module specification

PC4005 - Study Skills and Introductory Biopsychology (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Study Skills and Introductory Biopsychology
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Social Sciences
Total study hours 300
219 hours Guided independent study
81 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 20%   Reflective Essay
Coursework 10%   Portfolio 1
Oral Examination 20%   Oral Presentation
Coursework 25%   Essay (max 1500 words)
In-Course Test 25%   In class test MCQ 1 hour
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Thursday Morning

Module summary

This module is designed to assist students in their approach to, understanding of and skills in the scientific study of psychology at HE Level. Within this module students will asked to reflect upon and develop their academic and transferable skills, and to become familiar with key tools and resources designed to support their learning and progression at University. The module also introduces the brain and behaviour, e.g. an overview of the structure and processes of the nervous system, and its role in determining behaviour. The module will also demonstrate the role of biological psychology not just within the academic setting but its role in today’s society and the world. This module will be understandable and comprehensive to a person with no or little biological sciences background.
Year-long module (30 weeks)
No prior learning required

Module aims

The aims of this module are aligned with the qualification descriptors within the Quality Assurance Agency’s Framework for Higher Education Qualifications. Specifically, this module aims to

  • Develop students’ ability to study and learn at HE level.
  • Enable students to reflect upon and develop their abilities in oral and written communication, selecting, analysing and evaluating information, and interpersonal relationship management.
  • Support students in understanding and creating a profile of personal and professional skills, attributes and achievements
  • Give students the opportunity to experience and make use of peer and personal support systems.

As such, the student skills element of this module encourages students to develop practical, intellectual and interpersonal skills that are of use in many employment settings, and also provides students with a toolkit of intellectual and practical academic skills which will assist their progression to modules at levels 5 & 6.

The aims for the biological element of this module are to

  • Provide an introduction to the fundamentals of biological psychology.
  • Provide a framework for evaluating biological research methods, ideas and theories.
  • Introduce the use of data from both humans and animals
  • encourage independent learning through developing library skills and the ability to provide evidence and to support or refute ideas


This module orientates students to HE study and allows students the opportunity to practice and develop their academic and transferrable professional skills in psychology. The syllabus examines effective reading and note-taking strategies; argument construction and critical thinking skills; goal setting, career planning, and employability; effective written and oral communication including public speaking; improving memory; concentration and revision strategies; and making use of resources including the University library, the Careers Service, and online services.
Biological psychology topics will include introducing the nervous system and endocrine system, communication between and within cells, neuroanatomy, biological research methodology, behavioural and molecular genetics, and the biological bases of the senses.

Learning and teaching

The module is delivered through a variety of teaching and learning methods. A combination of group and individual activities will take place within a framework of lectures, seminars, workshops, and tutorials. For the study skills portion of the module, key material will be delivered through lecture sessions, with the workshops offering  practical exercises in which students the opportunity to develop their understanding of the topics and reflect upon how their new understanding could be applied to their own academic and personal development.  Guided independent study opportunities (e.g., pre-lecture reading, workshop preparation) will be offered via WebLearn. Students are also expected to engage in self-managed private study around the topics covered in this part of the module.
The biological element of this module will be delivered through a combination of lectures, group seminars, and individual tutorials.  It will consist of a combination of lecturer-led lectures, workshops, seminars and individual tutorials .supplementary guided learning via weblearn and self managed private.
In terms of opportunities for PDP development in the biological part of the module, students will be exposed to the full discipline of biological psychology. During this time, the different careers within the field of biological psychology will be discussed. During seminars students will have the opportunity to discuss potential careers within the area and seek advice from lecturers.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  1. Describe tools, strategies, and approaches for enhancing effective learning and achievement in higher education, and apply these to their own academic practice.
  2.  Articulate a range of personal values, personal preferences and transferrable skills and attributes, and describe how these may impact upon their learning and professional development.
  3. Practice and develop their oral and written communication skills, and skills in identifying, selecting and analysing information.
  4. Provide knowledge of the nervous system and its influence on human behaviour.
  5. Conduct literature reviews including the use of journal articles and specialist texts rather than just general texts, evaluating theories and communicating this within a word limit in order to enhance editorial transferable skills.

Assessment strategy

For the biological psychology component, summative and formative assessment will be via an unseen closed examination of 1.5 hrs (25%); and a coursework essay of 1500 words (25%).
Additional formative assessment can be gained from a non-contributory web-based test, where answers will be provided to students after completion of the test.

For the study skills component, a reflective essay, a porfolio and an oral presentation  allow opportunities for summative and formative feedback and reflection on performance. The portfolios will include exercises relating to approaches to effective studying in HE (e.g., critical thinking, use of assessment criteria) as well as activities encouraging students to assess, and plan development of, their personal and professional transferable skills and attributes.

omponent Percentage of Marks Learning outcomes
Reflective Essay 20% 1, 2
Portfolio 2 10% 1, 2
Oral Presentation 20% 2,3
Essay (max 1500 words) 25% 3,4,5
MCQ (1.5 hours) 25% 3,4,5



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Carlson, N. R. (2009). Physiology of behaviour (10th ed.). Harlow: Pearson Education.
Chandler, C., (2015) Psychobiology. Chichester, Wiley Blackwell. [CORE]
Cottrell, S., (2010). Skills for success: The personal development planning handbook. Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. [CORE]
Cottrell, S., (2013). The study skills handbook (4th Ed.). Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. [CORE]
Davey, G. (Ed.) (2008). Complete psychology (2nd edition). London: Hodder Education.[CORE]
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Pinel, J. P. J. (2010). Biopsychology (8th ed.). Boston: Pearson Education.
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