PY0301 - Current Debates and Controversies

What will I learn on this module?

Psychology is a relatively new discipline, and is still developing its identity as a science. On this module you will learn about some of the questions that excite researchers right now: what are the boundaries of knowledge and the big questions in areas such as perception, neuroimaging, culture, and consciousness, and which directions are currently being explored?

How will I learn on this module?

On this module you will learn by engaging in interactive seminars which focus on problem-based learning, along with directed study and independent study. The interactive seminars will typically involve a tutor-led discussion of current debates and controversies where you will be introduced to key concepts, and a task or problem to work on (either individually or working in a group). This interactive style of teaching is designed to ensure deep learning of material, as well as development and practice of the academic skills necessary to pursue a degree in psychology. Tutorials will be available to provide you with an opportunity to discuss topics with a member of the module staff.

You will also be encouraged to engage in directed study, such as sourcing independent literature from key text books and academic journals to develop your understanding of the subject, and working in groups to discuss pertinent issues including methodological and ethical factors.

The module will employ technology enhanced learning tools such as the eLearning Portal (an online application where you can access information about your programme and modules), electronic reading lists, lecture capture and online submission and feedback tools to support your learning.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

You will be supported academically by your module tutor who will make a variety of resources available for you. The materials used in the taught sessions will be available to you via the eLearning Portal. These materials will include the PowerPoint slides, workshop materials and links to further reading. There will also be a variety of other resources available on the eLearning Portal that will support your studies. These include reading lists, activities, and videos. Discussion boards will also be available to you, allowing you to post questions and queries for other students and staff members to answer, and so enhancing peer support and collegiality. You will also be able to access recordings of some sessions via the eLearning Portal. Tutorials with staff can provide an opportunity for students to discuss issues related to the module.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
• KU1: Show awareness of the debates and issues underpinning psychology and psychological research
• KU2: Comprehend and recall essential facts relating to key studies in psychology

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• IPSA1: Develop verbal and written communication skills in the delivery of information relating to psychology
• IPSA2: Show an ability to retrieve and comprehend relevant information from a range of sources

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
• PVA1: Develop aptitude in intellectual skills including critique, debate, and critical reading

How will I be assessed?

Formative Assessment
The interactive sessions will enable you to complete tasks pertinent to the summative assessment.

Summative Assessment
You will complete a 1000-word coursework assignment that assesses your understanding of contemporary research within the field of psychology (KU1; KU2; IPSA1; IPSA2; PVA1)

Oral feedback will be provided on the formative tasks as they are undertaken.
Individual feedback on the assignment will be provided online via the electronic submission portal. A summary of general feedback will also be provided on the eLP.





Module abstract

On this module you will learn about the big questions that excite researchers working in the field today. What do psychologists think they know about psychology, and how might they be mistaken? What established notions within psychology are changing right now? Where will the field move in the next few years? You will be encouraged to reflect on, debate, and critique the most up-to-date material in the area. This engagement will help you gear up to the undergraduate Psychology degree, as well as providing you with critical thinking skills that may be applied to future employment.

Course info

UCAS Code C801

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 1 year Full Time followed by a further 3 year or 4 years full-time study

Department Psychology

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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