Special topics

Special Topics courses are small, research-intensive courses that allow you to extend yourself in a particular area of Psychology.

Special Topics in Psychology – PSYC3023

Special Topics courses are small, research-intensive courses that allow you to extend yourself in a particular area of Psychology.

As this course comprises advanced study, students will usually require a minimum average mark of 65 in Psychology courses.

This is an Honours Pathway Course that involves material of a greater conceptual difficulty and research orientation than a typical Group C course.

The courses are typically research-only courses in which you will work with a Psychology staff member on a research project and are run in the same way as the PURE course – PSYC3030, but there is also greater flexibility in the design.  So, for example, in addition to having research-intensive options, Special Topics courses can also be journal-club style with a small number students, it can also run like a ‘normal’ undergraduate course.  It might be decided to run a Special Topics course in this way if the School is piloting a new undergraduate course to see how it will be received by students, or we have a visiting scholar who would like to do some teaching while they are with us.

Psychology Undergraduate Research Experience (PURE) PSYC3030

This course will involve research experiences relevant to the study of psychology.

This is an Honours Pathway Course.

The PURE courses are resarch-only courses in which you will work with a Psychology staff member on a research project.  Some examples of this include: working to collect additional data for a project nearing completion, working to pilot a methodology or procedure to be used in a larger project, working with a PhD student to help them collect data, or working to collect ‘baseline’ or ‘control’ data for a larger project.  Typically you would work on projects that are already developed.  This is very much like a research internship, and is excellent practice for honours.

The format and available options for these course will change every year, and be dependent on the requirements and objectives of staff in the School.

How do you find out about courses?

Courses will be listed in the Resources box as they become available.

However, it is also possible for you to initiate a research project yourself, if you would particularly like to work with a specific staff member, or work on a particular project, or even develop a project of your own.  In this case, contact the relevant staff member (ie the one who is closest to your interests) directly and simply ask if there is a research project that you could work on with them.

How do you enrol in a course?

For small course, enrolment will be on a first-come-first –in basis, and will also be dependent on your background, in that some course may require that you have taken specific subjects. Once you have identified a course you should contact the person who is the main contact for the research project.

Once you have agreed on a research project and been accepted by the researcher, you need to contact the Psychology Administration Office enquiries.psychology.smp@anu.edu.au for permission so you can then enrol through ISIS.

Larger courses will be unlikely to have a limited intake.

Can you do more than one PSYC3023 or PSYC3030 course?

The Special Topics course can be completed a maximum of two times, but the course content must be different.  It is even possible to do a research project with the same supervisor, as long as they are different projects.  A postscript will be made on your transcript to differentiate between the two courses.

When can you do a course through the year?

You can do a course at any time that is convenient for you and the supervisor.  So it can be run as an intensive at any time through the year, or as a ‘normal’ course through Semester 1 or 2 or other available sessions, depending on the scheduled availability, this can change from year to year.

However, your results will still have to be ‘tagged’ to a standard ANU semester.  So, for example, if you negotiate a research course with a supervisor to be conducted through the first 2 weeks of December, you will enrol in an ANU Summer Session, and not receive your grades until the ANU summer session has completed at the end of January.  The important think here is to enrol in the ANU semester that is closest to the time that you want to actually run the project.

What would be a typical assessment?

This is negotiated with the supervisor.  For a research intensive course, a typical assessment would consist of a project report and a presentation.