Social Sciences

Short Courses in Psychology

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More information about the Psychology discipline

Psychology is the science of mind and behaviour. The discipline examines the role of mental functions in individual and social behavior, while also exploring the physiological and neurobiological processes that trigger certain functions and behaviours. The immediate goal in psychology is to understand humanity by both discovering general principles and exploring specific cases. Many practitioners of applied psychology believe that one of the objectives of the field is to benefit society. Psychologists investigate such concepts as perception, cognition, attention, emotion, phenomenology, motivation, brain functioning, personality, behavior and interpersonal relationships.

While psychological knowledge is typically applied to the assessment and treatment of mental health problems, it is also applied to understanding and solving problems in many different spheres of human activity. Following a degree in psychology, you can choose to be involved in some kind of therapeutic role (clinical, counseling, and school positions). Alternatively, you can do scientific research on a wide range of topics related to mental processes and social behavior (typically in university psychology departments) and/or teach such knowledge in academic settings. Also, working in industrial and organizational settings in relevant roles (e.g., human resources or training and employee development) is an option for those with a degree in the field.

Suggested Study Programmes

  • Short Course in Professional Communication Skills

    Personal and corporate success in business relies on effective communication. Professional communication skills for business studies will help you acquire skills to distinguish you from your peers. This practical introductory OU level 1 module will empower you to undertake more insightful case-study analysis, write successful essays, and produce influential documents.

  • Short Course in Social Psychology: Critical Perspectives on Self and Others

    This OU level 3 module uses traditional and cutting-edge social psychological theories to explore some of the most exciting and pressing issues we face in our complex, fast changing world. Topics in the course include crowds, emotions, conflict, relationships, the body, personality, obedience and group processes.

  • Short Course in Understanding the Autism Spectrum

    Autism is a spectrum of conditions characterised by social, communicative, sensory-motor and cognitive difficulties. The social and psychological consequences can be profound. This 20-week module provides an accessible introduction to the autistic spectrum, principles and problems of diagnosis, and biological and psychological approaches to explaining underlying causes.

  • Short Course in Investigating Psychology 1

    Drawing on a wide range of studies and some classic pieces of psychological research, this key introductory module provides an accessible and engaging introduction to the study of psychology. You will explore the different ways in which psychologists investigate the human mind and behaviour, and find out how psychological research addresses real-life issues with an opportunity to conduct a psychological study of your own.

  • Short Course in Introduction to Counselling

    The tremendous expansion of counselling over the last 20 years reflects the changing nature of society, an increase in the number of people perceiving a need for professional help with their problems, and a growing recognition of the value of such support.

  • Short Course in Exploring Psychology Project

    This short module, with a week-long residential school at its core, provides an opportunity to develop your practical skills in psychological research. It builds on the associated module Exploring psychology (DSE212), using materials from this module – alongside other resources – to help you prepare for the residential school. During the residential week, you will engage in activities that demonstrate the practical and ethical issues involved in conducting research.

  • Short Course in Exploring Psychology On-line Project

    This course, which builds on Exploring psychology (DSE212), covers a range of approaches and methods in psychology – developing your research skills (including use of SPSS) and your understanding of the practical and ethical issues involved. The principal part of the course involves group work, designing, conducting and analysing a psychological study in small groups.

  • Short Course in Exploring Psychology

    How humans think, develop, and experience the world around us has been fascinating psychologists for over 100 years. Using a historical and biographical framework, this module introduces you to a wide range of psychological approaches, including biological, social, and cognitive psychologies. It looks at areas such as identity, learning, memory, and language.

  • Short Course in Death and Dying

    This is an exciting and revolutionary course in which you’ll engage with real issues based on the experiences of dying people, bereaved people, those who work with them, and their carers, both lay and professional. This course will be of interest for anyone who works with dying people and their families or students who want to find out more about death, dying and bereavement, and what these mean in different contexts.

  • Short Course in Counselling: Exploring Fear and Sadness

    Fear and sadness are the most common problems that people seek counselling for. This module introduces you to the ways in which they have been understood: as 'mental health problems'; by different forms of individual therapy; and by approaches that focus on the family, the social group, or society.

  • Short Course in Cognitive Psychology

    How does memory work? How do we understand language? How do we think? These are just some of the questions related to everyday experience you’ll address on this module. Beginning with core topics – perception and attention; categorisation and language; and memory, thinking and reasoning – you’ll then explore wider issues, such as emotion and consciousness, topics that have presented a challenge to the cognitive approach.

  • Short Course in Child Development

    This module shows how psychological enquiry can help us to improve our understanding of the development of children and young people. It is organised in four parts: Psychological development and early childhood introduces children’s early development from a psychological perspective; Children’s personal and social development follows development in a social context; and Cognitive and language development in children explores the development of cognitive and linguistic understanding and the developing child as an active agent.



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