Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)

Module PSYC2251: Differential and Clinical Psychology

Department: Psychology

PSYC2251: Differential and Clinical Psychology

Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • Either (i) or (ii) : (i) PSYC1062 IPR plus PSYC1071 Intro 1 and/or PSYC1081 Intro 2; OR (ii) PSYC1071 Into 1 plus PSYC1081 Intro 2


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • The aim of this module is to develop knowledge and understanding of theory and research in differential psychology, the study of psychological differences and similarities between people and understanding of theory and research in atypical and clinical psychology


  • This module will cover historical issues and conceptual issues surrounding the study of differential psychology and psychological disorder. Such as around personality (e.g. in anxiety, extraversion), ability (e.g. in intelligence, navigation skills), the issue of psychiatric classification, the main classes of psychological disorder, including, for example, affective disorders, schizophrenia and anxiety disorders
  • It will introduce evidence for the underlying assumption that people vary on a range of psychological attributes, and that these differences can be measures and studied • It will include discussion of some issues surrounding clinical practice in abnormal psychology
  • Students will acquire knowledge relating to the major theoretical approaches to individual differences in personality and ability
  • They will also develop practical knowledge of the issues, surrounding measurement of psychological variables and basic skills in the administration and design of psychological tests
  • The content will be delivered through weekly lectures • Individual student support will be provided through a weekly surgery hour

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • A broad knowledge of theories of personality and individual differences in ability, with in-depth knowledge of some topics and the most common types of mental illness and the key concepts in psychiatric diagnosis, with in-depth knowledge of some topics
  • Knowledge and understanding of instruments and tools used in personality research (questionnaires, psychometrics, related statistics)
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Understand the relationship between theory and data, including the ability to evaluate theories and concepts
  • Ability to formulate research questions and hypotheses
Key Skills:
  • Effective retrieval and organisation of material
  • Location, reading, and review of a body of research evidence
  • Critical evaluation of the quality of evidence and arguments
  • Ability to adopt different theoretical positions and see relationships between them

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

  • Acquisition of knowledge and understanding in this area is facilitated by the material covered in lectures, and the provision of detailed reading lists. Evidence of wider reading (i.e. not in set reading) will be required for higher marks
  • Knowledge and understanding will be assessed through examination and end of term test
  • The end of term test uses a multiple choice format to assess the breadth of knowledge of the full syllabus, and a written format is used int the examination to assess the ability to organise, review and evaluate evidence and theory, to provide critical appraisal, and to contrast theoretical positions
  • Feedback on progress in the module will be provided via in-class activities
  • Subject-specific and Key skills are fostered through lectures and discussion and will be assessed via the examination

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 20 1 per week 2 hours 40
Preparation and Reading 160
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 80%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Examination 2 hours 100%
Component: End of term test Component Weighting: 20%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Multiple Choice Test 2 hours 100%

Formative Assessment:

Formative exercises within lectures

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