Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Conceptual and Historical Issues in Psychology (PGT Conv ODL) PSYCH5078

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Psychology and Neuroscience
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: No
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No
  • Taught Wholly by Distance Learning: Yes

Short Description

This course covers the recent history of psychology, focusing on the main schools of thought, key historical figures and events, and with a focus on important conceptual issues relevant for psychological research, linking present day research with the underlying historical debates.



Requirements of Entry

At a least a 2:1 honours degree or equivalent

Excluded Courses



There are two components of summative assessment weighted equally at 50%.

Each component consists of a series of directed and self-directed activities and readings, with a summative written piece of 1,250 words.

The components will begin with a series of readings, and videos to introduce a conceptual and/or historical issue in Psychology. This will direct students to gather a number of scientific and peer-reviewed resources that students contribute to a communal resource archive. These resources are then discussed in interactive online debate forums moderated by staff. The first submitted component will be a critical analysis of evidence and position statement in a conceptual debate. The second submitted component will be a critically reflective blog post regarding a historical milestone in psychological science.

Course Aims

This course aims to introduce students to the recent history of Psychology in the 19th and 20th centuries and to explore this in the context of major schools of thought in Psychology. Students will learn to link present day research with the underlying historical and philosophical debates. They will also be introduced to the varying systems and theories which still inform modern Psychology.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Outline and critically analyse the major historical and philosophical developments in Psychology.

■ Describe and synthesise the role played by key historical figures in the discipline and their contributions to the development of Psychology as a discipline.

■ Explain and critically analyse examples of the misapplication of psychological science, including discussion of scientific sexism and racism: applying knowledge and critical analysis of the above point to specific professional situations and case studies.

■ Engage in, and contribute to, peer debates involving current and historical professional and ethical issues within Psychological research and practice: consolidating, synthesising, and critically evaluating multidisciplinary resources and contributing these resources to peer debates and activities.

■ Communicate important conceptual, historical and ethical issues in psychological research and practice to a range of specialist and non-specialist audiences, using a variety of methods.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.