What's Different about ANU Psychology?
The Research School of Psychology at the ANU has strengths across many areas of Psychological science. As well as offering an excellent broad-based grounding in Psychology through our overall undergraduate program, each of our individual courses are tailored to cover specific areas in depth. We are proud to be able offer students a number of courses with key differences to those offered in other universtities, taught by well-respected lecturers who can incorporate both their latest academic research and applied professional skills into their course offerings.
You can see on this page how our courses are different to anything else you'll find in an undergraduate Psychology degree in Australia, and so why we think you should study with us!
Why PSYC1003?Coordinator : Dr Kristen PAMMER
PSYC1003 is one of two theoretically coherent units which form the basis of first year Psychology studies.
- PSYC1003 is a standard lecture + laboratory format in which students learn scientific methodology and its application in Psychology. This course is an excellent introduction to issues about the brain, thinking and biological basis of behaviour.
- All the individual components of the courses are taught by the experts in the department in the field, rather than a single lecturer providing all the lectures. As such, students are introduced to core concepts and actual research being conducted in the department.
- In both courses, the laboratory content is as often as possible, directly related to current research being undertaken by the Department of Psychology, and carefully tied into the lecture program so students gain insight into the latest research and feel a part of the Department.
- Although this is traditionally a large course, we adhere to Department policy of no more than 20 students in each lab class to ensure one-to-one interaction between students and teachers.
- All teaching materials are provided electronically using WebCT. All lecture notes are available before lectures.
- Assessments are designed to develop critical thought as well as the skill of scientific writing.
Why PSYC1004?Coordinator : Dr Kristen PAMMER
PSYC1004 is one of two theoretically coherent units which form the basis of first year Psychology studies.
- PSYC1004 takes an innovative new seminar + laboratory format in which information delivery had been specially designed to be more flexible for staff and students. This unit is designed to introduce some of the other core areas of psychology, including personality, human development and social influences on behaviour.
- This courses include a diverse range of activities in labs to aid concentration and enthusiasm of students and the experiments conducted in the labs are generally hands-on so students have direct experience of being researchers.
- Topics such as consumer and carer perspectives on the treatment of disorders are treated in detail in exciting new ways.
Why PSYC1005?Coordinator : Dr Kristen PAMMER
PSYC1005 has been specially designed for those students who want to know more about what psychology has to offer. This unit offers an introduction to how psychological research can be applied to help us with some of the important issues we all face and to broaden our knowledge of the diversity of human behaviour.
- Lecturers from different fields of psychology explain how psychology contributes to a better understanding of ourselves and other people.
- Different perspectives in psychology (such as clinical, health, cognitive, and social) are presented to demonstrate the wide range of issues that psychology can make a significant contribution to.
- Small group tutorials, rather than labs, provide opportunities to look at controversial topics in an interactive way.
Why PSYC2001?Coordinator : Dr Dirk VAN ROOY & Dr Boris BIZUMIC
… link to
ANU Handbook entry for PSYC2001
- Social psychology is a major research strength at the ANU and PSYC2001 provides students with a core foundation for further study in social psychology.
- The two lecturers on the course have eclectic interests that allow them to cover a wide range of topics.
- The course has a good mix of broad social psychological topics that are central to the field and some specific applied topics that integrate several key issues.
- The lab program allows students to see how scientifically developed theories can be used as tools to explain everyday human behaviours and is designed to develop core conceptual, research and communication skills in social psychology.
Why PSYC2002?Coordinator : Dr Evan KIDD
- Lectures cover four developmental topics of current interest to students - workshops with student representatives each year are used to eliminate least engaging topics and introduce new ones- and covers them in depth. The course is thus more student-focused and relevant than is common for undergraduate developmental psychology.
- The laboratory programme is designed to assist students to :
- Use their own resources to cover basic text-book material that is not covered in lectures - quizzes, debates, discussions motivate this.
- Develop their skills in objective evaluation of their own, as well as others' work. Small in-class exercises build up to oral presentation of their major assignment before this is submitted in writing. Student feedback is that this aspect of the laboratory programme is greatly appreciated because it gives clear guidance and strong motivation to work systematically on their assignment throughout the course rather than leaving it to the last minute.
Why PSYC2007?Coordinator : Dr Vanessa BEANLAND
- The course is one of functional neuroanatomy, covering the basics of all major functional systems of the brain with an emphasis on the human nervous system. In this, it is more similar to courses taught to medical students than psychology students, and is also taken by neuroscience and biology students and students of medical science and computer science interested in neuroscience and modelling.
- The course provides a challenging mix of reading and laboratories, with their focus on the human brain and correlations between everyday behaviour as well as disorders.
- Four of the laboratory classes expand on the lecture material and involve two on the gross and microscopic anatomy of the central nervous system, using models, posters, microscopic preparations and on-line materials ranging from brain imaging to doing a neurology exam and solving a "brainy" cross-word; another two involve students doing a variety of physiological and psychological tests on each other. In all four, they also have, in small groups, to find answers to questions given at the start. In the final two classes, students, in small groups, prepare a Power-point presentation on a given topic; this year's ranged from sign language to eating disorders.
Why PSYC2008?Coordinator : Dr Mark EDWARDS & Dr Stephanie GOODHEW
Coordinator : Dr Mark Edwards
- A broad range of topics are covered, e.g. demonstrating that many factors affect what we see, ranging from the properties of individual cells to the requirement to see things as constant even when the image they produce on the eyes change (basis of the moon illusion).
- The course is structured so that those students who do no further study in vision will have a good general understanding of how the visual system works, and it also provides a good introduction to the more complex issues covered in the third year course.
- In the cognition component of the course, emphasis is placed on the study of memory. The course is structured to give students a strong understanding of the fundamentals of memory and its processes, and seeks to establish how memory research can be applied to real world phenomenon (such as its role in eyewitness testimony).
Why PSYC2009?Coordinator : Professor Mike SMITHSON
Coordinator : Prof Michael Smithson
- The course involves very well-structured lab classes with assessable exercises, tailor-made software to assist students with practice outside of the classroom, digitally recorded lectures and extensive support via WebCT.
- The main lecturer Michael Smithson is the author of two textbooks (including the one used in this course) and over two dozen papers and book chapters on statistical and quantitative methods.
- The course is one of the few in psychology programs to emphasize confidence intervals and effect-sizes rather than null-hypothesis significance-testing, thereby leading a trend that is only now emerging in the discipline.
- This course is sought specifically on graduates' CVs or transcripts by employers such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Why PSYC2011?Coordinator : Mr Daniel SKORICH
- The emphasis of this course is to discuss the contribution that psychology can make to the study of crime.
- The course examines psychological theories of crime, as well as traditional and contemporary approaches to controlling crime.
Why PSYC3002?Coordinator : Prof Michael PLATOW
- Social psychology is a major research strength at the ANU, so PSYC3002 provides an excellent platform for students considering further research in social psychology
- The course involves very well-structured and superbly documented lab classes which support learning in the lectures and involve assessable tasks to be completed within the labs.
- The course provides deeper insights into processes of identity, social change, collective action and protest than would be expected in most social psychology courses.
Why PSYC3011?Coordinator : Dr Mark EDWARDS
- Vision is a fascinating area of study that can be approached from many different disciplines in addition to psychology, e.g. neurology, computer science, electrophysiology and engineering. The impact that these approaches have made is highlighted and students from these areas are encouraged to take PSYC3011.
- When combined with the vision part of PSYC2008, this course gives students an extensive theoretical understanding of how the visual system operates and also shows how to apply this knowledge to real world situations and clinical neuropsychological cases.
- Students will also acquire practical research skills. Specifically, students will develop an appreciation of the issues, both theoretical and practical, that need to be considered when conducting research and how critique experimental procedures to appreciate how experimental errors can lead to distortions the resulting data, and hence the wrong conclusions being made. These analytical skills will be useful in everyday problem solving tasks, as well as in honours graduate research.
- Taught by an active researcher in the field.
- This multidisciplinary approach to the study of vision is being further enhanced at ANU with the establishment of a Centre of Excellence in Vision. The establishment of this centre will greatly increase the research opportunities in vision at ANU at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. PSYC3011 provides an excellent platform for students intending to undertake further study in vision at ANU.
Why PSYC3015?Coordinator : Dr Stephanie GOODHEW
- This course includes the study of how the normal brain processes information but also has a special focus on what we can learn from assessment and rehabilitation of patients following neurological damage.
- The presentation of research findings is enhanced by the fact that the lecturer has many years of experience as a clinical and a cognitive neuropsychologist, so that she is teaching from both a theoretical and practical background.
- The lectures are matched to laboratory classes in which the students learn to design experiments and analyse the data.
- Students are fully engaged by the opportunities that this course provides to compare normal cognitive processes with the dramatic effects of brain damage on attention, memory, and face processing and they gain skills that allow them to move on confidently to independent research.
Why PSYC3016?Coordinator : Dr Vanessa BEANLAND
- The course involves a series of lectures on current "hot" topics in the area of behavioural neuroscience; topics therefore vary yearly, and are based on recent articles in the scientific literature rather than an advanced textbook. Students prepare an essay one of a series of advanced topics, and collaborate in small groups to present and lead a discussion on another of these topics.
- The course provides students with the challenge of reading scientific papers from a range of disciplines and involving different techniques, and still developing theories about brain and behaviour; they have to cope with uncertainty as well as facts.
- The essay and tutorial assignments are aimed at improving their written and oral skills in scientific communication and thinking. The tutorials are important here because students' audiences contain a number of "experts", who have written an essay of that topic, leading to increased and improved discussion.
- The course is of interest not only to psychology students but also to students interested in neuroscience, one of the main strengths of the ANU, and students of medicine and medical science.
Why PSYC3018?Coordinator : Dr Dirk VAN ROOY
Covers measurement of psychological constructs; research designs; collapsing of data; ANOVA; multiple regression; computer-based analysis; method and results sections; planned and post-hoc contrasts; integration of ANOVA and regression as an introduction to the general linear model; searching/analyzing literature; SPSS ANOVA and Regression.… link to
ANU Handbook entry for PSYC3018
Why PSYC3020?Coordinator : Dr Rhonda BROWN
Health Psychology introduces the student to the intricate relationship which exists between psychological factors and the biological processes of human health and illness.
- Definitions of illness focussing on the notion of illness as a psychosocial dysfunction are presented in the context of emerging definitions of Health Psychology itself. The course then goes on to examine the idea of stress and the stress reaction as the theoretical model linking psychological and biological processes.
- The relative and related roles of personality, stress and the psychosocial environment in the genesis of organic pathology and illness are then presented in some detail, along with the body of contemporary empirical evidence supporting these roles.
- Issues dealing with health risk behaviours such as smoking and diet are considered and evidence for psycho-biological links mediated through the autonomic, endocrine and immune systems are discussed. A range of autoimmune, neoplastic, neurological, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal illnesses are taken to illustrate these points.
Why PSYC3023?Coordinator : Professor Don BYRNE
- We doubt that there is another course in Australia that provides so many advanced study opportunities in psychology with close supervision by staff.
- Each semester there are two or more streams on topics that are as diverse as neuroscience research projects, risk-taking and decision making and perspectives on crime.
- The course draws on the full breadth and depth of psychological science at one of the world's top research universities.
- The course is an excellent preparation for honours in psychology because you gain experience in doing research and/or major writing projects.
Why PSYC3025?Coordinator : Dr Jay BRINKER
- Abnormal Psychology is a major course for students intending to progress to the study of clinical psychology at the post-graduate level in order to become independently practicing clinical psychologists.
- The course offers an introduction to abnormal psychology building on second year units in developmental psychology and personality. It is unique in that it covers psychological disorders across the life span, from early disorders like ADHD through major adult disorders like depression to problems in old age. In doing so the course considers the developmental context of various psychological disorders as well as the continuities and discontinuities of psychological problems across age groups.
- The lecturers, Dr Bernd Heubeck and Dr Richard O'Kearney, have not only conducted and published relevant research, but have extensive experience in direct clinical work with clients affected by these problems. Between them they bring well over 20 years of first hand clinical experience to the course, a background that is rarely found in academic courses.
Why PSYC3026?Coordinator : Dr Boris BIZUMIC
- PSYC3026 is well-placed toward the end of a three year sequence in psychology to provide an integration of material from other psychology courses in respect to individual behaviour and provides an essential foundation in personality and assessment that feeds in to professional postgraduate training in clinical psychology.
- This course is uniquely designed to draw on the latest developments in the teaching of personality and psychological assessment.
- The course involves the use of innovative content and materials to integrate the strength of large group teaching (lectures) with the benefits of small group 'ilearning' methodologies.
- Both lecturers involved in teaching the course are active researchers and experienced clinical practitioners who present an integrated approach to the presentation of psychological theory and research with clinical examples and practice.
Why PSYC3027?Coordinator : Dr Richard BURNS
Late-life development and ageing is designed to give students an understanding of the psycho-social-biological changes that people experience as they grow older. This topic seeks to have students achieving an understanding of:
- normative ageing and exceptions to 'normal' ageing, including the dementias and depression.
- the concept of human development and ageing as a variable life-long process.
- how developmental theories, methods and research findings are inherently linked to provide an empirical base for the discipline.
- key issues in normal cognitive, social and personality development during adulthood, and their intersection with bodily ageing.
- the effects of work and retirement, and health-care provision on promoting healthy ageing.
Why PSYC3028?Coordinator : Dr Kate REYNOLDS
Why PSYC3029?Coordinator : Dr Anne AIMOLA DAVIES