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PS3902 - Theoretical Perspectives in Psychology

Academic year

2021 to 2022 (Semester 2)

Key module information

SCOTCAT credits


The Scottish Credit Accumulation and Transfer (SCOTCAT) system allows credits gained in Scotland to be transferred between institutions. The number of credits associated with a module gives an indication of the amount of learning effort required by the learner. European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) credits are half the value of SCOTCAT credits.

SCQF level

SCQF level 9

The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) provides an indication of the complexity of award qualifications and associated learning and operates on an ascending numeric scale from Levels 1-12 with SCQF Level 10 equating to a Scottish undergraduate Honours degree.

Availability restrictions

Only available to those enrolling on the MA Combined Studies or already enrolled on the MA/BSc General degree taken in the evening.

Planned timetable

Mon 6.30 - 9.30 pm

This information is given as indicative. Timetable may change at short notice depending on room availability.

Module coordinator

Dr D Vishwanath
Dr D Vishwanath

This information is given as indicative. Staff involved in a module may change at short notice depending on availability and circumstances.

Module Staff

Team taught

This information is given as indicative. Staff involved in a module may change at short notice depending on availability and circumstances.

Module description

This module will take a theoretical approach to understanding key ideas at the heart of modern psychology. The aim here is to explore in detail several of the theoretical perspectives and approaches used in psychology to describe and explain human behaviour and mental processes. Students will explore how psychology approaches issues such as the nature of consciousness, defining and understanding 'normality' and 'abnormality' (from case studies to populations), the theory of mind, and the impact of evolution on the nature of being human. Current theories and debates will be studied from the perspective of individual staff members, and their research interests, within the School of Psychology. The focus will be on understanding concepts; the module is not intended to provide training in experimental psychology techniques or methodology.

Relationship to other modules


Before taking this module you must pass PS1901 and pass PS2901

Assessment pattern

As used by St Andrews

Coursework = 100%

As defined by QAA

Written examinations = 0%
Practical examinations = 0%
Coursework = 100%

The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) have compiled/developed an indicative list of learning and teaching methods:
  • Written: Is included in this category any assessment done under exam conditions (exams during diets, class tests) that do not involve the use of practical skills.
  • Practical: Are included in this category oral assessment and presentation as well as practical skills assessed in situ (in a classroom or laboratory for instance). Performances in the performing arts context are also classed as practical assessment.
Further details can be found on the QAA website.


Coursework = 100%

Learning and teaching methods and delivery

Weekly contact

1 x 3-hour session: lectures and practicals.

Scheduled learning hours


The number of compulsory student:staff contact hours over the period of the module.

Guided independent study hours


The number of hours that students are expected to invest in independent study over the period of the module.

Intended learning outcomes

  • understand theoretical issues and challenges in different areas of psychology
  • understand how to apply different levels of explanation in different areas of psychology
  • critically evaluate published articles for their empirical content
  • understand the role of different methodologies in research
  • demonstrate ability to apply critical thinking in the written evaluation of existing scientific ideas, theories and findings