PSYCH 733 : Special Topic: Critical Health Psychology


2020 Semester Two (1205) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Utilising the frameworks of critical psychology, including gendered, indigenous and intersectional frameworks, this course examines ways we can theorise, understand, and promote health for individuals, communities and societies.

Course Overview

Health matters, in all sorts of ways! But what is health? Where does it start? Where does it end? What is its opposite? What affects how we understand and/or experience it? Utilising the frameworks of critical psychology, including gendered, Indigenous and intersectional frameworks, this course examines ways we can theorise, understand, and promote health for individuals, communities and societies.

This graduate level course (part of the offerings within the BA(Hons), BSc(Hons) and PGDip (Arts/Science) programme) is designed for those who want to engaged with critical reflexive thinking and learning about health and wellbeing, within a social justice framework; for students who are eager to ask questions of knowlege and society, and of themselves. The teaching and learning in this class is inspired by theories and practice designed to unsettle, disrupt and challenge the status quo (e.g., critical and feminist pedagogies; pedagogy of discomfort). What does this mean for learning and the classroom? It means knowledge and learning are framed as political - unable to be removed from the structures of wider society. It means you will almost certainly be discomforted, and you will be asked to use that as a learning tool for critically engaging. It means that you will be asked to reflect on/interrogate the positions you learn and see from, and the ways these may shape your understandings. It means you will be asked to be open to hearing and engaging with knowledge from different positions, and to reflect on the extent to which frameworks work for and against social justice. It means there are no single answers and we won't be dealing with the comfortable space of facts.

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Define and critique models of “health” (Capability 2)
  2. Identify the factors and contexts that contribute to individual and community health and wellbeing (Capability 1 and 2)
  3. Describe the place and importance of te Tiriti o Waitangi for health in Āotearoa (Capability 2 and 6)
  4. Understand and interrogate the conceptual and methodological frameworks of (critical) health psychology (Capability 1 and 2)
  5. Apply a range of critical analytic lenses (e.g., gender, intersectional, indigenous) to the analysis and understanding of health issues (Capability 2, 5 and 6)
  6. Apply successfully the methodological and conceptual frameworks of critical health psychology to the analysis of a real world health scenario. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6)
  7. Communicate convincingly the results of analytic thinking and scholarship, across different 'output' formats (Capability 4 and 5)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Assignments 30% Individual Coursework
Assignments 20% Individual Coursework
Presentation Group & Individual Coursework
Final Exam 50% Individual Examination
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Final Exam

The 0% group presentation is associated with the 30% written assessment. Students must complete both components, but the mark will be allocated on the basis of the written component.

Key Topics

What is health?
Tools for critical psychology analysis & thinking
Colonisation, race and more
Gender, sexuality and more
Ability, class and more
Critical health psych in pandemic times
Doing bodies/people
Eating bodies/people
Consuming bodies/people
Sexual bodies/people
Health or wellness?
Digital futures?

Learning Resources

There is no prescribed text. Readings will be available via a digital reading list.
Students will be expected to bring real world examples related to class each week.

Special Requirements

Participation and attendance are expected. This is primarily a discussion based course, and students are expected read and comply with the learning guidelines associated with the course.
In 2020 this course will be delivered online only, in a virtual classroom environment. Due to the nature of the course, classes will not routinely be recorded.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 2 hours per week of seminar/lecture class time, and 8 hours of reading/thinking about the content and  work related to assignments.

Other Information

Detailed learning guidelines will be provided on canvas. It is vital for your learning and participation that you look at these and follow these.

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website at

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page:

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter (


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.

Published on 29/06/2020 12:20 p.m.