Social Sciences Courses

Take Social Science courses overseas to broaden your horizons and enhance your career prospects! Choose from hundreds of courses in a wide range of subjects, including Anthropology, Cultural and International Studies, Gender Studies, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Social Work and more!
Program Types:
  • January Study
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Area of Study:
  • Social Sciences
    • Anthropology
    • Cultural Studies and International Studies
    • Gender Studies
    • Political Science, Government and Intelligence
    • Psychology
    • Sociology and Social Work

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Available Courses by Program
CREDITS: 7.5 ECTS credits / 36 contact hours

Positive psychology was introduced by Martin Seligman around 2000 and can be viewed as a supplementary approach to clinical psychology. The positive psychological movement formulated three aims: (1) to focus on well-being and happiness instead of abnormal behaviour and psychopathology, (2) to be concerned with building positive qualities and strengths instead of repairing damage, and (3) to prevent future problems instead of correcting past and present problems.

The course will start with a general introduction to the field of positive psychology. The main concepts will be introduced and clarified, and an overview of the results of happiness studies will be presented. In subsequent meetings, various more specific topics will be discussed by means of lectures and group discussions. There will be ample room to gain hands-on experience with positive psychological techniques ranging from simple journaling exercises to mindfulness meditation. A scientific evidence-based approach will be leading. Students will be provided with the tools to be able to evaluate and design research in the area of positive psychology, and also with the skills to apply some (basic) intervention techniques.

The instructional approach will include lectures, interactive meetings, group discussions, practical workshops and student presentations. Final assessment will be by means of an individual paper on a topic of choice. On the last day of the course, a student conference is held where each student presents their paper (review or research proposal) either by poster or an oral presentation.

This intensive course includes two weekend excursions to Brussels and Amsterdam.

CREDITS: 3 US credits / 45 contact hours
OFFERED: Session 1 and 2

Psychology has conventionally situated itself as universally applicable science, however, it can be described as a “modernist” and European-American phenomenon. This course explores the cultural aspects of psychology, examining how biology, psychology, and culture interact in the context of contemporary Spanish and North American societies. One of the key contributions of cultural psychology is thematizing the different filters that moderate how psychological phenomena are understood. These filters, which operate at both conceptual and epistemological levels in large part circumscribe how psychology is studied and applied. This course will provide a conceptual foundation for the understanding of psychology and culture, with a focus on human development, the self, intergroup relations, and cross-cultural communication. The study abroad experience will be used to experientially examine and apply the material covered in class. Finally, wider application of the material in the context of mental health and its care will be explored.

CREDITS: 3 US credits / 45 contact hours
OFFERED: July Sessions: 4, B

Pre-requisite: Introductory course on research methods in psychology or equivalent.

What is “normal”? When asking ourselves this question, we often look to what is beyond the typical to contextualize what we consider normal. From the perspective of psychology, we all exhibit behavior at times that is not considered typical; but what is the line in which the behavior goes from quirky to clinical? This course aims to look deeper into the disordered personality to better understand the topics associated with abnormal psychology, with an emphasis on the classification, assessment and etiology of disorders, as well as analysis of the historical, cultural and sociological aspects as they relate to diagnosis. Examination of mood, personality, dissociative, and psychotic disorders, as well as fear and anxiety and the effects of stress will all be addressed in this course to allow students to gain a critical understanding of the factors that contribute to their causes and clinical approaches. As this course takes place in Italy, the Italian perspective of mental health will be a fundamental aspect of cultural analysis to develop a global sensitivity towards the topics the addressed.

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CREDITS: 3 US credits / 45 contact hours
OFFERED: July Sessions: 3, B

Pre-requisite: Background in Psychology or Social Psychology is recommended.

Over the recent decades, globalisation has brought about a phenomenon that has increasingly been recognised by both psychologists and anthropologists as a viable field of research: Culture Shock. Also referred to as “culture fatigue” or “role shock,” culture shock refers to the reactions of travellers during their first few months in a foreign country. This course presents culture shock within the context of cross-cultural psychology and places a specific emphasis on the students’ own experiences as they live and study in a foreign country. Topics explored will include the role of communication and communication norms, cultural variables, taboos and rituals, and cultural adjustment.

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CREDITS: 3 US credits / 45 contact hours
OFFERED: July Sessions: 4, B

This course examines the practice and basic principles of addiction to drugs of abuse such as heroin, alcohol, tobacco, cannabis or cocaine. Course topics will cover the epidemiology of drug abuse, the experimental models used in brain research, and the pathological consequences of drug addiction (including heavy drinking and smoking). The course will extend the concept of addiction to pathological behaviors such as compulsive consumption of palatable food, physical exercise dependence, compulsive shopping, sexual hyperactivity, internet abuse, and gambling. The neurochemical mechanisms that are shared and lead from reward to positive reinforcement, loss of control, and dependence will be examined. The symptomatological and neurochemical similarities and differences between drug and behavioral addiction will be addressed, along with the self-destructive behaviors, tolerance, craving, and withdrawal symptoms that both types of dependence produce.

The course traces also the basic aspects of human biology and physiology that are needed to fully comprehend the topics at hand, including the neuronal circuits and neurotransmitters that are altered by both natural and artificial rewards. Students will also learn how to analyze scientific data and correctly interpret the information that is published in peer-reviewed international scientific journals. Finally, students will gain an understanding of the social and ethical implications of drug and behavioral addiction and of the peculiar features of this problem in different countries, with an emphasis on the European and Italian approach as compared with other areas of the world.

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CREDITS: 3 US credits / 45 contact hours
OFFERED: July Sessions: 1, 3, A, B

“We see the world as we do, not because that is the way it is, but because we have these ways of seeing” (Wittgenstein). Social psychology is a scientific discipline that explores how the individual is influenced by social contexts. Students will learn to identify how social, environmental, and cognitive factors shape our thoughts, feelings, and actions. The course covers theories regarding attraction, aggression, conformity, and pro-social behaviour. As this course is taught in Italy, students will have the advantage of observing and testing theories learned in class in a foreign environment.

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CREDITS: 20 UK credits
OFFERED: Session 1

This module is rich in theory from consumer studies, psychology and sociology explaining why consumers behave the way they do and how marketers can use this information. Both customer and organisational decision-making processes are explored.

CREDITS: 20 UK credits
OFFERED: Session 1

In this module, we will explore the scientific evidence for phenomena widely accepted by the public but whose scientific validity remains open to challenge including, for example, astrology and near-death experiences. We will examine the methods used in the investigation of such popular myths and examine, from a psychological perspective, the factors which underlie how they grow and are sustained. The module involves a critical review of the scientific evidence for these phenomena, and general consideration of the application of scientific method.

The module includes a half-day field trip to the Freud Museum in Hampstead.

CREDITS: 20 UK credits
OFFERED: Session 2

The course is designed as an introduction to the subject of Organisational Behaviour, which helps people in organisations to have a better understanding of factors that influence behaviour. It aims to improve self-understanding and also understanding of the behaviour of other people. The module draws on insights and research from Organisational Behaviour (specifically from the Psychological and Sociological parts of Organisational Behaviour) and more widely from the social sciences to explore a number of topics, enabling us to be more reliable and rigorous than using only “common sense” understandings of behaviour. The module highlights some areas of difference and diversity that we are likely to encounter in many contemporary organisations.

CREDITS: 20 UK credits
OFFERED: Session 2

This model aims to provide students with the opportunity to engage with a range of topics and issues in psychology that relate to growing up and living in or visiting a large global city such as London, England. It will bring together research and theory from a number of areas of psychology and forensic psychology. Topics include: Stress & Wellbeing; Crime & Aggression; Loneliness, Prosocial behaviour, and Resilience. Lectures will discuss recent research and seminars will provide students with practical activities, visualisation through documentaries and guided discussions related to each topic.

The module includes a half-day field trip to the Museum of London, Barbican.

CREDITS: 4 US credits

Study of psychological disorders (e.g., depression, anxiety, substance use disorders, schizophrenia) across lifespan, including role of biological, behavioral, social, cognitive, and cultural factors, diagnosis and treatment approaches. Discussion of Stigma and practices that support inclusiveness.

Lecture, three hours; discussion, one hour. Requisite: course 10. Not open for credit to students with credit for course 127B or 127C.

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CREDITS: 4 US credits

Survey of determinants of species-specific behavior, including genetic influences and learning.

Requisite: course 115. Designed for junior/senior majors.

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CREDITS: 5 Units

Seminar, four hours. Development of positive social behaviors and their enhancement. Broad overview of children’s psychological development, with emphasis on personal, social, and emotional attributes of preschool and elementary school child. Aspects of prosocial behavior and aggression. Enhancement of prosocial behavior and modification of such negative behaviors as aggression. Review and evaluation of contemporary educational programs for promoting positive social behaviors in elementary schools. Methodological aspects of child development. Overview of early childhood education and issues related to role of family, school, and television in child development.

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CREDITS: 4 US credits

Introduction to how social scientists think about, study, and treat intimate relationships, with emphasis on understanding how relationships change over time. Topics include attraction, relationship formation, conflict resolution, social support, sex, role of individual differences, and external circumstances.

Lecture, three hours. Requisites: courses 10, 100A. Limited to juniors/seniors.

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CREDITS: 4 US credits

Areas of health, illness, treatment, and delivery of treatment that can be elucidated by understanding of psychological concepts and research, psychological perspective on these problems, and how psychological perspective might be enlarged and extended in medical area.

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CREDITS: 5 Units

Introductory study of philosophical issues about nature of the mind and its relation to the body, including materialism, functionalism, behaviorism, determinism and free will, nature of psychological knowledge.

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CREDITS: 4 US credits

Designed for non majors. Survey of genetic, evolutionary, physiological, pharmacological, and experiential factors affecting behavior. Using comparative approach where appropriate, emphasis on relevance of biological mechanisms to understanding of humans and their interaction with their environment.

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CREDITS: 4 US credits

Lecture, four hours. General introduction including topics in cognitive, experimental, personality, developmental, social, and clinical psychology; six hours of psychological research and a grade of C or better required of all departmental premajors.

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CREDITS: 4 US credits

Designed for beginners; prior experience with meditation not required. Introduction to mindfulness, including basic mindfulness meditation practices, both sitting and moving, ways to deepen positive emotions like gratitude, kindness, and joy, and methods for integrating more awareness and creativity into ordinary activities. Examination of varying meditative traditions as well as emerging science on beneficial effects of mindfulness practice for mental and physical health. Beneficial effects include reduced stress, improved attention, reduced emotional reactivity, and greater mind-body awareness. Learning and development of practical skills of relational mindfulness in interactions with others.

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CREDITS: 4 US credits

Basic overview of brain function and consideration of some management methods that exist already, and what future may hold. New methods for predicting our own futures and modeling what if scenarios that might alter risks and benefits of different courses of action, based on individual genetic background and other elements of personal history and environmental exposures. Introduction to key principles from science of behavior change, illustrating how important health-related behavioral habits are and how difficult these can be to change and why. Coverage of series of topics that center on personal enhancement of well-being through consideration of stress management, long-term goal and value identification, mapping of long-term goals onto immediate actions, reinforcement learning, meditation, neurofeedback, and time management. Critical appraisal of tools to help students distinguish scientifically validated procedures.

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CREDITS: 4 US credits

Genealogy of autism as diagnostic category and cultural phenomenon from its historical roots as new, rare, and obscure condition in early 1940s to its current contested status as minority identity and/or global epidemic. Examination of material sourced from various fields and disciplines invested in autism, including psychology, neuroscience, arts and humanities, popular media, anthropology, activism, and critical autism studies. Students encounter and analyze multiple perspectives on autism and put them in conversation with one another. Attention paid to way people on spectrum define, explain, and represent their own experiences of autism and discussion of what ramifications of these multiple framings are in context of autism intervention strategy and disability policy today.

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CREDITS: 4 US credits

Preparation: one 4-unit psychology course, one philosophy course. Selected philosophical issues arising from psychological theories. Nature of perception and issues about perceptual psychology and development of important types of representation (e.g., of body, cause, agency) in early childhood. Relevance of computer simulation to accounts of thinking and meaning; relations between semantical theory and learning theory; psychological aspects of theory of syntax.

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CREDITS: 4 US credits

Broad overview of scientific study of sexual behavior, with emphases on evolutionary, biological, psychological, and social considerations. Topics include historical antecedents of sex research, evolution of sex, influence of sex hormones on brain and behavior, sexual development, and roles of genes and hormones on sexual orientation.

Lecture, three hours. Requisite: course 115.

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CREDITS: 4 US credits

Basic statistical procedures and their application to research and practice in various areas of psychology.

Lecture, four hours. Requisites: course 10 with a grade of C or better, and one course from Mathematics 2, Program in Computing 10A, Statistics 10, or one term of calculus. Designed for pre-majors.

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CREDITS: 4 US credits

Consideration of psychological literature relevant to understanding contemporary sex differences. Topics include sex-role development and role conflict, physiological and personality differences between men and women, sex differences in intellectual abilities and achievement, and impact of gender on social interaction.

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CREDITS: 4 US credits

Interrelationships between the individual and his social environment. Social influences on motivation, perception, and behavior. Development and change of attitudes and opinions. Psychological analysis of small groups, social stratification, and mass phenomena.

Lecture, three hours; discussion, one hour. Requisites: courses 10, 100A. Designed for juniors/seniors.

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CREDITS: 7.5 ECTS credits / 36 contact hours

The aim of the course is to familiarise students with applications of psychology to the legal system and to raise awareness about the problems that arise when psychology is applied to law in practice.

In the course of 3 weeks, students will take part in an intensive educational program that covers the most important topics in the field of Forensic Psychology. During the course four main themes within the field of forensic psychology will be addressed.

  1. Eyewitness memory, which consists of eyewitness identification and (false) memories.
  2. Interviewing and interrogation. Within this topic,the students learn about police interrogation techniques, deception detection and (false) confessions.
  3. Cognitive biases in the legal context. Students will get acquainted with the interpretation and reliability of forensic evidence and the role of biases in experts’ decisions.
  4. Association of mental illness and crime. Within this topic students will examine the psychopathic mind and the psychology of sex offenders.

Different case studies, tools and experiments will be discussed in order to allow the students to get acquainted with the methods used in this discipline. In each tutorial, research articles and case material descriptions related to a theme will be studied and discussed. The examination will consist of question-based tests taken throughout the course, a final symposium where students will present and discuss topics related to Forensic Psychology and a final paper.

This intensive course includes:

  • Weekend excursion to Cologne and Düsseldorf – includes guided tour at NSDOK museum, group dinner, guided tour of Düsseldorf palace (to be confirmed)
  • Weekend excursion to The Hague and Amsterdam – visits to MICT, Anne Frank house, guided walking tour of Amsterdam, Zaanse Schans open air museum visit (to be confirmed)
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