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Module

PSY3026 : Psychology of Religion

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Patrick Rosenkranz
  • Owning School: Psychology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

Aims:
•To introduce students to the fields of psychology of religion as well as the new cognitive science of religion.
•To guide students in developing knowledge and insight into the various ways psychologists study religion and the associated theories.
•To encourage critical evaluation of the main research methods and findings.
•To provide an academic environment for discussion of issues and topics in the psychology of religion.

Summary:

Religion and spirituality are fundamental aspects of what it means to be human. The psychology of religion is concerned with the causes and consequences of religious and spiritual beliefs. The module will cover the variety of psychological approaches that have been taken to explain different aspects of religion and spirituality. The themes and topics of this course are presented through interactive lectures. Discussion of issues and ideas are encouraged throughout.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module begins with a general overview over the social, cultural and historical background to the psychological study of religion. We will then start our investigation by looking at the biological and evolutionary underpinnings that form the natural foundations of religious belief and behaviour. Based on this, we will explore the findings of the cognitive science of religion and study how psychologists use experimental and observational methods to investigate religious cognition and the cognitive development of religion across the lifespan. Furthermore, we will consider individual differences in religious belief and the social psychological theories that seek to explain these. Finally, we will look at religious and mystical experiences and investigate how psychologists can study these highly subjective accounts of experiencing a transcendent reality.

Teaching Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials161:0016:00Non-synchronous online.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion150:0050:00Exam (this also includes formative practice)
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion150:0050:00Essay (this also includes formative practice)
Guided Independent StudySkills practice14:004:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops22:004:00Synchronous online
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery91:009:00Synchronous online
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study165:0065:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk12:002:00PIP
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lecture materials are the framework for the topics and provide the foundation for the knowledge outcomes. Private reading and structured learning activities, as well as the weekly opportunity to discuss topics encourages deeper insight into the themes and methods of the module. Moreover, student interaction within the weekly surgeries provides the environment in which skills can be practised, developed and refined. Workshops will include formative feedback from the module leader on the assessed skills and knowledge and will support students in self-directed study and in producing their essay.

Assessment Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Exams
Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1202A7024 Hour take home, unseen online exam – answer 2 questions from a choice of 4, 1000 words per answer
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M301000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The written exam assesses both the knowledge and skills developed in this course: Knowledge of the range of topics and approaches in the psychology of religion and cognitive science of religion, critical thinking in regards to the theories covered, evaluative appraisal of research methods and findings.

The essay allows for deeper understanding of one area of the course and assesses and practices appropriate literature search, understanding and usage, written communication, critical evaluation and appraisal of issues and theories. Both substantive and formative feedback will be provided on the essay by the module leader.
Students can gain formative feedback on their learning of the assessed knowledge and skills throughout the course. Formative feedback is primarily given by the module leader in the workshops and weekly surgeries, but also includes formative feedback from peers in the interactive sessions.

FMS Schools offering Semester One modules available as ‘Study Abroad’ will, where required, provide an alternative assessment time for examinations that take place after the Christmas vacation. Coursework with submissions dates after the Christmas vacation will either be submitted at an earlier date or at the same time remotely.

Reading Lists

Timetable