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2021/22 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

PSYC2503 Psychological Disorders

10 creditsClass Size: 300

Module manager: Prof Anna Madill

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

Pre-requisite qualifications

Successful completion of all pass for progression modules in Level 1 of: BSc Psychology or MPsyc, BSc Advanced Psychology, or BSs Psychology with Education


PSYC1605Biological Psychology

This module is mutually exclusive with

PSYC3403JH/Int: Psychological Disorder

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module, which exploits the specific research interests and skills of two senior members of academic staff, introduces students to issues surrounding the definition, diagnosis and classification of mental disorder, and presents an overview of psychological theories and treatments for depression, anxiety and schizophrenia. It also builds extensively upon material introduced in Level 1 Biological Psychology. Particular attention is paid to the applied aspects of psychopharmacology with a strong emphasis on the empirical and theoretical bases for the pharmacotherapy of mental disorder.


This module aims to provide in depth coverage of key concepts in the area of psychological disorders.
The module will be taught by a team of experts in the subject.
Students will continue to develop their knowledge of this discipline with particular emphasis on the research expertise of the module team.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students should be able to:

1. understand the DSM system for classifying psychological disorders.
2. explain the different models for understanding psychological disorders and their inter-relationships.
3. describe the signs and symptoms of depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, and schizophrenia.
4. review & critically evaluate the major psychological theories/therapies for these disorders.
5. review & critically evaluate the major biochemical theories/pharmacotherapies for these disorders.
6. critically reflect on ethics beyond research.

Knowledge acquired as a function of taking this module, will prove invaluable preparation for several L3 theory options (e.g. PSYC3020 Drugs, Hormones & Behaviour; PSYC3450 Affective Neuroscience; PSYC3444 Drug Addiction, as well as for certain types of final-year project work.

Skills outcomes
Successful completion of the module will encourage the development of skills in literature selection, and in the critical analysis of relevant published research.


The module will cover the following topics:

1. Classification and models of psychological disorder
2. Biological approach to mental disorder; neurons & how they work and drug action in the CNS, & general research strategies
3. Consideration of ethics beyond research
4. Psychological approaches to depression
5. Biochemistry & pharmacology of depression
6. Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)
7. Psychological approaches to anxiety
8. Biochemistry & pharmacology of anxiety
9. Psychological approaches to schizophrenia
10. Biochemistry & pharmacology of schizophrenia

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Drop-in Session11.001.00
Class tests, exams and assessment30.501.50
Private study hours81.50
Total Contact hours18.50
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

50 hours: 10 x 5 hours reading per lecture
5 hours: preparation for in class MCQs
23 hours: examination preparation
3.5 hours: tutorial preparation

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

MCQs tapping the content of prior lectures will be presented in-class so that students can monitor their own progress. Correct answers will be explained by the lecturer in class after students have, privately, scored their own answers. This will take place during lectures 2, 4 and 8 with each test planned to take 30 minutes.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
In-course MCQ.0.00
In-course MCQ.0.00
In-course MCQ.0.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)0.00

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

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Online Time-Limited assessment2 hr 00 mins100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)100.00

The exam will consist of two parts. The first part consists of MCQs (30%) that cover the broad content of the module. The second part contains three essay questions (70%) tapping specific, but reasonably broad, areas of the syllabus. The exam requires an answer to only one of the three essay options.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/06/2021 15:21:45


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