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Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 29/03/2022 14:32:15

Title of Module: Psychological Theory

Code: PSYC10010 SCQF Level: 10
(Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
Credit Points: 20 ECTS: 10
(European Credit Transfer Scheme)
School:School of Education & Social Sciences
Module Co-ordinator:L  Boyle

Summary of Module

This is a core module that focuses on the scientific approach to understanding and the nature of evidence. As such it draws on material that students will have covered on both core and elective modules at levels 9 & 10. The module emphasises a critical approach when examining scientific explanation and the nature of theory and investigates issues such as: bodies of knowledge, production of new evidence, induction and levels of confidence.

Both traditional and contemporary theories are examined and key figures linked to each theory are discussed. Students will be able to explore specific issues relevant to each theory in more detail by participating in workshops. Throughout the module, there is an emphasis on the importance of theory and an analysis of the research approaches and sources of evidence used to support the theoretical models discussed. The relationship between theory and practice is critically examined. Students will be encouraged to draw upon the knowledge they have gained across a diverse range of psychology modules to address the theoretical issues relating to the scientific approach in psychology.

Graduate skills/abilities acquired on this module

By the end of the module, students will have become autonomous, analytical and inquiring. In addition, they will have become imaginative, socially responsible thinkers capable of

  • Critical Evaluation of Aspects of Psychological Theories
  • Critical Reflection on historical contribution
  • Synthesis with contemporary psychology


  • The purpose of the module content is to support students in thinking about the history of psychology and the varied theoretical frameworks that have been adopted in psychology. A number of common theoretical approaches in psychology are considered including:

  • Behaviourist theory

  • Cognitive Theory

  • Evolutionary Theory

Module Delivery Method
Face-To-FaceBlendedFully OnlineHybridCHybridOWork-based Learning
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Term used to describe the traditional classroom environment where the students and the lecturer meet synchronously in the same room for the whole provision.

A mode of delivery of a module or a programme that involves online and face-to-face delivery of learning, teaching and assessment activities, student support and feedback. A programme may be considered “blended” if it includes a combination of face-to-face, online and blended modules. If an online programme has any compulsory face-to-face and campus elements it must be described as blended with clearly articulated delivery information to manage student expectations

Fully Online
Instruction that is solely delivered by web-based or internet-based technologies. This term is used to describe the previously used terms distance learning and e learning.

Online with mandatory face-to-face learning on Campus

Online with optional face-to-face learning on Campus

Work-based Learning
Learning activities where the main location for the learning experience is in the workplace.

Campus(es) for Module Delivery
The module will normally be offered on the following campuses / or by Distance/Online Learning: (Provided viable student numbers permit)
Paisley:Ayr:Dumfries:Lanarkshire:London:Distance/Online Learning:Other:
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Term(s) for Module Delivery
(Provided viable student numbers permit).
Term 1check markTerm 2


Term 3


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Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

L1. Demonstrate a critical awareness of the scientific approach and its influence on the development of Psychology.

L2. Critically appraise the relationship between psychological theory and practice with reference to specific examples.

L3. Critically evaluate competing approaches for capturing variability in human behaviour.

L4. Critically evaluate at least two research frameworks operating in contemporary psychology.

Employability Skills and Personal Development Planning (PDP) Skills
SCQF Headings During completion of this module, there will be an opportunity to achieve core skills in:
Knowledge and Understanding (K and U) SCQF Level 10.

Demonstrate a critical understanding of the principles of scientific investigation.

Understand a number of different major theoretical perspectives in psychology.

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 10.

Collate and interpret data relating to different theoretical approaches in psychology.

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 10.

Provide a critical appraisal of different methodologies available in psychology.

Interpret evidence from a variety of sources.

Draw on different areas of psychology to address. issues in the scientific approach.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 10.

Communicate information effectively in group-based discussions and oral presentations.

Analyse and interpret numerical and graphical data.

Make effective use of information retrieval systems.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 10.

Work effectively in groups to address discipline-specific tasks.

Systematically identify and address their own learning needs in both current and new areas.

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Applying Psychology Methods
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

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Learning and Teaching
This module will be delivered using a hybrid approach in which students are encouraged to engage with the module through three learning activities, presented both synchronously and asynchronously. Students will be encouraged to engage asynchronously with pre-recorded lecture content designed to provide students with an overview of the topic area. Pre-recorded lecture material will be complimented with a series of asynchronous and synchronous activities to be undertaken in the student's own time or by the students/instructor simultaneously as appropriate.
Students will work in groups in workshops to analyse/critique research relating to each topic covered.
As part of the University’s PDP strategy, students will be encouraged to reflect on their ability to interpret and critique psychological evidence and theory.
Learning Activities
During completion of this module, the learning activities undertaken to achieve the module learning outcomes are stated below:
Student Learning Hours
(Normally totalling 200 hours):
(Note: Learning hours include both contact hours and hours spent on other learning activities)
Lecture/Core Content Delivery12
Tutorial/Synchronous Support Activity24
Asynchronous Class Activity12
Personal Development Plan0
Independent Study152
200 Hours Total

**Indicative Resources: (eg. Core text, journals, internet access)

The following materials form essential underpinning for the module content and ultimately for the learning outcomes:

Bem, S., & de Jong H. L. (2013). Theoretical issues in psychology. An introduction. London: Sage.

Gross, R. (1999). Themes, issues and debates in psychology. London: Hodder and Stoughton.

McGhee, P. (2001). Thinking psychologically: Palgrave MacMillan.

Sheehy, N. (2003). Fifty key thinkers in Psychology.: Routledge Key Guides.

Thorne, M. B. (2004). Connections in the history and systems of psychology. Houghton Mifflin.

Staff will also recommend relevant journal articles for each topic.

(**N.B. Although reading lists should include current publications, students are advised (particularly for material marked with an asterisk*) to wait until the start of session for confirmation of the most up-to-date material)

Engagement Requirements

In line with the Academic Engagement Procedure, Students are defined as academically engaged if they are regularly engaged with timetabled teaching sessions, course-related learning resources including those in the Library and on the relevant learning platform, and complete assessments and submit these on time. Please refer to the Academic Engagement Procedure at the following link: Academic engagement procedure

Where a module has Professional, Statutory or Regulatory Body requirements these will be listed here:
All full-time students (part-time and distant learning students should check with their programme leader for any queries) are required to attend all scheduled classes and participate with all delivered elements of the module as part of their engagement with their programme of study. Consideration will be given to students who have protection under the appropriate equality law. Please refer to UWS Regulations, Chapter 1, 1.64 – 1.67, available at the following link:

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Supplemental Information

Programme BoardPsychology & Social Work
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelUg/Pg Psychology
ModeratorM Terras
External ExaminerS Langton
Accreditation DetailsBritish Psychological Society
Version Number


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Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
The module uses an essay assessment with 2 short (2,000 words each) essays on different module topics, each worth 50% submitted at the same time.
(N.B. (i) Assessment Outcomes Grids for the module (one for each component) can be found below which clearly demonstrate how the learning outcomes of the module will be assessed.
(ii) An indicative schedule listing approximate times within the academic calendar when assessment is likely to feature will be provided within the Student Handbook.)

Assessment Outcome Grids (Footnote A.)

Component 1
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Essaycheck markcheck markcheck markcheck mark1000
Combined Total For All Components100% 0 hours

A. Referred to within Assessment Section above
B. Identified in the Learning Outcome Section above

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  1. More than one assessment method can be used to assess individual learning outcomes.
  2. Schools are responsible for determining student contact hours. Please refer to University Policy on contact hours (extract contained within section 10 of the Module Descriptor guidance note).
    This will normally be variable across Schools, dependent on Programmes &/or Professional requirements.

Equality and Diversity
Aligned with the overall commitment to equality and diversity stated in the Programme Specifications, the module supports equality of opportunity for students from all backgrounds and with different learning needs. Using Moodle, learning materials will be presented electronically in formats that allow flexible access and manipulation of content. The module complies with University regulations and guidance on inclusive learning and teaching practice. Specialist assistive equipment, support provision and adjustment to assessment practice will be made in accordance with UWS policy and regulations. The University’s Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Policy can be accessed at the following link:
Our partners are fully committed to the principles and practice of inclusiveness and our modules are designed to be accessible to all. Where this module is delivered overseas, local equivalent support for students and appropriate legislation applies.

UWS Equality and Diversity Policy
(N.B. Every effort will be made by the University to accommodate any equality and diversity issues brought to the attention of the School)

2014 University of the West of Scotland

University of the West of Scotland is a Registered Scottish Charity.

Charity number SC002520.