Experimental Psychology and Psychology, Philosophy and Linguistics



We admit four students each year across these courses.

The course

You can read Psychology on its own (as Experimental Psychology) or with Philosophy and/or with Linguistics (PPL). For any of these three options, you choose from the same list of Psychology papers and attend the same lectures and tutorials in a given topic.

In the first two terms all students take introductory courses in three subjects chosen from: Psychology; Statistics; Linguistics, Philosophy; and Neurophysiology.  Lectures and weekly College tutorials are provided on each topic. The Preliminary Examination is taken at the end of the second term.

After Prelims, for the next three terms Experimental Psychology students study the following core topics: Cognitive Neuroscience; Behavioural Neuroscience; Perception; Memory and Information Processing; Language and Cognition; Developmental Psychology; Social Psychology; Personality, Individual Differences and Psychological Disorders; Statistics and Experimental Design. These are followed by second year examinations, which count towards the final degree mark. EP students then spend the final three teaching terms taking advanced topics in EP, including a research project and the option of writing a library dissertation. Psychology, Philosophy and/or Linguistics students who study Psychology will combine Psychology topics with subjects in Philosophy and/or Linguistics. These include topics such as: Early Modern Philosophy; Philosophy of Logic and Language; Ethics; Philosophy of Mind; Philosophy of Cognitive Science, Sociolinguistics; Semantics; Phonetics and Phonology; Psycholinguistics and Linguistic Theory. Students take a final examination during their last term and all must complete a course of laboratory-based practical work.

The chief research interest of the tutor, Prof Geoff Bird, is the psychological and neural mechanisms supporting our ability to interact socially. He is a leading figure in the scientific study of empathy and how we learn from others. As part of this research, he is especially interested in how social mechanisms are affected by conditions such as Autism Spectrum Disorder and Feeding and Eating Disorders. He has recently focussed on an interesting condition called Alexithymia, which is characterised by a reduced ability to identify and describe one's own emotions. Alexithymic individuals might not know whether they are sad, angry or afraid, or, in extreme cases, whether they are having an emotion or are hungry/thirsty. See the Brasenose PPE webpage to read about the Philosophy tutors who may also teach on some of these courses.

Read more about Experimental Psychology and Psychology, Philosophy and Linguistics at Oxford.


Many people study Psychology simply because they are interested in how the brain works, and do not expect to follow a career in Psychology. However, there are a range of careers for which this degree is the ideal start, such as Educational Psychology and Clinical Psychology. There are also industrial openings in human factors (optimising the design of the interface between people and machines, e.g.
making user-friendly human-computer interfaces), and in personnel management.