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2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

HPSC1030 History of Psychology

10 creditsClass Size: 93

Module manager: Dr Mike Finn

Taught: Semester 1 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

- Can there be a science of the mind?- If so, what should it look like? Since the nineteenth century, the most extraordinary range of answers has been given to these questions. The phrenologists, for instance, turned psychology into the study of bumps on the skull, on the view that your particular set of bumps would reveal your unique talents and character. The psychoanalysts turned psychology into the study of the unconscious, where, they said, your mind locks away wishes and impulses too shameful to be acted upon. The behaviourists turned psychology into the study of reactions to stimuli, attempting to show that your environment made you who you are and, if changed, could remake you.- How did these different understandings of what psychology is come into being? - Why did each have its moment of popularity, only to be overtaken by a new answer? - Where does the truth lie? In this module we will be looking not just at a remarkable set of ideas about what psychology is, but at the people behind the ideas, from Darwin to Freud to Chomsky and beyond. Anyone curious to know more about the mind and its study will enjoy this module. There are no prerequisites.


To provide an overview of the historical development of psychology as a scientific discipline.


The establishment of psychology as an experimental science, the historical context of the revolt against behaviourism and the subsequent cognitive revolution.

The relations of psychology to physiology, philosophy, education, and biology.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours84.00
Total Contact hours16.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

Reading/preparation 84 hours

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

1 x 1,500 word essay & 1 x 1 hour exam

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1,500 words50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)1 hr 00 mins50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 14/08/2019


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