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2023/24 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

PSYC5910M The Psychology of Ageing and Dementia

20 creditsClass Size: 70

Module manager: Dr Melanie Burke

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

Pre-requisite qualifications

At least an upper second class honours degree in Psychology or a discipline containing a substantial amount of psychology and research methods training

Module replaces


This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module will explore neuropsychological themes relating to both normal and pathological ageing. It will start by considering biological theories of ageing, before investigating cognitive ageing and dementia. The transition from normal ageing to dementia is then considered, alongside diagnosis and treatments before evaluating three influences relevant to successful cognitive ageing; genetics, lifestyle and mental health. To wind up the lecture series, two sessions will consider issues relevant to lived experiences of dementia patients and carer’s, before the final lecture considers steps needed to create a “dementia friendly” approach to behaviour and our healthcare system.


Students will specialise in conceptual and theoretical issues relating to the cognitive psychology of ageing and dementia.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students are expected to:

1. Recognise the biological and physiological changes that happen during ageing.
2. Have an advanced and critical understanding of current theoretical concepts in the cognitive psychology of ageing and dementia literature and be able to apply these concepts when considering the assessment of older adults exhibiting cognitive impairment.
3. Demonstrate critical understanding of the various methodologies used in the cognitive ageing and dementia literature and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses.
4. Critically consider the role of cognitive neuropsychology in the assessment of older adults exhibiting cognitive deficits.
5. Demonstrate a critical and in-depth knowledge and understanding of how experimental psychology can inform the processes and practices used by the medical professions to identify and assess older adults exhibiting cognitive deficits.

Skills outcomes
-Students will have opportunity to develop skills in selection, evaluation and application of published research relating to cognitive ageing and dementia.

-Students will gain practice in the application of theory to practical real world issues and the critical appraisal of published reports.

-Students will have the opportunity to develop communication skills by way of engaging in group discussions with written and oral argumentation.


Importantly, the lecture series will integrate both cognitive and neurobiological perspectives on ageing and dementia, and highlight the applied relevance of course material to, for example, everyday behaviours and healthcare processes and practice. NB: One final lecture (week 11) will be a revision session for exam preparation and module feedback.

1. Introduction to ageing and dementia
2. Biological ageing
3. Cognitive ageing
4. Neural and psychosocial aging
5. Mild Cognitive Impairment: Diagnosis and research
6. Mild Cognitive Impairment: Treatment
7. Dementia: Diagnosis and research
8. Dementia: Treatment
9. Living with dementia
10. Dementia friendly
11. Revision: Feedback and reflection

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
In Course Assessment21.002.00
Private study hours170.00
Total Contact hours30.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Students will have 170 private study hours. It is envisaged that this time will be approximately spent as follows:
Reading for each lecture: 10 x 6 hours - 60 hrs
Presentation preparation - 10 hrs
Essay structure and writing - 45 hrs
Independent literature searches, revision and reading - 55 hrs

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

An Oral Presentation: The students will need to give a brief presentation (~10 minutes) on the essay they plan to write as their coursework. These presentations will be done individually in front of the group for formative feedback only from the module leader and peers.
This is also formative feedback on their essay plans is designed to help provide confidence on their topic outline and structure of the essay prior to submission of their coursework essays in week 10 (70% of module mark).
Practice Short-Answer Questions (SAQs): These will be set in week 4 and 8 for students to monitor their progress and knowledge acquisition throughout the modules (5-10 SAQ’s will be set in each of the 2 tests). These are formative feedback only and provides practise for the 1 hour exam at the end of the module.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1500 words70.00
Oral PresentationPresentation of essay plan and topic0.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)70.00

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) (S2)1 hr 00 mins30.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)30.00

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: 28/04/2023 14:59:40


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