BSc Educational Psychology / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Foundations of psychology

Course unit fact file
Unit code EDUC13011
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


The purpose of the unit is to introduce and acculturate students into the idea of studying psychology as a science and through a range of perspectives.  Major topics include:

  • What is Psychology (e.g. is it the science of mind, or is it the science of experience)?
  • What encapsulates ‘science’ as a practice?
  • Major schools of psychology (e.g. Philosophy, psycho-physics, Introspection, Behaviourism + neo-behaviourism (Wundt, Skinner et. al), Humanism)
  • Differences between European and American schools of thought

The taught content will be augmented by formative, online activities, including case-based study examples and online quizzes.



To provide coverage of the BPS qualifying syllabus core area of cultural and historical origins of Psychology.

To introduce students to the study of psychology as a science by examining the social and cultural construction of psychology through the lens of major shifts in paradigm and
perspective. Attention will be paid to its application to 'real world questions' with particular regard to education.


Teaching and learning methods

Face to face lectures (e.g. including whole class discussion and debate, case/scenario based learning, and other approaches to learning and teaching)

Supplementary e-learning resources provided online


Knowledge and understanding

Demonstrate understanding of the scientific underpinnings of psychology as a discipline, its historical origins, development and limitations.

Be able to comparatively analyse and evaluate phenomena relating to human functioning from a range of different perspectives.

Intellectual skills

Be able to comparatively analyse and evaluate phenomena relating to human functioning from a range of different perspectives.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Be able to problem solve by clarifying questions, consideration solutions and evaluating likely outcomes

Take charge of their own learning and undertake self-directed study to produce a credit-bearing assignment

Written communication

Oral communication (contributing to discussion and debate)

Working with others (group work, case-based work)

IT skills (word processing, accessing electronic databases and library facilities, managing references)

Assessment methods

Students are a provided a case-vignette and asked to select one psychological approach (as studied in class) in order to consider to what extent this psychological perspective helps us understand the situation.

Length: 1,500 words

Weighting: 100%

Feedback methods

Online via Blackboard/Turnitin

Recommended reading

Gross, R. (2015). Psychology: The Science of Mind and Behaviour (7 Ed.). London: Hodder

Forshaw, M. (2012). Critical thinking for psychology: A student guide. West Sussex: BPS

Hayes, N. (2000). Foundations of Psychology (3 Ed.). London: Thomson.

Ruscio, J. (2005). Critical Thinking in Psychology: Separating Sense from Nonsense. Belmont, CA: Thomson, Wadsworth.

Slife, B. (2010) Taking sides: Clashing Views on Psychological Issues. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
eAssessment 20
Lectures 15
Independent study hours
Independent study 65

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Michael Wigelsworth Unit coordinator

Additional notes


Hours Allocated

Staff/ Student contact

10* interactive lectures @ 1.5 hours


Facilitated, formative online activities


Private study, reading and assignment preparation


Total Hours



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