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Introduction to mental health science

This online module introduces the key topics in mental health science from biological, psychological and social science perspectives whilst developing your postgraduate study skills. Focusing on affective disorders (stress, anxiety and depression), the module will enable you to develop and apply these skills within the context of the chosen topics. You will broaden your knowledge and understanding of these affective disorders, recognise different lines of evidence, appreciate the uncertainty, ambiguity and limits of current knowledge, discuss contemporary issues, and evaluate, synthesise and communicate your understanding of these key topics in mental health science. 

Vocational relevance

The module is good preparation for further research in mental health science. It will develop skills and knowledge that are relevant to employment within the health sector, life sciences, medical and related fields, and that will inform and strengthen professional practice.

Qualifications

S826 is a compulsory module in our:

S826 is an optional module in our:

Postgraduate Loans

If you study this module as part of an eligible qualification, you may be eligible for a Postgraduate Loan. For more information, see Fees and funding.

Module

Module code
S826
Credits

Credits

  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
60
Study level

Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU postgraduate modules correspond to these frameworks.

OU Postgraduate
SCQF 11
FHEQ 7
Study method
Distance learning
Find out more in Why the OU?
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

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What you will study

Mental health conditions directly affect about a quarter of the population in any one year. Depression and anxiety are the most widespread conditions, and often co-occur. Understanding how these conditions develop, their onset, diagnosis, causes and treatments will lead to better interventions, management and support for affected individuals and their families. Designed as the first stage in the MSc in Mental Health Science (F78) this module will enable you to broaden your knowledge and understanding of key topics in mental health science.

Focusing on stress, anxiety and depression, the module draws on biological, psychological and social sciences to investigate these key topics, through a collection of guided readings consisting of core materials (review articles, research papers), wraparound text, and commentaries centred around diagnosis, causes and interventions. You will be guided in your online studies, week-by-week via the study guide. The materials in each block follow a common structural plan, coherent framework and formative assessment.

Block 1 will introduce you to fundamental postgraduate study skills, and an overview of research methods, with content that focuses on affective disorders, and makes use of core resources provided within the module. You will also be guided in understanding critical appraisal techniques to evaluate clinical and scientific research papers. You will have the opportunity to apply these skills (which include sourcing and evaluating materials, scientific writing and communication), by presenting an online poster, for evaluation by your fellow students, and as part of the formal assessment process. You will develop your study and research skills further in Blocks 2 and 3, applying these to examine key topics in greater depth.

Block 2 will focus on Stress and Anxiety and Block 3 on Depression, with the emphasis in core readings and commentaries addressing diagnosis, causes and interventions. You will undertake independent study of these areas and gain further understanding of contemporary issues in mental health science by searching for, reading and evaluating materials (review articles, primary and secondary research papers) beyond those provided on the module.

The module website will be the key hub for all your study resources, including sections on the latest developments, links to relevant materials, forums and RSS feeds to target journals that are available through the OU Library, representing research at the forefront of each discipline and allowing you to engage with the very latest findings. Tutor group and module-wide forums and wikis will enable you to discuss aspects of the key topics in mental health science, along with the latest developments in the field with your fellow students. A targeted selection of 'live' sessions and recorded presentations, linked to assignments, will supplement and support the learning outcomes for the module, providing you with an enhanced online learning experience.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will provide individual support, advice and guidance throughout your studies on the module. Your tutor will support your learning by providing feedback on your assignments, marking and commenting on your written work, facilitating group activities and online tutorials, and responding to individual queries. Electronic communication will be used extensively.

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.

Assessment

The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above. You must use the online eTMA system to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs). The end-of-module assessment (EMA) must also be submitted online.

You will be taking part in group activities using a variety of communication methods, including scheduled online forums, wikis and online tools for peer feedback. Some group work is linked to the assessment for this course and must be completed between certain dates.

Course work includes

3 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school

Future availability

Introduction to mental health science (S826) starts once a year – in February. This page describes the module that will start in February 2019. We expect it to start for the last time in February 2024.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

    Entry requirements

    This module can be taken on a stand-alone basis, or as part of a qualification. S826 is the compulsory Stage 1 module in the MSc (F78) and PGDip (E91) in Mental Health Science, and is also available as a core science option in our MSc in Science (F12) programme.

    Entry to F78 and E91 will typically require an honours degree (or equivalent qualification) in science or a science-related subject (including psychological sciences, health science, mental health nursing or medicine). Entry to F12 will typically require an honours degree in science. If your first degree is not in a science subject, we would normally expect you to have completed at least 60 credits of science at FHEQ level 5, and 60 credits at FHEQ level 6, before you register for F12.

    If you have other study or experience that you believe equips you to take this module you can still apply, but must supply evidence of that study or experience. Your case will be referred to our MSc Admissions Panel. Depending on your previous qualifications or experience, some background study may be necessary prior to registering on this module or its linked qualifications. For further advice, please contact the MSc Admissions Panel.

    All teaching is in English and your proficiency in the English language should be adequate for study at postgraduate level. If English is not your first language, we strongly recommend that you have achieved an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of at least 7. You can assess your English language skills in relation to your proposed studies by visiting the IELTS website.

    If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser, or email the MSc Admissions Panel.

    Preparatory work

    If you have previously completed SDK228, SD329 and S350 as part of an undergraduate degree, you would be suitably prepared to study this postgraduate module.

    In addition to the set books, we would also recommend the following titles to support your learning on S826. These titles are not obligatory, but would support your studies on this module and the Mental Health Science programme. You may wish to consult them as part of your further reading.

    • Bowers, D., House, A., Owens, D. and Bewick, B. Understanding clinical papers (3rd edn) Wiley. ISBN: 978-1118232828
    • Greenhalgh, T. How to read a paper: the basics of evidence-based medicine (5th edn) Wiley-Blackwell/BMJ Books. ISBN: 978-1118800966
    • Harris, M. and Taylor, G. Medical statistics made easy (3rd edn) Scion. ISBN: 978-1907904035
    • Petrie, A., and Sabin, C. Medical statistics at a glance (3rd edn) Wiley Blackwell. ISBN: 978-1405180511 

    Register

    Start End England fee Register
    26 Jan 2019 Oct 2019 £2380.00

    Registration closes 10/01/19 (places subject to availability)

    Register
    This module is expected to start for the last time in February 2024.

    Future availability

    Introduction to mental health science (S826) starts once a year – in February. This page describes the module that will start in February 2019. We expect it to start for the last time in February 2024.

    Additional costs

    Study costs

    There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as a laptop, travel to tutorials, set books and internet access.

    Ways to pay

    We know there’s a lot to think about when choosing to study, not least how much it’s going to cost and how you can pay.

    That’s why we keep our fees as low as possible and offer a range of flexible payment and funding options. To find out more see Fees and funding.

    Study materials

    What's included

    With the exception of two set books which you will need to purchase separately (please refer below), all study materials are available online, and are provided through the module website. These include a week-by-week planner and study guide, a guide to the module, core and supplementary reading materials, commentaries, a range of audiovisual resources, live online sessions, online tutor support, online forums and access to scientific journals, ebooks and databases through The Open University Library.

    Computing requirements

    A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module.  Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.

    Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.

    A desktop or laptop computer with either:

    • Windows 7 or higher
    • Mac OS 10.7 or higher

    The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.

    To participate in our online-discussion area you will need both a microphone and speakers/headphones. 

    Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students. 

    Materials to buy

    Set books

    • Cromby, J., Harper, D. and Reavey, P. Psychology, Mental Health and Distress Palgrave Macmillan £47.99 - ISBN 9780230549562
    • Carlson, N.R. and Birkett, M.A. Physiology of Behavior (12th edn) Pearson Education £55.99 - ISBN 9781292158105

    If you have a disability

    Some online components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader. Where possible, alternative formats of module materials will be made available on the module website.

    Due to our use of external websites and third party content, we cannot guarantee the accessibility of all components of the module.

    This module has no printed study materials. It is delivered entirely online (i.e. content is displayed on a computer screen or on mobile devices, although there is the option to download some of the content as Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) files for printing). Consequently time spent using a computer and the internet will be extensive. Parts of the module can be successfully studied using mobile devices, such as tablets.

    The module makes extensive use of electronic library resources and uses real-time (synchronous) as well as asynchronous online discussions and an interactive whiteboard space. If you use assistive technology or have a hearing or speech impairment and have concerns about accessing this type of virtual environment and materials you can visit the system provider's website for information and contact The Open University to discuss further, before registering. Written transcripts of audiovisual components will be made available where they exist (some external resources, such as videos on YouTube, may not have transcripts). Adobe PDF versions of most journal articles are available through the OU library as well as HTML full text. Some Adobe PDF components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader, and scientific notification may be particularly difficult to read in this way. You will be required to access literature resources electronically. If you use a screen reader to access material on screen, you should check that it is compatible with The Open University Library's electronic databases and resources before you start the module.

    If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Visit our Disability support website to find more about what we offer.