BA Art and Psychology
Join our BA Art and Psychology programme, accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS), and develop your creative practice while gaining your first qualification towards training as a professional psychologist.
At the University of Reading, you'll learn through sustained experimentation and creative enquiry in practical studio modules alongside complementary studies to introduce, develop and master skills and knowledge of art and psychology.
Led by internationally excellent staff from Reading School of Art and the School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, you’ll take part in a wide variety of exhibitions, and learn how to conduct laboratory research.
During this four-year joint degree, you'll have the opportunity to:
- build on your practical skills
- explore the practice, theory and history of art
- benefit from our approach to the subject, and particular focus on contemporary art
- learn how to devise and run your own experiments
- become familiar with the concepts required for BPS qualification, including cognition, neuroscience, development, personality and social psychology.
In the National Student Survey 2023, 92% of our students said that their knowledge and skills for the future were developed well or very well (91.67 % of respondents studying BA Art and Psychology).
Your learning environment
At Reading School of Art, you'll have access to a dedicated studio space, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, and you’ll be assigned a studio tutor to help develop your individual and professional practice. There's always a high level of activity in the studios with events, screenings, performances and exhibitions taking place regularly. Our teaching staff are all artists and curators highly connected with the creative world beyond the University, and strongly encourage regular exhibitions and open debate.
Our new School of Art building opened in September 2023 and is the perfect spot for exploring different media in our workshops and exhibiting your work whist being near the centre of our Whiteknights campus.
The School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences houses state-of-the-art facilities to support research and learning, including eye-tracking and specialist equipment for electrophysiology and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).
Additionally, we have various in-house NHS clinics, including:
- our Anxiety and Depression and Speech and Language Therapy clinics
- the Centre for Autism
- the world-renowned Charlie Waller Institute for evidence-based psychological treatments on site.
You’ll learn from tutors and lecturers who are at the forefront of ground-breaking research for psychology and conduct internationally leading research in human development and ageing, clinical disorders, neuroscience, multilingualism, virtual reality, and behaviour change.
Your learning journey
This degree is structured to build on your skills and develop your expertise both as an artist and as a psychology researcher.
Your studies in art will include set practical projects, supported by group and one-to-one feedback, weekly seminars, and guidance from your academic tutor. Regular field trips to national and international museums, art institutions, exhibitions and galleries will give you the chance to consider the diverse conditions in which art is created, displayed and received.
Following your first year, your learning will be increasingly self-directed, while you’ll continue receiving further training and academic guidance to help you grow as an artist and deepen your expertise. You’ll consolidate your learning, mastering your skills and knowledge through a choice of complementary modules, a comprehensive exhibition, and written dissertation.
In psychology, you’ll be taught through a variety of lectures, seminars, tutorials, workshops, and lab classes. Research methods teaching is supported by interactive workshops, practicals, and specialist drop-in sessions. Throughout the programme, you’ll complete practical research work, ranging from large groups as you start out, to smaller groups and individual work. In your fourth year, you’ll design and implement your own empirical project.
Develop your skills
The course is designed to further your skills, both critically and practically. You’ll learn to:
- reflect the relationship of art practices to their global histories, discourse, and contemporary relevance
- share knowledge of the diversity of art practices, materials, media, techniques and processes
- use materials, media and techniques in informed, effective and skilful ways to enhance sustainability, responsibility and safety
- select and present art practices and outcomes using appropriate and effective methods
- demonstrate knowledge and understanding of concepts, theories, and evidence in six core domains of psychology, such as individual differences, biological, cognitive, developmental, and social psychology, and conceptual and historical issues in psychology
- integrate knowledge from different fields of psychology and cognate areas, and use evidence-based reasoning to argue and critically evaluate a claim
- demonstrate an understanding of practical applications of psychological theory and research
- apply concise written and oral communication skills, including analysis and discussion of viewpoints.
In art, our practice-based assessment methods provide inclusive and diverse combinations that enable you to demonstrate your skills and knowledge relevant to your individual creative practice and strengths.
You’ll be assessed via a range of methods, including:
- portfolios of practice
- peer-review presentations
- reflective journal writing
- essays and reports.
This will culminate in a written dissertation and an end-of-year group exhibition of your artwork.
In psychology, modules are typically assessed by a mixture of coursework and formal examination, with some modules entirely assessed by coursework. Coursework includes:
- project reports
- reflective writing
- oral and poster presentations
- weekly continuous assessment questions.
You’ll be encouraged to undertake placements in both art and psychology settings.
Past art opportunities included internships at Studio Voltaire and Frieze Art Fair, performances at the ICA, taking part in an Arts Council-supported film project at the Museum of English Rural Life, and participating in an international exhibition at the Seoul Institute of Arts in South Korea.
Psychology students have undertaken placements at charities, at one of our three in-house NHS clinics, and at the world-renowned Charlie Waller Institute for Evidence-Based Psychological Treatments. There’s also the opportunity to volunteer as a research assistant on a range of projects within the School.