Hi, my name is Fiona and I am in my third year of my psychology degree in UCD. No, I cannot read your mind. I don’t place everybody I meet in ‘boxes’ based on the way they shake my hand. I also do not analyse everything you say and do (well, not all the time anyway). During my three years studying in UCD I have been exposed to much more than Freud’s outlandish theories. Contrary to popular belief, a psychology degree does not equate to a qualification in hypnosis and mind-reading. It involves so much more.


Psychology is defined as the science of human mind and behaviour and incorporates a wide variety of areas, including cognitive processes, mental health, crime and sport. Psychologists conduct research in these various areas in order to try and understand the underlying causes of our behaviours.



Here in UCD, undergraduate students are exposed to many different areas of psychology. In first year, I took introductory courses in Social Psychology, Brain and Behaviour, and Perception and Cognition. In Social Psychology, I got to learn all about the different errors and biases humans make in their everyday judgements of people and situations. I also learned about the ways that individuals change their behaviours when they are in a group versus when they are alone. In Brain and Behaviour, I was introduced to the different parts of the brain and how these may affect our personality, emotions, thought processes and social behaviours. With Perception and Cognition, I learned all about how our senses give us information about the world we live in as well as the ways our minds allow us to gather, store and use this information in our everyday lives.

In first year, students get a taster for the primary areas in the field. I found that this helped me to decide which areas appealed to me the most and which I would choose to pursue further during the rest of my degree! The basic knowledge in Psychology I acquired by taking these modules in first year also equipped me to go on to study subjects such as Sport and Exercise Psychology, Clinical Psychology, Psychology of Language and Cross-Cultural Psychology, as many of these topics were based on aspects of the introductory courses.

Psychologists are constantly trying to find answers to questions regarding human minds and behaviour. There will never be a day when the questions run out. Because of this, Psychology involves a lot of research: Research into the effect of social media use on concentration levels; research into how our mental health affects our physical health; research into the underlying causes of illnesses such as Schizophrenia. The BSc in Psychology here in UCD equips students with the skills and knowledge required to carry out such research. Last year, myself and my classmates got to carry out our own experiments on the university campus, analyse our data and draw our own conclusions from the results! As well as being a really enjoyable experience, the practical training in conducting our own research was incredibly valuable and prepared us for undertaking our Final Year Research Project, whereby we get to design and carry out our own study on a topic of our choice!

myUCD Blog

Hopefully you will now be convinced that psychology is not merely the study of Freudian theories and psychoanalysis, nor is it a three-year training course in hypnosis and mind-reading. I must warn you however, if your interest has been sparked and you are considering undertaking the BSc. in Psychology, prepare yourself for attempting to convince your friends otherwise!