Summer School: Psychology

Join our award-winning Psychology department this summer. Study at a university ranked in the world's top 150* and the 22nd most international university in the world**.

Psychology modules

The University of Sussex reserves the right to cancel modules due to staff availability, student demand, minimum enrolment, or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of such changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.

Session One 

  • Health Psychology

    Module code: IS420

    This module will interest students currently undertaking or progressing onto further study in Psychology, Public Health, and Occupational therapy, with a focus on the history and scope of health psychology.

    The aim of this module is for you to acquire the knowledge, understanding and skills to recognise the role health psychology can play in health. You will explore how broader social factors can affect health and discuss health care in global contexts. You will draw on your own experiences to evaluate the role of health cognitions, behaviours, systems and health-promoting campaigns in different cultures, and demographic populations.

    You will consider a range of psychological theories and methodologies used within the discipline. This module covers the history and scope of health psychology, from origin to virtual clinics. You will have the opportunity to contribute to and design interactive activities, recognising the complex roles that psychology plays in human health.

    Topics on this module may include:

    • How do dispositional factors influence our health (e.g. emotion, mental health, positivity), and exploring the relationship between stress and illness
    • Health inequalities; analysing in what ways certain demographic populations might be disadvantaged
    • How can we explain people’s health behaviours?
    • What factors are important for people accessing appropriate healthcare when they need it?

    Teaching will be delivered in small groups with more frequent seminars and workshops than lectures. This will provide students with the opportunity to engage in discussion and explore different perspectives of the content covered. You will reflect and analyse the wider processes affecting health, both in terms of own and others experiences. This module will enable you to think critically and build confidence in talking about academic research, theory and methodologies.

    Learning outcomes:

    • Design a hypothetical study, drawing upon a published study
    • Describe potential interactive pathways for psychological states on physiological health using prepared reading
    • Reflect upon the wider processes affecting health, both in terms of own and others experiences
    • Evaluate the potential impact of an intervention on subsequent health.

    Teaching method: lectures and seminars
    Assessment: 70% essay, 20% presentation, 10% observation.
    Contact hours: 42 hours

  • Brain and Behaviour

    Module code: IS425

    This module explores how knowledge of the brain structure and function help us to understand the production of behaviour. This module has been designed to meet the requirements for accreditation as a core module for psychology majors. Throughout the module you will develop you understanding of the structure and the functioning of fundamental units of the brain. Topics covered typically include (this may change from year-to-year):

    • 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

    Module delivery incorporates lectures with small group seminars and practical classes to facilitate a diverse and immersive learning experience. You will be expected to demonstrate an understanding of the relevance of biological phenomena to the explanation of behaviour. Through in-class simulations, you will describe ways commonly used anxiolytic and psychoactive drugs affect brain function and how the nervous system contributes to adaptive behaviour.

    Learning outcomes:

    • Demonstrate an understanding of the relevance of underlying biological phenomena to the explanation of behaviour
    • Describe ways in which commonly used anxiolytic and psychoactive drugs affect brain function and should appreciate how the nervous system contributes to adaptive behaviour
    • Demonstrate an understanding of the structure and the functioning of fundamental units of the brain
    • Describe and evaluate the role of an individual difference in at least one area of biological psychology.

    Teaching method: Lectures, seminars and tutorials
    Assessment: 70% in-class test, 15% report, 15% problem set
    Contact hours: 40 hours

  • Forensic and Investigative Psychology

    Module code: IS423

    This module is suited for students who have studied their first year of Psychology and are familiar with the academic background. The module examines current affairs, real-world situations and explores perception, memory and cognitive bias supported by psychological theory to criminological and forensic contexts. You will be expected to demonstrate the ability to evaluate conceptual and methodological issues involved in applying theories to real-life contexts.

    This module is concerned with the application of psychological theory and research to answer crucial questions in criminological and forensic contexts. Questions typically explored include (this may change year-on-year): How reliable are eyewitnesses’ accounts of what they have seen, and their identifications of faces they have encountered? Why is it that faces of other races are more likely to be misidentified in police line-ups? 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?

    This module integrates lecturing and small group teaching, to support you in taking a critical perspective on contemporary and applied cognitive psychology. You will develop the ability to evaluate the adequacy of empirical research on the topics covered and communicate theoretical ideas through group discussions and assignments.

    This module is unique to Sussex as some of the psychological theory and empirical research to forensic and investigative psychology that you will engage with is based on interviewing techniques devised by former Head of School, Tom Ormerod.

    Learning outcomes:

    • Demonstrate a sound knowledge of contemporary theories and research on cognitive psychology in real-world contexts
    • Evaluate the conceptual and methodological issues involved in applying these theories to real-life situations
    • Demonstrate an ability to evaluate the adequacy of empirical research on the topics covered
    • Communicate theoretical ideas and practical information through group assignments in class.

    Teaching method: Lectures, seminars and tutorials
    Assessment: 65% essay, 25% group presentation, 10% observation
    Contact hours: 40 hours

Session Two 

  • Psychology and Social Issues

    Module code: IS421

    This module offers students an interdisciplinary exploration of contemporary social issues (e.g. current affairs, abortions, body image) from a psychological and sociological perspective. Each session aims to introduce you to a specific societal concern to provide a platform for debate and interactive activities.

    There are no specific pre-requisites for this module, however it is suitable for students who have studied first year of Psychology and are familiar with the academic approaches. You will be expected to demonstrate an understanding of psychological and sociological approaches to studying social issues, and will need to analyse and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of competing theoretical perspectives and research.

    Areas covered typically include: bullying and ostracism; prejudice and discrimination; body image and the media’ rape and victim-blaming; social media and relationships; inequality and materialism; and critical perspectives on addiction.

    Throughout the module you will explore these contemporary social issues from a psychological and sociological perspective, engaging in small group discussions and activities with a focus on applying relevant readings and theory to real-world situations.

    Learning outcomes:

    • Demonstrate an understanding of psychological and sociological approaches to studying social issues
    • Demonstrate an awareness of the major contemporary debates in psychology theory applied to explore social issues and identify areas where the knowledge base is most/least secure
    • Analyse and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of competing theoretical perspectives and/or research evidence
    • Interact effectively within a team, giving and receiving information and ideas and modifying responses where appropriate.

    Teaching method: Lectures, seminars and tutorials.
    Assessment: 65% essay, 25% group presentation, 10% observation.
    Contact hours: 40 hours

  • Clinical Psychology and Mental Health

    Module code: IS422

    This module will appeal to students who are currently in or are progressing onto psychology, biology and public health. You will be introduced to the most common psychological disorders, explore contemporary issues with regard to both diagnosis and treatment. You will receive a basic understanding of the causation, diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders.

    Teaching involves a blend of lecture and seminar methods, and you will have the opportunity for small group work, interacting effectively within a team, exploring key societal issues and debates pertaining to the conceptualisation and treatment of mental health. For each group of psychological disorders, you will learn about diagnostic criteria, key theories of causation across a range of models (such as biomedical, cognitive and psychological models), and the efficacy of therapies and/or treatments available.

    Typically (but this can change from year-to-year) students will explore anxiety disorders (e.g., social anxiety), mood disorders (e.g., depression), and psychotic disorders (e.g., schizophrenia), but coverage of disorders is not limited to these groups. You will also have the opportunity to consider the societal consequences of medicalising mental health and explore contrasting non-mainstream approaches.

    Learning outcomes:

    • Demonstrate an understanding of the theories applied to explain the causation, maintenance and treatment of the most common mental health disorders
    • Demonstrate an understanding of key societal issues and debates pertaining to the conceptualisation and treatment of mental health
    • Analyse and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of competing theoretical perspectives and/or research evidence
    • Interact effectively within a team, giving and receiving information and ideas and modifying responses where appropriate.

    Teaching method: Lectures, seminars and tutorials
    Assessment: 65% essay, 25% group presentation, 10% observation
    Contact hours: 40 hours

  • Developmental Psychology

    Module code: IS424

    This module explores the psychology of child development from birth through childhood. The emphasis is on exploring major theories and research in the field of developmental psychology and you will examine contemporary research in five key areas of development: biological, emotional, communicative, cognitive and social.

    There are no specific requirements for this module, however we encourage enrolment for students with a background or interest in educational psychology. The module will offer team-based learning to encourage group interactions and student centred-learning. You will explore major theories and research in the field of developmental psychology and their application to the real world.

    Topics covered typically include (this may change from year-to-year): attachment and temperament; emotional development and regulation of affect; language acquisition; constructivist and socio-cultural perspectives to cognitive development, social-cognitive development, and peer relations.

    Through innovative teaching methods, you will be challenged to unpack contributions of nature and nurture, explore why individual differences exist in development, and develop an appreciation of the methodological constraints on developmental psychology research.

    Teaching will be delivered in small groups providing students with the opportunity to engage in discussion and explore different perspectives of the content covered. There are no specific requirements for this module, as it has been designed to meet the requirements for accreditation as a core module for psychology majors and those interested in educational psychology.

    The School of Psychology has established The Developmental and Clinical Psychology research group; aiming to advance theoretical approaches to human development and clinical psychology in order to inform practical interventions to support cognitive, emotional and social growth.

    Learning outcomes:

    • Demonstrate an up-to-date detailed knowledge of developmental psychology theories and concepts
    • Demonstrate an awareness of the major contemporary issues in developmental psychology and identify areas where the knowledge base is most/least secure
    • Analyse and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of competing theoretical perspectives and/or research evidence
    • Interact effectively within a team, giving and receiving information and ideas and modifying responses where appropriate.

    Teaching method: Lectures, seminars and tutorials
    Assessment: 65% essay, 25% group presentation, 10% observation
    Contact hours: 40 hours.


About the School of Psychology

The School of Psychology is one of the largest psychology departments in the UK with research specialists in disciplines including Behavioural and Cognitive Neuroscience, Cognitive Psychology, Developmental and Clinical Psychology, and Social and Applied Psychology.

  • Top 30in Europe for teaching rankings for Psychology**

  • 92%in work or further study within six months of finishing

  • Bronze Awardin the prestigious charter mark Athena SWAN

  • 15thin the UK for Psychology***

Register your interest

* The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020, ** The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2019, *** The Complete University Guide 2020


You might also be interested in: