COURSE HANDBOOK 2014/15. Certificate of Higher Education in PSYCHOLOGY

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1 COURSE HANDBOOK 2014/15 Certificate of Higher Education in PSYCHOLOGY SEPTEMBER 2014

2 WELCOME TO NEW STUDENTS On behalf of all the staff of the Department of Psychological Sciences, may I welcome you to your studies with us this year. This booklet contains valuable information about: the content of courses included within the psychology programme; the assessment procedures; services offered by the department and University. Please keep this booklet somewhere you can easily find it during your study with us! You may have come to our department to take a single course that is of interest to you or to complete a Certificate of Higher Education or to begin your study towards a degree in psychology. Whichever is the case, I m confident you will find the experience both rewarding and enjoyable. All our modules are taught by psychologists who are committed to helping you learn about a wide range of topics and theories within psychology. It can be difficult to juggle the pressures of work and home with the demands of studying at degree level. Birkbeck offers a wide range of support services which we would strongly encourage you to use to your advantage. Do speak to your course tutors or another member of staff if you have any problems which could have an impact on your study. To say just a little more about your responsibilities while studying with us, you will already be aware that it is your responsibility to keep up with the course by attending classes, studying outside class and taking part in the assessments. It is also your responsibility to read this booklet to ensure that you are aware of key information, for example about deadlines; about what to do if you can t complete an assessment on time; about what to do if you have a disability that requires learning support; and how to progress from the Certificate onto the degree. And so forth. Please remember that we are keen to help all students to do as well as they possibly can - but we are dependent on you letting us know when you need additional advice or support. Most students find their studies intensive at times but we hope you find your course/s stimulating and - most importantly - that you enjoy your time in the Department of Psychological Sciences. Roz Dixon, PhD Director of Undergraduate Studies 2

3 *NOTE FOR STUDENTS WHO COMMENCED THEIR STUDIES PRIOR TO 2014/15* From this year, two 15 credit modules: Research Methods [Part 1] and Research Methods [Part 2] are replacing the three Research Methods modules which have been offered in previous years (Research Methods for Psychology, Advanced Research Methods for Psychology and Statistics and SPSS for Psychology). Completing your award Students who have already completed the old Research Methods for Psychology module will be able to use it to complete their award. Otherwise, they should take the new Research Methods for Psychology [Part 1] in 2014/15. Applying for Year 2 entry Students who intend to apply for entry into Year 2 of Birkbeck's part-time BSc Psychology and have completed Research Methods for Psychology but have not completed Advanced Research Methods for Psychology and/or Statistics or SPSS for Psychology modules will have one final opportunity to take these modules in 2014/15. Term dates will be as follows: Advanced Research Methods for Psychology: 16/04/15-28/05/15, 6-9pm Statistics and SPSS for Psychology 04/06/15-16/07/15, 6-9pm Students who intend to apply for entry into Year 2 of Birkbeck's part-time BSc Psychology but have not previously completed any Research Methods modules should take the new Research Methods [Part 1] and Research Methods [Part 2] in 2014/15. If you have any queries regarding this, please contact the course team. INFORMATION ON COURSEWORK Advanced Research Methods for Psychology Students are required to complete 2 pieces of coursework of 1500 words each (or the equivalent). One piece of coursework must be a laboratory report outlining an investigation carried out by the student including an interpretation of the findings using descriptive statistics and parametric analysis. The second piece of coursework can either be a second laboratory report of a different investigation or a critical analysis of a published paper. 3

4 The submission date for both pieces of coursework will be Friday 12 June 2015 (this is the only module for which coursework is due after the course ends). Statistics and SPSS for Psychology Students will be required to complete an in-class assessment under examination conditions (2 hours) consisting of two sections: Section one will be short answers to specific questions. Section two will be to apply the learning outcomes to example research applications. The in-class assessment will take place on Thursday 16 July 2015 from 6-8pm. 4

5 CONTENTS PROGRAMME OF STUDY GENERAL INFORMATION TEACHING AND LEARNING ASSESSMENT COMPLETION OF AWARD FEEDBACK STUDENT SUPPORT SERVICES LEARNING RESOURCES FURTHER STUDY DEPARTMENT OF PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCES APPENDIX 1: MARKING CRITERIA

6 1. PROGRAMME OF STUDY Who is the Certificate for? The aim of this Award is to provide a systematic introduction to most of the fields of modern psychology, while allowing you some choice of preferred topics. It is also intended to permit those who may wish, for professional or other reasons, to take just one Module without necessarily following through the whole scheme to do so. This Award will be of interest to you if you wish to proceed to a degree course in psychology; or have a professional interest in the subject, particularly if you are working in educational, counselling, medical and management settings; or if you simply wish to further your knowledge and understanding of human behaviour. If you decide that your interest has been fired by your studies with us, you will be guaranteed an interview for entrance into the first year of the undergraduate psychology programme at Birkbeck once you have successfully completed two of our core modules, Foundations of Modern Psychology and Research Methods [Part 1]. You may also choose to take additional modules and apply for entry into Year 2 of the BSc. You must take the specific modules outlined and meet certain criteria to be considered please see Section 9, Further Study, for more information. Other universities may also accept you onto undergraduate programmes at the beginning of the second year of study once you have a Certificate of Higher Education. Do I need any previous qualifications? There are no formal entrance requirements and the Award is open to anyone who feels they may benefit. However, you should note that modules are taught and assessed at first year undergraduate level and an appropriate level of spoken and written English is required. Although we do not require proof that you are operating at this level, we will not be able to compensate for inadequate English skills when marking assessments. If you feel that you may need additional support to reach this standard, Birkbeck offers a range of academic English and language development modules, and you may be advised to focus on developing your English written and/or oral skills before applying for psychology courses. However, support with academic writing and study skills is provided throughout the programme, both in-class and via our free Study Skills workshops. 6

7 What are the overall aims of the award? Our overall aim is that on successful completion of the Certificate of Higher Education you will: Be able to compare, contrast and organise some of the core theories and perspectives within psychology; Understand the potential relevance of psychology in various settings such as at home, in the community, at work etc; Be aware of the principles that can be used to interpret and evaluate research findings in psychology; Recognise the ethical issues involved when conducting research and the issues that arise when trying to generalise results (for example across cultures); Be able to propose simple research questions about the ways in which psychology might be applied and be able to suggest in broad terms appropriate ways of answering research questions; Be able to present a coherent argument on a range of important topics in psychology; Be able to use a range of strategies to support your personal learning; Be aware of possible routes of progression from this award onto further study. What modules are available? The following are the full range of Modules which make up the Certificate of Higher Education in Psychology: The 4 core modules that everybody takes are: 1. Foundations of Modern Psychology; 2. Biological Basis of Behaviour; 3. Research Methods [Part 1]; 4. Research Methods [Part 2]. The discipline of psychology is composed of different groups, each of whom have somewhat different interests and ways of studying behaviour. Foundations of Modern Psychology introduces you to these groups [known as schools ]. It explains how they differ and how their theories contribute to our understanding of human behaviour. This gives you an early insight into the many and sometimes contradictory - ways in which real life problems might be explained. It also helps you decide which courses to take as options. The Biological Basis of Behaviour is also a core topic because all behaviour has a biological basis and it is important to understand this even when considering other factors that may shape what we feel, think and do. Research Methods is the final core subject because psychology is a science of human behaviour. Whatever our particular interests, as psychologist we want to go beyond speculation, and to identify with 7

8 as much precision as possible the underlying processes and structures that shape human behaviour. Research methods provide us with tools to support our investigations. We recommend that you take Foundations of Modern Psychology first, and do not take Research Methods [Part 1] as your first module. You must successfully complete Research Methods [Part 1] to be eligible to take Research Methods [Part 2]. In addition to the core modules, there are a number of optional modules available as part of the award. The options on offer each year will vary, but those available in are: Critical Approaches to Attachment Critical Approaches to Positive Psychology Freudian Foundations of Psychoanalysis* Problem Solving and Decision Making (Cognitive Psychology) Psychological and Developmental Issues in Early Childhood 1 Psychological and Developmental Issues in Adolescence Psychology of Mental Health* Psychology of Learning and Learning Styles Social Psychology* The Developing Child: A Psychological Perspective* Understanding Human Personality Further information, including indicative module syllabi, are available via our online prospectus: How many modules do I take? To be eligible for the award you must complete 120 credits including the four core modules (worth a total of 90 credits) and a further 30 credits from the list of options above. All modules are worth either 30 credits or 15 credits. 30 credit modules usually two term modules - are marked above with an asterisk (*). The remainder are worth 15 credits and are usually one term courses. Each module you complete successfully will contribute towards the final grade of your Certificate of Higher Education: 1 Prerequisite: Successful completion of The Developing Child: A Psychological Perspective. 8

9 each 30 credit module contributes 25% of the final grade; each 15 credit module contributes 12.5% of the final grade. How long does it take to complete? It s very important that you don t take on more than you can realistically manage. Enrolling for too many courses is costly and dispiriting. Remember, you may take up to 4 years to complete the Certificate of Higher Education and the majority of students in full-time work tend to spread their studies over 2 or 3 years. A student taking 120 credit modules in one year would be studying for 37.5 hours / week in other words full-time. Clearly 60 credits / year is also a substantial undertaking in terms of the time required. So, if you wish to take more than 60 credits in one year please discuss this with the Administrator before enrolling. How long is each module? A 30 credit module usually lasts for two terms. Each term is usually 11 weeks long. You attend the module once a week, usually for two hours. The total amount of time you spend in class is 44 hours. A 15 credit module lasts for one term. Again, you attend the module once a week, usually for two hours. The total amount of time you spend in class is 22 hours. The only exceptions are Research Methods [Part 1] and Research Methods [Part 2] which have 33 hours of classroom time. 9

10 2. GENERAL INFORMATION How will the department contact me? The department will normally contact students by , using the address that the College holds for you. It is therefore important that you provide an address that you are able to check regularly, and that you ensure that the contact details on your My Birkbeck profile are correct and up to date. What if my class is cancelled? If for any reason one of your classes is cancelled, you will be informed by . If a class is cancelled at very short notice, we will endeavour to contact students by telephone, where possible. Again, we can only use the information that we hold for you on our system, so please do ensure that you provide us with a mobile telephone number. 10

11 3. TEACHING AND LEARNING Most modules are held in the evenings, but some are run during the day. Modules may start in September, January or April. Classes are held in central London. Who teaches the modules and what type of teaching is used? Modules are taught by lecturers with a wide range of psychological experience - both practical and theoretical. Different lecturers have different teaching styles but classes normally take the form of lectures and discussion, and sometimes a variety of exercises and group work. What are the attendance requirements? Sitting timed assessments Some courses include timed assessments: the syllabus for each course will tell you whether or not it includes a timed assessment. The assumption is that students will be available throughout the term and therefore students should be available to attend timed assessments on the dates set by the tutor. Timed essays will usually be scheduled as follows: Term 1: Research Methods [Part 1]: Week beginning 8 December 2014 Foundations of Modern Psychology: Week beginning 24 November 2014 All other modules: Week beginning 10 November 2014 Term 2: Research Methods [Part 2]: Week beginning 23 March 2015 Research Methods [Part 1]: Week beginning 16 March 2015 Foundations of Modern Psychology: Week beginning 9 March 2015 All other modules: Week beginning 23 February 2015 Term 3: Research Methods for Psychology [Parts 1 & 2]: Week beginning 29 June 2015 Foundations of Modern Psychology: Week beginning 22 June 2015 All other modules: Week beginning 8 June

12 What if I can t attend a timed essay?! If a student is unavailable to sit a timed essay - for example due to ill-health - they will need to submit a mitigating circumstances form which will go to the Sub-Board of Examiners for consideration [see page 18]. General attendance requirements: In general, you are expected to attend as many of the sessions as possible. The exceptions to this are the research methods modules, for which you are required to attend at least 75% of all possible course contact hours to be eligible for assessment. How much work is involved? A module worth 15 credits normally requires up to 150 hours of study. This includes time in class, time studying at home, time preparing assignments, time spent thinking about what you ve studied in class and what is needed for your assignments in fact any time you spend engaged in learning related to that module. The time students will need to set aside each week will vary between students. Most allow 6-12 hrs per week outside the classroom for each 30 credit course they are taking. Although this is only offered as a guide, it highlights the amount of time you need to plan for your studies, given that these courses are taught and assessed at the same level as the first year of an undergraduate degree. What academic and study skills support is available? Students on our modules come from a range of backgrounds. Although some have recent experience of studying at college, some won t have studied since they were 16 years old. This range of experience and backgrounds is one of the things our students find particularly stimulating and supportive when studying with us. We fully recognise that returning to study and completing coursework can be anxiety provoking but it is possible to learn the skills required and we see it as a key part of our job to support students to develop these skills. All students are encouraged to discuss their study skills needs with the course lecturer. Whilst study skills are incorporated into most courses, students who need or want more support than the course lecturer can realistically provide, may want to consider enrolling on one of the following one day study skills courses run by the Psychology Team free of charge: Study Skills for Psychology Students Essay Writing for Psychology Students 12

13 Maths for the Terrified Taking Timed Tasks for Research Methods For further details, and to enrol, please visit our website: or contact the Administrator for Psychology. More general learning and study skills support is also available: please see Section 7 - Student Support Services for more information. 13

14 4. ASSESSMENT COURSEWORK GENERAL NOTES The central aims of assessment are to: assess whether you have learnt all it was hoped you would learn on the course [the syllabus outlines under learning outcomes what you should know / understand / be able to do once you ve successfully completed the course]; give you personal feedback on your progress; give you a chance to: o study particular areas of interest in more detail; o spend time thinking about the real life applications of what you have learnt. The amount you learn will increase if you are interested in the topic, so we would strongly encourage you to discuss with your tutor if there are particular subjects that you would like to focus on in your assessments. Obviously the topic has to be entirely relevant to the module but it may be possible to negotiate something of particular interest to you. In your discussions with the tutor it may be useful to let them know what grade you are aiming for as some types of assessment increase the likelihood of a high mark. This may be relevant to students aiming to progress onto other courses. Please note, each piece of work you complete on a course and each piece you complete on the Certificate as a whole must be written on a different topic. For example you may only write one essay on intelligence or one essay on attachment theory. It is your responsibility not to write on the same topic more than once if in doubt, discuss it with your tutor. If you are later found to have written on the same subject more than once you will be asked to complete an additional piece of work on a different topic and will not be able to complete the course or the Certificate until the new work has been completed successfully. Coursework: All courses include coursework completed at home. Coursework may include essays, reports, reviews, oral presentations, case studies and exercises appropriate to the subject. You may be able to negotiate with your tutor the type of work you complete, the topics included and even the wording of the assignments. So, if there is some form of assessment that you would find particularly useful or interesting (such as a case study, for example), please discuss the possibilities with your tutor. We may not be able to accommodate 14

15 every request but we do try to be flexible. The course lecturer must agree the question/task. Tutors may give you feedback on essay plans but not on drafts of essays. Each piece of work completed at home should normally be 1,500 words in length each (or the equivalent). There will be no penalty for work that is 10% (150 words) too long or too short. However, for work that is between words too long or too short, 5% will be deducted. For work that is more than 500 words too long or too short 10% will be deducted. Sometimes it may also be possible to complete a double piece of work so you submit one piece of work that is 3,000 words long rather than two shorter pieces. The course lecturer must agree that this is acceptable and they must agree the question/task. Again, students will be penalised for submitting work that is significantly over or under this word limit: there will be no penalty for work that is 10% (that is 300 words) too long or too short. However, for work that is between words too long or too short, 5 marks will be deducted. For work that is more than 1000 words too long or too short 10 marks will be deducted. Uploading coursework via Turnitin: You will be required to give a paper copy of your coursework to the tutor. You will also be required to upload an electronic copy of your work via Turnitin which you will find on Moodle. Your tutor will explain how to do this. You must upload the electronic copy by the deadline for submission. The reason we need you to upload your work is so we can see what percentage of your coursework is written in exactly the same words as material found in books, articles, other students coursework or on the web. If more than 5% is found to be exactly the same as other such material, we may not be able to accept the work. To avoid this problem you can upload your work into Turnitin before the submission deadline and check for yourself what percentage appears to be in the exactly the same words as material in books etc. You can then rewrite the problematic sections before the final submission date. The section below entitled Plagiarism gives further advice on how to avoid this problem. Work completed in class under timed conditions: Some courses also include essays or other assignments that you complete in class under timed conditions without access to your books or notes. Timed essays Each time you have to complete a timed essay you will be given an hour during class to write an essay without referring to your books or to anyone else. The 15

16 reason for including timed essays as part of the assessment is that they are a chance to see how well you can apply your knowledge to a problem that you haven t seen before within a limited amount of time. They also help you to assess how much of the material you really understand and you can actually remember. Furthermore, those students preparing to go on for further study, for example, undergraduate degrees in psychology, will find them useful preparation for taking formal exams in the future. Although writing under timed conditions may seem daunting, some students prefer timed essays as they find that they take less time to prepare than coursework completed at home. Students will not be penalised for the length of timed essays although pieces that are too short may not be of sufficient quality to receive the higher grades. As a rough guide students may aim to write approximately words. Students do not have to provide a reference list at the end of their essay but do need to include references in the body of their essay if they refer to the work or ideas or others. The number of assignments: For a 15 credit module there are usually two pieces of work to complete: On some of the modules both pieces of work are completed at home. On some half modules one piece of work is completed at home, whilst the other is written in the classroom under timed conditions (1 hour). For a 30 credit module there are usually four pieces of work to complete: On some modules all of the pieces of work are completed at home. On some of the modules two of the pieces of work will be completed at home and two will be undertaken under timed conditions in the classroom on separate occasions (1 hour each). COURSEWORK RESEARCH METHODS [PARTS 1 & 2] Coursework requirements for these modules are slightly different and are outlined below. For each Research Methods module, students are required to complete two pieces of coursework a report of 1500 words based upon a laboratory experiment carried out in class as a group and written up individually. There is also a 2 hour timed test that will be carried out at the end of the course, which has two sections, A and B. Section A has a specific focus on methodology and ethics, and Section B assesses the practical use of SPSS. 16

17 COURSEWORK SUBMISSION DEADLINES The regulations governing assessment conform to the Common Award Scheme, details of which are available on the College website: Key points to note are: How you submit your coursework; the range of difficulties that are acceptable as mitigating circumstances; and the number of attempts that you can have at any one module; Submission of Coursework Deadlines for submission of coursework are set by your tutor in the first instance. It is important to adhere to these deadlines and undertake assessment at the appropriate point in the course. You will be able to have your work marked in good time and receive feedback that you can use to inform future submissions. The following guidance relates to the formal regulations regarding late submission and the capping of marks. The key dates to note for the Psychology programme are: 1. Where you find it impossible to meet the deadline set by your tutor you must negotiate with them a deadline that you can meet. The last date when it is possible to submit work without penalty is the last date of your course. Work submitted by this date will be accepted without penalty. Work submitted after the first submission date for your class (i.e. after the last session) will be capped at the 40% pass mark unless mitigating circumstances apply (please see overleaf). 2. The second submission date for the 2014/15 academic year will be as follows: Modules ending in term 1: Friday 9 January 2015 Modules ending in term 2: Friday 24 April 2015 Modules ending in term 3: Friday 17 July 2015 Work submitted after the second published deadline will not be accepted and will be returned. 17

18 Students should note the importance of these deadlines and the implications of missing either one or both of them. Please note: That posting of work does not constitute submission. It is your responsibility to ensure work has been received and to keep proof of postage and copies of your work. Work submitted after the first deadline should be submitted to your tutor as an electronic attachment by . You should ensure that you request and have confirmation of receipt from your tutor as proof. That it is your responsibility to be clear about the internal submission dates for your course, including the dates that the timed essay(s)/task(s) are scheduled, so that you can ensure that you make necessary arrangements to meet the deadlines and attend the timed essays/tasks. MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCES If you feel that you have mitigating circumstances that affected your work and that you would like considered by the Sub-Board of Examiners, you should complete the appropriate form and submit it as soon as possible and before the second submission deadline. To download the form, and for further information on the kinds of mitigating circumstances that will be considered and those that won t, please visit our website: ork/mitigating-circumstances Please note: Not all circumstances will be considered valid. All valid mitigating circumstances will need to be supported with appropriate documentary evidence. If you are unable to submit one or more pieces of your coursework (or unable to attend one or more timed essay/task) due to mitigating circumstances you may apply for a deferral of the outstanding elements of your assessment. The completed mitigating circumstances form and documentary evidence should be submitted before the second submission deadline. You should note that mitigating circumstances will only be considered where there is clear evidence that the circumstances occurred in the short period 18

19 leading to or at the time of the assessment. Please note that marks awarded are normally never changed. In exceptional circumstances marks may be raised by up to 2% to secure a pass where a student has marginally failed a piece of work if there is evidence that their performance was adversely affected by the mitigating circumstances where normally their performance is of a higher standard. Where a Sub-Board of Examiners judges that a student s performance was affected by mitigating circumstances the student will be offered the option of repeating that element of the assessment. This reassessment if taken up does not count as an attempt. The dates for reassessment are as outlined below. If you are unable to meet the first deadline and the second deadlines due to mitigating circumstances relating to those periods you will have until 17 July 2015 to submit your mitigating circumstances form to apply for a deferral. MARKING CRITERIA Your work will be marked according to the published criteria for Psychology Certificate of Higher Education courses (please see Appendix 1). The grades awarded by course lecturers for all modules are provisional and subject to moderation. FEEDBACK Aside from marking your work, your tutor will also give you feedback that will both explain the mark awarded and offer you advice on how to develop and improve your work next time. If you are not clear about the feedback please ask your lecturer to explain it and they will be happy to do so. Try to make sure you understand what the main thing is for you to work on to improve your next mark. It s also worth noting that there is no point comparing your grade with that given to other students in your class as our classes include students from such a wide range of backgrounds that each person s strengths and needs will be specific to them. MODERATION All coursework is subject to the moderation procedures of the College to ensure the equity and accuracy of marking of student assessments across all modules. You should be aware that all marks awarded by tutors are provisional until 19

20 confirmed by the Sub-Board of Examiners and may change during the moderation process. If your class is selected for moderation you must submit all of your marked assessments at the end of your module to your tutor. The work should be submitted in a flat folder (either an A4 plastic folder or envelope folder) and should include green coversheets. All coversheets must be appropriately completed and signed to confirm the work is your own. If your class is NOT selected for moderation you must ensure you retain your coursework carefully in case of query until online notification of results in mid-august. NOTIFICATION OF RESULTS AND RETURN OF COURSEWORK The Sub-Board of Examiners normally meets in the last week of July to ratify results. However, a nominated committee of the Sub-Board of Examiners will meet during the year to consider mitigating circumstances and identify students eligible for reassessment in late Spring for courses ending in term 1, late summer for courses ending in term 2 and early September for courses ending in term 3. Online notification of results for all modules will take place in mid August. You will be able to check your results via your My Birkbeck profile (see Student Support Services for more information). Coursework is normally returned to students four-six weeks after the notification of results have been sent. FAILURE AND RE-ASSESSMENT OF A MODULE To satisfactorily complete a module, students must achieve an overall mark of 40% or more. For modules including assessment with one or more timed essays/task, students have to pass at least one timed essay/task to pass the module. The overall mark for a student failing to pass at least one timed essay/task, with an average overall mark for the module of 40% or more, will not be changed but will be recorded as a fail. For Research Methods [Part 1] and Research Methods [Part 2], the lab report and both sections of the timed task (A and B) must all be passed with a mark of 40% or more in order to satisfactorily complete the module. If you fail to pass a module at your first attempt then you may be reassessed or you may be required to re-take. 20

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