Reading Freud

The details
Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies
Colchester Campus
Postgraduate: Level 7
Thursday 05 October 2023
Friday 15 December 2023
24 August 2023


Requisites for this module



Key module for

MA C89012 Psychoanalytic Studies,
MA C89024 Psychoanalytic Studies,
MA C890MO Psychoanalytic Studies,
MPHDC89048 Psychoanalytic Studies,
PHD C89048 Psychoanalytic Studies

Module description

The aim of the module is to give students an introduction to Freud's thinking. The aim of the module is to give students an introduction to Freud's thinking. Some of these you will have encountered before; some are classics that deserve to be re-read many times; some will be new to you. Together they provide a historical overview of the development of psychoanalytic ideas. They also form a reference point for all the other modules, given that most of the clinical and theoretical work you will study on the MA either derives ultimately from these roots, or reworks, or reacts against them. We will also pay attention to the interaction between Freud's clinical discoveries and his metapsychology: that is, both how his model of mind may determine what he makes of clinical phenomena and how the clinical phenomena cause him to re-evaluate his model of the mind. Topics will include the theory of dreams; infantile sexuality; Freud's first and second 'topography of psychical systems; narcissism and the internalization of the object in mourning.

Each seminar will concentrate on one of Freud's major papers, or an excerpt from a major work (the 'Key Texts'), which will be presented and examined in detail.

Module aims

The aims of the module are:

1. To explain leading themes and concepts in Freud’s work (of relevance for psychoanalysis as a whole);
2. To put psychoanalysis forward as a cultural and philosophical endeavour as well as a clinical one;
3. To present the work of Freud, particularly the interaction between Freud’s clinical discoveries and his metapsychology;
4. To encourage a comparative understanding of psychoanalytic theories.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module students should be able to:

1. Demonstrate familiarity with relevant Freudian concepts, bringing a questioning and critical dimension to your understanding;
2. Deploy various critical and academic skills (e.g., how to evaluate historical sources, forms of psychoanalytic reasoning, the nature and adequacy of theories, or cultural artefacts) in a psychoanalytically informed investigation of a topic, including the analysis of texts;
3. To discuss, compare and debate the trends and evolution of Freudian thinking;
4. To discuss, compare and debate theories critically.

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

In general, each seminar will include a short overview of the topic by the seminar leader, followed by discussion. Students may be asked to open up a topic with a prepared, five-minute presentation or set of questions. Some classes may include concentrated, critical reading of passages form texts in small groups, followed by discussion.


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   Essay    100% 

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
Prof Matt Ffytche, email:
Professor Matt Ffytche
PGT: PGT Student Administrator:, 01206 873745 Room 5A.202



External examiner

Dr Noreen Giffney
Ulster University, Jordanstown Campus, Northern Ireland
Lecturer in Counselling
Available via Moodle
Of 18 hours, 18 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.


Further information

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