Psychology degrees to retain reference to non-human animals

24th Oct 2016

The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA), after careful consideration, have decided against their proposed change in the definition of Psychology, meaning it will continue to retain reference to non-human animals.

Earlier this year QAA proposed to change the definition of 'Psychology'; they wished to define a Psychology degree as purely human, i.e. removing reference to the study of non-human animals.

The BNA, along with many Higher Education Institutes, opposed this change and took action by writing to the QAA to explain why Psychology degrees should continue to include non-human animal research.  Central to the BNA’s position is that many key areas of Psychology (Biological and Cognitive) depend on fundamental insights gained from the use and study of non-human animals. The new proposed definition would have made it very hard to teach certain areas of the course and could have misled prospective students.

The BNA, which represents neuroscience and neuroscientists - many of whom work within Psychology departments - strongly believes that working with non-human animals is essential for understanding the nervous system. 

Removing non-human research from the definition of Psychology would have affected the large community of neuroscientists employed in psychology departments, as these areas of research are what links the two subjects so well.  The BNA, therefore, welcomes the QAA’s decision to reject their planned changes to the definition of Psychology.

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