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MA Psychoanalytic Studies

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  • Objectives
    To provide a thorough grounding in psychoanalytic theory in the tradition of the 'British School' of psychoanalysis; To place psychoanalysis in the social, cultural and intellectual milieu in which psychoanalysis developed in the 19th and early 20th centuries; To show the importance of psychodynamic - especially unconscious - forces operating both in clinical and non-clinical situations; To promote the use of psychoanalysis to understand phenomena outside the clinical domain, as well as to use knowledge and insights from these sources in order better to understand psychoanalytic thinking; To explore methodological issues in psychoanalysis: what is special about psychoanalytic methodology, what are its strengths and weaknesses; To encourage a questioning and curious attitude towards psychoanalysis and towards all fields of inquiry, and to understand psychoanalysis as itself a questioning and curious discipline; To help students define an area of special psychoanalytic inquiry and carry out research in that area.
  • Entry requirements
    Entry Qualifications 1. At least an upper second class degree unless supported by relevant post-graduate experience (e.g. counselling or psychotherapy coursework or training). 2. In the absence of a degree, relevant professional qualification (e.g. nursing, social work, counselling, psychotherapy) will be considered.
  • Academic Title
    MA Psychoanalytic Studies
  • Course description

    Course Description
    The MA in Psychoanalytic Studies provides a thorough grounding in psychoanalytic theory, concentrating on the 'British School'. It explores the historical and cultural roots of psychoanalysis, the clinical base of psychoanalytic thinking, and the nature and limits of psychoanalytic methodology. Students with both clinical and non-clinical interests and career plans will find that it focuses and deepens their psychoanalytic understanding.

    Modules and Options

    The lists of modules below represent the range of options available for each year of study. This may not be a complete list of the options you will study, and may be subject to change, so please contact the department for further details.

    Stage 1


    Teaching and Assessment Methods
    A: Knowledge and Understanding
        Learning Outcomes
        A1 : The basic principles of psychoanalytic theory within the 'British School', including the issues involved at points of development of divergent concepts.
        A2 : Psychoanalytic methodology, including the key role of transference.
        A3 : Theory of unconscious psychodynamic processes in individuals, and its extension into their working in groups, institutions, culture and society
        A4 : The context in which psychoanalysis developed (historical, philosophical, social cultural) and of the contribution of psychoanalysis itself to understanding this context.
        A5 : Comparative thinking about psychoanalytic theory.
        A6 : Psychoanalysis as a form of critical analysis and the critical analysis of psychoanalytic texts.
        A7 : Research in an area related to psychoanalysis.

        Teaching Methods
        A1 to A7 are conveyed through seminars, which are not only didactic, but also make use of the teaching/learning group to illustrate psychodynamic processes.

        A1 to A3, A5, A6 are learned in seminars on psychoanalytic theory (PA901), in PA928 (psychoanalytic Methodology) and in PA977 (Thinking Psychoanalytically), a course that deepens the understanding of psychoanalytic theory through dealing with specific themes from a psychoanalytic point of view and in relation to other ways of thinking about them.

        A4, A5 and A6 are addressed in a dedicated course on context, which includes joint teaching with a parallel course in the MA in Jungian and Post Jungian Studies (PA976).
        A2 and A6 to A7 are learned in the independent researching and writing of a dissertation under supervision, supported by a research forum.

        Assessment Methods
        Formal assessment is by a one 5000 word essay per course and a 12,000 word dissertation. Essay and dissertation guidelines make clear the areas of assessment.
        More specifically, A1, A3, A5 and A6 are assessed in PA901 (Psychoanalytic Theory).
        A2, A3 are assessed in PA928 (Psychoanalytic Methodology) and PA977 (Thinking Psychoanalytically).
        A4, A5 and A6 are assessed in PA976 (Freud in Contexts). A2, A6 and A7 are assessed in the Dissertation.

    B: Intellectual/Cognitive Skills
        Learning Outcomes
        B1 : Ability to focus on an aspect of the intellectual, cultural or social milieu and analyze its influences on the development of psychoanalysis.
        B2 : Capacity to analyze in-depth psychoanalytic theory, by focusing on some aspect in relation to the broader body of theory.
        B3 : Ability to analyze and interpret both texts and verbal arguments.
        B4 : Ability to analyze material, either clinical or non-clinical, using psychoanalytic ideas.
        B5 : Ability to apply psychoanalytic thinking to areas of clinical and non-clinical importance, and to bring it into dialogue with non-psychoanalytic ideas.
        B6 : Ability to present coherent arguments.
        B7 : Ability to identify in material, either clinical or non-clinical, opportunities for further research, whether conceptual or empirical.

        Teaching Methods
        All teaching is done in seminars, in which active participation is encouraged, usually in relation to texts. The seminar itself provides opportunities for psychoanalytic thinking, as the discussion builds between members. Feedback on written course work sharpens attention to the aims of the course. The Research Forum and supervision provides guidance on discerning research opportunities. Tutorials support intellectual and cognitive development. Although students are not formally assessed in either seminars or the research forum, they do benefit from the continuous feedback in response to their contributions. In the Research Forums, they present their own proposals and progress on their dissertations.

        Assessment Methods
        5000 word essay for each course; 12000 word dissertation.
        B1, B4, B5 are assessed in PA976 (Contexts)
        B2, B4 are assessed in PA901 (Theory)
        B2 is also assessed in PA928(Psychoanalytic Methodology)
        B4, B5 are assessed in PA928(Psychoanalytic Methodology) and PA977 (Thinking Psychoanalytically)
        B3, B6 are assessed in all courses
        B7 is assessed in the dissertation.

    C: Practical Skills
        Learning Outcomes
        C1 : Ability to formulate a research project and implement the research skills necessary to carry it out.
        C2 : Ability to document and provide evidence for arguments, both orally and in writing.
        C3 : Ability to write structured and focused essays, with proper citations and references.

        Teaching Methods
        All teaching and learning is done in seminars focused on clearly specified topics, supported by texts. Although participation is not formally assessed, it is actively sought, and our teaching style emphasizes drawing students out, inviting coherent argument. Essay preparation is supported by individual tutorials. Dissertation preparation is supported by individual supervision and by the Research Forum, where students present their proposals and their progress.

        Assessment Methods
        Assessment is by essay and dissertation.

    D: Key Skills
        Learning Outcomes
        D1 : Ability to write clearly, coherently, and concisely.
        D2 : NA
        D3 : NA
        D4 : For essays and dissertations, students define a topic and formulate a method for addressing it.
        D5 : NA
        D6 : Autonomously work to deadlines and make use of coursework feedback to refine their thinking on a topic.

        Teaching Methods
        D1. Teaching/learning is by seminar, in which students are encouraged to express complex ideas clearly. They must also prepare and verbally present research proposals to the Research Forum.
        D4. Support by tutorials, supervision and research Forum.
        D6. Teachers provide substantive feedback on essays; supervisors and the Research Forum support the refinement of research proposals their implementation. At the end of the first term, students write a commentary on a paper, on which they commented as part of their application to the MA, and receive staff feedback in the same form as on a course essay.
        The following are not assessed:
        D2. Training sessions on IT resources in psychoanalysis are provided by the University Library. Students learn to use IT search and cataloguing methods.
        D3. Guidance by special arrangement. If needed for a particular project (for example, statistics) supervision by appropriate staff in the University is available.
        D5. Students teach and learn from each other in the seminar setting.

        Assessment Methods
        D1 and D4: formal assessment is only by essay and dissertation.
        D6 (deadlines) is in effect assessed by penalties applied to late submissions;
        D6 (refining thinking) is assessed, but not graded, in the commentary that students write at the end of the first term, on the same paper on which they commented as part of their application to the MA.

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