International Summer School


Sessions 1&2

Introduction to Psychology and Sociology I & II (MCAT)
Module Code: IS287 
Level: 4 
2018 Syllabus [PDF]
This 30-credit module provides an introductory understanding of psychology and sociology. The course is designed to deliver all of the recommended teaching on psychological, social and biological foundations of behaviour in a single summer for students planning to sit the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). Content is directly linked to the Foundational Concepts of the MCAT (6–10; see

The following topics are covered:

  • factors that influence the ways individuals perceive, think about and react to the world
  • factors that influence behaviour and behaviour change
  • factors that influence the way we think about ourselves and others
  • the impact of cultural and social differences on wellbeing
  • the impact of social stratification and access to resources on wellbeing.

This module is intensive but manageable, with small-group teaching providing opportunities for students to apply their learning to real-world scenarios including medical practice where appropriate.

Session 1

Module Code: IS282 
Level: 4
2018 Syllabus [PDF]
Biopsychology draws from the subdisciplines of neuroscience and physiological psychology but with an overarching focus on understanding behaviour. This module introduces the basic elements of the nervous system, namely the nerve cell, with an emphasis on the mechanisms that allow information to be communicated between neurons and across networks of nerve cells. Next, the module reviews how sensory information is transmitted into the brain and how motor output is engaged. The final focus of the module is on the psychobiology of influences to behavioural change, namely emotion, motivation and learning. This 15-credit module is aimed at students who have some psychology background but who, other than some basic familiarity with biology (high school or introductory university levels), have yet to take a dedicated module in biological psychology.

Forensic and Investigative Psychology
Module Code: IS283
Level: 5 
2018 Syllabus [PDF]
This 15-credit module is concerned with the application of psychological theory and research to criminological and forensic contexts. You consider issues such as – how reliable are eyewitnesses’ accounts of what they have seen, and their identifications of faces they have encountered? Why is that faces of other races are more likely to be misidentified in police lineups? Can people be recognised reliably from ID cards, passports and CCTV? What is wrong with current face recall systems? Do children make reliable witnesses? How is memory affected by stress? How can we tell whether or not someone is lying? Why do some people become criminals but not others? What is the relationship between mental illness and crime? The module integrates lecturing and small-group teaching to support students in taking a critical perspective on contemporary and applied cognitive psychology.

Health Psychology
Module Code: IS248 
Level: 4 
2018 Syllabus [PDF]
The module covers the history and scope of Health Psychology from the subject’s origin through to the use of present-day telemedicine, such as online self-diagnostics, support groups and virtual clinics. You consider a range of theories and methodologies used within the discipline, with specific topics being psycho-immunology, stress, anger, anxiety, depression, optimism and coping. You also consider how broader social factors, such as social economic status and social support, can impact on health. Both individual therapeutic interventions and wider health promotion campaigns are reviewed. The module aims to equip students with the knowledge, understanding and skills to recognise the role that Health Psychology can play in individuals’ and societies’ wellbeing. The importance of experiential learning and reflection is recognised, with critical thinking skills enhanced through a variety of learning opportunities from group work and debates to individual presentations. Lectures, seminars and e-learning are included to accommodate and encourage a range of learning preferences and styles.

Psychology and Social Issues
Module Code: IS083 
Level: 5 
2018 Syllabus [PDF]
This module provides an interdisciplinary focus on issues of current societal concern. Each session aims to introduce you to a specific societal concern to provide a platform for debate and interactive activities. Areas covered include bullying and ostracism, prejudice and discrimination, body image and the media, rape and victim blaming, advertising and the growth of social media, and income inequality and materialism. You have the opportunity to explore these contemporary social issues from a psychological and sociological perspective, applying relevant readings to engage in small group discussion and activities with a focus on applying theory to real world situations.

Session 2

Brain and Behaviour 
Module Code: IS285
Level: 5
2018 Syllabus [PDF]
This 15-credit module explores how knowledge of brain structure and function helps us to understand the production of behaviour.

Topics covered include:

  • ionic mechanisms underlying the nerve action potential
  • synapses and neurotransmission
  • neuropharmacology of commonly used anxiolytic drugs
  • functional neuroanatomy of the human brain
  • brain development and neurogenetics
  • behavioural genetics
  • sensory and motor systems
  • neural mechanisms in cognition, reward, learning and memory
  • neuroplasticity.

The module uses lectures with small-group seminars and practical classes to facilitate a diverse and immersive learning experience. This module has been designed to meet the requirements for accreditation as a core module for psychology majors.

Clinical Psychology and Mental Health 
Module Code: IS284
Level: 4 
2018 Syllabus [PDF]
This module introduces the most common psychological disorders and explores contemporary issues with regard to both diagnosis and treatment. Specifically, the module covers the diagnostic criteria and key theories of causation (including biomedical, cognitive, social and psychological models) of anxiety disorders, mood disorders, PTSD, psychosis and personality disorders. The module also reviews treatments available and their efficacy. Key debates in the literature are explored and alternatives to the medicalised model of mental health (such as the critical psychiatry perspective) are discussed within societal contexts.

Developmental Psychology 
Module Code: IS286
Level: 5  
2018 Syllabus [PDF]
This 15-credit module explores the psychology of child development from birth through adolescence. The emphasis is on exploring major theories and research in the field of developmental psychology and their application to the real world. Topics covered include attachment and temperament, language acquisition, emotional development and regulating affect, parenting and moral development, gender development and peer relations. Students will be challenged to unpack contributions of nature and nurture and develop an appreciation of the methodological constraints on developmental psychology research. This module has been designed to meet the requirements for accreditation as a core module for psychology majors.