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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Deanery of Biomedical Sciences : Biomedical Sciences

Postgraduate Course: Conservation Psychology (BIME11130)

Course Outline
SchoolDeanery of Biomedical Sciences CollegeCollege of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThe aim of this course is to equip students with an understanding of conservation psychology and how it can be used as a tool to improve the effectiveness of conservation messages.
Course description Despite decades of effort, there is still a long way to go to improve people's conservation values and crucially, reduce environmentally destructive behaviour. With a growing global population and associated demands on the environment, that need is unlikely to change.
Conservation psychology (CP) is a new and little known label for interdisciplinary work that aims to improve the effectiveness of conservation messages. It has the potential to modify the way conservation practitioners approach campaigning, specifically by moving away from urging people to care and become environmentally literate. Instead, CP advocates a focus on changing behaviours through i) understanding and utilising cultural and social norms and ii) ensuring people feel that they, their government or campaigners, can really make a difference.
A disconnect exists between the theory and application of CP, so its utility is not widely appreciated. This course aims to bridge that research-application gap by describing CP principles and inviting students to apply this knowledge to a proposed campaign.

Outline Content

Weekly lectures will begin by looking at the definition and key principles of conservation psychology, moving on to consider its application in developing effective conservation campaigns and how appropriate a tool it is in this respect.

Student Learning Experience

Study materials are released on a weekly basis, providing an overview of the study topic, suggested reading materials and key questions that address the learning outcomes for the course. Students are expected to split their time between independent study and interacting with peers and course tutors on the discussion boards in order to fully explore the topic and their understanding of it. Summative written and online assessment will test knowledge and understanding of the learning outcomes, as well as the ability to communicate with others in a variety of ways. Both assessed and non-assessed online discussion fora provide further content and reflection, and students are expected to engage with group discussions for both learning and assessment purposes.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Flexible
Course Start Date 08/01/2024
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 10, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10, Online Activities 25, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 53 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Summative assessment consists of an online element worth 40% and a written element worth 60% of the total marks.
Feedback Comprehensive written feedback is provided for each assessed element individually with 15 working days of the assessment deadline. Students are expected to reflect on their feedback, to seek additional clarification if appropriate, and to use this to improve on future assignments of a similar nature.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Critically appraise the definition of conservation psychology and demonstrate a deep understanding of its purpose.
  2. Synthesise information gathered from a wide selection of appropriate literature to present and critically appraise examples of CP research and theory.
  3. Effectively apply knowledge of CP theory to examples of practice.
  4. Demonstrate critical understanding of techniques for measuring conservation campaign success.
  5. Critically evaluate CP as a tool to encourage behaviour change and assess its overall merit in a conservation setting.
Learning Resources
Clayton, S., & Myers, G. (2015). Conservation psychology: Understanding and promoting human care for nature (2nd edition). Oxford, UK: Blackwell.
Clayton, S. (2012). The Oxford Handbook of Environmental and Conservation Psychology. New York: Oxford University Press.

Clayton, S., Devine-Wright, P., Swim, J., Bonnes, M., Steg, L. Whitmarsh, L., Carrico, A. (2015). Expanding the role for psychology in addressing environmental challenges. American Psychologist.
Kesev, J. 2003, Thinking through 'conservation psychology': Prospects and challenges. Society of Human Ecology.
Zavestoski, S., 2003, Why Conservation Psychology? Human Ecology Review, v. 10 (2), pp. 184-186.

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills The study materials provided in this course will enhance the student¿s abilities to search for, read and understand the relevant scientific literature, to use this to support specific arguments and to present the findings in a coherent and appropriate way. They will also develop skills in ICT through the use of an online learning platform, online search engines and word-processing and presentation packages. Online discussion with tutors and peers will develop confidence in communicating with others and the skills to engage in high level academic discourse. The independent study aspect of the course will enhance the student¿s abilities in time-management and self-motivation.
Course organiserMr Andrew Irving
Course secretaryMiss Katherine Shaw
Tel: (0131 6)50 8349
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