Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2005-2006 (archived)


Department: PSYCHOLOGY (APPLIED PSYCHOLOGY) [Queen's Campus, Stockton]


Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2005/06 Module Cap None. Location Queen's Campus Stockton


  • Modules to the value of 100 credits from Level 2 Applied Psychology (C810) OR Social and Developmental Psychology (PSYC2021)


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To present evolutionary theory as it is applied to human behaviour and to demonstrate how the theory and attendant research can contribute to the scientific understanding of behaviour.


  • This module examines the application of evolutionary principles to the understanding of human behaviour.
  • It begins with an introduction to natural and sexual selection before critically addressing a number of topic areas.
  • These may include mate choice, parental care, kin selection, group behaviour, same-sex competition, reciprocal altruism and psychopathy and family conflict.
  • Students will then consider human traits which form the basis for cultural evolution and the extent to which the trajectory and speed of cultural evolution is constrained by biological evolution.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Detailed knowledge of evolutionary approaches to human behaviour, including current theory and evidence
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Ability to review critically and consolidate understanding of a coherent body of psychological knowledge and apply it appropriately
Key Skills:
  • Good written communication skills
  • Good IT skills in word processing, data manipulation and data presentation
  • Abilities to work independently in scholarship and research within broad guidelines

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Students' acquisition of detailed knowledge will be facilitated by lectures, some small group work, audio-visual materials, discussions and detailed reading lists.
  • These modes of teaching provide students with detailed knowledge of the key theories and the skills needed to evaluate different theoretical positions in light of current evidence.
  • The summative essay and examination will assess students' detailed subject knowledge.
  • The summative essay requires students to independently locate, organise and critically review material in an area of evolutionary psychology not covered in the lectures.
  • An assessment of the range, recency and appropriateness of sources will be included in the overall assessment of the essay.
  • The use of group discussions and small group work will ensure that students are exposed to a range of different theoretical positions, and encouraged to understand their inter-relations.
  • Lectures, discussions and small group work will also give students the opportunity to interpret and evaluate the significance of empirical work.
  • The summative essay and written examination assesses students' acquired knowledge of theoretical principles and empirical studies and their ability to organise and synthesise them coherently and critically in written form in response to a set question.
  • The summative essay and examination will also assess students' written communication skills.
  • Feedback on the summative essays will be available from the beginning of the Epiphany term, allowing students plenty of time to benefit from feedback on this aspect of their work.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Total 200
Lectures 22 1 Per Term 2 Hours 44
Preparation and Reading 156

Summative Assessment

Component: Summative Essay Component Weighting: 30%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Summative Essay 2000 words 100%
Component: Examination Component Weighting: 70%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Examination 2 hours 100%

Formative Assessment:


Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University