PY3CHI-Contemporary and Historical Issues

Module Provider: Psychology
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Dr Katie Gray


Summary module description:
Critical approaches to contemporary and historical issues in psychology

As a balance to the specialisation that is required by the optional modules, this module brings the whole year group together to consider issues of current theoretical, ethical and practical importance to Psychology and to compare current thinking with historical positions on these and other issues. Students will be provided with training in planning empirical investigations, critical thinking, and the construction of arguments.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module, students will be able to:
- Critically consider current and historical debates in the discipline of psychology, and consider their implications to the discipline and beyond
- Synthesise historical and contemporary ideas about various topics
- Critically evaluate an argument of contemporary or historical interest, synthesising relevant information from across the whole psychology programme

Additional outcomes:
Students will be prompted to review what they have been taught in other modules from different perspectives. Students will be required to work independently to collate information from a range of sources and to marshal this appropriately in order to draw conclusions in relation to controversial topics.

Outline content:
Students will be introduced to critical approaches to a variety of topics of historical and contemporary interest, such as philosophical and ethical debates, advanced research design, and controversies in the media, through interactive lectures. Students are encouraged to draw on their broad knowledge of topics in the field of psychology, and to integrate and contrast different perspectives in tackling the questions posed. Coursework assessments in Terms 1 and 2 provide students with feedback on the level of their argumentation in both critical summaries and essays prior to the final examination. The exam paper will be available to students prior to the start of the examination period, to allow students time to research and synthesise the evidence in relation to the question they will answer with reference to a variety of perspectives.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The module is taught via a series of 2-hour lectures, and supported by independent literature searching and reading. Teaching methods include:
(a) Interactive lectures
(b) Recommended reading from texts
(c) Independent literature review and reading
(d) Formative feedback on draft critical reviews
(e) Feedback on summative essays

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20 10
Guided independent study 60 50 60
Total hours by term 80.00 60.00 60.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 50
Written assignment including essay 35
Set exercise 15

Other information on summative assessment:
Students complete one critical review in Term 1, which contributes 20% of the marks for the module, and an extended essay in Term 2 (15% of the module marks). Students sit a 2-hour seen examination in Term 3, which contributes 50% of the module mark. Students are provided with the exam paper two weeks before the start of the exam period, in order that they can select, research and prepare to answer a specific question. Students complete weekly online assessment questions after each lecture, contributing a total of 15% of the module mark.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    2 hours

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Re-examination in August / September.

    Last updated: 14 October 2016

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