Years 1 and 2
Philosophy courses in Years 1 and 2 are taught by a combination of lectures and tutorials. Typically, for each course, a student attends three one-hour lectures and one one-hour tutorial per week. Lectures introduce and explain ideas relevant to the course, and tutorials provide an opportunity for students to discuss and clarify these ideas in a small group setting.
Psychology courses in Years 1 and 2 include three lectures a week, presented by a team of psychologists who each give a block of lectures on their particular field of expertise (Differential, Developmental, Social and so on). In Psychology 1, students also attend regular tutorials in which key studies (read prior to the tutorial) are discussed, and participation in departmental research provides first-hand insight into the research process. In Psychology 2, students have five 3-hour practical and tutorial sessions per semester. These are structured around learning a statistical package and learning to design, carry out, analyse and write up two psychology experiments. There are also lectures in research methods and statistics.
Students also take courses outside Philosophy and Psychology in subject areas of their choosing. The teaching methods of these courses are determined by the relevant subject area.
Years 3 and 4
Philosophy courses in Years 3 and 4 are taught primarily by weekly two-hour seminars. The seminar format puts strong emphasis on group discussion and student participation. Often seminars are based on pre-assigned readings which students are expected to read in preparation for the seminar. For some courses, students may give a short presentation to the class on an assigned topic.
In the third year of Psychology, there is a separate series of semester long weekly lectures on each of the six core areas of Psychology (Differential, Biological, Developmental, Social, Memory & Perception, and Thinking & Language), lectures and practical sessions in advanced statistics and qualitative and quantitative methodology.
In Year 4, students are required to satisfy a dissertation requirement in either Philosophy or Psychology. This provides an opportunity for students to undertake extended, independent research, under the supervision of an appropriate member of staff.
The main university library houses extensive holdings in both philosophy and psychology, including online access to journal articles and a growing number of online books. A second smaller library, shared between Philosophy and Psychology, houses materials for use by staff, graduates and Honours students and offers further study space. There is excellent IT provision and, in Psychology, laboratory facilities, a suite of research cubicles and tutorial rooms to support practical classes, as well as open areas to meet and work with peers.
In the semester two Innovative Learning Week, normal teaching is suspended in order to provide the space for staff and students to explore new learning activities. Some examples of activities held in the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences were ‘The Original Psychic Challenge’, a Psychology Alumni event to give students the opportunity to meet recent graduates and talk about careers, Psychology at the movies, ‘Good googling’, a collaborative project between Philosophy, Art and Social Anthropology to interpret the beauty in an art object, How to ‘sell’ your Philosophy degree, and a philosophical walking tour of Edinburgh.