What Are the Benefits of a Psychology Summer School?

06 Oct, 2023 | Blog Articles, Psychology Articles

Psychology summer schools are summer programmes designed to give students the opportunity to explore the subject outside of the school curriculum. Often designed to mimic the experience of studying a Psychology degree, they can be a great way to develop your skills and experience for your university application

As a social science, Psychology sits on the border between STEM subjects and the humanities, using a scientific basis to understand human behaviour. 

There are many benefits to studying Psychology. It’s an incredibly significant subject in our everyday lives, and contributes to important developments in society like understanding neurological diseases and their symptoms, developing effective treatments for mental illnesses, and education. 

If you’re thinking about studying Psychology, then a Psychology summer school is the perfect opportunity to explore the subject before committing to a full degree! 

Here are our top benefits of attending a Psychology summer school: 

1. Learning in an Immersive Environment

Psychology summer schools provide the opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the subject, encouraging you to explore different areas while developing your own interests and passions. 

At the Oxford Scholastica Academy, our Psychology summer schools centre around a hands-on approach. This includes a mixture of lectures, discussions, experiments and interactive sessions to encourage critical thinking and active engagement. 

Attending a Psychology summer school, and spending two weeks completely dedicated to the subject, offers a unique chance to challenge yourself beyond your schoolwork. You’ll begin to build a comprehensive understanding of psychology, learning about attachment theory, neuro-imaging, language and memory, in an inspiring and supportive environment.

An OSA psychology summer school student taking notes.

2. Exploring Diverse Topics in Psychology

Psychology is a broad subject, covering a range of behaviours, thought patterns and emotional reactions from multiple perspectives. Some well-known areas of psychology include:

I. Biological psychology

Biological psychology is the study of the brain and the nervous system, and their effect on human thinking and behaviour. 

This covers neurochemistry (the role of neurotransmitters in the neural network) and neuroanatomy (the structure of the nervous system), as well as the use of brain imaging techniques like MRI, fMRI and EEGs to visualise brain activity.

Students with an interest in biological psychology often pursue roles in neuroscience, neuropsychology and neuroimaging.

II. Cognitive psychology

Cognitive psychology aims to understand how people process information. This includes exploring people’s perception of the world, the retrieval of memories in the brain, the ways in which people reason and make decisions, or acquire a new language.

Cognitive psychology provides the foundation for roles in educational psychology, cognitive rehabilitation and memory research.

III. Developmental psychology

Developmental psychology studies the changes of development in people as they age – physically, intellectually, emotionally and socially. It involves a detailed focus on children and teenagers, covering prenatal, infancy, early childhood and adolescence development, as well as the changes that occur in adulthood.

Covering attachment theory and a variety of cognitive development theories, careers in child psychology, developmental psychology and early childhood education are great choices for anyone interested in this field.

IV. Clinical psychology

Clinical psychology focuses on promoting the mental health and wellbeing of individuals through therapy, counselling and interventions. It develops the skills and knowledge to assess, diagnose and treat clients in a clinical setting.

The study of clinical psychology covers the identification of psychological disorders and relevant treatment plans, therapeutic approaches such as cognitive-behavioural therapy, psychoanalysis and person-centred counselling, and ethical guidelines for clinical practice. 

Students with an interest in this area often take on roles in clinical psychology, counselling, psychotherapy and clinical research.

A Psychology summer school encourages the study of a diverse range of topics, allowing students to gain exposure to a range of specialisms within Psychology and develop a strong holistic understanding of its foundations. 

It’s an excellent opportunity for students to reflect on their individual interests and potential career paths in psychology. 

3. Building Analytical and Research Skills 

Research forms the foundation of all topics within psychology, and is an important part of progressing in the field. 

Psychology summer schools give you the opportunity to personally engage in research. This could be conducting your own experiments, creating and distributing surveys, literary searches or data analysis. 

This first-hand experience develops the analytical and research skills – like experimental design and critical thinking – that are central to undergraduate study.

4. Understanding Human Behaviour and Interactions 

The main goal of psychology is to understand human thinking and behaviour. Participating in a Psychology summer school provides helpful insights to a range of real-world situations, helping to foster empathy and emotional intelligence. 

Understanding human cognition also allows for a level of introspection that can support personal growth. Exploring psychological theories that explain human behaviours and interactions encourages a deeper understanding of yourself and others.

You might have heard of the bystander effect, for example – it’s the theory that an individual is less likely to help a person in need if there are other people nearby. Interestingly, students who participated in a class about the bystander effect were significantly more likely to later help someone in need than those who didn’t participate (Beaman et al., 1978).

5. Applying Theory to Real-Life

Arguably one of the most important aspects of psychology is developing ways to use psychological theories to alter thinking and behaviours for the better. The bystander study is a great example of a psychological theory positively impacting behaviour in real-life. 

Psychology summer schools encourage the application of knowledge to real-life scenarios, using case studies and practical exercises to help students develop practical problem-solving skills. These skills are valuable across a variety of careers in psychology and beyond, preparing you for any future career you pursue.

6. Networking with Peers and Professionals 

Last but not least, a Psychology summer school offers the chance to interact with many like-minded peers and professionals in the field. Students come from around the world to attend an international summer school, meaning you’ll get to know people from a range of cultures and backgrounds. This variety of perspectives increases your understanding of the subject in depth and breadth. 

There’s also the opportunity to meet professionals in the field, as you learn from qualified and respected experts, and build valuable connections for your future academic and professional career. This head-start in developing your network is also a low-pressure way to  develop your networking skills in a relaxed environment.

Oxford Scholastica Academy summer school students collaborating.

Attending a Psychology summer school is an invaluable opportunity to explore the subject in depth, and to develop your personal interests within the field. 

You might even discover your specialism for your future career!  


By Kylie Li

Kylie is reading Experimental Psychology student at Queen’s College, Oxford. She is most interested in developmental and cognitive psychology, and how these can be applied to the education system.

Get a head start on your future in Psychology!

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