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Psychology I

The Psychology 1 course we offer at Rhodes University comprises 6 modules. Each of these modules is aimed at providing students with a basic grounding in some of the key areas of the discipline. The modules offered are as follows:

  • Developmental Psychology & Learning:

This module focuses on providing students with an introduction to the major developmental theories within Psychology. Attention is paid to biological development, as well as to psychosexual, cognitive, psychosocial and moral development. Part of the course also pays attention to an introduction to learning theories as developed by the Behaviourist school as well as social learning theories. Content and theorists covered include Attachment theory, Piagetian theory, Erikson, Bandura, Vygotsky, Watson & Skinner.

  • Social Psychology:

The module on social psychology provides an introduction to the areas of human experience that are typically studied by social psychologists, as well as to the various epistemological and methodological approaches that have been adopted within the discipline towards the study of such phenomena. Typically, the module provides an examination of mainstream and experimental approaches to the study of group phenomena such as attitudes, group formation, norms & conformity, obedience & deviance, identity, prejudice, racism, gender, etc. The work of key figures in the mainstream experimental tradition, such as Asch, Milgram and Zimbardo are explored in some detail.

  • Biological Psychology:

This module has as its core focus, the influence of the biological structures of awareness on our interaction with the environment. It focuses specifically on the structure and functioning of the brain and nervous system, as well as the biological foundations of sensation and perception as the building blocks of cognition and conscious experience. The module also provides a basic introduction to the field of neuropsychology, neuropsychological disorders and the range of neuropsychological assessment and intervention methods available to treat various types of injury or trauma.

  • Personality:

This module provides an introduction to personality theories, theories of psychopathology, as well as to the DSM-IV-TR classification system. The key focus is familiarising students with some of the key historical and contemporary theories of personality and personality development, together with an introduction to the field of psychopathology that presents the organising principles of the classificatory system for psychological disorders employed by the DSM-IV-TR. Furthermore, the module also provides students with an introduction to a range of theories for psychological interventions, and their related therapeutic modalities and options that are employed by professional practitioners.

  • Cognition & Intelligence:

The goal of this module is to provide students with a basic grounding in the theoretical and practical debates concerning the notion of intelligence and the manner in which intelligence is tested or assessed. Both historical and contemporary theories of intelligence are introduced, and the development of IQ testing is traced. The module also pays attention to certain areas of cognitive psychology such as reasoning, problem-solving, memory, and language development.

  • Organisational Psychology:

The final module in the course focuses on providing students with an introduction to the field and practice of Organisational Psychology and psychological assessment in industry. Attention is paid to the history and development of organisational psychology as a sub-discipline, the various roles of practitioners in this field, and the manner in which psychologically informed understandings of human behaviour and experience can be utilised in the workplace to understand phenomena such as productivity, motivation, workplace diversity, teamwork, organisational structure and functioning, amongst others. Attention is also paid to research methods and assessment in industry.


If information is required with regard to a specific course in the Psychology I programme then contact:

Sizwe Zondo +27 (0)46 603 8541 (Psychology 101 Course Coordinator)

E-Mail: S.Zondo@ru.ac.za 

Last Modified: Fri, 14 Feb 2020 10:16:07 SAST