Psychological & Behavioural Sciences (PBS)


In 2020, the admissions process is not operating as set out in the text below. The interviews in 2020 will be conducted remotely, and as a result the structure of the interviews and some of the assessments will be changing for this year. All applicants in the 2020-21 round should instead consult the ‘Pre-interview and interview notes’ document for 2020, which they will have been sent separately.

Trinity College is delighted to invite applications for undergraduates to be admitted into the PBS Tripos, by the UCAS deadline of 15 October 2020 to commence studies in October 2021.

The highly popular PBS course at Cambridge is in its fourth year, and Trinity College is delighted to be offering it to its students. In the first two years of admission, the number of applications was tiny, probably reflecting lack of awareness among schools and 6th form colleges that Trinity College now offers this course. Last year we received more good quality applications but the numbers are still quite low. So, if you are looking to study psychology at Cambridge, the time has never been better to apply!

The PBS course covers the full range of psychology, including behavioural and cognitive neuroscience, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, social psychology, as well as the study of atypical development and adult psychopathology. Psychology is simultaneously a social science, a natural science, and a medical science, and the PBS course explores each of these aspects. It is of recognized value in many careers, ranging from clinical or educational psychology, through to the design of new technologies, science documentary making, or working in the criminal justice system.

While there are a number of compulsory psychology papers, students have plenty of choice, with options such as the development of social behaviour, atypical psychology, cognitive psychology, language, brain mechanisms, gender, family relationships and influences, personality, and group social behaviour.

Research projects and a dissertation also enable students to study in greater depth the topics that interest them most. Example projects involve brain and language, gender, neuroscience, personality, autism, depression, ageing, social interaction, hearing, memory, and visual cognition.

Within the course, there is also the flexibility to pursue related disciplines such as politics, sociology, archaeology, biological and social anthropology, computer science, philosophy, natural sciences, economics, and education.

Students are taught by lecturers and researchers of international excellence in the field of psychology. Seminar programs throughout the year offer regular talks from guest speakers. In addition to academic expertise, students have access to extensive library and computing facilities. In the Guardian’s University guide 2020, the Good University Guide 2020, and the Complete University Guide 2020, Cambridge is consistently ranked in the top 5 universities for psychology.

The University’s psychology teaching is accredited by the British Psychological Society. Graduates are therefore eligible for admission to professional courses in clinical, educational, forensic, applied, or academic psychology. Numerous past students of psychology at Cambridge have gone on to prominent positions in psychology research and related fields throughout the world.

Typical offers in most Cambridge colleges for the course are A*AA at A Level. Equivalent qualifications are also considered – see the Undergraduate Study website for details. Two of those A Levels must be in Mathematics and Biology. On average 380 applications for PBS per year across all colleges are received and 80 offers are made. Over the last two years, only 26 applications were received by Trinity College. Trinity College plans to accept up to 4 students into the course for 2021.

After you have submitted your UCAS application online you will be prompted to provide some additional information in a Supplementary Application Questionnaire (SAQ) direct to the University of Cambridge. If you wish to defer entry, you should indicate this on your UCAS application. If you have a good examination record and a favourable reference, you are likely to be invited to interview. Interviewers want to see how you work through problems and take on new ideas, and to find out more about you. This is an important part of our selection procedure.

For more about the PBS course in Cambridge:

Frequently asked questions about the course:

Note that there are other routes to studying psychology at Cambridge, one being within the Natural Sciences (NST) course ( and another being within Medicine.

Teaching Staff

  • Professor Simon Baron-Cohen


Applications received 7
Offers made 2
Applications received 11
Offers made 2
Applications received 15
Offers made 4