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How is Psychology Taught?

How is psychology taught in the School of Psychology at Queen's?

The undergraduate course includes a broad coverage of material drawn from right across the discipline, coupled with extensive practical and experimental work. This approach allows our students to have flexibility in career choice. This breadth of coverage is not necessarily found in psychology departments of other Universities, nor are these departments necessarily as well equipped or staffed. Students are encouraged to make extensive input to course and curriculum development.

Level 1

There are two dedicated psychology double modules at Level 1 which give an overview of the whole range of psychological study and application - with no assumptions of prior knowledge or experience in the area. Entry to these modules is restricted to students on psychology pathways. A further two optional psychology modules are available to all Stage 1 students.

Level 2

At Level 2 students study the six modules in psychology which cover the breadth of topics in psychology in greater detail than at Stage 1.

Level 3

At Level 3 students study the equivalent of six modules and are able to choose from a range of ‘electives’, including, for example, Sports Psychology; Developmental Disorders; Psychopharmacology; Intelligence; The Self and Identity; Emotion. The modules are designed to develop a variety of intellectual, practical, and social skills.

Teaching formats

There are many types of teaching in the School, including: lectures, practical classes, seminars/tutorials, workshops, projects, etc. Each makes its own contribution to the student’s development, though they are all closely inter-related. A majority of assessment is by end of module examination, although there is a large contribution from coursework throughout the modules. Marks from examinations and other assessments from the twelve modules at Stages 2 and 3 count towards the final degree result.


These are an important part of all modules and while providing basic information they more importantly give an organising overview of a topic to guide the student's private reading and study.

Practical Work

The School places considerable emphasis on students gaining experience of practical work, and particularly carrying out experiments. During the degree laboratory classes progress from standard experiments set out in advance to devising and running student’s own group and individual experiments. At Stage 3 each Single Honours Psychology student carries out their own project which is written up as a thesis and counts toward their degree.


These are where a relatively small number of students and a member of staff discuss a topic. Tutorials and seminars can be used to clear up difficulties, to explore topics in depth, or to speculate about wider issues. One of their main functions is to develop skills of argument and discussion.