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What is GBC and how can you apply for it?

Friday, June 23rd, 2023

Young health psychology student smiling while studying on laptop

If you are looking to study psychology at postgraduate level in the UK, you may have come across the phrase ‘Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC)’ and wondered: what does this mean?  

GBC is a British Psychological Society (BPS) membership scheme and an entry requirement for most BPS-accredited postgraduate and doctoral psychology programmes, including Ulster University’s BPS-accredited Health Psychology MSc. 

Here we explain further what GBC is and how you can apply for it if you need to. 

What is GBC? 

Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) is a BPS membership scheme offered to graduates of BPS-accredited psychology and conversion programmes. Graduate membership gives you access to a professional network and numerous perks, including events, online communities, discounts and subscriptions. 

Applicants of BPS-accredited postgraduate and doctoral programmes in the UK, including the Health Psychology MSc at Ulster, should hold BPS graduate membership to meet requirements. 

Who needs to apply for GBC? 

GBC is an entry requirement for most BPS-accredited postgraduate and doctoral psychology programmes, including Ulster University’s BPS-accredited Health Psychology MSc. Graduates of non-accredited psychology programmes and international applicants with non-UK psychology qualifications will need to apply for GBC in order to be eligible to study psychology at postgraduate level in the UK. 

BPS graduate membership is a requirement to ensure all incoming students share the same prior knowledge, making it possible for everyone to build upon this at the same pace. 

Graduates of BPS-accredited undergraduate psychology programmes in the UK are already likely to hold graduate membership to the BPS and can confirm their membership by logging onto the BPS website. 

What is the British Psychological Society (BPS)? 

British Psychological Society - BPS accreditation logo

The British Psychological Society (BPS) is the UK professional body that represents psychologists and psychology. The BPS has provided a professional benchmark for training and educational programmes since the 1970s, aiming to set a standard of learning and proficiency for practising psychologists in the UK.

How do I apply for GBC? 

You can apply for Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) via the BPS website. Application requirements include: 

  • At least a 2:2 undergraduate honours degree 
  • Copies of your degree transcript (subjects and grades) for all undergraduate, conversion and non-UK qualifications.* 
  • A non-refundable £42 application assessment fee 

*Translations are required for any documents not in English. 

To be considered, your undergraduate degree should cover significant psychology content including the core areas of psychology, in an equivalent breadth and depth as would be expected of a BPS-accredited undergraduate degree (or conversion course) in psychology. Core areas include: 

  • Cognitive psychology 
  • Psychobiology 
  • Developmental psychology 
  • Social psychology 
  • Individual differences 
  • Conceptual & historical issues 
  • Research 

Find more information for both UK and international applicants on the BPS website. 

Why do I need GBC to enrol on the Health Psychology MSc? 

Graduate membership with the BPS acts as ‘Stage 1’ membership before you gain further experience and become eligible to hold Chartered Membership of the Society and practice professionally in the UK. 

Graduate members can add ‘GMBPsS’ after their names to signify their graduate membership of the BPS, receive a subscription to The Psychologist and gain access to the BPS’ archives of academic journals. 

How long will it take to apply for GBC? 

It can take up to 8 weeks for the BPS to review an application, so make sure you apply as soon as possible so that you can be enrolled in the next intake. Visit the BPS website for more detailed information. 

Get in touch with our advisors via the course page or email for a full consultation. 

Why study a BPS-accredited Masters? 

Being a BPS member is a must if you intend to practice as a health psychologist in the UK. 

Studying a Masters with BPS accreditation ensures that your programme, including module content, learning outcomes, admissions, and ethical and legal requirements, meets the rigorous standards set out by the BPS and the needs of current professional practice. 

Read our blog for more insight into why BPS accreditation is important. 

Gain a Health Psychology Masters at Ulster 

One of the first BPS-accredited courses to be offered online at Masters level, the Health Psychology MSc is an excellent way to earn an internationally recognised qualification and specialise in your area of interest without the need for a career break. 

An online, part-time programme, this Masters provides engaging research-led course content and opportunities to collaborate with peers and apply your learnings on a practical dissertation project. All enrolling students must hold an undergraduate psychology qualification and GBC to apply. 

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