Module Code: H8ABNPSY
Long Title Abnormal Psychology
Title Abnormal Psychology
Module Level: LEVEL 8
EQF Level: 6
EHEA Level: First Cycle
Credits: 10
Module Coordinator: Philip Hyland
Module Author: Philip Hyland
Departments: School of Business
Specifications of the qualifications and experience required of staff  
Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this module the learner will be able to:
# Learning Outcome Description
LO1 Critique current descriptions of the nature of different psychiatric disorders.
LO2 Evaluate prominent theories of psychopathology and contemporary taxonomies of disorder classification.
LO3 Critically evaluate the efficacy of existing treatment options for psychopathology.
Module Recommendations

This is prior learning (or a practical skill) that is required before enrolment on this module. While the prior learning is expressed as named NCI module(s) it also allows for learning (in another module or modules) which is equivalent to the learning specified in the named module(s).

No recommendations listed
Co-requisite Modules
No Co-requisite modules listed
Entry requirements  

Module Content & Assessment

Indicative Content
Introduction to the Course
This lecture will introduce learners to abnormal psychology and detail what is expected of them during the semester.
The History of Abnormal Psychology
This lecture will define the subject area and key research and theorists/schools of thought in abnormal psychology. Students will be provided with an overview of the history of abnormal psychology and mental illness.
Biological Models of Psychopathology
This lecture will explore biological approaches to understanding psychopathology; critically evaluate the contribution biological models have made with a specific emphasis on the serotonergic model of depression. The efficacy of biological treatments will be examined.
Psychosocial Models of Psychopathology
In two lectures, the psychosocial approaches to understanding psychopathology will be explored. Cognitive-behavioural models will be explored in depth, along with a focus on emerging models that focus on mindfulness. The efficacy of psychosocial treatments will be reviewed.
Anxiety Disorders
This lecture provide a critical analysis of our current understandings of anxiety disorders. An overview of the primary anxiety disorders will be provided; along with the epidemiology of anxiety disorders, and the biological and psychosocial perspectives on anxiety. Treatments for anxiety will be explored.
Trauma-based Disorders
Spanning two lectures, the different trauma-based disorders will be explored with specific emphasis on PTSD and Complex PTSD. Prevalence, risk-factors, and treatment approaches will be covered. A special focus on the distinction between the DSM and ICD perspectives on PTSD will be taken.
Psychotic Disorders
Students will learn about the nature of psychosis and the different psychotic diagnoses. Biological and psychosocial explanations for psychosis will be explored as well as the different treatment options available.
Mood Disorders
This lectures provides students with a critical evaluation of current understandings of major mood disorders (depression and bipolar disorder) along with treatment options and outcomes.
Evolutionary Models of Psychopathology
This lecture will discuss the contribution of evolutionary theory to the field of clinical psychology/psychiatry. Prominent evolutionary theories to understand mental illness will be evaluated.
Critical Evaluation of Current Taxonomic Approach to Mental Illness
This lecture will critically evaluate the current psychiatric categorical model of mental illness and present evidence suggesting that dimensional models of psychopathology are superior.
Assessment Breakdown%
End of Module Assessment50.00%


Full Time

Assessment Type: Essay % of total: 50
Assessment Date: n/a Outcome addressed: 1,2,3
Non-Marked: No
Assessment Description:
Students are required to write a critical essay on a topic of their choosing from the field of abnormal psychology. They will be required to approach their chosen topic from multiple theoretical approaches and evaluate contemporary evidence in this area. The essay is 2,000 words in length.
End of Module Assessment
Assessment Type: Terminal Exam % of total: 50
Assessment Date: End-of-Semester Outcome addressed: 1,2,3
Non-Marked: No
Assessment Description:
Students will answer 2 out of 5 questions which may be based on any aspect of course content (2 hours duration).
No Workplace Assessment
Reassessment Requirement
Repeat failed items
The student must repeat any item failed

NCIRL reserves the right to alter the nature and timings of assessment


Module Workload

Module Target Workload Hours 0 Hours
Workload: Full Time
Workload Type Workload Description Hours Frequency Average Weekly Learner Workload
Lecture Semester 24 Every Week 24.00
Tutorial Semester 24 Every Week 24.00
Independent Learning Semester 202 Once per semester 16.83
Total Weekly Contact Hours 48.00

Module Resources

Recommended Book Resources
  • David Barlow. (2014), Clinical Handbook of Psychological Disorders, Fifth Edition: A Step-by-Step Treatment Manual, 5th Edition. The Guilford Press, p.768, [ISBN: 978-146251326].
  • Comer, R. J.. (2013), Abnormal Psychology - International Edition, 8th. Palgrave Macmillan, New York, NY.
  • Richard Bentall. Madness explained, Allen Lane, London, [ISBN: 0140275401].
Supplementary Book Resources
  • Robert Whitaker. Anatomy of an Epidemic, Broadway, p.416, [ISBN: 0307452425].
This module does not have any article/paper resources
Other Resources
  • [Website], National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Guidelines for Mental Health and Behavioural Conditions,
  • [Website], World Health Organisation: Mental Health,
  • [website],
  • [website],
  • [Peer-Reviewed Journal], British Journal of Psychiatry.
  • [Peer-Reviewed Journal], Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica.
  • [Peer-Reviewed Journal], Clinical Psychology Review.
  • [Peer-Reviewed Journal], Depression & Anxiety.
  • [Peer-Reviewed Journal], Journal of Traumatic Stress.
  • [Peer-Reviewed Journal], European Journal of Psychotraumatology.
  • [Peer-Reviewed Journal], Schizophrenia Bulletin.
  • [Peer-Reviewed Journal], Journal of Abnormal Psychology.
Discussion Note: