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Unit information: Advanced Evolutionary Psychology in 2021/22

Unit name Advanced Evolutionary Psychology
Unit code PSYCM0046
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Philip Collard
Open unit status Not open

Students must not have taken PSYC30001



School/department School of Psychological Science
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

The unit provides a framework for independent in-depth study of current research literature on evolutionary approaches to psychology. Evolution is a powerful but problematic theory in science, as evolutionary theory is considered by some to be untestable, and by others to have undesirable but unavoidable political and moral consequences, especially when applied to human social behaviour.

The aims of this unit are to consider theories in evolutionary biology of social behaviour (natural selection, sexual selection, kin selection, reciprocity and parental investment), the contemporary issues in the subject area and the role of empirical evidence in the formation of theory.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the unit, a student will be able to:

  1. Appraise work within the field of evolutionary psychology as an interdisciplinary area related to biology, anthropology, primatology, and psychology.
  2. Analyse contemporary issues within evolutionary psychology by demonstrating and assessing how methodological approaches are applied to these issues.
  3. Apply evolutionary theory to these contemporary issues.
  4. Justify the relevance and role of evolutionary psychology within the psychological sciences.

Teaching Information

Self-paced online asynchronous learning materials will be supported with weekly live synchronous sessions.

These live sessions will take a variety of different forms depending on the focus of the week, but will typically involve Q&A based on the weeks' content and student discussion groups.

Assessment Information

1 x 2000-word coursework (50%) and 1 x timed assessment (50%)


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. PSYCM0046).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.