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Studying psychology as a visiting student

photo The visiting student liaison for the Psychology department/school is Lorna Morrow.
(This page is maintained on her behalf by Steve Draper.)

(A single combined page for convenient printing is here.)

To find out the room a lecture course is to be held in, my advice is: Consult, on the day before the first lecture, the online timetables (or my hand-made alternative entry to them).

Contents (click to jump to a section)


Lorna Morrow is the organiser / liaison faculty member of the School of Psychology for students who are visiting from abroad: that is, JYA/exchange students and others who are visiting Glasgow University while mainly registered at a university in some other country. This now includes Erasmus/SOCRATES students visiting from the EU (who may also wish to look at this page and the University notes on Erasmus); and home students (i.e. already studying psychology at Glasgow university) who want a year abroad away from here (e.g. in USA or Germany).

This page collects some links and tips about this part of my job i.e. about my understanding of what is involved for foreign students visiting this university and doing some psychology. This page may change as I improve my grasp of the issues.

The main difficulty you are likely to face in understanding what psychology courses to take is that our teaching is fundamentally not designed as a set of standalone courses of a single standard size on the North American model. For instance, the most important practical and course-work is not part of the individual modules, but done (by home students) separately. The modules themselves thus mostly have no coursework or practical work as part of them. Another of the consequences is that getting registered for the courses you take here is likely to be more of a nuisance for you than the registration processes organised in many US universities. That is not only because we may be less computerised than your home institution, but because you are selecting courses of a quite different kind, in quite different combinations, to the home students, for whom the process is different.

A word about terminology or jargon

Here's a few notes on the terminology (actually, vile jargon) used here. The problem is that you may not be familiar with the way we use words like "course" or "level" or "professor" here; that it is probably often a silly way, though terms elsewhere are no more rational, just different; but you have to understand them or you can't understand the information we do actually provide.

Our local or home students do 4 year degrees, and we refer to these as level 1, level 2, level 3, and level 4. Levels 3 and 4 and also referred to as "Honours classes", as opposed to "Ordinary classes" (levels 1 and 2).
HOWEVER the university catalogue now uses "level" to mean something different e.g. "Level 3 (SCQF level 9)". If you have done a good Introductory Psychology course before coming here, we expect you to do our Level (year) 3 and 4 courses, all of which are listed in the catalogue as "Level 4 (SCQF level 10)" courses; and NOT the ones listed in the catalogue as level 3, which are less demanding and which are not used by our home students who want a qualification recognised by professional bodies.

The University recently reorganised, abolishing departments, and in many cases renaming them "schools" or else merging them into schools. If you see or hear someone say "department" then first assume they mean the school of the same name, then assume they refer to a subject group embedded within some larger school. I haven't found a convenient web representation of this, but if puzzled you could look at my rough notes on this.

There is no agreed use of the word "course" at this university. You are likely to find many people who say there is, but in fact they don't agree with each other. You may find it used for everything from a whole degree programme down to a tiny element worth a few credits or less. The same may apply to "module", "option", etc.

The word "paper" here not only may, but is more likely to, refer to an exam rather than to writing a long essay as coursework. Thus here people may talk of a student taking 5 papers for their finals (meaning 5 separate exams).

In North America, the three main grades of university teacher are Assistant, Associate, and full Professor. Here, they are generally called Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, and Professor.

This university has gone over from terms to semesters. If you hear someone say "term" they now probably mean "semester". Semester 1: from late September until Christmas. Semester 2: from January onwards.

What courses are available?

Our local or home students do 4 year degrees, and we refer to these as level 1, level 2, level 3, and level 4. Levels 3 and 4 and also referred to as "Honours classes" (cf. "upper division"), as opposed to "Ordinary classes". Roughly speaking, you may take the whole of our level 1, level 2, or level 3 courses; or you may take any mixture selected from most of our level 3 and level 4 elements.

Note that the what the catalogue calls "Level 3 (SCQF level 9)" courses, which have course codes in the 3,000 range, are not intended nor normally suitable for visiting students.

  • By far the most detailed information is in the school/department's course handbooks ("course information documentation"), which gives almost lecture by lecture specifications of the course contents, and which are available on the web (see below).
  • I maintain a listing of psychology courses for visiting students. This attempts to be an up to date version of what is in the catalogue, shows which are available to visiting students, and may have better information on which courses are not running this session.
  • The University catalogue of officially approved courses.

    I also have, and try to maintain with up to date accurate information, a listing of the course codes for psychology courses that we offer to study-abroad students. This is mainly important for administration.

    A note on assessment policy is available. Basically, students here in semester 2 will mostly do the same assessment as home students (usually exams in May), while students leaving earlier are most often assessed by extra term papers.

    Key links

    Finding us:
  • Lorna Morrow
  • How to find Lorna and the dept./school
  • the main psychology dept./school website
  • How to find the course administrators / secretaries: just find the dept./school: then the first offices inside the main door.
  • School's page about Erasmus and the University page about Erasmus

  • The university office for year abroad students: general web page, and the key person Colette McGowan (also here, or if necessary here).

  • My attempt at an up to date catalogue-like listing of the courses Psychology offers.
  • University catalogue: course list with summary descriptions. It may list some courses that are approved but not running this year.
  • List of the course codes for psychology courses.
  • Assessment policy

  • The department/school handbooks: The handbooks are most valuable for giving detailed course contents (almost lecture by lecture). They also give the days, times, and places of classes. They do not give course codes, credits, and the assessment details in them apply only to local students, and not to year abroad students.

    They are normally available from the department/school office ready-printed; but are also available on the web as fairly large (0.5Mbyte) PDF files, which can be printed out 2 document pages per side of printer-paper, and double-sided.

  • Print off a blank timetable to use in figuring out how to fit your classes together.

    The enrolment procedure

    See here.

    Further points

  • Information about exams and term papers is dealt with on my assessment page. Lorna Morrow is also available for you to consult about all written work for the department (including essays, lab reports, etc.), at all levels.

    Answers for some frequently asked questions

    Don't I have to do lab work?
    Practical work for our home students is done in separate projects, not associated with modules.

    Shouldn't I have assignments to hand in?
    No, except for the minority of level 4 option courses that have coursework as well as an exam.

    Won't I get any practice or feedback at exams?
    Not unless you organise it yourself. Past exam papers are available in the library. Home students will have had practice, and will be taking many exams all in the same format in this department/school.

    I'd like to do a psycholinguistics course.
    Psycholinguistics material is scattered as elements in:
    (level 3) Cognitive psychology
    (level 4) Interaction and communication
    (level 4) Psychology of reading and understanding

    Staff only

    The MyCampus query that gets all data on visiting students (brilliant) is here. Fill in the term (e.g. "2012") and click "View results"; then download a CSV version if you like.

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