Psychology - first year modules

In your first year, a typical week will include scheduled lectures, workshops and tutorials, with unscheduled time for you to work with other students on coursework and in the hands-on experiential learning laboratory, PsychLE. 

The first year is divided into two fifteen-week semesters. Each semester begins with a single module taught over four weeks, and is followed by two modules taught in parallel over eight weeks. The semesters end with a revision week and two assessment weeks.

A typical week for the first module, PSYC411 Learning, is shown here. There are three two-hour lectures (orange), and a one-hour tutorial (blue) in which you work with your personal tutor and around six or seven other students on an upcoming assessment. There are also three two-hour workshops where you experience psychological phenomena, learn about conducting experiments, and how to use data to test psychological theories.

A typical week in the first year timetable

PSYC411: Learning

This module will prepare you for university life by examining some of the factors that help learning, both in and out of the classroom. In addition to lectures, you will participate in interactive workshops and tutorials that will develop your study skills and show how effective learning happens. You will also create new knowledge by conducting your own experiments, collecting data from other students about how they learn. We will help you to design and conduct your own experiments, analyse your data, and present your findings in poster format.

This module is taught over the first four weeks of Semester 1.

Learning through hands-on experience

PSYC412: Psychological Science

This module will introduce you to a broad range of fundamental issues in psychology. Across a variety of topics, you will learn key theories, questions, and empirical approaches. Topics are based on the typical experiences of the first year student, and include learning new faces, coping with change, and finding your way around a new city. This breadth of insights will highlight how knowledge is integrated across scientific domains, and will provide the opportunity for you to explore different research methods and scientific traditions. You will also learn how knowledge has been applied to real-world situations, and will encounter examples through hands-on activities.

This module is taught alongside PSYC413, in weeks 5 to 12 of Semester1.

Finding your way around is an environmental psychology problem

PSYC413: Debates in Psychology

This module will provide you with key insights into psychological controversies and debates regarding major questions. Focusing on major topics—who am I, perception and reality, self-control, and evolutionary psychology—you will encounter the different perspectives that have dominated psychological thinking. Via interactive and hands-on activities, you will experience the richness of psychological debates and will have the opportunity to challenge conventional ideas.

This module is taught alongside PSYC412, in weeks 5 to 12 of Semester1.

Many topics in Psychology remain controversial

PSYC414: Relationships

This modules introduce you to the psychological principles of relationships. You will cover relationships across the life span, starting with childhood attachment and peer relationships, through adolescence and young adulthood and into older age. Your focus will be on understanding the mechanisms of a range of different relationships, including close personal relationships, organisational, professional and inter and intra group relationships and professional relationships. You will learn about the social cognitive processes of relationships, how they change and grow across our lifetimes and their importance in all aspects of life including health and wellbeing.

This module is taught over the first four weeks of Semester 2 (February).

Psychology modules include lectures, workshops and tutorials

PSYC415: Topics in Psychology

Topics in psychology provides a deeper dive into four of the core areas of psychology. In this module you’ll learn about brain anatomy and function, including a close examination of vision, from the workings of photoreceptors all the way up to the visual cortex. In an examination of attention and memory you will understand how we efficiently focus our attention and store information in sensory, working and long term memory. You will also explore social aspects of beliefs, prejudice and empathy, through the comparison of social groups. Finally, from the very young to old, you’ll discover how children acquire language, and how our perception of risk changes as we get older.

This module is taught alongside PSYC416, in weeks 5 to 12 of Semester 2.

Every psychology student has a personal tutor

PSYC416: Connecting Psychology

Each year, with invited experts from relevant fields, we will explore connections between psychology and other areas. For example:

  • Politics :  what can psychology tell us about political attitudes?
  • Art : what can psychology learn from artists, and what can artists learn from visual perception
  • Technology : how do people adapt their behaviours to new technologies?
  • Architecture:  What challenges do different architectures pose for living?
  • Embodiment and Wellbeing : Do natural environments affect our creativity?
  • Ethics of Persuasion : the ethics of methods for altering behaviour
  • Animal welfare: the psychological welfare of pets, farm animals and those in zoos and aquariums.
  • Film and Literature: different approaches to utopia, an imagined society that possesses near perfect qualities for its citizens

This module is taught alongside PSYC415, in weeks 5 to 12 of Semester 2.

Psychology interacts with a wide range of areas