This Programme Specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if he/she takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided.
Sources of information on the programme can be found in Section 17
A1. Describe and critically assess the debate about the concept of mental illness concerning its nature, its connection to values or functions and its mythical or real status.
A2. Describe and critically assess some key aspects of the history of psychiatry such as Jasper’s account of the phenomenological method in psychiatry.
A3. Describe and critically assess scientific models of the clinical process.
A4. Describe and critically assess some of the theories and arguments advanced about the role of values in psychiatric diagnosis and mental health more broadly
A5. Describe and critically assess some of the general philosophical models of mind and their relationship to findings from mental health care.
A6. Outline a philosophically-based research strategy to address a research question in the philosophy of mental health
A7. Critically appraise the key concepts in mental health care.
A8. Draw on a wide range of philosophical and clinical resources to evaluate aspects of the mental health
Teaching and Learning Methods
Teaching is by distance learning (to suit part time students in full time employment) based on the guided discussion of original research material through reading and thinking exercises in the substantial Oxford Textbook of Philosophy and Psychiatry co-authored by members of the course team. Distance learning is further supported by online tutoring and discussion. Students are encouraged to conduct their own research of specific topics for development of material for assessed essays.
Each philosophy of mental health module is assessed by one 5,000 word essay on a subject relevant to the module and agreed with a course tutor but selected by the student. The essay will address an aspect of the philosophy of mental health, showing knowledge of general debates in that aspect of mental health care, knowledge of resources to be used to shed light on it and specific abilities described in the learning outcomes.
The Introduction to Postgraduate Philosophically-based Research module is assessed by short answer questions and a plan for a dissertation or research paper.
For the MA, the dissertation takes forward such knowledge, understanding and skills
in a way that shows originality in either presentation or attempted resolution of the issues.
B. Subject-specific skills
B1. Uncover and identify the underlying issues in a number of different debates about mental health care.
B2. Critically evaluate the success of standard arguments and claims about mental health care.
B3. Understand and use properly relevant specialised terminology.
B4. Formulate researchable problems within the subject area together with valid philosophically-based arguments to address them
Teaching and Learning Methods
Subject specific skills are developed through on-line discussion and in the preparation of written work. Tutorial feedback is provided both in electronic seminar discussions in asynchronous threaded discussion using the University’s e-learning software and also in feedback by course tutors to draft essay abstracts and the draft submission of material to be developed into essays.
Summative assessment is by one 5,000 word essay for each of the specific philosophy of mental health modules, threefold assessment for the research methods module. Given that the main aim of the programme is fostering analytic and argumentative skills, the best method of assessment is the presentation of analysis and argument in substantial written work to a title suggested by students but agreed by the teaching team. Formative assessment is provided on a first shorter 2,000 word essay which can be expanded to form the first 5,000 word essay and on contributions to electronic discussion.
Assessment of the Introduction to Postgraduate Philosophically-based Research module is different as that module aims at a reflective understanding of the nature of philosophically-based research.
The dissertation is a triple-weighted module assessed by an 8 000-10 000 word piece of writing that is wholly analytic (with no literature review). This reflects professional standards of publication in the discipline and is comparable to other philosophy-based graduate programmes.
C. Thinking Skills
C1. Analyse the structure of complex and controversial issues and problems, with an understanding of major strategies of reasoning designed to address and resolve such issues and problems.
C2. Abstract, analyse and construct logical argument together with an ability to recognise any relevant fallacies.
C3. Employ detailed argument to support or criticise generalisations in the light of specific implications.
C4. Review unfamiliar ideas with an open mind and a willingness to change one's mind when appropriate.
C5. Be resourceful and innovative in formulating a research question and synthesising and assessing arguments to draw conclusions from the work
Teaching and Learning Methods
Thinking skills are taught in the structured exercises of the course text.
Thinking skills are given formative assessment in the moderated (electronic) seminars. They are also assessed in the substantial written assessments.
D. Other skills relevant to employability and personal development
D1. Work independently to self-selected targets.
D2. Successfully carry out research based on personal interests.
D3. Critically assess claims and counter claims made on the basis of arguments across a range of subject areas outside the philosophy of mental health
D4. Demonstrate creativity, initiative and personal responsibility for continued educational, professional and practice improvement
Teaching and Learning Methods
These general skills are implicit ingredients in the semi-structured teaching and research necessary for working through teaching material and for preparation of the assessed essays. Students will carry out research, using both the substantial teaching resources in the textbook but also via guided further reading, for essays written on subjects they chose themselves. Students will be encouraged, where possible, to draw on their own experiences and those of fellow students of mental health care and to reflect on practice of healthcare. Thus self managed personal development is integral to the process of developing written work and reflecting conclusions back onto present or future practice. D3 is specifically addressed by the Introduction to postgraduate philosophically-based research module.
These more general skills are given formative assessment in the moderated e-learning seminars. They are also indirectly assessed in the substantial written assessments.
Introduction to Postgraduate Philosophically-based Research
MA Philosophy and Mental Health
Requires 180 credits at Level 7. It requires completion of all of the modules.
PGD Philosophy and Mental Health
Requires 120 credits at Level 7
It requires completion of all modules except the Dissertation
PGC Philosophy and Mental Health
Requires 60 credits at Level 7 The Core concepts in Philosophy of Mental Health module is compulsory with a choice of two other modules from the programme.
15. Personal Development Planning
Self managed personal development lies at the heart of the Philosophy and Mental Health Programme. Many students will be professionally qualified (or be ‘experts by experience’) taking courses for personal and professional development. Although supported by very substantial teaching material and experienced course tutors, assessment is by written essay on a subject of each student’s choosing and students will be supported in the independent work required. Students will also be encouraged to make use of the University’s web-based tools to facilitate further work in this area.
Programme Specifications include minimum entry requirements, including academic qualifications, together with appropriate experience and skills required for entry to study. These criteria may be expressed as a range rather than a specific grade. Amendments to entry requirements may have been made after these documents were published and you should consult the University’s website for the most up to date information.
Students will be informed of their personal minimum entry criteria in their offer letter.
Normally a relevant Honours degree, or to be able to demonstrate professional experience and qualifications at a graduate equivalent level. The course will, however, also welcome applicants without the formal qualifications but with suitable experience, and each applicant will be assessed individually through evidence provided by the applicant and a pre-course assignment.
17. Key sources of information about the programme
The University of Central Lancashire website and post graduate prospectus
Web materials to be developed on the School’s website concerning the Mental Health division
Information about the area on the INPP (International Network for Philosophy and Psychiatry) website, the journal for area PPP (Philosophy, Psychiatry and Psychology) and the OUP book series.