Volunteering is a great way to help the community, make friends, have fun and take on new skills. It can also be a significant career investment.
As part of your formal study
University Ambassador Scheme
If you're taking the single-subject BSc, you might like to spend part of your final year studying within a local school setting through our University Ambassador Scheme. This is evaluated and credited to your degree in the same way as campus-based study.
Voluntary Research Assistant Scheme
In your second (and sometimes third) year, you can apply for our Voluntary Research Assistant (VRA) scheme to gain hands-on research experience beyond that offered in your coursework. The scheme allows highly motivated students who are interested in careers in psychology to work with experienced psychology researchers on their ongoing projects. As such, you have the opportunity to contribute towards cutting-edge research, develop new and exciting skills, learn about different topics in greater depth, and work closely with expert researchers. The projects vary each year depending on current research and available supervisors, but span the whole of psychology – including visual cognition, developmental disorders, self and identity, health interventions, psychophysiology, and much more.
We invite applications for our term-time scheme at the start of each university semester, and match up students with supervisors who work in the areas of psychology that most interest you. VRAs typically work for about 4 hours per week in term-time. This workload is flexible and fits in well with the course timetable of lectures and workshops, while helping to develop time management skills by requiring commitment throughout the semester.
We also run a competitive Summer Placement scheme, in which you can apply to work alongside research and psychology professionals not only within the University but also in local external settings such as NHS clinics (relating to clinical psychology) and market research companies (relating to organisational psychology). These placements vary anywhere from an intensive two-week full-time position to one day per week throughout the whole summer.
Working as a VRA helps to prepare you for your third year project and gives you real insight into what a career or postgraduate studies in psychology involves. It also enhances your CV by allowing you to gain psychology-relevant voluntary work experience which can otherwise be hard to come by. Many of our VRAs list their VRA supervisor as a reference for jobs and further courses, and have gone on to study psychology at postgraduate level.
As part of your spare time
Southampton is a busy city, home to a wide mix of people. For you as a psychology student, there is a wide range of opportunities for involvement through the University, the Students' Union or outside agencies. You might, for example, consider joining the Nightline listening and information service, SUSU offer intensive training to prepare you for this role.
Some contacts are given on the right.
If you are thinking about gaining the University's Graduate Passport, you will find that your volunteering experience can feed into the 'Active Citizen' component.