Psychology at CambridgeWatch
I was just wondering if anyone had any experience with the psychology course at Cambridge, and if so what they thought of it (particularly stress-level-wise). It’s currently one of my options, but since I’d be taking psychology purely out of interest, not for any particular career prospect, I don’t want to apply if the course itself isn’t enjoyable.
That said, if anyone else has any recommendations for other universities I’d love to hear them. Thanks in advance for any replies!
I would say it is a fairly stress free course for Cambridge standards workwise but I personally don't enjoy it and semi regret my decision of switching from NatSci to PBS. Lecturewise... you'll probably have 8-10 a week along with 12-16 supervisions a term depending on papers chosen which works out to 1.5-2 supos per week on average. The handbook says you should spend 36 hours a week in total doing work but I am pretty sure 90% of people on the course completely ignore that and do absolutely fine. Probably a bit over half is necessary unless you really want a 1st or something.
In first year, there are two compulsory papers - PBS1 and PBS2 - and you choose 2 other papers from other departments based on your interests. It's the same for 2nd year too and the types of papers that are compulsory and optional are pretty similar. 3rd year is a bit different but you're better off looking at the website for the course for more details since I won't be able to give an opinion.
PBS1 is an essay based paper and I absolutely despise it. Topics range from Health Psychology (i.e. stress - which was fairly interesting) to Embodied Cognition (which made me want to walk out 10 minutes into the only lecture of the series that I did attend) to more 'social' topics such as Interpersonal Perception and Political Decision Making. Since it's a fairly new course however, they seem to keep playing around with the topics which is a bit annoying revision wise with past papers and essay titles.
I enjoyed PBS2 in the first term since it had a lot of actual science - e.g. brain anatomy and function, neurobiology, etc. - but this term is a lot of 'how science works' and stats and I hate my life.
I picked Evolution & Behaviour (from NatSci) and Humans in Biological Perspective (from Archaeology/Biological Anthropology) as my optional papers. The papers on offer each year change slightly due to stuff like availability and places but are typically the same so you can pretty much choose whatever you're interested in. There are quite a lot of HSPS papers available - e.g. sociology, politics - and even papers you wouldn't really think relate well to psychology such as computer science, education and economics. I, however, do not like this system as a result as it just feels like you're being stretched out quite thin. It just feels like you're studying 3 different not all that related degrees at once and you're expected to read each one in depth. Not fun but hey that's Cambridge.
So yeah. That is one girl's perspective on it, hahaha. If you have any questions, feel free to ask!
IMO having the option to study lots of different subjects is a good thing - i wish i took first year computer science now! An undergrad degree is really best for spreading your wings and sampling lots of different subjects and perspectives.