Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2019-2020 (archived)

Module PSYC41830: Advanced Topics in Behavioural Science

Department: Psychology

PSYC41830: Advanced Topics in Behavioural Science

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2019/20 Module Cap None.
Tied to C8K409


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To understand a range of topics in the field of behavioural science and to aquire knowledge about the history, background and development of research within the field of behavioural science.
  • The module will provide a forum for the critical examination of seminal theoretical models and empirical studies, along with methodologies and techniquies used for the study of behavioural science phenomena.


  • This module examines a range of specific research topics in the field of behavioural science.
  • The module begins with an introduction to behavioural science, before detailing its history and emergence as a discipline, before critically addressing a number of topic areas
  • Topics can vary from year to year but are likely to include principles of social cognition; behaviour in groups and teams; marketing and consumer behaviour; health, wellbeing and prosociality; risk, finance and behavioural decision making.
  • Research methods and technologies used to study these topics will be discussed during the seminars.
  • The module will also cover related conceptual and historical issues in psychology and behavioural science.
  • The core psychological processes and methodologies discussed in this module intersect with, and can be drawn upon to understand, topics covered in all of the optional modules part of the MSc in Behavioural Science (hence a 30 credit module).

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Detailed knowledge of a range of topics in behavioural science
  • Detailed knowledge of the research methods and technologies used to study behavioural science phenomena
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Ability to review critically and consolidate understanding of a coherent body of pscyhological and behavioural science knowledge and apply it appropriately.
Key Skills:
  • Good written communication skills
  • Good IT skills in word processing, data manipulation and data presentation
  • Ability 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 weekly seminars in Michaelmas and Epiphany term.
  • The seminars will inlcude small group work and student -led discussions, which will be aided by the use of audio-visual materials and comprehensive reading lists.
  • These modes of teaching provide students with detailed knowledge of the key theories and skills needed to evaluate different theoretical positions in light of current evidence.
  • The use of groupe discussions/small group work will ensure that students are exposed to a range of different theoretical positions, and encouraged to understand their inter-relations.
  • Small group work during the seminars will aslo give sutdents the opportunity to interpret and evaluate the significance of empirical work.
  • The summative assessment of this modules is made up of two componets: an essay and a two hour examination.
  • The essay and the examination will assess students' detailed subject knowledge.
  • The essay and the examination will assess students' acquired knowledge of theoretical principles and empirical studies in the field of behavioural science, as well as their ability to organise and synthesise them coherently and critlcally in written form in resonse to a set question.
  • An assessment of the range, recency and appropriateness of sources will be included in the overall assessment of the essay and the examination.
  • The essay and the examination will also assess students' written communication skills
  • Feedback on the summative essay will be available within 3 teaching weeks allowing students plenty of time to benefit from feedback on this aspect of thier work before sitting the two-hour examination.
  • Formative assessment during the module will be provided to a 2,000 word essay that students' develop earlier during the module, so that feedback can be effectively impletmented in future work in this module, but also the option (15 credit) modules.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 22 1 per week 2 hours 44
Preparation and reading 256
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Summative Essay Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Summative Essay 3000 words 100% YES
Component: Examination Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Examination 2 hour 100% YES

Formative Assessment:

2000 Word essay

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