Individual Development 30 credits
  The Individual in Society and Culture 30 credits
  Independent Learning Strategies and Skills 15 credits
  Professional Frameworks in Therapeutic Practice 15 credits

Level 5

In the second year of study you undertake:

  • 1 core module
  • 2 compulsory modules
  • 1 option

each to the value of 30 credits.

The core module is: 

Research Methods (30 credits)

This core module addresses the issue of research within the therapeutic context. It mainly focuses on practical aspects of conducting a research project in the field, such as planning a project and gathering and analysing data, but also touches upon issues such as epistemology, ethics in research, and critical evaluation. Teaching relates to both quantitive and qualitative methodologies and includes quantitive and qualitative data analysis tools and methods.

Assessment: A practical test (35%), a small report of 1500 words (35%), a research proposal of 2500 words including an ethics proposal.

You also take:

Module title Credits
  Pathologies of the Modern Self 30 credits
  Psychoanalytic Culture and Society (the Modern) 30 credits
  Identity and the Cinematic Experience 30 credits
  Counselling Skills 30 credits

Level 6

In the third year of the degree you will undertake:

  • 2 compulsory modules
  • 2 optional modules

Each to the value of 30 credits.

This includes: 

The Political Significance of Freud's Legacy
This compulsory module addresses recent writing from the psychoanalytic orientation to counselling and psychotherapy. The turn to a ‘relational’ understanding of therapeutic practice forms one focus of your study; debates concerning the psychic processes of transference, counter-transference and projective identification, another. How this has been developed by Freud’s followers, specifically in relation to social, cultural and political discourses, is also explored.

Assessment: 2 x 2,000 word essay (50% each)

Module title Credits
  Dissertation in the Professional Context 30 credits
  Fieldwork Practice 30 credits
  Religious Literacy for Public Professions 30 credits
  Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) 30 credits
  Art Psychotherapy Foundation 30 credits
  Working with Communities – Diversity and Difference 30 credits
  Dance Movement Psychotherapy Foundation 30 credits


Assessment is through a combination of unseen exams, pre-released exams, essays, in-class presentations, reflexive assignments and practice-based exercises.

Credits and levels of learning

An undergraduate honours degree is made up of 360 credits – 120 at Level 4, 120 at Level 5 and 120 at Level 6. If you are a full-time student, you will usually take Level 4 modules in the first year, Level 5 in the second, and Level 6 modules in your final year. A standard module is worth 30 credits. Some programmes also contain 15-credit half modules or can be made up of higher-value parts, such as a dissertation or a Major Project.

Download the programme specification for this degree to find out more about what you'll learn and how you'll be taught and assessed.

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.

Entry requirements

A-level: ABB/BBB
International Baccalaureate: 33 points including three HL subjects

We welcome applicants from a wide range of backgrounds who either meet standard university entry requirements or can demonstrate appropriate levels of knowledge and skill in a portfolio of entry.

Certification by means of GNVC, Access, NVQ, BTEC, College Foundation Certificate, AS and A Level is accepted, in many subject areas - for example, in Psychology, Cultural Studies, Art, Dance, Social Studies, Drama, Anthropology, Sociology, English, Politics, Media and Communications, History, and Film Studies.

Equivalent qualifications
We accept a wide range of qualifications equivalent to the ones listed above. This includes:

Access: Pass with 45 Level 3 credits including distinctions/merits in subject specific modules
Scottish qualifications: ABBBC/BBBBC (Higher), ABC/BBC (Advanced Higher)
European Baccalaureate: 75%
Irish Leaving Certificate: A1 A1 A2 B1/A1 A1 A2 B2

If your qualifications are from another country, find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world

English language requirements
If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to meet our English language requirements to study with us. 

For this programme we require:

IELTS 6.5 (with a minimum of 6.5 in the written test and no individual test lower than 6.0)

If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for degree-level study.

Read more about our general entrance requirements


The Department of Social, Therapeutic and Community Studies
has human relationships at its heart

Social, Therapeutic and Community Studies

You’ll benefit from the wealth of experience of our staff and their commitment to ensuring that you’ll leave us as a reflective, research-minded professional.

We offer programmes in Community Studies, Social Work, and Therapeutic Studies.

Our degrees are informed by our commitment to social justice and applied practices – whether you want to:

  • understand and challenge the ways that vulnerable individuals and groups are disadvantaged and marginalised
  • become a social worker, community and youth worker, therapist or counsellor
  • change people’s lives through dance, drama and music

You’ll benefit from the wealth of experience of our staff and their commitment to ensuring that you’ll leave us as a reflective, research-minded professional.

Find out more about the Department of Social, Therapeutic and Community Studies

Skills & careers


The programme will enable you to develop the following skills:

Academic skills, including:

Enhanced skills in literacy, writing and communication, including oral communication skills, the ability to develop and present sustained and persuasive reasoned arguments (both written and oral), presentation skills, note taking and report writing.

The ability to observe, listen and interact effectively with others, particularly in a group setting. The ability to work with, and in relation to, others from diverse backgrounds.

Planning, organistaion, time management skills, including the ability to work on your own initiative and meet deadlines thus evidencing personal effectiveness

Research skills including information gathering and retrieval and the ability to synthesise information froma variety of primary and secondary sources

The ability to plan, design, manage and complete an independent project

Analytical thinking, critical reasoning and problem solving including the ability to be open-minded and form independent judgements

An awareness of social, political and cultural processes and an awareness of social and cultural difference

An understanding of professional therapeutic culture and practices

'Soft' transferable skills, including the ability to reflect on your own intellectual development, imagination, creativity, the willingness to take risks, and – where necessary – the ability to engage in constructive, informed and critical challenges to orthodoxy and the ability to think ‘outside the box’

As a department, STaCS has very strong links with therapeutic and community organisations. Students on the BA Psychosocial Studies have an opportunity to gain practical experience in a placement as part of the Field work Practice optional module in Year 3. This experience introduces students to the varied range of organisations, agencies and services relevant to counselling and therapies, allowing students to learn about counselling and therapies practices in the wider community through personal engagement. Students also learn about working within an organisation and will engage in issues of ethical conduct and confidentiality while developing their ability to work as part of a team.



This programme will equip you with the broad range of complex skills and attributes increasingly required by employers, irrespective of whether you decide to proceed to a clinical training in some area of psychotherapy and counselling (e.g., Art Psychotherapy).

Students graduating from the programme move on to a range of careers and employment areas including the public and voluntary/third sector in the areas of mental health, social care and education. Many of our graduates do continue to postgraduate degrees in therapies, counselling and education (PGCE), however our graduates could also pursue careers in other caring professions such as social work. In addition, the literacy, numeracy, communication and practical skills acquired by Psychosocial Studies students are very marketable in other employment fields such as human resources/personnel management. You can find out more about the career paths open to you after graduating on our Social, Therapeutic and Community Studies careers page.

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths.

Learning & teaching

On this degree you'll attend lectures, seminars and discussions where you'll hear about ideas and concepts related to specific topics, and where you'll be encouraged to discuss and debate the issues raised. This will enhance your academic knowledge of the subject, and will improve your communication skills. You'll also attend tutorials, which help you develop relevant core skills.

But this is just a small proportion of what we expect you to do on the degree. For each hour of taught learning, we expect you to complete another 5-6 hours of independent study. This typically involves carrying out required and additional reading, preparing topics for discussion, or producing essays or project work.

This emphasis on independent learning is very important at Goldsmiths. We don't just want you to accept what we tell you without question. We want you to be inspired to read more, to develop your own ideas, and to find the evidence that will back them up. Independent study requires excellent motivation and time management skills. These skills will stay with you for life, and are the kind of that are highly sought after by employers. 

Learning and teaching on this degree will take place through:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Discussions
  • Tutorials
  • Independent learning
  • Presentations
  • Assessments

Find out more about these learning and teaching approaches

Student profiles

Alexandra Kerswell

"The course I studied was the best decision I have ever made."

My job involves liaising with supported housing schemes, health professionals, social workers and organisations and individuals working with older people to reach isolated housebound older people in order to encourage them to participate in Open Age phone groups or other activities.

This includes a whole range of things including delivering and facilitating several weekly group activities (e.g. creative writing & book groups) over the phone through teleconferencing, booking guest speakers to talk each week and tutoring arts and crafts and photography.

Studying at Goldsmiths gave me the skills in organisation and self management that have been applied to my current job role. The course I studied was the best decision I have ever made. It developed values that adhere to a psychosocial out look and a non judgmental supportive disposition, shaping me as an individual.

My experience was not always positive but the people I met, the department I was a part of and the support network I developed shaped it into one that I reflect upon with happiness and great enjoyment. I learned so much about so many things, both academic and personal. My studies have enabled me to find and create my own career doing things I enjoy.


"The university upholds an openness with a vibrant culture and atmosphere for all."

"BA Psychosocial Studies offers a wide choice for students who are interested in working within the therapeutic field, whether you are a mature student or coming straight from A-levels. The university upholds an openness with a vibrant culture and atmosphere for all.

Goldsmiths was introduced to me by my cousin who previously finished her studies here. I always knew I wanted to go to a University of London institution, and Goldsmiths ticked all the boxes for me.

Before I came to Goldsmiths, I was studying my A-levels. The transition between A-levels to undergraduate study was surprisingly easy, you meet lots of interesting people and they help you learn and grow as a student. This is also reflected through both the teaching and social atmosphere that Goldsmiths provides."

Fees & funding

Related content links

University statistics for this course