Community psychology brings social change to the forefront of the way that we understand and promote psychological wellbeing.
It provides an alternative to the standard model of psychological enquiry that foregrounds the individual at the expense of the collective, instead contextualising the difficulties faced by particular communities before seeking to develop solutions through participatory and action-oriented research.
The central focus of this course is to provide knowledge and training platforms that allow you to work towards addressing the institutional marginalisation and disempowerment that drives local and global community issues. It introduces critical, liberation and human rights perspectives, reflecting on traditional modes of scientific enquiry and what they mean for groups and individuals struggling with issues of marginalisation.
Our degree programme is among the few in the country that allow you to work directly with local communities to facilitate social change. With the help of our award-winning Community University Partnership Programme (Cupp), it gives you the opportunity to apply your skills as a psychologist and gain professional experience in the field.
This course will be of particular interest to those interested in developing a career in mental health.
The course is primarily taught through intensive teaching sessions where modules run over blocks of two to three days, though some optional modules require weekly attendance.
Through lectures, workshops, seminars and the facilitation of community research partnerships, the course provides opportunities to explore the appropriateness and significance of how we work as community psychologists and to better understand the role of ideology inherent in the creation of an effective community psychology. It achieves this while retaining a degree of flexibility within the syllabus such that you are able to tailor your learning towards the kinds of areas most relevant to your work and interests.
The programme also offers an extended masters route for international students, allowing you to combine the degree itself with an English language course. Depending on your present language level, you will study English for between two and four months before starting your MA.
Areas of study
Community psychology is a culturally relative discipline and therefore takes different forms in different parts of the world. To help you maintain an open-minded approach to the subject, we introduce you to both local and international examples of community psychology in practice.
The syllabus is informed by contemporary research into such diverse areas as homelessness, older adults, disadvantaged young people, LGBT mental health, organisational wellbeing and mental health literacy in Cambodia, as well as by the experiences of our core teaching staff, Carl Walker, Katherine Johnson and Liz Cunningham.
For the Social Research Practice module, you undertake an action-orientation project in a community psychology setting. Those who are working in a related profession can relate the project to their employer's needs; those who aren't have the opportunity to work with community and voluntary organisations including Mind, Age Concern and the Richmond Fellowship.
Community Psychology: Theory and Practice
Research Methods in the Social Sciences
Community and Clinical Approaches to Mental Distress
Social Research Practice
The dissertation forms a focal part of the MA and allows you to gain practical skills as a psychologist by doing fieldwork in the community. Previous students have used the opportunity to:
• do a piece of participatory action research to explore the challenges faced by the growing population of Brazilian women in Brighton
• use life-history narratives to investigate experiences of academic and social acculturation for international students
• work with a local LGBT mental wellbeing service in order to reflect on the way that the development of a community has affected not only the wellbeing but the identities of its members.
We strongly believe that it is our duty to use our knowledge and resources for social benefit, which is why we set up the Community University Partnership Programme (Cupp) back in 2003.
Cupp is an award-winning project that aims to tackle disadvantage and promote sustainable development through partnership with local organisations. Our combined efforts have made a tangible difference to the effectiveness of community sectors and the lives of local people.
As a Brighton student, you will have the opportunity to volunteer through Cupp and work in the community yourself, all the while developing your vocational skills and gaining valuable work experience.
Careers and employability
The course explores processes of social change and participatory engagement and equips graduates with theoretical knowledge, research skills and practical insights for working in the field of community psychology. It also serves as an ideal grounding for the further use and study of participatory modes of enquiry at doctoral level.