Why do Psychology teachers take part-time qualifications from the University of Cambridge?

We all tend to have our own reasons for approaching each course we take and each additional qualification we work towards.

Some courses can cover an aspect of a syllabus that one is teaching and which has not been central to one’s studies in the past. Some take participants into the world of further study, and some involve original research.

And then the status and credibility of the awarding body is also important, not just for the quality of the teaching and the work, but also in terms of how the qualification will look on our CV should we wish to apply for a new post at some time in the future.

This coming academic year the University of Cambridge is offering part-time courses in cognitive psychology, philosophy and social sciences starting this October. Brief details are given below, and more information is available on our website.

The Certificate in Cognitive Psychology course opens with a review of the history, core themes, and methods in the scientific study of the mind, brain, and behaviour and reviews the historical dominance of behaviourism, the shift to cognitive science, and the eventual adoption of the broader ‘cognitive neurosciences’.

Our second unit provides an introduction to the study of memory, language, and perception and introduces the core distinctions between different memory systems and their neural underpinnings.

The final unit introduces core topics in cognition, the notion of general intelligence, and neural mechanisms involved in domain general problem solving.

The Certificate in Philosophy I begins by addressing philosophical problems concerning time, space, possibility, and the relations between objects and their properties, considering such questions as: Is there a metaphysical difference between us and past people?

In the second unit we look at formal logic, the language within which we can formulate arguments clearly and test whether they are valid or invalid. At the same time we consider the philosophical issues raised by our formal language.

Finally we consider the two key areas within ethics: normative ethics and meta-ethics starting with what “goods” our ethical theories should promote, and ask (among other things) whether there are principles which determine what it is right to do, and, if so, what they are.

The Certificate in Social Sciences examines sociology, politics, and psychology as three different ways of exploring human behaviour. It opens by asking “What is sociology” and considers how it is relevant to modern social life.

It also considers politics and power and, in particular, the power exercised by the state over its citizens while introducing the key elements of political theory and tracing the evolution of the contemporary nation-state.

In the third unit we ask, “what is psychology and why should we study the human mind and behaviour?” We also consider the application of psychology within modern society and the different schools of thought that have developed since its inception.

The Advanced Diploma in Philosophy is a part-time research based course that offers the opportunity to undertake independent study based around a series of eight structured supervisions over two academic years. You can choose your own research topics and your research proposal is considered when you apply.

Alternatively if you’d like to dip your toe in the water or explore a specific topic, we also offer a range of short courses throughout the year.

You can find out more about all the above courses and apply online by 5 September on our website

Alternatively, you can contact me directly with specific enquiries on 01223 746 417 or email me at enquiries@ice.cam.ac.uk.

Paul Ireland
Institute of Continuing Education, University of Cambridge
Madingley Hall, Madingley, Cambridge, CB23 8AQ