Module code: PSY2020

Module Overview

This module covers key issues of contemporary significance in the areas of personality, intelligence and psychopathology.

Module provider


Module Leader

MASON Oliver (Psychology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 5

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 123

Lecture Hours: 22

Tutorial Hours: 5

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

PSY1023 (Classics in Personality Theory). This module may be available to exchange and ERASMUS students if they have studied sufficient Psychology at undergraduate level – please check with the departmental exchange coordinator.

Module content

Indicative content is as follows.

First, we will discuss more advanced issues in personality (e.g., evolutionary theories, interpersonal relationships, the Dark Triad), building on knowledge from PSY1023 Classics in Personality Theory.

We will then discuss theoretical issues, practical applications, and controversies about intelligence (e.g., theories, measurement, and emotional intelligence).

Finally, we will address the disordered end of these individual differences by discussing classification, theoretical accounts, and clinical treatment of key issues in psychopathology (e.g., personality disorders, anxiety disorders, and psychosis).

Tutorials will provide an opportunity to discuss practical applications and contemporary issues and to prepare for assessments.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework 6 PAGE ESSAY 50
Examination EXAMINATION (60 MINUTES) 50

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate each of the learning outcomes.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

COURSEWORK ESSAY (6 pages, 50%)

You will be asked to write an independent essay critically evaluating the usefulness of personality trait models in understanding a practical issue of your choice. Support and formative feedback will be provided in class, tutorial, via SurreyLearn, and in office hours. Deadline will be approximately midway through the semester.

EXAMINATION (1 hour, 50%)

You will be asked to answer 1 essay question from a choice of 4 options, which will draw on synthesising knowledge from more than one topic, and MCQ items from a range of topics covered. Support will be provided in a revision lecture and tutorial.

Justification for Assessment Methods

The coursework essay assesses the extent to which you have met Module Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Examinations will assess Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3  and 5.

Module aims

  • This module aims to consider in depth individual differences between people, in several aspects of intrapersonal and interpersonal functioning: advanced issues in personality, contemporary issues in intelligence, and theoretical accounts and clinical treatment of key issues in psychopathology. Overall, this module aims to extend your understanding of the whole spectrum of individual differences and integrate areas of psychology together that are often studied separately. Throughout, you are encouraged to participate actively in classes and think critically about the theories and evidence that we will discuss.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
1 Explain key theoretical accounts of individual differences in personality, intelligence, and selected types of psychopathology K
2 Critically evaluate these theoretical perspectives and the empirical evidence that tests them CP
3 Discuss the implications of issues in personality, intelligence, and psychopathology for everyday life and practical settings CPT
4 Construct and present a clear, reasoned argument based on current theory and evidence CP
5 Synthesise and link different perspectives to provide a broader view on understanding the nature of individual differences CP

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to engage students with learning about the state of the field as well as equipping them to contribute to the field themselves. Therefore, it includes a combination of lecture, student-led presentation, and discussion—both in class and virtual. 

The learning and teaching methods include

  • weekly lectures including interactive discussion (2 hours x 11 weeks)

  • one 2-hour tutorial to aid coursework preparation and give formative feedback

  • one 2-hour tutorial to discuss applications of psychopathology in clinical case formulation

  • one 1-hour tutorial to aid synthesis and exam preparation

  • independent study.

SurreyLearn will be a key resource for supplementary materials, links, and a dedicated Discussion Board (

Interactive quizzes and discussions in class will provide formative feedback on students’ progress.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: PSY2020

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2020/1 academic year.