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Core topics in mental health science: psychosis and dementia

SD816 is the core compulsory Stage 2 module for the MSc (F78) and Postgraduate Diploma (E91) in Mental Health Science. This online module draws on biological, psychological and social sciences to investigate psychosis and dementia - conditions that are of major global health concern and socio-economic impact. Building on prior study and skills developed at Stage 1, the module will broaden your knowledge and understanding of these core topics in mental health science, and further develops your critical thinking, practical and professional skills. SD816 is suitable for those with relevant backgrounds in biological and psychological sciences, medical and allied professions.

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

SD816 is a compulsory 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
SD816
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

Psychosis and dementia are substantial health concerns in today’s global society and will remain at the forefront of contemporary ‘issues’ in the brain and behavioural sciences for the foreseeable future. Schizophrenia, bipolar affective disorder, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are ranked amongst the very highest in terms of global burden of mental disorders, with between 11 (for dementias) and 17 (for psychoses) million disability-adjusted life years (or ‘DALYs’) lost because of these debilitating conditions.

Considering dementia alone, more than 47 million people worldwide currently live with dementia according to the World Health Organisation. With over 7 million new cases every year, the number is set to double by 2030 and triple by 2050. The scale of dementia is vast – there are more than three quarters of a million people living with dementia in England alone, one in six people over the age of 80 have dementia, and one in three people are set to develop dementia in the future.

This module draws on biological, psychological and social sciences to investigate psychosis and dementia, through a collection of guided readings (review articles, book chapters, research papers), commentaries, audiovisual recordings, as well as interviews and seminars centred around diagnosis, causes and interventions. You will be guided in your online studies, week-by-week via a study guide. You will also learn to apply critical appraisal skills to understand, analyse and present research on psychosis and dementia.

The material in each block will follow a common structural plan and coherent framework, with formative assessment. Block 1 focuses on dementia and Block 2 on psychosis, with the emphasis in core readings and commentaries addressing diagnosis, causes and interventions. Block 3 focuses on research methods and critical appraisal (with overviews of diagnostic systems, neuropsychological assessment and clinical trials, and examples based on sample papers in the field of psychosis and dementia).

You will use critical appraisal techniques to evaluate clinical and scientific research papers, and have the opportunity to apply your learning and demonstrate your critical appraisal, communication, and digital and information literacy skills by presenting a target paper of your choice, as a slidecast, for evaluation by your fellow students (peer review), and as part of the formal assessment process.

The module website will be the key hub for all your study resources, including core and supplementary readings, the module’s audiovisual collection, forums, externally-linked resources and RSS feeds to target journals available through the OU Library, representing research at the forefront of each discipline and allowing you to engage with the latest findings. Tutor group and module-wide forums and wikis will enable you to discuss aspects of dementia and psychosis along with the latest developments in the field with your fellow students as part of a postgraduate community. The core readings and commentaries address diagnosis, causes and interventions.

A targeted selection of ‘live’ sessions, recorded presentations and audiovisual materials, linked to assignments, will supplement and support learning outcomes for the module, providing you with an enhanced online learning experience.  You will also undertake independent study to gain further understanding of the core topics and 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.

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.

Assessment

The assessment for this module is comprised of three tutor-marked assignments (TMA) and one end-of-module assessment (EMA).

You must use the online eTMA system to submit your TMAs.

The 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

Core topics in mental health science: psychosis and dementia (SD816) starts once a year – in October. This page describes the module that will start in October 2018. We expect it to start for the last time in October 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 is not available for stand-alone study. SD816 is the core compulsory Stage 2 module for the MSc (F78) and PGDip (E91) in Mental Health Science. You will need to have met the entry requirements for F78 and E91, declared one or other as your intended qualification, and completed S826 Introduction to mental health science, before progressing to SD816.

    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). If you have other study or experience that you believe equips you to take either of these qualifications 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 for F78 or E91. 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 queries concerning the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser, or email the MSc Admissions Panel for further advice.

    Preparatory work

    S826 Introduction to mental health science will cover considerable ground in postgraduate research skills, including critical appraisal and evaluation of primary research papers, which will be developed further, and applied in SD816. In addition to the set books, we would also recommend the following titles to support your learning on SD816. These titles are not obligatory, but would support your studies on 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 Fee
    - - -

    No current presentation - see Future availability

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

    Future availability

    Core topics in mental health science: psychosis and dementia (SD816) starts once a year – in October. This page describes the module that will start in October 2018. We expect it to start for the last time in October 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 your options 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.