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Department of Psychology

 

This page provides an index of the available courses and seminars within the department and beyond. Please note that due to the ongoing global pandemic some or all of these courses may be run online. Please make sure you check the individual courses for their specific arrangements. 

Please discuss your education and training needs with your supervisor. While courses beyond those listed in the compulsory section are not required, it is Highly Recommended that all students engage with training to improve their statistics, research skills and Psychology knowledge.

Compulsory Courses

1. Inductions 

University Postgraduate Safety Course 

  • The Safety Office runs this event in October and January of each year. It is intended for all new postgraduate students in science-based Departments and Institutions and is an introduction to health and safety in the University. Information about this will be sent by the Postgraduate Administrator as part of your welcome email. 

Psychology Department Postgraduate Induction 

  • This is an introduction to the department. You will meet this year’s postgraduate cohort, and be introduced to key contacts and staff members. Information about this will be sent by the Postgraduate Administrator as part of your welcome email. 

2. Skills

The SSRMP Skill Check is an online multiple-choice test, which will assess your competence in basic statistics. The results are to make sure you take modules suited to your existing skill level. 

The test is taken online and takes approximately one hour to complete. When you have submitted your answers, the test will be marked automatically and you will receive a message telling you which module is most suitable for you in the SSRMP basic statistics stream along with further instructions on what to do next. Please read these carefully. A link to the test will be sent by the Postgraduate Administrator as part of your welcome email. 

  • Foundational Psychology Training for Students Without a Background in Psychology 

Please see the dedicated section on Foundational Psychology Teaching below. 

3. Postgraduate Seminar Series 

Each student is expected to attend a minimum number of postgraduate seminars in their first year (PhD Students: 10; MPhil Students: 3-4) which should be split as evenly as possible between the following courses: ·

This seminar programme for first-year postgraduate students has been jointly established by the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit and the Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry. It consists of a fortnightly series of seminars presented by senior researchers during Michaelmas and Lent Terms. There are 8 seminars in total each year. Usually, some of these seminars are on research skills/methods and others are on psychological, neuroscientific and psychiatric topics. 

Lecturers often provide abstracts and examples of suggested reading; please check each event for further details. Further information can be found here.

This seminar attracts national and international speakers in the areas of social psychology to present research talks on their specialist topics. The seminar is open to all members of the University. 

This seminar series occurs fortnightly on Wednesdays during full term (4-5pm). For 2020/21 all seminars will be online. Further details can be found here.

This course will encourage you to think critically about how behavioural research is conducted and how conclusions are drawn. To enable you to truly understand how behavioural research functions as a science, however, this course will also need to discuss how scientists are incentivised, how they publish and how their beliefs influence the inferences they make. By engaging with such issues, this course will probe and challenge the basic features and functions of our disciplines. We will uncover multiple methodological, statistical and systematic issues that could impair the robustness of scientific claims we encounter every day. We will discuss the controversy around behavioural science and the replicability of its results, while learning about new initiatives that are currently reinventing the basic foundations of our field. The course will equip you with some of the basic tools necessary to conduct robust behavioural science research fit for the 21st century. Find out more details here.

4. Departmental / University Seminars 

Each student is expected to attend a minimum number of Departmental or other relevant University seminars each year (PhD Students: 10; MPhil Students: 3-4). Details of the available seminar series are given in the dedicated section below.

Departmental / University Seminars

Each student is expected to attend a minimum number of Departmental or other relevant University seminars each year (PhD Students: 10; MPhil Students: 3-4). 

Beyond the compulsory minimum, postgraduate students are strongly encouraged to regularly attend (in particular) the Zangwill Club.

The Zangwill Club is the Department of Psychology’s Flagship Weekly Seminar Series. It attracts exciting speakers from around the world to speak on Psychology and Neuroscience. It takes place every Friday during full term, usually between 4.30pm and 5.30pm. For 2020/21 all seminars will be online.

 

This weekly seminar is hosted by the MRC-Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit on Thursdays throughout the year. It attracts exciting speakers from around the world to speak on Psychology and Neuroscience. For 2020/21 all seminars will be online.

 

This seminar series is intended for everyone who has a common interest in behavioural and clinical neuroscience. It takes place weekly at 1pm on Monday lunchtimes. The talks last for approximately 40 minutes followed by questions and discussion. For 2020/21 all seminars will be online.

 

This seminar attracts national and international speakers in the areas of social psychology to present research talks on their specialist topics. The seminar is open to all members of the University.

 

Cambridge Neuroscience brings together neuroscientists at the University and beyond each term to explore contemporary research in neuroscience and mental health in a new series of seminars. The interdisciplinary programme features current work from across the Schools and Departments, reflecting the pioneering work and diverse interest of members of Cambridge Neuroscience. Expect up to the minute updates on research, in-depth discussion of key challenges in the field and forward-looking speakers. 

 

 

Statistics and Research Methods Courses

Please note that the department has a Department of Psychology Methods Consultant Database to link postgraduate students and researchers with Departmental 'experts' in areas like programming, statistics and other research methods. If a member of the Department needs methodological advice that is not available in their research group, they can use the database to find someone elsewhere who can provide the help that they need. More details can be found here.

You can also attend the following courses: ·

Postgraduate students who wish to consolidate their study of statistics are welcome to follow the flipped-classroom online statistics course designed for all NST Part II students. This online course has a clear and simple structure: there are 5 topics in total and each topic comes with its own set of problems and worked examples (which should be completed by hand and using the statistical software SPSS). The instructions, exercises, and model answers for each topic are provided on Moodle.  Find more details here. ·

This is a course planned with the needs in mind of a postgraduate student starting as a PhD student at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, but it is available to Psychology postgraduate students. The presentation will be as fairly formal lectures, each aiming to outline a particular class of methods, to give examples of it being applied to realistic situations, and to indicate how to implement it using software available at CBU. Further details can be found here. ·

Six classes in Lent Term of 1.5+ hours’ duration taught by Professor Mark Haggard. Postgraduates in all years are welcome and on special request a few from other related departments can typicaly be accommodated. Some of the statistically most knowledgeable students have found it worthwhile to re-attend for specific topics.. Detailed requirements for postgraduate projects in respect of methods are diverse. (‘Statistics’ is too narrow a term here, although ‘strategic uses of statistics’ comes close to what is covered.) Professor Haggard is available through the year for (unpaid!) consultancy to those who have attended the class. Further details can be found here.

This SSRMP course taught by Psychology’s Dénes Szücs  provides a detailed critique of the methods and philosophy of the Null Hypothesis Significance Testing (NHST) approach to statistics which is currently dominant in social and biomedical science: Briefly contrasting NHST with alternatives, especially with Bayesian methods. The course will use some computer code (Matlab and R) to demonstrate some issues. However, it focusses on the big picture rather on the implementation of specific procedures. Further details can be found here

The Social Sciences Research Methods Programme is a training programme at the University of Cambridge School of Humanities and Social Sciences. It provides training courses on a range of skills and methodologies – including statistical methods - aimed at postgraduate students from a broad range of subjects, including psychology, criminology, social anthropology, sociology, economics, international relations and politics. Find more details here.

This Coursera course aims to help you to draw better statistical inferences from empirical research: How to correctly interpret p-values, effect sizes, confidence intervals, Bayes Factors, and likelihood ratios; How these statistics answer different questions you might be interested in. It also explores how to design experiments where the false positive rate is controlled, and how to decide upon the sample size for your study, for example, to achieve high statistical power. Subsequently, you will learn how to interpret evidence in the scientific literature given widespread publication bias, for example by learning about p-curve analysis. Finally, the course discusses how to do philosophy of science, theory construction, and cumulative science, including how to perform replication studies, why and how to pre-register your experiment, and how to share your results following Open Science principles. Find more details here.

This course will encourage you to think critically about how behavioural research is conducted and how conclusions are drawn. To enable you to truly understand how behavioural research functions as a science, however, this course will also need to discuss how scientists are incentivised, how they publish and how their beliefs influence the inferences they make. By engaging with such issues, this course will probe and challenge the basic features and functions of our disciplines. We will uncover multiple methodological, statistical and systematic issues that could impair the robustness of scientific claims we encounter every day. We will discuss the controversy around behavioural science and the replicability of its results, while learning about new initiatives that are currently reinventing the basic foundations of our field. The course will equip you with some of the basic tools necessary to conduct robust behavioural science research fit for the 21st century. Find out more details here.

Cambridge training offers a range of courses on a huge variety of topics. Bioinformatics training courses are free for registered University of Cambridge students. All non-attendees (including students) who fail to cancel more than 24 hours before a course will be charged the corresponding fee). Please check for details on what is currently available here.

The Postgraduate School of Life Sciences has developed a Core Skills Training Programme for first-year students. This has been designed to provide you with some foundation skills that will make you a better researcher now, aid you in the completion of key milestones in your degree and help you make the most of other training opportunities in the years to come. More information can be found here. 

ReproducibiliTea Cambridge is part of a series of over 40 Open Science journal clubs across the world. Primarily based in Psychology, we host talks on the reliability of scientific research and how the academic incentive structure affects research.

For 2020/21 talks will be online. You can find a list of upcoming talks here

You can learn more about Reproducibilitea at:

https://reproducibilitea.org/

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-02842-8

https://osf.io/3qrj6/

 

Programming Courses

Dénes Szűcs runs an 8-hour intensive course on MATLAB in Michaelmas term. The course focuses on practical plus hands-on variable handling and programming implementation rather than on theory. This course is intended for those who have never programmed before including those who only call/run Matlab scripts but are not familiar with how code works and how matrices are handled in Matlab.

For more information on this course see here.

The CBU offer a comprehensive skills-oriented training programme for PhD students from interdisciplinary backgrounds. This includes modules on scientific computing and programming (Linux, Matlab), good research practice in scientific computing, signal processing in Matlab, and specialised neuroimaging workshops focussed on (f)MRI and EEG/MEG analysis.For more information on these courses see here.

To get up-to-date information about training events at the CBU, sign up to the CBU mailing list by contacting - skillstraining-subscribe@mrc-cbu.cam.ac.uk.

Cambridge training offers a range of courses on a huge variety of topics. Bioinformatics training courses are free for registered University of Cambridge students. All non-attendees (including students) who fail to cancel more than 24 hours before a course will be charged the corresponding fee). Please check for details on what is currently available here.

The MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit will be running workshops throughout November 2020 on Python for Brain Imaging (pybrain). For more information see here.

A number of programming courses are also offered by the University Computing Service. The selection is available to be searched here.

Postgraduate and Postdoc Community

Your postgraduate representatives may organise journal clubs, one-day conferences and other training-based activities throughout the year. For Michaelmas 2020 your Postgraduate Student Reps are Kayla Pincus and Andrés Gvirtz.

ReproducibiliTea Cambridge is part of a series of over 40 Open Science journal clubs across the world. Primarily based in Psychology, we host talks on the reliability of scientific research and how the academic incentive structure affects research.

For 2020/21 talks will be online. You can find a list of upcoming talks here

You can learn more about Reproducibilitea at:

https://reproducibilitea.org/

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-02842-8

https://osf.io/3qrj6/

Foundational Psychology Teaching (for students without a background in Psychology)

PhD and MPhil research in the Department of Psychology can often be interdisciplinary, and thus a number of students join the programme from diverse academic backgrounds. In order to ensure that all PhD and MPhil students in the department have a baseline level of psychology knowledge, those students without a background in Psychology are required to attend 5 hours of foundational psychology teaching during their first year.

These 5 lectures can be taken from any undergraduate psychology course (NOTE: These do not include statistics, which is covered separately). However, below are some suggestion of introductory courses that may be the most appropriate. Students should consider in discussion with their supervisors which topics will be most useful for their particular area of study. Remember you are free (and encouraged!)  to attend more than 5 hours of psychology teaching, this is merely the minimum required. Paper guides for all the available courses will be available on Moodle.

Suggested Courses:

  • Introduction to Psychology (PBS1)This 1st year course introduces a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of Psychology. Through studying this course, students will develop their understanding of how the different approaches address specific topics within psychology. All lectures are 1 hour and take place online on Mondays at 11am and Fridays at 2pm. The topics covered in this course are:

Michaelmas Term: Individual Differences (8 lectures – Gender, IQ, Personality); Constructing Reality (7 lectures – Social and Cognitive Development, Perception of Faces, Social Cognition)
Lent Term: Mind and Body (8 lectures – Emotion, Mental Health); Decision Making (8 lectures – Neuroscience of Decision Making, Political Decision Making)

  • Psychological Enquiry and Methods (PBS2)This 1st year course covers the foundations of psychological study, including the mathematical and biological knowledge and skills required to engage with the research literature. All lectures are 1 hour and take place online on Wednesdays and Fridays at 9am. Topics and number of lectures in this course are:

Michaelmas Term: Introduction to PBS 2 (1); Foundations of Psychological Science (1); Ethics and Data Protection (1); Brain Anatomy (2); Synapses (1); Neurotransmission (1); Genetics (2); Electrophysiology (2); Brain Imaging (2); Brain Interventions (2); Neuropsychology (2)
Lent Term: Study Design (3); Communicating Research (1); Data and Graphs (1); Correlation/Regression (1); Normal Distribution (1); Hypothesis Testing (1); Effect Size (1); Power (1); T-tests (2); Non-parametric tests (1); Chi-square (1); Qualitative Research (3); Reaction Times (1)

Please email the Postgraduate Office to access these lecture recordings via Moodle - pgadmin@psychol.cam.ac.uk

  • Medical and Vet Sciences,  Neurobiology & Human Behaviour  (MVST-NHB)This is a 2nd year medicine/veterinary course that contains a number of lectures on neurobiology and psychology. All lectures are 1 hour and will be available online. Potentially useful topics covered in this course are:

Lent Term: Emotion (2 lectures); Introduction to Psychology of Medicine (1 lecture); Neurobiology of Attention (1 lecture); Cognitive Neuroscience of Memory (2 lectures); Neurobiology of Memory (2 lectures); Neurobiology of Language (1 lecture); Planning and Action (1 lecture);

Easter Term: Reasoning and decision making (1 lecture); Cognitive neuroscience of development (1 lecture); IQ and intelligence testing (1 lecture); Psychopathology (Schizophrenia & Depression) (2 lectures).

Please email the Postgraduate Office to access these lecture recordings via Moodle - pgadmin@psychol.cam.ac.uk

Other Possible Sources of Training

Students can attend local seminars of the relevant research group or attend other courses as recommended by their supervisor on an individual basis, and any other relevant courses organised by the graduate school.

The Social Sciences Research Methods Programme (SSRMP) offers postgraduate students with training in a broad range of quantitative and qualitative research methods.