Introduction to Psychology

The details
Essex Pathways
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Foundation/Year Zero: Level 3
Thursday 03 October 2024
Friday 27 June 2025
05 June 2023


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA C807 Psychology (Including Foundation Year),
BSC C812 Psychology (Including Foundation Year),
BSC C813 Psychology with Cognitive Neuroscience (Including Foundation Year),
BSC C817 Psychology with Economics (Including Foundation Year),
BSC C149 Economics with Psychology (Including Foundation Year)

Module description

Psychology is a broad subject, containing many disciplines. This module is designed to give an overview of these different core disciplines, encouraging students to explore how these different areas are informed by theory and research.

The module will cover a range of classic and contemporary pieces of psychological research, exploring the methods adopted by psychologists to investigate the human mind and behaviour. Through this module, students are encouraged to think critically about the theories and research studies that are covered and begin to consider how psychological findings apply to everyday life. This module will look at theory and research in areas such as cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, individual differences, biopsychology and social psychology. 

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

  • For students to develop a secure understanding of the key theories which underpin the core areas of psychology.

  • To equip students with the skills to apply key issues and debates (primarily nature-nurture and cultural bias) to theories and research in psychology.

  • To develop critical thinking skills which can be applied to theory and research in psychology.

  • To equip students with an understanding of methodological design and the importance of ethical considerations in designing psychological research.

  • To support students to develop communication and employability skills.

  • To enhance students’ interest in psychology and prepare students for undergraduate study in psychology.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will be expected to be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of basic psychological theories and methods across the core disciplines in psychology.

  2. To develop the skills of thinking critically about methods, results, and theories in psychology.

  3. To develop the skills of how to write the method section of a scientific report.

  4. To develop the skills of how to write the introduction section to a scientific report.

  5. To develop the skills of how to write the discussion section of a scientific report.

Skills for your professional life (Transferable Skills)

By the end of this module, students will have been offered opportunities:

  1. To improve your literacy skills.

  2. To develop your IT skills by learning to work in Word to complete assignments.

  3. To develop subject-specific writing by completing sections of a laboratory report.

  4. To develop critical thinking skills in the context of psychological research.

  5. To enhance your communication skills in class discussions and in written work.

  6. To develop your reflective skills through class time dedicated to engaging with feedback on assignments.

  7. To develop your personal plan of setting targets and time management to undertake coursework.

Module information


The syllabus is intended to introduce students to the core psychological disciplines, providing a good basic knowledge of the various theoretical positions and research methods skills including topics such as:

  • Debates in Psychology – Considering the wider philosophical debates that inform psychological research.

  • Physiological Psychology - The biological basis of behaviour, for example, the influence of the brain, neurotransmitters and hormones on behaviour.

  • Cognitive Psychology - The mental processes that guide human behaviour, for example, memory, language, thought, and perception.

  • Developmental Psychology - How people grow and change over their lifetime, for example, attachment, cognition, and parenting.

  • Individual Differences - The psychology of the person, for example, motivation, intelligence, and personality.

  • Social Psychology - The effects of social interactions on the person, for example, the influence of others, relationships, and group processes.

  • Research Methods in Psychology – How psychologists design research and the different methodological considerations they need to make.

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be delivered via:

  • One 2-hour lecture per week.
  • One 1-hour seminar per week.
  • One 1-hour research methods class per week.

Teaching and learning on Essex Pathways modules offers students the ability to develop the foundation knowledge, skills, and competencies to study at the undergraduate level, through a curriculum that is purposely designed to provide an exceptional learning experience. All teaching, learning and assessment materials will be available via Moodle in a consistent and user-friendly manner.

Lectures cover the core material, and the seminars provide an opportunity to discuss the topics and develop additional skills necessary to succeed in the assignments. The research methods classes cover the research methodologies that psychologists use to collect experimental data.


The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course.
The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students.
Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   IA175 - Participation Marks    5% 
Coursework   IA175 - Method Section    25% 
Coursework   IA175 - Introduction Section    35% 
Coursework   IA175 - Discussion Section    35% 

Additional coursework information

Formative assessment

  • During seminars and research methods classes, students will complete structured activities which will practice the skills required for their assignments. Feedback will be given during classes to be incorporated into the submitted assignments.
  • Students will also complete a multiple-choice formative assessment in the Autumn Term. This does not count towards the final mark; however, it provides the students with a valuable opportunity to obtain feedback on their understanding in preparation for the first summative assessment.

Summative assessment

  • Method section (600 words) – Students will write the methods section of a laboratory report, applied to a topic from the lectures.
  • Introduction section (1,000 words) - Students will write the introduction section of a laboratory report, applied to a topic from the lectures.
  • Discussion section (1,000 words) - Students will write the discussion section of a laboratory report, applied to a topic from the lectures.
  • Participation mark - Participation will be assessed through the completion of active psychological research via the SONA system.

Reassessment strategy

  • Failed coursework - resubmit a piece of coursework (1,250 words) comprising the key components of a laboratory report which will be marked as 100% of the new module mark. The reassessment task will enable the relevant learning outcomes to be met.

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Mrs Amanda Morris, email: a.j.morris@essex.ac.uk.
Amanda Morris (a.j.morris@essex.ac.uk)
Kate Smith - catsmith@essex.ac.uk



External examiner

Dr Austin Tomlinson
University of Birmingham
Available via Moodle
Of 9775 hours, 43 (0.4%) hours available to students:
9732 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information
Essex Pathways

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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