Skip to main content


The Psychology of Gender

Module titleThe Psychology of Gender
Module codePSY3412
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr Christopher Begeny (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

By attending this module you will learn about gender differences, real and imagined, the cause of these differences, and how they influence the lives of men and women in a variety of contexts (e.g., the workplace, health, sexuality). You will also learn how gender issues can be studied. Core literature on these topics will be read and discussed during weekly seminars and you will be encouraged to form an opinion about the various issues, as well as to discuss their practical implications and potential solutions to some of the problems discussed. Final year students are required to have completed PSY2203 and PSY2306 or equivalent subject specific study in order to take this module.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The focus of this module is to critically examine the way in which gender has been studied within psychology. The module aims to give a critical understanding of the issues and key debates in the area and of how these debates have been influenced by research conducted across a range of subdisciplines in psychology. Some questions that will be examined are: What are the political implications of studying gender? Is there a difference between sex and gender? How are men and women portrayed in the media? How large are actual gender differences? Where do gender differences come from? To what extent is gender based on nature or nurture? What is gender identity? The aim of the module is to investigate these debates by an in-depth consideration of a range of areas in which gender research has been conducted, such as power, leadership, self-concept, sexuality, and health. You will be encouraged to engage in a critical evaluation of the debates that are covered and to apply this analysis to their everyday experience of gender.

Through attending the weekly seminars and completing the assessments, you will further develop the following academic and professional skills:

  • audience awareness (presenting ideas effectively in multiple formats and to different audiences, persuading others of the importance and relevance of your views, responding positively and effectively to questions)
  • problem solving (developing own ideas with confidence, identifying and using appropriate sources of information, selectively collecting and collating appropriate information)
  • managing structure (identifying key demands of the task, setting clearly defined goals, conceptualising central issues within the task, developing strategies to ensure individual and group progress)
  • time management (managing time effectively individually and within a group), and
  • collaboration (respecting the views and values of others, taking initiative and leading others, supporting others in their work, maintaining group cohesiveness and purpose).

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Describe in detail traditional and contemporary approaches to gender in psychology
  • 2. Illustrate in depth the key issues and debates in the field, in particular the nature/nurture debate, the controversy over the political implications of studying gender differences and the question of how large the differences between men and women are
  • 3. Explain comprehensively how these debates have been influenced by research across a range of subdisciplines in psychology, including social-, developmental-, cognitive- and neuropsychology
  • 4. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each side of the debate and apply this critical analysis to your everyday experience of gender

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Acquire detailed, systematic and comprehensive knowledge within the discipline, with in-depth specialisation at the forefront of the discipline in certain areas, and demonstrate advanced critical understanding of this knowledge and of the limits and provisional nature of this knowledge
  • 6. Review and critically evaluate published work at an advanced level and identify the strengths and weaknesses of this work, and at an advanced level structure this literature to present logical, coherent and sustained arguments to support conclusions at an advanced level
  • 7. Address systematically complex problems at an advanced level which may be framed within unpredictable contexts, think critically, creatively and independently, and fully appreciate the complexities of the issues
  • 8. Understand and apply essential principles in designing novel research, and critically evaluate and analyse empirical evidence, and assess the reliability of empirical evidence using a range of defined techniques at an advanced level
  • 9. Illustrate the wider ethical issues relating to the subject and its application at an advanced level

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 10. Interact effectively and supportively within a learning group
  • 11. Communicate effectively to different audiences
  • 12. Manage your own learning using the full range of resources of the discipline and with minimum guidance
  • 13. Describe your own criteria of self-evaluation and challenge received opinion and reflect on your actions, and seek and make use of feedback
  • 14. Select and manage information, and to undertake competently study tasks with minimum guidance
  • 15. Take responsibility for your own work and criticise it
  • 16. Engage effectively in debate in a professional manner and produce detailed and coherent written work; identify complex problems and apply appropriate knowledge and methods for their solution with confidence and flexibility
  • 17. Act autonomously with minimal supervision or direction, within agreed guidelines
  • 18. Manage time effectively to meet deadlines

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

We will discuss a number of key theories and debates in the psychological study of gender issues. Key topics include bio-psychological views of sex and gender, social and constructivist views of sex and gender; gender stereotypes, masculinity, development of gender differences, gender in the workplace, gender and sexuality, gender and health, and gender in the media. Key debates include the nature versus nurture debate, stable versus malleable gender differences, and prescriptive versus descriptive gender stereotypes.

The module will have a social psychological focus, but approaches from other sub-disciplines (e.g., biological psychology, gender studies and sociology) and interdisciplinary perspectives (e.g. gender in the workplace) will be incorporated where appropriate.

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching33Seminar (11 x 3 hours)
Guided Independent Study57Preparation for seminar
Guided Independent Study30Research and revision for final examination
Guided Independent Study30Research and preparation of essay


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Small-group discussions within seminars1-11, 13-14Oral, within plenary sessions

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Examination502 hoursAllFeedback on request
Essay402000 wordsAllWritten
Oral presentation1015 minutesAllWritten


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
ExaminationExaminationAllAugust Ref/Def
EssayEssayAllAugust Ref/Def
Oral presentationOral presentationAllAugust Ref/Def

Re-assessment notes

Three assessments are required for this module. Where you have been referred/deferred in the examination you will have the opportunity to take a second examination in the August/September re-assessment period. Where you have been referred/deferred in the essay you will be required to resubmit the essay. For a deferred presentation, reassessment will be by arrangement with the module convenor. For a referred presentation, reassessment shall be by individual presentation in the August Ref/Def period. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%; deferred marks are not capped.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • There is no core text for the seminar. Readings will consist mainly of (published) journal articles. Specific reading is provided for each topic.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

  • Videos, and newspaper and magazine articles that seem pertinent to the weekly discussions are used.

Key words search

Psychology, gender

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

PSY2203 Social Psychology II and PSY2306 Development Psychology and Psychopathology or equivalent

Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date