Group of lecturers in discussion at the University of Portsmouth

The Department of Psychology

Explore the teaching and research activities taking place within our Psychology department

Our Department of Psychology has been guiding students in the field since 1969. Over the past 50 years, the department has become one of the top 25 places to study psychology in the UK (The Guardian), and the 7th best school for graduate prospects for UK psychology undergraduate courses (2020 Complete University Guide).

The department offers degrees covering a wide range of psychological topics, making graduates especially attractive to future employers – 95% of students from our BSc Psychology and BSc Forensic Psychology students are in employment or further study 6 months after graduation (DLHE, 2017). In a 2017 survey by the Economist, we were ranked 6th out of 104 British universities for boosting our students chances at getting higher salaries.

We hold an Athena SWAN bronze award for our commitment to gender and social equality in the workplace, and a National Union of Students Green Impact Gold Award for our voluntary green practices.


We pay particular attention to supporting our students outside of lectures so they get the best out of our degrees.

For example, during level 4 and 5 of the courses students meet in small groups, during the first and second year of our courses, students meet in small groups and individually with their personal tutor on a regular basis – and in their final year students get one-on-one supervision while they work on their chosen psychological research project. We pride ourselves on offering excellent student support which creates a pleasant and helpful environment.


Psychologists play an important role in understanding the world, and our research aims to improve the lives of people around the world.

Our recent projects include innovative work on predicting high-risk offenders, and studies exploring how to protect victims and support witnesses. Other projects include 'increasing mammal release success rates and reducing the impact of tourism on wildlife' and 'developing tools to enhance employment prospects of adults on the autism spectrum'. 

We've received funding from many prestigious organisations, including the Economic & Social Research Council, the Leverhulme Trust, Federal Bureau of Investigation, British Academy and the British Psychological Society.

Our areas of research expertise

Take a closer look at the work we're doing across our 4 areas of expertise in Psychology research.

Recent research projects include

  • Cognitive research leads to improved lie detection

    Our researchers developed the innovative Cognitive Load (CL) technique – based on cognitive theory – which yields significantly superior lie detection results by devising interviews that are more difficult for liars than truth-tellers.

  • Improving public engagement with science through primate research

    Our researchers have established a primate research centre in a zoo environment (Marwell Zoo), where visitors can watch the science taking place – this led to significant increases in their perception of the zoo as a place of learning; increased their knowledge about the specific research being conducted; and improved children's attitudes to science as an exciting subject.

  • Promoting justice, protecting victims and supporting witnesses

    Developed in the laboratory and tested in the field, the Self-Administered Interview (SAI©) is an evidence-based investigative interviewing tool designed to elicit comprehensive initial statements from multiple witnesses and victims – particularly in time- and resource-critical situations – which is now being used by police forces internationally. 

  • Improving the well being of employees

    Our researchers created the quality of working life (WRQoL) – a psychometric scale to understand and improve the quality of working life of working people in the UK and across the world, which is now being used by universities, NHS Trusts, Trade Unions, schools, and major organisations including the Police, and the BBC.

Find out more

Explore the other Schools and Departments that make up our Faculty of Science and Health.

Contact us

To get in touch, please contact our Faculty office.

+44 (0)23 9284 2994

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