Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Conceptual and Historical Issues in Psychology
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 22 x 1 Hour Lectures
Seminar 1 x 2 Hour Seminar


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment group presentations  activities/presentations 6 x 500 words (10% each)  60%
Semester Exam 1.5 Hours   Pre-seen exam  40%
Supplementary Exam 1.5 Hours   Pre-seen exam  Will include possibility of re-submitting failed component of the module or as determined by the examination board.  If students fail the module overall, any failed component must be re-sat or determined as the Examination Board sees fit.  40%
Supplementary Assessment individual presentation  60%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to:
1. Demonstrate an understanding of the key distinctions and relationships between sub-disciplines in psychology and the historical development of contemporary psychology.
2. Critically assess the contribution of different psychological perspectives to the understanding of human behaviour.
3. Critically evaluate the controversies of psychological research and practice and the contribution of psychology to contemporary society.
4. Demonstrate understanding of the role of philosophy in science.
5. Discuss the development of, and need for, ethical guidelines and practice in psychology.


This module provides an introduction to psychology for the non-specialist and assumes no prior knowledge of psychology. It provides students with an overview of the evolution of psychology as a discipline and its emergence and development as a science.

Brief description

The module examines the emergence of psychology as a discipline from its roots in philosophy and biology. The module is intended to provide a clear, elementary introduction to the modern views about the nature of science.


  • Psychology as a pure and applied discipline.
  • Key figures and concepts in psychology.
  • History and Philosophy of Science
  • Controversies and current debates in psychology.
  • What is science?

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Not directly applicable although students will be introduced to the key concepts of statistical analysis through the examination of research designs.
Communication Students will learn how to present their ideas in writing and how to assert themselves to advantage. They will understand the importance of information and clear communication and how to exploit these. They will know how to use the many sources of information available and how to use the most appropriate form of communication to the best advantage. They will learn to be clear and direct in their and to be direct about aims and objectives. They will learn to consider only that which is relevant to the topic and to focus on the objectives of their argument. Students will be expected to submit their work in word-processed format and the presentation of work should reflect effective expression of ideas and good use of language skills in order to ensure clarity, coherence and effective communication.
Improving own Learning and Performance
Information Technology Students will be expected to submit their work in word-processed format. Also, students will be required as part of their assessment to search for sources of information on the web, as well as seeking sources through electronic information sources (such as Web of Science and PsychLit).
Personal Development and Career planning These skills are specifically developed in the module. Completion of the module will provide a broad context to understand the evolution and development of contemporary psychology which will be invaluable for students when they are making post-graduate career choices.
Problem solving The submission of an essay will require that the student develops both independent research skills and problem solving skills. The ability of students to solve problems will be developed and assessed by asking them to: adopt differing points of view; organize data and estimate an answer to the problem; consider case studies; reason logically; apply theoretical models; consider similar cases; look for patterns; divide issues into smaller problems.
Research skills The essay assessment will provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their independent research skills. The need to locate appropriate research resources and write up the results will also facilitate research skills.
Subject Specific Skills Students will have the opportunity to develop a wide range of subject specific skills that will help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate examples and research publications presented on the module. These subject specific skills include: - Assessment of scientific methods in psychology. - Differentiation between different methods of inquiry. - Demonstration of a familiarity with the techniques required for literature searches. - Appreciation of the nature of ethical research in the social sciences.
Team work Team work form a core component of this module through assessments


This module is at CQFW Level 4